Dubai: Why this should be your first travel destination after the Pandemic
Visiting Dubai was an amazing experience. It is a place that is unique to anywhere else in the world. I arrived late at night and the first glimpse I had of Dubai was a city with tall, modern buildings lit up with coloured lights as the taxi transferred me to the hotel.
I was lucky enough to stay at one of the most luxurious hotels in Dubai, the 5 star Atlantis The Palm Hotel. The sight of the hotel took my breath away as we pulled up. With its impressive towering architecture, this hotel is one of the most iconic landmarks in Dubai situated on the edge of The Palm. I had a choice of over twenty fantastic restaurants and bars providing world-class cuisine. I also had a chance to do some retail therapy with the hotels many shops and boutiques, witness the mesmerising The Lost Chambers Aquarium and be entertained by the Aquaventure Waterpark, all within the resort. There are two main swimming pools and a private beach.
The interior of the hotel was very beautiful with sculptures of an aquatic theme made of coloured glass to represent falling water. The ceilings were studded with coloured stones and gold and are quite spectacular. There was an entire glass wall of the Aquarium visible as I walked through the hotel containing many beautiful fish and sharks.
The staff were very friendly and accommodating. The food was delicious and catered for all nationalities. I had a fantastic meal at The Seafire Steak House and also at the Lebanese Restaurant where we had at least six different courses and could sit and enjoy the belly dancers.
Other places to stay
Burj Al Arab
Another luxury hotel is the Burj Al Arab. This is the most iconic hotel in Dubai and boasts a 7 star rating. It is situated on a private man-made island and has fabulous views from the 27thfloor , where there is the Skyview Bar and Restaurant which is great for cocktails with a view! The hotel has many restaurants offering the best dining experiences. It is close to the Wild Wadi Waterpark and also the city’s most popular shopping malls.
Jameirah Beach Hotel
Jameirah Beach Hotel is a 5 star Hotel which is located on Jameirah Beach. It has 6 pools, a diving centre and a spa. There are 20 restaurants and bars. There are beautiful sea views and a private beach.
Dubai expects hotel occupancy rates to hit 80% this year and continue to accelerate due to the success of the vaccine rollout.
Places to visit
The Aquaventure Waterpark was truly amazing! An experience I will never forget is when I went on the Leap of Faith, which sent me shooting though a shark-infested lagoon. I have to say I was slightly nervous before going on the slide, however, I felt a wave of exhilaration straight after! The park has 42 acres of pools, water rides and slides and has a fantastic lazy river ride. The water park also has the world’s largest slide as well as a water play area for children. If you are a guest staying at the Atlantis The Palm Hotel then you can enjoy free unlimited access to the water park. If you are staying elsewhere then you can pay for a daily ticket to the water park. I cannot wait to go back one day to experience pure excitement; the water park was definitely the highlight of my holiday.
The Lost Chambers Aquarium
The Lost Chambers Aquarium was spectacular with exotic species of fish from all around the world. The panes of glass were so big in the aquarium that it felt like I was swimming with the fish in the ocean. Again, if you are a guest staying at the Atlantis The Palm Hotel then you can enjoy free unlimited access to The Lost Chambers Aquarium. The Aquarium has over 65,000 marine animals and 20 marine exhibits. You can even swim in the aquarium and scuba dive with the sharks!
The Burj Khalifa stands at 829.8 metres tall and is the world’s tallest building. The observation deck is on the 124thfloor and provides amazing views over the city. Being someone with claustrophobia, the lift ride was very smooth and super fast I didn’t feel like I was moving. At the top I stopped for a cup of tea at the world famous cafe. For thrill seekers there is a virtual sky-dive off the top of the Burj Khalifa for those without a nervous disposition!
The fountain show was amazing to watch with coloured lights and music. I loved the way the water moved in time to the music, creating some beautiful shapes. This is situated at the bottom of the Burj Khalifa so it is great to look at both of the attractions. There are two shows every afternoon and in the evenings the shows are every 30 minutes between 6.00pm and 11.00pm.
