Dubai Beach: Iconic, Opulent and innovative…
Dubai is the tourism powerhouse of the region – although Abu Dhabi is the main commercial centre. Incredible innovation and iconic design, with a real desire to be the best, the largest, the tallest and of course the most glamorous!
Flight time from the UK is just over 7 hours.
There are two main resort areas, Jumeirah and on the fantastic Palm Island. See footnote on construction in the region.
Whilst Dubai is one of the most liberal countries in the region, you do need to show respect to their customs, their rulers and their religion. Public displays of affection are generally frowned upon.
Sharjah is one of the neighbouring independent states. Only a 25-minute drive from Dubai airport. Sharjah offers a more traditional reserved authentic experience, with colourful markets and just a few international shopping malls. Our featured hotel Al Bait is classic Arabian boutique. Sharjah is a dry state so does not serve alcohol.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is approx. 05 May for 4 weeks 2019. Actual dates will be announced a few days prior (two weeks earlier in 2020). Although Dubai is generally more liberal than many of its neighbours, at this time alcohol is usually limited to dusk to midnight and no live entertainment permitted. It can be an interesting time for culture and shopping (many of the shops stay open until very late), less so if entertainment is a priority.
One of the most consistent climates – basically hot and hotter! Rainy days can be counted on a couple of hands. Most days are bright and sunny, although occasionally temperatures might dip in late December/January when strong winds come in from the desert. The most pleasant months tend to be November to May, the mid-summer months see temperatures and humidity soar. If you are considering a night or two in the desert, take a warm wrap.
Iconic and innovative, Dubai seems to have brought the world to Arabia but then added a surreal almost alien view of opulence. Pyramids, snow, Grand European arches, they are all there but if you are seeking cultural coherence you are missing the point. It’s hedonistic, international and a place where being seen to enjoy is part of the appeal.
Great family attractions. A place to be enjoyed to the full, it’s not for the shy and retiring! – and at times a sense of humour might help you appreciate the grand scheme of things. It is footballers wives bling – if you got it, flaunt it – but frankly, that is part of the appeal, and maybe why it is so popular. Dress to impress, even for the beach!
Same-sex relationships should be kept conservative rather than promoted. Twin beds rather than Queen or King size will be made available by hotels under local law. Signs of affection taken for granted in the West (such as kissing) might bring you unwanted attention – this applies to man/women as well as same-sex relationships. You do need to be respectful to local customs and traditions.
Dubai is rightly proud of its massive progress and standing in the world. It does not welcome negative comment, and you need to be careful about how you use social media as it can be tracked.
Actually, there are now quite a few hotels where they have chosen to go for a more simple elegant style (Four Seasons Dubai and One & Only the Palm come to mind). Luxurious for sure, but with classic quality in the true sense.
If We Were To Be Critical…
Refined and understated are not words usually associated with Dubai. It has a totally opulent in your face style, influenced by Gold Coast Australia, Miami and Vegas, then spiced up with with a rather large helping of Arabian bling. But that could be an attraction as well!
Construction advice – Reality Check – You might have been told construction and new developments in Dubai have slowed. That would not be obvious with the huge number of cranes you view on the skyline, so many new hotels, apartments, offices going up everywhere. If you are there for more than 3 days you will be amazed at the speed of building. If your hotel is in a desirable location and there is vacant land close by, expect to see some construction work.
More Choice – In addition to our featured hotels, we have access to competitive rates on many more. Ask us for suggestions.
About Dubai & Sharjah – CHIC Locations