The Ultimate Guide to Dubai Part One

7 June, 2013

Pssst, guess who’s just hopped off the plane from Dubai and it looks like I’ve brought the sunshine back with me! Finally London!!!!

So, I’ve had to split this into two blog posts Part 1 and Part 2. It’s impossible to fit what Dubai has to offer into one post so I’ve tried my best to cram it into two. I’ve visited Dubai afew times now and I can honestly say it never disappoints, I think it’s a destination I’ll always return too. Whether you go with your partner, your family or with a group of friends Dubai has something to offer for everyone. The last time I visited Dubai was around this time three years ago, we stayed in the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort which is a truly beautiful hotel, the entire trip felt almost magical; cheesy but true. This time I hit Dubai with the girls; one week of sun, sand and shisha. We decided to split our stay into two hotels, first up was Dubai Marine Beach resort and Spa for four nights and second was The Atlantis Palm for three.

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Now I know there are a small minority of people who think Dubai is just an overrated, overheated concrete jungle in the dessert with no depth or culture, to those people I say, ummm are you… ok? Wait, wait, Im kidding! I see where you’re coming from, I too love experiencing different cultures and seeing what nature has to offer but at the same time I also love luxury surroundings, exceptional service, beautiful weather and great entertainment. So if you’re one of the those few people who think they still need persuading well I’m up for the challenge, lets see if I manage to sway you!

Budget

So firstly lets discuss the elephant in the room which is the budget. People say Dubai is vastly overpriced but to be honest the prices don’t differ from any of the bars or restaurants you’ll find in London. For a weeks stay in Dubai if you really want to be comfortable and enjoy your stay with out having to budget I’d say you would need to take £1000 spending money for the week, (£800 at a push) that would cover your lunches, dining out in the evening, cocktails (Lots of cocktails!) and extra money to spend on shopping and activities i.e. swimming with dolphins etc. Then again if you’re wanting to dine out at Nobu or Ossiano every night then the sky really is the limit money wise. I guess the cost of the hotels do add to the expense so if you do have a friend to stay with great but if you get the opportunity to stay in one of their many beautiful resorts you won’t be dissapointed.

Dress Code

Dubai is an islamic city so the dress code isn’t as relaxed as say Ibiza so it’s important to respect the culture and values of the city. In the day if you’re staying in a resort it’s perfectly fine to walk around the pool area and beach bar/restaurant etc in just your bikini but if you venture out to explore the city, or head to the Dubai or Emirates Mall or even just to participate in some sight seeing then you are advised to cover up. You can still wear summer dresses and have your beautifully tanned pins on display but showing your midrift is a complete no-no as is wearing miniscule hot pants or an extremley low cut top. If you do dress this way most people will think you are a prostitute, I’m serious. Even if you think your attire is classy if you’re showing too much flesh alot of people will assume you’re a high class escort or just extremely ignorant and direspectful so either way you’re not doing yourself any favours.

In the evening however it’s abit more relaxed, in the nightclubs the women dress exactly the same as they would in any west end nightclub in London so be sure to pack those Jimmy Choos and that little black dress you’ve just bought because the nightlife in Dubai is anything but dull.

 

 The hotel: Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa

Star Rating :  Five Star

All in  all this was a beautiful hotel the beach was the real winner it was just incredible, the photos themselves don’t do it justice. If I was to pick out one minor gripe it would be that the hotel was situated close to a mosque and as Dubai is an islamic city from our hotel room we could here the prayers being chanted at 5:00am so if you’re a light sleeper it’s not ideal. Maybe it was just the room we were staying in I slept through it every night except for one night where we didn’t get in until 4:30am and we could here the prayers being sung from the hotel room, they don’t last for long but still it’s not the lullaby you want to here that’ll help you drift into a peacful sleep.

We stayed in the executive suite and split the room between the three of us, the room has one double bed and a sofa bed which was more than enough for us all. We threw on our bikinis and headed straight to the beach.

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The beach was so good infact that it was where we spent the next three days, as we’d all been to Dubai before sightseeing wasn’t really high on the agenda but basking in the sunshine and drinking mojito’s in the sunshine that was a definite priority.

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On the third day after filling our bellies with delicious food and amazing cocktails we decided to do some exercises on the beach so we didn’t feel so guilty.

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My friend Noela is an exercise fanatic so she was showing us some moves to help different areas of the body, here she’s showing me a stomach crunching exercise. The thing was whenever I tried any of the moves she just burst out laughing, I mean I don’t know what that was all about, ok so maybe I was making funny noises but doesn’t everyone when they exercise???? No? Oh ok then…….

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I eventually got there slowly…..

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Gwarrrrrn Melisa showing us some waist toning moves…

My bikinis from American Apparell and my Sunglasses are Prada/Noelas Bikini is  from Asos/ Melisas Bikini is from River Island
The Hair situation  So I don’t really have any pictures of me at Rixos beach party which is where we went on the first Friday evening we went out. The reason being that as soon as I stepped outside my beautifully blow dried hair went like this.

