Travel Guide: Dubai


When approximately 5.82 million tourists checked into Dubai last year, it was with more than the hope of spotting a tiger or ten inside a Lamborghini. Swathed with buzzing energy and a fascinating fusion of culture, fashion, food and nightlife, there’s plenty to explore and enjoy in this glitzy and glamorous UAE city.


Armani Hotel Dubai

Armani Hotel

A few nights spent in the first hotel designed and developed by Giorgio Armani? Don’t mind if we do. Located in the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, guests are treated to breathtaking souring views of the city from a suite of their choice – whether that’s the compact Deluxe room or expansive and fancy Armani Dubai Suite, which takes up the whole of level 39, and includes your very own pantry, private gym area, powder room …and pretty much anything you’ll ever need.

Head to the 12,000 sq. ft spa for a rejuvenating facial, luxurious mani and pedi, texture body wrap – made to remove toxins from your body and improve skin tone – or the Armani/SPA signature collection which combines hot and cold stones with Japanese Shiatsu and Thai acupressure techniques (the dream!), all before tucking into a glorious meal at one of the many restaurants depending on your preferred cuisine: Deli for Italian, Hashi for Japanese, Mediterraneo for Mediterranean or Amal for Indian.

Conrad Dubai

Conrad Dubai

Conveniently situated on Sheikh Zayed Road (fact: this road is very, very, very long) and right next to World Trade Centre metro station, this 54-story hotel is made of over 550 rooms and suites, and one of the best outdoor pools Dubai has to offer. We could sit here for a solid 20 minutes and discuss how every door leads to yet another beautiful space, but the magic is in the Royal Suite. Dubbed as one of the largest in the city and “fit for royalty”, it’s 318 sq. m of opulent goodness. Expect two gigantic rooms (each the size of an average New York apartment), home theatre system, separate lounge to chill in, private check in and check out, and complimentary transport to and from your hotel in a sports car.

Unsure what to do for the day? Drop the concierge a call from your hotel room; the super friendly hotel staffs have around gazillion ideas to help you make the most of your stay in Dubai (and never want to leave).

One&Only Royal Miraj


If a taste of old Arabian charm right by Jumeirah Beach sounds like your cup of sweet tea, a few nights or weeks spent at One&Only Royal Miraj can’t go too wrong. Split into three idiosyncratic environments, the only great struggle here is deciding where you’d like to unpack your luggage. While The Palace is perfect for family holidays with countless leisure facilities such as a water sports center, tennis courts and the KidsOnly centre, Arabian Court is best suited for honeymooners and couples with 160 guests rooms and 10 suites with private balconies or terraces, sea-facing and, of course, all stunningly designed. When in need of peace and quiet – and a private reception, library and dining room, because why not – look no further than Residence & Spa.



Cavalli Club – Fairmont Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road

Cavalli Club

Dress code: Stylish, smart casual

Atmosphere: Considering Roberto Cavalli designed the club himself, it’s every bit of extravagant and over the top as you’d imagine. Thousands of Swarovski crystals delicately droop from huge chandeliers while trendy guests dance on the black quartz floor or relax in one of the three suspended lounges: Leopard, Zebra and Roberto…obviously.

When to visit:  Monday to Sunday from 21:30 to 03:00

What’s on the menu: Try the buratta with honeyed black aubergine, and piedmont chordannay-poached black cod – both dishes hit your taste buds in all the right places. You’ll find plenty of exotic and signature cocktails and mocktails on the menu such as Bankers Martini, Australian Blonde and Pink Rolls Rouse, but try asking the bar staff to mix something a little different from their vast range of spirits.

Skyview Bar
 – 27th floor, Burj al Arab (the world’s only 7-star hotel)

Dress code: Smart casual

AtmosphereA fantastic Jazz band plays every Tuesday to Sunday, which should tell you a little bit about the swanky crowd you’d expect to find here

When to visit:  Saturday to Thursday from 13:00 to 02:00. Friday from 19:00 to 02:00

What’s on the menu: Signature cocktails – we recommend Camel Colada – and yummy tapas such as crispy prawns and mini beef burgers.