The Dubai Mall is a shopaholic’s paradise! It even had my favourite shop, Forever 21, in which I bought more clothes than I am able to wear! The Dubai Mall has over 1200 retail stores, two major department stores and hundreds of cafes and restaurants. The Mall has an Olympic-sized ice rink, a massive indoor cinema and the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. It is the world’s largest mall and family entertainment complex.
Dubai Creek is full of hustle and bustle and I enjoyed bartering with the local tradesman. I bought some lovely unique earrings and they always remind me of Dubai when I wear them. Dubai Creek is a saltwater creek dividing the city into the two boroughs of Deira and Bur Dubai. You can take a water taxi boat along the creek to see all the sights and sounds of Dubai creek. The Gold Souk is a traditional market on one side of the creek where you can haggle for jewellery made from gold, silver and diamonds. On the other side of the creek are ancient streets where there is a souk for more traditional items.
La Perle by Dragone
La Perle by Dragone is a truly spectacular water-stage based live show. I had a great view at the show and would definitely go and watch it again! There was a motorbike acrobatic show performing death-defying stunts in a circular cage which was suspended from the ceiling . It was incredible as well as dangerous! During the show the stage floods with water as acrobats perform a variety of aquatic and aerial stunts which are absolutely breathtaking.
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More attractions in Dubai
The Ski Dome is located in the Emirates Mall and the temperature goes from 40 degrees outside to
-5 degrees inside the ski dome.
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is located in the south eastern corner of the Emirate of Dubai and covers 87 square miles of land. There are lots of activities that you can try on a desert safari including driving over dunes in four wheel drive vehicles, camel riding and sand boarding, ending with a traditional Arabian meal at a Bedouin camp.
Seawings is a seaplane tour operator which provides aerial tours to destinations throughout Dubai You can see excellent views of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks including The Palm Islands, The World Islands and historic Dubai and ends with an exciting water landing.
Fishing boats are available to hire for a half day/day on the Arabian Sea to do deep water fishing.
Take a speed boat around the Palms to see the sights and also see David Beckham’s house on one of the fronds.
You can join in a food tour of downtown Dubai and sample local produce, including camel burgers.
You can visit Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, which is an indoor theme park with rides and attractions for visitors of all ages.
How to get around in Dubai
I mainly used taxis to travel to different areas of Dubai. Taxis are government-run and are a cheap and convenient way to travel around Dubai.
Hop on Hop off Bus – Dubai Bus Tours
The bus tour is a great way to see all that the city has to offer. You can hop on the Dubai bus tour and see all the top landmarks and hop off to explore the historical souks and places of interest.
The Dubai Metro is a fast and inexpensive way to get around Dubai. There are two lines running and they run on elevated viaducts and underground in the city centre.
Travelling to Dubai
The current COVID-19 regulations mean that if you travel to Dubai from the UK then you will need to hold a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate for a test taken no more than 72 hours before departure. The certificate must be a PCR test and not a lateral flow test and you must take with you an official printed certificate in English to check in as digital certificates and SMS are not accepted.
Returning to the UK
At present Dubai will remain on the UK’s travel red list. This means that if you travel to Dubai then you will need to take two COVID-19 tests after your arrive back in England and these will need to be booked before you travel. You will also need to quarantine on your return in a government-mandated hotel for 10 days at a cost of £1,750 per adult.
Things to Remember
The best time to visit Dubai is in Spring or Autumn as the temperatures will be a little milder. The weather can become very hot between May and September.
Arabic is Dubai’s official language. However, the English language is known by most people.
The currency used in Dubai is the United Arab Emirates dirham (AED). £1 sterling equals 5.11 United Arab Emirates dirhams today.
There are a few cultural differences in the laws of Dubai. For example, the consumption of alcohol in public is illegal, except in specified bars and hotels. The legal age for alcohol is twenty one. Public displays of affection are not allowed and you should dress conservatively and be respectful.
There are certain drugs and medicines that are banned from being taken into Dubai. Always check any medication that you are intending to take with you.
Dubai is a holiday of a lifetime and will continue to be a place that amazes me every time I visit. For all the reasons I have listed above, Dubai should be your first point of destination when the Corona virus pandemic eases!