by Jan 12, 2014


I had my reservations about Dubai. I thought it would be too man-made, too flash, too much time spent in malls and yes, probably a bit too hot. Within 2 minutes of leaving the airport I saw that Dubai is man-made, it is flash, and it’s proud of it. For that reason, I fell in love with it. The buildings are beautiful, the cars are fast and expensive and the hotels are in a league of their own.

Dubai sunset

If you’re thinking of going (you definitely should – park your reservations and pack your heels) then here are my top tips:

1) This isn’t really an opportunity to show off your light packing skills. Remember that Dubai is very hot but it’s also a chic city with lots of rules for how women should dress: you need to be covered from your shoulders to your knees to go into the malls. Covering up doesn’t mean dull and dowdy though, Dubai is extremely glamorous, so packing your jewels and lashes is a must!

2) A visit to the Burj al Arab is imperative, and if you want to go to the any of the bars you need to reserve a place first, especially for the Sky View Bar at the top.

3) Dubai is spread out. The metro makes its easy to jump around but can take a while to get your head around. Make sure you know where you’re based and map out the places you want to go. My must dos are:

a) Visit the Marina and grab a drink at Grosvenor House.

Dubai Marina

b) Check out Dubai Mall. It’s huge and has lots to look at – no, not just shops! Take a seat outside at Madeline to watch the water show with a stunning view of the Burj Khalifa.

c)! Even if it’s 40 degrees! Get up early and go before midday for an hour or so, it’s well worth it! The sand is white and the water is turquoise, and you also get a pretty good view of the Burj Al Arab.

d) If, like me, you love Japanese food, the best place (which is moderately priced) is Honyaki Jumeirah. You’ll find this in the Madinat Suk and will agree that it stamps all over the likes of Nobu and Zuma, for half the price! The Madinat is also a good place to eat traditional food and to sit around all day smoking shisha.

e) The DIFC is worth a look too: it’s the “city” equivalent in Dubai. Head to the lovely lunch spot: Caramel, it’s an asian fusion restaurant laid out in a lounge style.

f) The Intercontinental in Festival City has a fabulous bar called Vista, get there just before sunset to enjoy stunning views from their terrace.

I think the best time to go is between September and December. It’s still hot but not “I can’t touch the ground with my feet hot”.

If luxury, sun, 5 star dining and beautiful beaches are on your holiday agenda then get booking your flights to Dubai.

Words by – VT

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About Vanessa Toby

Vanessa is a keen traveller with no sense of direction. She has an insatiable love of fashion and a spare room full of shoes she has hoarded over the years. If Vanessa isn’t taking over the New Business world at work, you will find her trying out your new favourite exercise class. As a strong believer in the importance of a healthy work-life balance you will find her documenting mind and body advice and top tips.