Dress code: Stylish

Atmosphere: Wild and a little chaotic – enough to keep you thoroughly entertained for the whole night. Expect a mixture of house, dance and pop music. 360° are also great at throwing jam-packed themed parties – there are quite a few DJs working the decks this Halloween

When to visit: Tuesday to Thursday from 18:00 to 02:00. Friday from 16:00 to 02:00

What’s on the menu: Pan-Asian bites, cocktails and shisha. Visit from 19:00 to 20:00 on Thursday evenings and enjoy unlimited sushi, dim sum, bar snacks and drinks for AED 295


There’s no two ways about it: shopping makes up half of Dubai, it’s what everyone loves to do in this city; it’s the land where people thrive on spending. You could probably plan a weeklong trip to this part of the Middle East solely for shopping and still not have covered every fashion district.

We recommend starting your adventure at The Dubai Mall – officially the world’s biggest mall, unofficially the world’s swankiest mall – where amongst the hundreds of stores you’ll also find an indoor ski resort and aquarium, a huge food hall on the ground floor, and the entrance to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper.

The Mall of Emirates, Burjaman Centre, The Village and Ibn Battuta Mall are great places to shop at, too – particularly the latter where you’ll come across chic boutiques and works of talented local designers.

To get a real sense of local culture, your best bet is to visit the markets – Gold souk, Textiles souk and Perfume souk – which are all nestled together and easy to visit on the same day; an hour spent at each souk should be enough. Take the metro or bus, or ask your cab driver to drop you off to Creek Dubai, where you can pay a small fee to cross over to the other side of the river via wooden (and strong, don’t worry) boats to enter the markets. Alternatively, you can use a direct metro or bus journey.



Cuisine: Arabic Lebanese

Best starters and mains to order: Fattoush, Jebneh with batikh (watermelon and feta cheese, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it), labneh bil toum (homemade yougurt with garlic, mint and olive oil served with bread), robin provincial (sautéed shrimps, garlic, coriander, lemon juice), samak albrzi (crispy whiebait fish, fried bread, tahina sauce), shish taouk and kofta kebab

What about dessert? Baklawa (very sweet but equally very tasty), umm ali (puff pastry, fresh milk, raison, pistachio), muhalabiya (milk pudding, rose water, pistachio)


Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire

Cuisine: French

Best starters and mains to order: Foie Gras, (pan fried, pine nuts and plum coulis), pan fried mushrooms, tandoori mousseline, homard bleu-ris de Veau (blue lobster topped American sauce), potatoes darphin with eggplant and black garlic purée, and lamp chops served with swiss chard and button mushrooms, ewe milk yogurt and Roquefort cheese

What about dessert? Soufflé chocolat, raspberry meringue, Mirabelle pan-fried with Hazelnut cream and ganache flavoured with praline

Al Iwan

Cuisine: Arabic

Best starters and mains to order: Spinach fatayer, baba ganouj (smoked aubergine), cheese rocakat, lamb kebbah, Moroccan style lamb couscous, shrimp majbous, arabic mixed grill, shish taouk (grilled lemon marinated chicken)

What about dessert? Orange and sage fig gratin with mocha ice cream

The Glasshouse

Cuisine: Modern Mediterranean

Best starters and mains to order: Panko crusted fish cake, wild mushroom and thyme soup, slow cooked pork belly with honey roasted parsnip, Glasshouse fish and chips, tagliatelle with grilled artichokes and sun-dried tomato, Mulwara lamb chops, Scottish salmon with fresh basil

What about dessert? Cinnamon chocolate fondant milk ice cream, honey and fennel crème brulee, european cheese plate with tomato chutney

N.B. Like shopping hotspots, there are endless places to explore for food in Dubai. Also like shopping, everything is as good as it looks. Don’t be afraid to walk into local restaurants and teahouses, the staff are always immensely friendly and there’s always something scrumptious to taste.


  1.    – Visit Burj Khalifa for incredible views of the city
  •    -Take a two-day adventure to Abu Dhabi and visit The Atlantis, Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Ferrari World
  •      – Explore the compelling Hindi Lane
  •      – Enjoy a thrilling dune buggy drive and belly dance performance as part of a Desert Safari trip
  •      – Watch the Dubai Fountains show at The Dubai Mall
  •      – Splash around at Wild Wadi waterpark
  •      – Relax and soak up the sun at Palm Island
  •      – Admire scenery at Dubai Marina
  •      – Treat yourself to an evening of firework displays, local foods and even more shopping at Global Village

About the Author

Unsah splits her time between being a social media editor for a newspaper's travel desk and freelancing as a journalist and social media specialist. She spends half of her life on Twitter and Instagram – @unsahmalik – and the other half encouraging others to spend more time on their Twitter and Instagram.