Glam, luxury and fashion meet the melting pot of the Middle East. With over 200 different cultures and a ton of expats, Dubai is nestled in the southeast of the Persian Gulf and has a luxurious reputation in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai, also known as the City of Gold, is even home to an entire souk devoted to selling gold. The modern architecture with buildings like the Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa makes the Dubai skyline a noteworthy one. After lifting Covid-19 restrictions, the city is now back on many travelers’ lists with plenty to do and see. In this travel guide, Elite Traveler takes a look at the diverse range of experiences to choose from in Dubai.
When planning your trip to Dubai, consider Emirates business class flights. It’s over a 12-hour flight from New York City, so comfort is essential. You’ll have access to the standup lounge bar, plenty of food, a top-tier wine list, cocktails and entertainment, and the service is impeccable. Once you arrive, they arrange airport transfers in Mercedes vehicles to your destination.
Jumeirah Beach Hotel
At the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, guests have views of the Persian Gulf, with private beach access and beautiful sea views from most of the rooms. Not only do guests get to take in beautiful views of the gulf, but incredible views of Burj Al Arab, too. The deep soaking tubs in the suites and the balcony overlooking the lit-up view of the Burj Al Arab in the evening is the perfect backdrop when you order prawn curry, naan bread and knafeh on the room service menu. For the romance package, the hotel fills the room with chocolates, a tub filled with bubbles and rose petals, a huge bouquet of red roses, champagne and more.
Burj Al Arab
The Burj Al Arab is easily one of the most iconic buildings in the city’s skyline, among being an architectural icon around the world. When people see the Burj Al Arab, they are reminded of top-tier Arabian luxury. Even the most basic rooms are incredible, but the top-tier suites are something to splurge on if you want to feel like royalty. The suites have attracted some of the highest names among celebrities and royalty, with the architecture reflecting the colorful unique designs throughout the Burj Al Arab.
The spa treatments at Talise Spa in the Burj Al Arab are something that just simply cannot be missed. The massage tables overlook the view of the skyline and the gulf. While waiting, guests are served tea and dates while relaxing by the infinity pool. Talise is also the only place to offer the “Leg King” Professor Francesco Canonaco’s wildly successful program that is said to cure cellulite, water retention and all vascular problems in the legs.
Atlantis, The Palm
Atlantis caters to couples, adults and families, with so much to offer guests that they sometimes don’t even leave the hotel. There are a variety of romantic packages and luxury stays within Atlantis, including the notable underwater suites, among other prime suites with stunning waterfront views. The underwater suite is truly unbelievable. Guests can relax in bed, or soak in their deep tub while watching eagle rays, sharks, and schools of fish swim by. The high-end suite is a spacious two-story room with its own personal elevator, perfect for a luxurious getaway.
Bab Al Shams
Arriving at Bab Al Shams, it truly feels like a luxurious desert escape. The design consists of traditional Arab architecture, immersed in the desert with infinity pools overlooking the sand dunes and an extensive ecosystem filled with birds and gazelles, among other wildlife. The location provides an escape from the busy city life with a selection of activities for guests including desert exploration hikes, massages, horseback riding, archery, camel riding, falconry and more in between sunbathing or relaxing in your soaking tub in the bedroom.
The food is fantastic, with plenty of fresh-squeezed juices, coconut water, wraps and more. Pre-dinner cocktails at Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge are a must before heading out. If guests are lucky enough to be in Dubai during Ramadan, the hotel’s Iftar is outstanding, with a wide selection of traditional foods, live shows, music, tea, hookah and more. Since Covid-19, the shows are back and more lively than ever, and group activities are encouraged for guests.
While visiting the Burj Al Arab, stop at SAL for a bite to eat before relaxing by the infinity pool over the Arabian Gulf. SAL serves a variety of Mediterranean dishes and fresh seafood, like the King Crab and homemade trenette pasta with bright green, fragrant fresh basil pesto, plump tomato, espelette chili and tangy balsamic or the light tomato gazpacho with capsicum, cucumber and crispy bread.
Dinner at Bastion is a must while staying at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. The steakhouse offers views of the Burj Al Arab and serves delicious cuts like kiwami wagyu and rack of lamb, among other appetizers to share like foie gras, calamari, tableside steak tartare and more. In addition to the main courses, the restaurant offers an extensive wine list and knowledgeable staff waiting to suggest pairings. Don’t forget to stop for an after-dinner cocktail at Floor 24 at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
Sometimes when visiting a place that already has frills like a waterfront view, the food tends to be just so-so. They don’t have to try as hard because crowds will continue to visit if the place has a good view. The Atmosphere overdid itself with this dining experience. Not only do you get incredible views being on the 122nd floor of the world’s tallest building, but there are incredible crepes, egg dishes with freshly shaved truffles, towers of fresh cheeses, meats, fruit and fresh-squeezed juices like mango and orange to choose from. Finish the meal with a golden coffee because everything in Dubai is coated in gold.
Cocktails at Nobu and Dinner at Ossiano
Nobu is a great spot within Atlantis to grab a drink before dinner and deserved a special mention in our travel guide to Dubai. It’s the perfect place to try out a new sake or a refreshing lychee martini. After drinks at Nobu, check in at Ossiano. The gourmet eatery is surrounded by tanks filled with 65,000 marine animals. Guests are dining, sipping their espresso martinis while watching the fish swim gracefully by. Throughout this experience, chef Gregoire Berger shares his passion for food, art and flavors he’s picked up through personal experiences, each dish coming with its own story.
As far as activities go, our travel guide to Dubai would not be complete without mentioning Burj Khalifa. A staple in the skyline, the building reaches over 2716 feet and has 160 stories. It holds multiple world records including the tallest building in the world, having the highest number of stories in the world, having the highest outdoor observation deck in the world, and having the tallest service elevator in the world, among others.
Aura Skypool is the world’s tallest 360-degree infinity pool, with incredible views of the palm, the gulf, the skyline, and more. You can rent a chair and relax by the water. Take a dip while waiting for your fresh coconut water to be delivered to you in the sun. Don’t forget to order some delicious sushi or a refreshing cocktail at the onsite restaurant. They’re almost too pretty to drink. Almost.
Balloon Adventures Dubai
Taking a hot air balloon ride over the desert during sunrise is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one that we simply had to include in our luxury travel guide to Dubai. The ride is so peaceful and calm, riders barely even feel any movement. With other balloons floating by in the distance, riders will get to watch the sunrise over the desert from a bird’s eye view. The company is Dubai’s longest operating hot air balloon company with seasoned, professional pilots to safely lead the tour. When the balloon lands, vintage Land Rovers will bring guests to an extensive breakfast filled with local favorites.
After breakfast mentioned above, as part of the Balloon Adventures experience, guests will have the opportunity to ride a camel. The camels will take riders for a short walk around the desert, only about 3 to 5 minutes or so, in between getting food at the camp, so guests can experience what it’s like before hopping back in the colorful Land Rovers.