Dubai is unlike any other city in the world. The mix of Western and Middle Eastern culture is quite interesting to observe. Dubai is considered the most liberal Emirate which makes is an easy place to visit for Americans and Europeans. Our Emirates flight headed for Thailand offered us with a 24 hour stopover in Dubai on both legs of our trip which provided us with an opportunity to see a place we may not have otherwise visited. I was a little nervous about getting through immigration but it was super easy and American citizens are provided a 30-day Visa free of charge upon arrival.
We decided to stay at the Waldorf Astoria at the Palm Jumeirah on our first stopover. The Palm Jumeirah is a man-made island filled with hotels, restaurants and an amazing view the Dubai skyline. The Waldorf was complete luxury. After a short stop on the terrace, we were escorted to our room which had amazing views of the Burj Al Arab.
We changed and took the hotel car to the Burj Khalifa. We waited in a short line before heading up to the top for the ultimately viewing experience on 148th floor of the world’s tallest building. We arrived just before sunset and took advantage of seeing it from both observation decks, one on the 148th floor and the other on the 125th floor, before heading back down to watch the Dubai Fountains.
The entrance for the Burj Khalifa was in the Dubai Mall which I think we can both agree is the most amazing mall we have ever been to. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to shop (or baggage to bring new finds home) so after a little window shopping we headed to Ostro for dinner.
On our second stopover, we stayed at the Conrad on Sheikh Zayed Blvd. The Conrad was amazing! Our flight arrived at 5:00 a.m. so we headed straight to the Conrad in hopes of showering, changing clothes and dropping off our bags but much to our surprise we were actually able to check into our room. This is an instance where being a Hilton Diamond member definitely paid off!
We showered, grabbed breakfast in the Executive Lounge, and headed out for a day of sight-seeing. Our first stop was the Jumeirah Mosque. It’s the only Mosque that allows non-Muslims visitors.
We headed to the Marina Beach area spending some time on the beach and at The Walk.
Next, we headed to what was hands down our favorite Dubai beach, Kite Beach. It was such a fun place with a great mix of food trucks, shops, restaurants, and sports activities. Plus, white sand and crystal clear water. This is the kind of place you could spend hours.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah was next on the itinerary. The architecture and amazing views of the Burj Al Arab made this souk quite unique.
We booked a desert safari tour with Platinum Heritage for our last excursion in Dubai. The tour began in the Desert Conservation Park about 35 minutes from Dubai almost to Abu Dhabi. We began our tour in a 1950’s Land Rover and drove through the Arabian Desert encountering elk and deer. The desert was different than we expected it to be – more lush and flat than originally imagined.
After our Conservatory tour, we were treated to a falconry display and then a traditional Bedouin camp where we had dinner and were entertained by traditional dances, camel rides, Henna tattoos and shisha.
Dubai is a very unique place to visit. The architecture is unlike anything you would see anywhere else in the world. The lack of alcohol may be a deterring factor for some, but I think it’s well worth a visit.