Dubai transformed from a village where desert nomads stopped by to trade their pearls and camels to one of the world’s hottest destinations for shopping, vacationing, and partying in like, the blink of an eye.
Seriously, everything was basically built yesterday. Your parents sure as hell never went on vacation to Dubes when they were young and crazy. This is a city built exclusively for our generation and the future.
Set right on the beach, Dubai is kind of like Dallas on steroids but set in the Middle East. There are two main areas, the downtown and the Marina. Stay in one of the two.
During the day:
Take in the view.
Go up the Burj Khalifa, which is the world’s tallest building – for now at least, til some other city builds one that is like an inch taller to steal the title. Don’t bother paying to go to the viewing deck on the highest floor, there is a really pretty bar on the floor just below it and entry is free. Order the Dragonfly cocktail with sake and a round ice cube.
The city has the world’s biggest mall, aptly named the Dubai Mall. There is literally every single brand name store you could think of in this palace of consumerism and can take days to wander around. Remember to bring a cardigan, they go way overboard with the air conditioning.
The beach and beach clubs
Go to the Jumeirah Beach Club for daytime drinks. They have a great chilled out atmosphere, huge wicker chairs to lounge in, and amazing views of the water.
Go to brunch
Dubaiites take their brunch seriously. A lot of the bigger hotel chains host brunch parties with unlimited food and alcohol, which can obviously get pretty rowdy. There are also a ton of cafes and restaurants that serve delicious breakfasty food. Beware of the portion sizes.
Rent a car and go for a drive outside Dubai to the desert. Driving up and down the sand dunes will probably be the most fun you will ever have in your life. Just make sure you go with another car of people, since it is pretty easy to get stuck in the sand if you don’t know what you’re doing. Also, you’ll probably see camel herds, which is pretty fucking cool.
If you’re ever going to go skydiving, Dubai is the place to do it. What better scene is there to gaze at while rushing through the air in a free fall than the turquoise blue sea and the sick man-made Palm?
Go to dinner
Dinners in the Middle East are epic multi-course affairs. First are the appetizers. Next are the salads, followed by the fish course. Platters of grilled meats are then brought to the table. Dessert, usually fruit is last. Make sure you only eat about a bite from each plate or you will sadly be completely stuffed before the lamb shish is even on the grill.
Even if you’re a super healthy marathon-running betch, you have no choice but to try shisha when in this part of the world. Just don’t inhale, fucking duh, unless you like a little head rush. Ask for grape mint or peach.
Dubai is the place where everyone living in the more conservative Arab countries all go to party. It is basically the Vegas of the Middle East. The sheer amount of clubs and bars reflects this, but you should probably know that complete debauchery could get you in a little trouble. Seriously, a British couple who were drunkenly hooking up on a beach in the UAE spent three months in jail. So party, dance on the table, do your thing, but like, also remember that you’re not in Kansas anymore.
Start off your trip to the UAE (United Arab Emirates) with a few days in Dubai, sampling the shopping, the food, and the nightlife and then check yourself into the St. Regis beach resort on Saadiyat Island just outside Abu Dhabi.
And remember – in Dubai, it’s TGIT, not TGIF! Weekend starts a day early in the Middle East and we are totally on board.