Dubai – The hotspot in the Middle East, Part I


What: My favorite tips and things to do, part I
Where: Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Dubai von oben

What a View: Vista from the 148th floor of Burj Khalifa to Downtown Dubai and the XXL-Dubai Fountain

Dubai, the city of superlatives with the world’s highest skyscraper, the world’s largest shopping mall, the world’s largest occurrence of luxury hotels and luxury cars. Where yesterday was a desert, today the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) stretches, with international architects’ vertiginous creations. There is probably no city that has grown faster. And the construction boom does not stop. Dubai is the hotspot of the Persian Gulf, attracting 16 million tourists a year fleeing European winter to combine beach holidays with power shopping.

Dubai Burj Khalifa

With 828 meters the tallest building in the world: The Burj Khalifa

This is the home of luxury. In top hotels such as the Armani and The One and Only Royal Mirage, a night in the high season costs well over a thousand Euros. Not only for overnighters one has to dig deep into the pocket. Even sightseeing makes the budget shrink. A visit to Burj Khalifa, which is 828 meters high, is part of the Dubai visit. Here, the purchase of an online ticket with Fast Track is recommended to avoid the hours-long queues, especially in the high season (November to April): With the 30 Euro basic ticket you can get on the 124th floor of the elegant skyscraper in seconds. In the “ticket without queuing” for 120 Euros, the viewing platforms on the 125th and 148th floor are also included. The visit is worth it, because you can experience spectacular sunsets, views reaching to the desert and the Dubai Fountain, the XXL fountain, that invites to fascinating water shows  every night from 19.30 o’clock for free. These can also be watched from one of the surrounded restaurants of the Dubai Mall, such as the Katana (sushi from 15 Euros). Great is the restaurant Zeta which lies below the excellent Address Hotel Downtown with direct views of the Dubai Fountain and excellent Asian food. Speaking of cuisine: Highly recommended is the Galliard Brasserie (also in the Address Hotel Downtown), where I first enjoyed an avocado salmon tartare and then a mega-delicious truffle pizza. Yummy!

Dubai Mall

Huge sculptures at the waterfall in the Dubai Mall

“Shop till you drop” – was this saying invented for Dubai? Every (luxury-) label is represented in Dubai’s largest shopping mall with 1,200 stores. Overall, shopping is expensive, both among international designers and fashion chains such as Zara, where the collections cost about one third more than in Europe. Exceptions are the Dubai Shopping Festival (January 1 to February 2, 2020) and the end of Ramadan*, the month of fasting, when huge discounts and discount promotions attract shoppers to the desert city.

Fancy a break? Then off to the aquarium (admission 25 Euros) with 30,000 exotic sea creatures, who buster in a million liters of water. Tip: A gigantic window on the ground floor of the Dubai Mall offers a free view of sharks, rays & co.

Dubai Grand Bazaar

In front of the entrance of Grand Bazaar in Dubai

And yes, there is still the original in Dubai: I cross the river Creek in an Abra (25 Cent), an open wooden boat, past old barges, the so-called Dhaus, which still transport goods across the water. For me, a stroll through the oriental souks in Arab countries is part of the deal, because I love the smell of spices and the hustle and bustle. Haggling is welcomed! Unfortunately, the dealers in Dubai’s Grand Bazaar and the Gold Souk are very intrusive. In the oldest part of Dubai, I stroll through the districts of Bur Dubai and Bastakiya, a restored fairytale setting with narrow streets, small shops, galleries, cafes and the Dubai Museum in the historic Al-Fahidi Fort. Tip: The boutique hotel XVA with historic wind tower house. Since 2003, the US-American Mona Hauser has been running her hotel with an art gallery and café with much dedication (overnight from 149 Euros).

Dubai Art District

Not only for art lovers: The Art District in the industrial area around the Al Serkal Avenue

To art lovers, I recommend the Art District in the industrial area around the Al Serkal Avenue. Both, established galleries and young artists have settled here in factory halls. In the surrounding hip coffee shops and food trucks, the many impressions can be processed with smoothies and co.

Relax on the beach: The family-friendly District La Mer offers a water park in a quiet bay, surrounded by red brick buildings in trendy industrial chic with cafes, restaurants and shops. Really casual! At Jumeirah Beach, you can sprawl on daybeds, extend yourself on a jet ski and refresh in one of the many restaurants that string together at the white-sanded beach mile.

Dubai Jumeirah Beach

Skyscrapers and snow-white beach mile at Jumeirah Beach

Dubai, a sunshine paradise that can be reached in just under eight hours by plane and takes the traveler to another, mysteriously world. BvH

Infos Dubai:

Arrival to Dubai: With Lufthansa or Emirates Airline (from 645 Euros)
On the go in Dubai: E.g. Green and red metro line (daily ticket five Euros)

*Ramadan 2020 from April 24 to May 24

Don’t miss:

Dubai, Part II with tips for a desert safari and my personal insights into the most beautiful luxury hotel, the Bulgari Resort Dubai.
Coming soon on MyStylery.

Skyline Dubai

Overlooking the silhouette of Dubai from the artificial island The Palm

Dubai District La Mer

Hip: The industrial-style district La Mer…

District La Mer

…directly located by the beach and with fantastic sightlines to Dubai’s skyline

Overlooking Dubai

Dubai Frame

For example from the Dubai Frame, with 150 meters height – another observation deck in town (admission 15 Euros)

Dubai Burj Khalifa

View from the 148th floor of Burj Khalifa into 800 meters depth…I still felt safe, although I look a bit pale

Dubai Burj Khalifa

The viewing platform on the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa is included in the basic admission ticket

Dubai Creek

Inexpensive Sightseeing: With an Abra – a traditional wooden boat – across the Creek river…

Dubai Creek

…which connects the districts Bur Dubai and Bastakiya with Deira…

Dubai Gold Souk

… where, for example, the souks are situated. Here’s the Gold Souk – lots of bling-bling for not always little money

Address Hotel Downtown Dubai

Dubai Address Hotel and Burj Khalifa

The Address Hotel Downtown…

Dubai Galliard Brasserie

…with excellent gastronomy like the Brasserie Galliard…

Dubai Galliard Brasserie

…where I had delicious truffled pizza

Dubai Burj Khalifa

View from my suite at the Address Hotel Downtown to the spectacular evening light show at the Burj Khalifa …

Dubai Burj Khalifa

…with changing illumination of its façade…

Dubai Burj Khalifa

…and an impressive water show at the Dubai Fountain

Dubai Address Hotel Downtown and Burj Khalifa

Swimming in the cooled (!) pool with a backdrop of the highest building in the world the Burj Khalifa…

Dubai Address Hotel Downtown

…and then relaxing on the luxurious daybeds: Both is possible here

Dubai XVA Hotel

A wonderful alternative: The boutique hotel XVA in the old part of Dubai

Don’t miss Dubai, Part II, coming soon on MyStylery!
More travel stories you can find here.

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