Are you thinking of booking a romantic weekend getaway? One of the best places to go – particularly for those in the UK and Europe – is Dubai. The flight times are short and it’s well-situated on the northern coastline of the UAE; deserving of the title ‘gem of the desert’. But why choose Dubai rather than a weekend in Paris or strolling the cobbled streets of Rome? Here are a few reasons:
T-shirt days: Although Dubai has a reputation as a global city, it’s on the edge of the Western Hajar Mountains, which are arid, hot and dry. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes and sunsets, Dubai is bordered by a vast sea of sand dunes – particularly in the south where the desert descends into the Empty Quarter, which is one of the largest sand deserts in the world. Dubai is no stranger to creature comforts, however, as buildings in the city have air conditioning, there are numerous water parks including Aquaventure and Wadi Wadi, while there’s even a ski slope for those seeking an icy intermission…
World-class shopping: For visitors who enjoy a bit of glitz and glamour, Dubai is said to have more than 70 malls as well as the world’ largest shopping mall, Dubai Mall, which is part of the Burj Khalifa complex and home to approximately 1,200 shops. Although it’s packed with boutique stores and electronics shops, Dubai also has souk or commercial districts that sell a wide selection of goods, but whose jewellery collections have earned the city its nickname “City of Gold”.
Eat, eat, eat! Dubai has many cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs that serve Arabic food (mainly lamb and chicken dishes, avoiding pork). Snacks are served in shawarma diners, shisha and qahwa boutiques and curry houses, while high cuisine from all over the world can be had in Dubai’s renowned hotels, including the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, the Sheraton Deira, the Burj Al Arab, Raffles and Burj Khalifa, to name a few.
Take a breath from the fast-paced city and venture into the Bastakia Quarter between Dubai Creek and Bur Dubai, where a hint of the fishing village of the past can be seen. In this maze of old buildings and courtyards, visitors can wander pedestrian streets, in and out of art galleries and traditional cafes, stop in for a refreshing lime juice and relax in a laid-back atmosphere.
If you’re tired of visiting island paradises and skiing doesn’t get you hot under the collar, venture into the desert for entertainment that really sizzles, from camel riding to 18-holes on the green. Put Dubai on your list of must-see getaways, whether you have a weekend or fortnight to spare.