If you’re travelling to Dubai, chances are you’ll be staying in an all-encompassing resort.
Last year I stayed at The Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, a quintessential luxury Dubai resort.
Its décor is Ottoman themed (lots of gold, marble, chandeliers and even an indoor fountain) and it boasts everything you might want on your stay, including a private beach, ten restaurants and bars, multiple swimming pools and the biggest spa in the Middle East, the Talise Ottoman spa.
The level of service is also to die for, so much so that you’d be tempted not to leave the whole time you’re in Dubai.
But don’t just stay in the hotel – there are plenty of reasons to get out and see the see city. Here are just six.
The Golden City Tour
As it turns out, there’s a lot more to Dubai than sun and skyscrapers. The Golden City Tour gives an insight into the city, delivered through facts rather than a long-winded history lesson.
Guests are taken to sights including Jumeirah, the picturesque palace and residential area of Dubai and the city’s most famous landmark – the stunning gold souk.
Think Cirque du Soleil with a Middle Eastern flavour. I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting to be impressed by this but I really was.
It’s a show that includes some serious optical illusions and slightly terrifying motorbike stunts but the most incredible part of it all was just what the performers can do with their bodies.
Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
If you only leave the resort for one thing, make it this.
The SMCCU, located in one of the city’ oldest neighbourhoods, invites visitors in to eat a traditional Emirati meal with a local host who answers questions and fills them in on how ordinary families in Dubai and the UAE live.
It’s a short experience that will give you a much better understanding of the country, its people and its way of life.
A brand new development, La Mer is what would happen if Disneyland created a tourist attraction for hipsters.
It’s a promenade chock full of beautiful restaurants, bars and shops and makes the ultimate backdrop for photos.
If you’ve come to Dubai for the food, Pier Chic is a must. The restaurant sits on a pier, giving the impression that it’s floating on the sea.
It specializes in Mediterranean seafood and though the meal we ate there was divine, Pier Chic is worth a visit for the views alone.
If you can spare the money (AED 1,095 or around €256), it is so worth a trip in the seaplane to see Dubai from above.
Taking in the city and surrounding desert from the sky really drives home just how incredible of a place it is.
Stays at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray start from approximately start from €212 per room per night, based on two sharing on a room on bed and breakfast basis.
Want more information? Check out Visit Dubai.