We booked a two day stopover in Dubai on our way home from the Maldives (read all about that trip here and here). However, due to a flight delay we lost an entire day so our time in Dubai was really limited. Having said that, we did manage to fit nearly everything we had planned in. We had only booked a few days in Dubai as we were visiting in August and the weather is far too hot to spend much time outside! Dubai was never somewhere I was dying to visit but I was really interested in seeing what it was like and a stopover on the way home from the Maldives was the perfect opportunity!
Due to the delayed and redirected flight, we landed in an airport thirty minutes outside of the city – which is of course pretty much all desert! The drive from the airport – that is the desert, into the city was a really cool experience. The city itself is really cool, I’m really into architecture and Dubai is such a new and elaborate city so it is really interesting seeing it for the first time.
The Ritz Carlton Dubai
We stayed in the Ritz Carlton Dubai which I would honestly highly recommend. The hotel is in a great location on Jumeirah beach. I loved that the Ritz Carlton Dubai has a really authentic Arabian theme to it’s decor which we didn’t really experience anywhere else in Dubai (except the Gold Souks). The decor of the reception area is so opulent yet the rooms are modern but just as luxurious as the rest of the hotel. Our room, which was a standard room, was incredibly cosy and comfortable complete with a balcony and huge bathroom, TV in-front of the bath, and an iPad which controlled everything from room service orders to closing the curtains. The hotel also has a large outdoor pool area and one of the biggest and most delicious breakfast buffets I’ve seen.
Due to the issues with our flight we had no luggage the entire time we were in Dubai. We had to ring Emirates to organise our luggage transfers / pick-ups while we were there. As you can imagine, this was a complete nightmare as we had already lost so much time in Dubai the last thing I wanted to do was spend a few hours on hold to Emirates attempting to locate and rearrange our luggage. The hotel reception actually offered to organise everything for us which was such a nice gesture and a huge relief for us. The staff at the Ritz Carlton were fantastic and relieved us of so much stress. Visit the hotels website here.
If, like me, you love American food – you’ll love Dubai. You’ll have your choice of the Cheesecake Factory and Five Guys and pretty much everything in between if you visit the malls. We stuck to these kind of restaurants to I can’t comment much on traditional meals to be honest but from what I could see there is a huge selection of cuisines wherever you go. The breakfast buffet in our hotel was absolutely huge and had pretty much everything and anything you could want – including bacon which I hadn’t expected in Dubai. See more about our stay in the Ritz Carlton Dubai Hotel below.
Shopping – The Dubai Mall
Dubai is amazing for shopping. After researching both the Dubai Mall and the Mall of Emirates and asking a few friends for advice, we decided to visit the Dubai Mall only. It was by far the biggest and most amazing mall I’ve ever been in. It had everything from European favourites, to US chain, designers and even traditional Gold Souks. It also had huge designer boutiques including the biggest Louis Vuitton and Chanel stores I’ve ever seen. The prices however, are more expensive than in Ireland of the most part. Having said that, the shopping in so good you’ll be tempted to spend that little bit more while you’re there! The Dubai Mall is also attached to the the number one attraction I would recommend visiting, the Burj Khalifa – the worlds tallest building – see below.
The Dubai Mall also has the Dubai Foundations which I would highly recommend. The foundations go off at 1pm and then every half an hour from 6pm – they’re really cool to see at night especially.
Top tip – if you visit Dubai when it’s particularly hot I would highly recommend going shopping earlier in the day as the malls get very busy in the evenings.
Things to do in Dubai
A visit to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa was top of my list when visiting Dubai and I would highly recommend it. There are two different observation decks, At The Top level 124 or At The Top Sky experience – read more about these here. The Sky experience is that bit higher but the primary difference is that its a more luxurious experience but it’s quite a bit more experience. I would recommend booking your tickets ahead of time which you can do so here.
The Burj Al Arab is of course the most iconic building to visit in Dubai. The distinctive sail shaped building is the world’s only 7* hotel and located on Jumeirah beach which is of course a must-see if you’re in Dubai. The hotel grounds are off-limits to the public however you can book a high tea in the hotel Sky View bar which is known to be a fabulous experience. It is rather expensive however, see more here.
The Dubai Mall and fountains are also a must visit if you’re in Dubai – you read more about these in the above Shopping section.
We visited the Atlantis the Palm also but to be honest I’m not sure if I’d recommend a trip here as I didn’t overly enjoy it. However, had we had time I’m sure the water park would have been brilliant. You can also get a helicopter ride over the palm which I’m sure would be unbelievably, albeit very expensive! We didn’t look into this as we wouldn’t have had enough time. As a hotel I don’t think I’d want to stay there as it’s more like a tourist attraction area than a hotel – having said that I can only speak for the areas which are open to the public as we weren’t staying there. There is an overground train which goes out onto the palm but the air conditioning was broken while we were there so we didn’t take it. We had also been told the views of the palm are really limited from the train.
Until next time,