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Does anyone remember the episode of friends where the gang go on holiday to Barbados and the humidity makes Monicas hair look like Macy Gray and Don King had a baby. If anyone has hair like mine or hair that basically frizzes or goes fluffy with the humidity I strongly suggest you get a brazilian blow dry before you head out there or just stay indoors in the evening where it’s lovely and cool and erm don’t go to beach parties sigh….

Brazilian blow drys were seen as potentially harmful when they first came to the UK because they contained formaldehyde but nowadays most of them come without it so either take a trip to your local salon before you go or buy it for a bargain price on Amazon here, I’ve used this particular one and it works like a charm. Brazilian blow drys don’t chemically straighten the hair they just take away the frizz by adding more Keratin into the hair which makes it silkier. With my hair it relaxs the curl ever so slightly and give my hair a beautiful shiny ringlet affect, in other words heaven in a bottle! It’s not permanent either like a relaxer or a chemical sraightener, providing you wash you hair with sulphate free shampoos and conditioners it should stay in your hair for up to two to possibly three months.

As I didn’t remember to do a Brazilian Blowdry on this ocassion  Moroccan oil was  my saviour on this holiday so make sure you pack a bottle!

 

Dining Out

With regards to restaurants there are so many it would be pointless me listing them all. Within our resort itself we had a choice of Thai, Japanese, seafood and Italian to name afew. In the picture below we’re in the Italian restaurant Capanna Nuova the views were breathtaking and even though we were three girls dining out together we couldn’t help but be swung by the romance of it all, seriously with the waves crashing against the rocks we sat back with out champagne and giggled as we all realised how lucky we were to be there. We all ordered the Lobster tortellini which was delicious and I would highly recommend if ever you go there.

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Night Life

So after we devoured our Lobster we headed out to see what Dubai nightlife has to offer. I have afew friends who live in Dubai so they were more than happy to show us what the current hotspots were.

Friday Nights

Rixos the palm  Beach Party.

This hotel is situated just next to the Atlantis and it’s definitely the place to be on a Friday night, it’s filled with beautiful people and good vibes, the music was on point too.

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Saturday Nights

Crystal NightClub (In Raffles Hotel)

This night club is incredible it’s situated on the very top of the hotel and is shaped in a crystal like dome as seen in the picture below..

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The resident metal gorillas and I got abit friendly too……..

Metal Gorilla

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I never really do outfit posts but my dress is from Zara and my white and silver clutch is vintage. Noela’s dress is from Asos, this was a picture of us in the Dubai Mall before we headed to Crystal.

 

Sunday Nights

So on  a Sunday everyone heads to Sco Cho which  was handy because it was situated in our hotel. The cocktails were amazing I’m a hugh fan of a lychee martini and the bartender made mine perfectly.

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Then followed the bellini’s the girls all went for strawberry ones but I stuck with my favourite peach flavour.

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After Sco Cho on a Sunday Okko is the place to be seen. It’s a mixture of beautiful people, investment bankers, fashionista’s and the general it crowd so if you get a chance to go there on a Sunday do it!

Activities/ Sight Seeing

The Dubai Mall is an absolute must, it’s actually breathtaking, you almost feel as if you’re walking through the palace of a Sultan it’s that beautiful and it’s so clean too. As with everywhere in Dubai the service is impeccable it puts London to shame, wherever you go sales assitants, servers, bartenders greet you with a warm, sincere smile and they act as if it’s their lifes pleasure to serve you, I’m not kidding.

Oh and you must check out the water fountain show pictured below which is just incredible, I think it happens every half an hour. Water jets shoot up 500 metres into the sky against a backdrop of laser beams and whimsical music it’s absolutely beautiful. I even saw some people crying after the show? I mean it’s good but tears, really?

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Dessert Safari and barbecue dinner 

So as I’ve been to Dubai afew times on this occasion I didn’t do the dessert safari but if you’ve never done it before then this is an absolute must! Four by four vehicals take you over the sand dunes of the dessert at terrifying speeds, it’s like being on a rollercoaster except worse because you’re so sure your car will topple over but somehow it doesn’t. Afterwards you’re treated to a beautiful  barbecue feast whilst your entertained by exotic belly dancers. You also get the chance to ride on a camel which I did and I absolutely shit myself, who knew camels were so tall!

 

Burj Khalifa

Again I didn’t visit the Burj Khalifa on this ocassion; yes this was one extremely lazy holiday, but if you go to the Dubai for the first time this is definitely a building you need to visit! It’s the tallest building in the world finishing at 830 m with 163 floors, perhaps not the best idea if you’re petrified of heights!

 

Phew, ok so thats part one done. On Monday afternoon we packed our bags and took a taxi straight to the Atlantis palm to spend our final four days and three nights. By this stage we’d already decided we were all moving to Dubai and were steadily writing out an action plan!

Check out Dubai Part 2 here

B xx

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