Dubai GUIDE: EXPLORE. EAT. STAY
Dubai otherwise known as the ‘city in the desert’ is home to the highest man-made structure in the world and is the only city to ever have a seven star hotel with Policemen driving a Lamborghini as a Police car. Dubai is an interesting city that is unlike any other place in the world. After revisiting Dubai for a second time with a team of nine Instagrammers, filmmakers and Snapchatters to work alongside the Dubai Tourism board to create awareness and demonstrate the rich culture through nine new sets of eyes made for an interesting trip. It's amazing how a seven day journey can help form such a strong and unbreakable bond between nine completely unique and different individuals. Join me in discovering why I have fallen so deeply in love with this mysterious city and hopefully it'll encourage you to visit some of my favourite spots i'm about to share with you!
1. Sand Dune Bashing
We spent the morning driving over the twisted, steep slopes of sand to catch the sun rising over this eerie and majestic stretch of desert. As soon as we arrived I hopped out the car and ventured off with my friend into the rolling mountains of golden sand. When travelling in such a vast landscape it honestly makes me feel so modest and helps me to see what a tiny place a person truly occupies in the world. Dubai has really left quite a significant impact on my life and as with any journey who you travel with can often be more important than your destination - and I was blessed with both on this trip.
How lucky am I to have experienced the Arabian Desert in the most magical way?
2. Burj Khalifa
Dubai is infamous for its extravagant architecture and sky-high buildings. A visit to the top of the world’s tallest man-made structure, the Burj Khalifa, is an absolute must. Being afraid of heights myself didn’t stop me from sticking my arm out the building with my phone hanging 456 meters above ground! The panoramic view of this city is simply breathtaking and highly recommended!
3. The Palace Downtown Dubai
Located five minutes away from Dubai Mall is the Palace Downtown. Surrounded by lines of towering palm trees made me feel like I was walking through an oasis. This hotel has the advantage of being one of the few places located within easy walking distance to restaurants and shops.
4. Dubai Aquarium
The Dubai Aquairum located on the ground floor of Dubai Mall left me completely mind blown. The staggering size of the tank filled with schools of fish, sharks and gliding stingrays left me in awe. This 10 millions litre tank is one the world largest suspended aquariums. Dubai seems to do everything bigger and better.
5. Burj Al Arab
For being the only 7 star hotel in the world - this place is a must visit. After spending the day at Dubai mall we headed to the beach and spent sunset here. After taking some pictures of the Burj Al Arab I decided to head into the cool waters to escape the heat with the best company.
6. Hatta Hajjar
Caught sunrise at Hatta Hajjar which acted as a natural playground for adventure for my friends and I. The Hajjar mountains are the highest range in the UAE. Their peaks act as a natural boundary with Oman to the East. The drive is about an hour from Dubai. It's worth waking up at 4am to catch the sunrise from this majestic landscape.
1. Downtown Manzil Dubai
I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with the location of Downtown Manzil in Dubai. We stayed here for 3 nights and I was glad that it was surrounded by all the main points of interests from the Burj Khalifa to Dubai Mall - everything was literally a five minute stroll. Upon my arrival I were greeted by the most incredible smelling reception area that I've ever experienced. I also discovered my love for their mint and lemon drink which was served as soon as we entered (cravings have actually started kicked in!)
It's quite hard to fault a hotel which did the best breakfast spreads out of the three hotels I had stayed at. The rooftop pool and an enormous bed were both an additional bonus! I would highly recommend staying here for 2 nights if you're keen to explore the city!
2. Bab Al shams Desert Resort and Spa
Bab Al Shams was such an incredibly special visit. Located like an oasis of green tranquility in the middle of the scorching, hot desert. The rooms are designed in a traditional Arabic architecture with traditional fabrics draping the ceiling. The highlight of this hotel was an infinity swimming pool overlooking a vast stretch of desert. The hotel also offers complimentary camel rides and a falcon show.
3. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
I had a bit of a panic attack (in a good when) when I learnt that we would be staying at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray for two nights (during my birthday too and WOW – what an insane stay it was.) From the moment I arrived the service was five star! The suite was fit for a king and had plenty of fruit, toiletries and water. The highlight of this hotel was the marble bath which was big enough to fit 4 people! Highly recommended!
Taste & Drink
1. Godiva / 2. Fume Dubai / 3. Magnolia Bakery
Discovered this gem which is renown for its chocolate and couldn’t resist getting a handful of chocolate coated strawberries! Despite it’s price this treat was made extra special with a beautiful view of the Dubai Fountains in the backdrop!
Fume is relatively new trendy place that has stirred up a bit of buzz in Dubai. We opted for a big lunch spread and were welcomed with a mouth watering experience. This was the first time I dined in fume and I’m so glad all the dishes had a home cooked feel.
For those of you who love cupcakes this place is heaven and a must visit. They have some intricately decorated ones and the icing is so tasty! Magnolia is famous for its red velvet however chocolate was my favourite! Give it a go if you’re ever in Dubai Mall!
Photography: Li-Chi Pan