Protruding from Jumeirah Beach, the Palm Islands are an extraordinary feat of engineering. Three artificial islands in the shape of palm trees line up beside ‘The World’ and ‘The Universe’ to create what can only be described as an archipelago of stylised landscaping excess, and are so enormous they can be seen from space. Exclusive Palm Jumeirah, our featured island, adds an additional seventy-eight kilometres to Dubai’s coastline and is the location of one of the largest resorts in the emirate – Atlantis, The Palm . The attractions on the beach-fringed island have plenty of appeal for families and couples, alike. If you’re not staying on Palm Jumeirah, access to these attractions can easily be achieved via the Palm Monorail that regularly runs through the ‘trunk’ of Palm Jumeirah, conveniently terminating right at the entrance of our first featured attraction, Aquaventure Waterpark.
Michelin Star-courting cuisine can be enjoyed in some of the most amazing venues including the Al Muntaha which translates as The Ultimate' or 'The Top' from the Arabic, at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah – situated two-hundred metres above the sea level access is via one of the express panoramic lifts that travel at six metres per second. Alternatively, sample the delights of Asia at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai's newest restaurant, Blue Jade, or enjoy Nobuyuki Matsuhisa's cutting edge, culinary style at Nobu, Atlantis The Palm. Overlooking Palm Jumeirah and cosseted between the lush gardens of the resort and the sands of Jumeirah Beach, One&Only Royal Mirage - The Palace's Beach Bar and Grill offers a laid-back ambience during the day, serving freshly grilled seafood and colourful salads in a shaded al fresco setting, yet transforms into a sophisticated dining venue by night, where flickering candles and mood lighting provide the perfect ambience in which to enjoy cuisine such as lobster and prime cuts of steak. Our particular favourite is the Cataplana of Shellfish, which is not to be missed, if you enjoy seafood. Open for lunch and dinner, the dress code is relaxed during the day and elegantly casual in the evening. By law, alcohol can only be served within the confines of a hotel, and, if your stay in Dubai takes in a Friday (the first day of the Arabic weekend) you may find yourself attending a Friday Champagne Brunch, where unlimited amounts of Champagne are served alongside gourmet buffets. The Ritz-Carlton Dubai's brunch offers a wide variety of international dishes including salads, sushi, oyster station, charcuterie station and delectable main courses. Chefs serve freshly made risotto and Arabic grills from their live cooking stations whilst freshly made crepes can be obtained from the dessert station. One of our very favourite dining venues in Dubai, the al fresco Amaseena restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, is styled on a tented Bedouin village and is perfectly located close to the private sands of the resort, ensuring it makes the most of the sounds of the gently lapping waves nearby and warm sea breezes. Open from 7pm until midnight each night, a menu of traditional regional specialities is offered, buffet-style, to be enjoyed in the comfort of your private tent, alongside a selection of aromatic shisha and traditional music. Perfect for an authentic Arabian experience.
Shopping and Entertainment
Known as ‘The Centre of Now’, Downtown Dubai is almost a destination in itself – and an extremely buzzing one, too. Measuring two kilometres square, it is home to fantastic shopping opportunities, iconic buildings, an ice rink, aquarium, underwater zoo, a cinema, park and restaurants, amongst many other attractions.
Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain
Visit the tallest building in the world and allow us to pre-book you a slot on the observation deck, ‘At The Top’, which offers 360° views of the gulf coast and desert. The spectacular Dubai Fountain, on the thirty-acre Burj Khalifa Lake, is a must-see. Enjoy the daily light show and the choreographed performance of the 500-foot-high fountain, set to music.
This award-winning creation allows children between 4 and 12 years old to experience education, entertainment and role-playing in a realistic, ‘mini-city’ environment. If your child wishes to be a Pilot, Racing Driver, Chef or Police Officer, for example, they can perform their ‘careers’ and be paid.
Perfect for adrenaline-fuelled family fun throughout the day and into the night, SEGA Republic, an exciting 76,000ft² indoor theme park, comprises nine attractions, including a rollercoaster and family freefall experience, as well as five themed zones and over two-hundred amusement games.
The Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall has the distinction of being the world’s largest shopping and entertainment complex, boasting well in excess of a thousand stores, including a Bloomingdales, The Souk and Fashion Avenue, housing over seventy designer brands, such as Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Cartier. This enormous centre truly is a shopper’s paradise.
Thrill seekers should head to the dunes (these are nothing like the desolate desert kind of the Sahara) for a four-wheel-drive safari. Morning, evening or overnight safaris, very often include twenty or so minutes of dune bashing with perhaps some quad-biking, camel-riding and/or sandboarding thrown in for good measure. Leisure activities don't need to be strenuous; a unique experience that might appeal to you is the opportunity to become a Conservationist for the day, allowing you to learn more about the natural beauty of the region and the wildlife that is making its home in this breath-taking wildlife haven. The half-day tour has an early start, but if you are a nature-lover, you’ll undoubtedly be thrilled to monitor the reserve’s baby gazelles and assist with cataloguing and photographing the sanctuary’s other animals. The tour culminates in a fabulous lunch, served at Al Maha Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa
The Bastakia Quarter, between the Dubai Creek and Bur Dubai district, is home to traditional wind-towered buildings, some of which have been transformed into cafés and art galleries showcasing an eclectic mix of contemporary art from around the gulf. Enjoy a water taxi 'abra' ride across the Creek, visit the textile souk to admire the magnificent swathes of fabric and stop off at the Dubai Museum to see how oil and ambition built this contemporary oasis.
The Emiratis' national sport has been enjoyed in Arabia for over two-thousand years and whilst in Dubai, don't miss out on the truly magical activity of watching a sunrise falconry demonstration which can be enjoyed at Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa. See how the Bedouins trained their birds to hunt and marvel at the speed of a falcon as it chases a remote-controlled plane to claim its reward. Well worth the early-morning start!
The prominence of the English language makes every UK visitor feel at home, while Dubai's vibrant atmosphere and constant sunshine ensure it really does take pride of place in the warm heart of Arabia.
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.
Know Before You Go
For information about local laws and culture as well as tips on where to go to make the most out of your visit to Dubai Click Here http://www.visitdubai.com/en-uk
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic direct from London Heathrow. Emirates direct from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow.
Via Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways from London Heathrow and Manchester.
From London Heathrow to Dubai: 6 hours 45 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.