Dubai, the United Arab Emirates’s largest and most populated city, is an ultramodern paradise that boasts the world’s tallest building, manmade islands and impressive beaches. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of ground to cover when visiting the luxury destination. To make the most of your time, it’s best to go in with a plan, which focuses in on the city’s world-class hotels, eclectic food scene and local activities not to be overlooked. In addition to the gold market and high-fashion shops, there are also once-in-a-lifetime experiences to book. Read on for more on where to eat, sleep, lounge and shop while in Dubai.
There’s flying, and then there’s high-flying business class on Emirates. The latter can easily set you back $10k per way, so if there’s a price to pay for comfort, this is it. Expect access to the Emirates’ lounge pre-flight, where you can shower and catch up on emails while enjoying fresh food and sipping Moët. On board, each pod is stocked with travel-sized beauty products from Bvlgari, and the meals are all restaurant-quality. Sit back and relax in your leather reclining bed—it’s a long flight!
Dubai is home to a large number of premier hotels, and many like the Four Seasons and Burj Al Arab are worth checking-in to. The Madinat Jumeirah complex is another, including the one-year-old Jumeira Al Naseem property. The impressive hotel’s beach grounds are expansive, and boast 10 restaurants featuring global cuisines. Though you’ll likely want to spend your days lounging at it’s 5 pools, it’s luxury suites are ideal for turning in at the end of long days. Keep an eye out for the Sheikh while you’re there, as he’s been known to visit.
The food scene in Dubai is incredibly diverse. While you’re there, be sure to check out an Arabian tea house like the Arabian Tea House and Café in Bastakiya, a favourite of Martha Stewart. The platters offer a little taste of local favourites like dips, falafel, cheeses and roasted eggplant, plus the heart shaped pita breads are pure Instagram gold. For a fine dining experience, head to the Burj Al Arab, the world’s only 6-star hotel. Choose from the property’s 9 restaurants, including the California-inspired the Scape Restaurant and Lounge known for its superb cocktails, seafood towers and steak entrees. In between meals, Arabic coffees and fresh dates make for the ultimate snacks.
From about October to April, Dubai’s weather is beautiful for vacationing. It hardly ever rains, which means it’s easy to take advantage of balmy temperatures with a couple of days at the beach or poolside. But where to sit out? The Four Seasons’s pool makes for a relaxing paradise, and its new healthy menu has all the options to keep you on track with your fitness goals. But if you’re looking for something really luxe, we recommend booking a villa or cabana at the newly opened Bvlgari hotel. No surprise, Bella Hadid is already a fan.
Looking for an adventure you’ll never forget? Consider booking a dessert hot air balloon ride for sunrise. The view of the sun rising over the dessert landscape is a memory you won’t soon forget. Afterwards, enjoy an authentic breakfast of caviar and smoked salmon sitting tent-side, and fuel up for a camel ride. Or if you prefer something a bit faster, you can always hop in a vintage Land Rover for a guided tour of the dessert.
While in Dubai, be sure to check out the markets. The gold souk is home to endless vendors selling intricate necklaces, bangles and rings in 24k yellow gold. Afterwards, visit the city’s famous spice market. Wander through the stalls, and pick up fresh specialty spices, dates and camel chocolates, and keep an eye out for traditional leather slides, silk purses and cashmere scarves. Be prepared to bargain with vendors, whether it’s saffron or textiles. The city is widely regarded as a mecca for luxury shopping, and its sprawling malls don’t disappoint. The Dubai Mall is the largest in the world, and is packed with high-end retailers. Think Hèrmes, Chanel and Cartier.