Scrolling through my Instagram feed this weekend, skimming past Christmas trees, mince pies and bags of Christmas shopping, I felt a pang of jealousy when I spotted more than one of the celebs I follow (stalk) sunning themselves in Dubai. Currently a balmy 29 degrees over there while York dithers around the 5 degree mark, the pics had me pining to go back to the hotspot of the UAE.
I visited Dubai earlier in the year with my Mum, who since turning 50 last year has made a vow to check off all the places on her bucket list. We headed over in April and stayed in the Al Barshaa region, not far from the Mall of the Emirates. Even though we were only there for 4 days, we had an amazing time and would love to head back there on a winter break in the future. Who doesn’t love escaping the cold British weather?
If you’re planning on jet-setting over to this sun trap any time soon for some serious shopping and sunning, here are my top tips for making the most of a short break in Dubai…
Travel by Metro
My top tip for travelling around Dubai is to use the Metro system. There are just two lines to navigate so it’s really easy to get your head round, and the Red Line takes you all the way from the Airport to the Marina and beyond. It stops by the biggest malls in the city and the trains are really frequent. Plus, with a day ticket coming in at around AED 14 (about £2.50) it’s really good value.
Book ahead for the Burj Khalifa, and don’t miss your slot!
Top of the to-do list for our mini break in Dubai was to brave the dizzying heights of the Burj Khalifa tower. We booked in advance to avoid queuing on the day so had a designated time slot to visit the viewing terrace on the 124th floor. Little did we know that the entrance to the tower is tucked away within the expansive mall, so we had to make a mad dash from the Metro stop! The views from the top were absolutely stunning and well worth getting out of breath for.
Plan your weekends
In Dubai the weekend falls on Friday and Saturday, which affects the opening hours of the Metro. On a Friday morning the lines don’t open until 10am so if you’re planning on heading somewhere bright and early you will need to grab a taxi instead. During our visit we went to the Aquaventure Water Park at The Atlantis on a Friday which was the equivalent of visiting Alton Towers on a Saturday, meaning really long queues for the slides. If your break in Dubai overlaps a weekend just be wary of the busy peaks.
Stay out of the heat
Temperatures can reach the high-30s in what we would call spring, and the mid-40s in summer, so if you’re planning on visiting the public beach at Jumeirah, be warned that unlike most of the coast of the Mediterranean, the beach isn’t littered with parasols and sunbeds to rent. There’s no shade whatsoever, so unless you want to bake I’d recommend taking your own beach tent or umbrella to cope with the oppressive heat. If you don’t fancy the beach, the Malls are all perfectly air conditioned, or for the ultimate way to cool off there’s always the indoor slope at Ski Dubai!
Head up high for cocktails with a view
If after a day of avoiding the sun’s rays you feel like heating things up again with a few cocktails, be advised that you won’t find any alcoholic drinks on the menus in the main shopping malls. However most of the bigger hotels will have a licensed bar, so you’ll be able to get your Cosmo fix. The best bar we went to was on the 52nd floor of the Marriott Dubai Marina. It had fantastic views and my mum highly recommends the Espresso Martini!
If you fancy a short break with a difference, then Dubai should definitely be on your list! It’s a city that has something for everyone, and you definitely won’t come back disappointed! Take my tips on board, and get it booked!