Sorry, I haven’t posted in a few weeks, I was enjoying the last dregs of Summer whilst also getting super excited that it’s nearly two months until Christmas. Can you believe that? Two months until Christmas, where the heck has this year gone?
Anyway back to the plot. As part of me enjoying the last dregs of Summer, I took a trip over to Dubai with one of my best friends, Tiff. We had never been before and I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect with all the rumours around what you can and can’t wear, if you can drink, how you can act in public etc, but it is actually a beautiful place and absolutely perfect for a luxury girls trip.
We pretty much decided we wanted to do Dubai as if we were Carrie and Samantha from Sex & The City, so we booked the best hotel we could afford – the beautiful Anantara on the Palm – and made sure we flew Emirates. We booked through a personal travel agent called Neil, who was beyond delightful. He even sent us cards – more than once – to thank us for our business. I couldn’t recommend him enough. Drop him a line if you are looking to book a holiday for any occasion.
But again, back to the plot. Below are my top tips for doing Dubai in style.
Don’t overthink the dress code
Let’s just clear up the rumours on how strict the place is. So, you can wear bikinis, swimsuits of pretty much any kind in your hotel and on private beaches, nobody bats an eyelid. We didn’t go to any public beaches but I would assume you need to be slightly more modest on those. In public places, ie the mall, tourist attractions – like the Burj Khalifa – people wandered around in shorts, strappy tops and dresses, but I would personally say play it safe and at least cover your shoulders as a sign of respect. So a t-shirt and shorts are fine or a flowy dress that covers your shoulders.
Book a brunch
So in Dubai, the weekend is actually Friday and Saturday as opposed to Saturday and Sunday, and we soon found out that Friday brunch was a BIG thing. I had been told in advance that party brunches with unlimited food and alcohol was a must do, so after some recommendations and a lot of Googling, we decided to do the Candy Pants brunch – which was kind of ironic as our nickname for my friend Tiff is actually Candy Pants – and it was fab from start to finish.
Ok, that’s a lie, not quite from the start as we made the mistake of sitting on the terrace instead of inside. Note to self, do not EVER underestimate the heat in Dubai again. We nearly melted after five minutes and had to gatecrash someone else’s table under the air conditioning. So if you get the choice when booking, choose inside!
This is a pretty good article on Party Brunches in Dubai.
Enjoy a ladies night
Free entry and free drinks – all night! Sounds too good to be true or that it at least might have a pretty dodgy catch, but no, ladies nights in Dubai are a well-known thing and you can find them on most nights. We went to one at the W hotel in a nightclub called BOA and there are plenty out there. But make sure you ask what drinks are included and don’t make the mistake we made and pay £65 for four shots!
Visit the Atlantis
We were staying on the Palm so we drove past the Atlantis most days. It is an absolute wonder so we had to go and have a look. I had heard it was quite dated but inside it is very magical and the aquarium is just stunning! We went for drinks in the Ossiano bar to sip cocktails whilst thousands of fish looked on and were looked after by the lovely barman Marc, who rustled up some cocktails based on our preferences and let us name them, “Neverland” and “Wind in the Willows”.
Ride the sand dunes
If you want a good laugh and an adrenaline fix this is your activity. We booked ours through Trip Advisor (there are tons on there) and we had a great driver who really knew his way around the dunes. Heads up it is quite far out from central Dubai so it will take about 2 hours to get to the desert location, but totally worth the drive. There are also opportunities to drive a quad bike along the dunes or explore the desert on camelback.
Sip cocktails in Dubai Marina
One of the only things on my tick list for Dubai that I didn’t make it round to was visiting Dubai Marina by night. I have heard it is stunning, so if you head over there for a trip be sure to give it a visit. Pier 7 apparently has a great ladies night that is worth a visit, have added that to my list for next time.
Take a trip to Dubai Mall
As a self-confessed Oniomaniac, it was great to know there was so much shopping available in Dubai. And if you enjoy shopping, like me, then you will have lots of options to choose from. Whether it’s exploring the traditional souks and markets or enjoying a day of indulgence in Dubai Mall, there will be an option for you. Dubai Mall was particularly fascinating as it was not only huge but it has a massive aquarium smack bang in the middle of it. We decided not to go inside the aquarium but if you want to admire it from afar there is a viewing wall more than big enough.
Hope all of this helps any of you planning a trip to Dubai, and if you have any more advice drop a comment below.