Many will already know a little about Dubai, like the fact it has man made islands shaped to look like palm trees and the world, or that there is an underwater restaurant and ski resorts in shopping malls.This is a city of big dreams, innovation and above all, lots of luxury. Don’t be fooled by all the gloss and glamour though, as there’s still an essence of old Dubai to be found through details in the scenery, like the traditional dhows that drift through the creek, bustling souks that are vibrant with the aromas of spices and the wild expanse of the desert, of course!For those that are still unsure about whether the destination is for them, we have conducted an interview with one of our DT Team, the lovely Raz. She has been to Dubai twice and therefore has plenty of personal insight to offer, which should hopefully help you with planning a trip of your own.
Hey Raz! When did you visit Dubai?
I’ve been to Dubai twice now. The last visit was back in June 2013. I specifically chose this month as it’s off-season in terms of prices – so I got an excellent deal. Everyone said the weather was going to be far too hot, but I think it was the perfect temperature for a beach holiday. Yes it was hot – but what I would normally expect if say, I travelled to the Med. I say June is perfect as it’s just after the peak periods (October to May) while July & August is not preferred as it really is too hot. June is just that perfect month in between where it’s hot and not overly priced!
Which hotel did you stay in? What was it like, and would you recommend it to others?
I stayed at the Sheraton Jumeriah Beach and I would say this was in a very good location, as generally to be located on Jumeriah Walk is perfect. You are within walking distance to the main strip where there are lots of shops, restaurants and cafes.You can also walk to Dubai Marina easily, which is a great place for taking some amazing photos – so make sure you have your camera! It was about a 10 minute drive to Downtown Dubai also.
Where did you go to eat while there?
There were so many restaurants to choose from! I mean, food is definitely not of shortage in Dubai, and in fact your holiday is pretty much about the excitement of where you eat. We dined a few nights at the hotel to get our bearings, then we chose to explore the local cuisine. There were lots of great meze’s such as hummus (crushed chickpeas) cacik (mint, cucumber and yogurt), tabbouleh (bulgur wheat with parsley, tomatoes, onions and pomegranate juice) and then the mains were either fresh grilled meat, such as marinated chicken or lamb, or if wanted they even had the more traditional dishes such as okra stew with lamb on the bone (yum!)
You definitely must do the traditional Friday Brunch too – the Emiratis definitely know how to dine! We went to the Westin Hotel for our brunch which was approx 4 hours away – it was amazing.
If people want to see some history, where should they go in Dubai?
Dubai is predominantly man-made, so everything you see pretty much has been built in the last 10-15 years. I would say it’s not the best place for historians. It’s more for those whom enjoy amazing architecture (i.e. the tallest building in the world, Khalifa) and want to take in the local culture, generally enjoying all the luxuries the city has to offer for affordable prices – you’d be surprised at the great deals you can get out there!
What were your favourite attractions?
I loved Dubai Marina – the views were amazing. We chartered a private Yacht from the harbour and went out onto the sea for a few hours – it was totally breath-taking. We saw the whole of Dubai Strip, the skyline and famous landmark hotels such as the Burj al Arab and Atlantis from the middle of the sea. I also loved the rustic side of old Dubai – we went to the famous Karama Market, which practically sold anything from Gold to food spices.
Of course a visit to Dubai would not be a visit without a trip to the malls, and in particular, the Mall of Emirates and Dubai Mall. Oh, and the desert safari! Wow. This was a truly thrilling experience as we booked a Jeep Desert where you have the most exhilarating time going up and down the dunes (they are very steep!!)
Before travelling through the terrain you get to your camp whereby a camel awaits to give you a short and bumpy ride, then you are shown into your camp where a traditional Arabian Themed Night begins, with a BBQ, belly dancer and other shows. The best part is you get to sit on the floor on hand made carpets and cushions just like the Arabs used to!
Lastly, do you have any tips for those thinking of going to Dubai?
I say travel in the ‘off peak time’ – June was excellent as mentioned above for weather & the price. I would also recommend you stay on the Jumeiriah Walk as it’s fairly central to everywhere, and there are lots of hotels to choose from. I would definitely stay on a B&B basis, though most deals throw in the half board. When booking restaurants make sure you check whether they serve alcohol as not all places do (and it is pricey!) Other than this you are in for a brilliant holiday as there is lots to do & see!