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Know Before You Go: Dubai

With year-round sunshine, luxury hotels in abundance, beaches, Michelin-starred restaurants and some of the world’s best shopping, Dubai has many draws. Here’s all that you need to know before you go…

A manmade city sandwiched between the sands of desert and beach, Dubai has long been a favourite travel destination for British travellers.

At Travel Seen we know this city inside out, often recommending it for our clients and famous friends. Want to know why? Here’s all you need to know before you go…

Where is Dubai?

Dubai is both a city and Emirate, one of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Middle East, set along the Persian Gulf and with land borders to Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Oman.

What is Dubai like?

One of the main attractions of a holiday to Dubai is that it combines a city experience with a beach break.

Starting life as a fishing village before booming under the pearl trade, Dubai is now a sprawling metropolis of skyscrapers, manmade islands, sandy beaches and, still, busy ports.

The islands are certainly Dubai’s most famous image; in particular the Palm Jumeirah where you’ll find many of the best Dubai hotels, and the World, which from above looks like a map of the globe.

Because of its business connections you’ll find English is widely spoken and a large expat community.

How do I get to Dubai?

It will take you just over 7 hours from the UK on a direct flight to Dubai International Airport (DXB). And with hundreds of direct flights from British airports weekly, getting to the city is a breeze. Or for a twin-centre break Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi are easy transfers away.

The main airline into Dubai is Emirates. But others, including Qantas, British Airways and Aer Lingus, fly direct to Dubai too.

What is the weather like in Dubai?

Year-round sunshine… need we say anymore?

The summer in Dubai is extremely hot, with temperatures regularly hitting 35 degrees C. This does put off family travel to the destination during this time. However, with air conditioning at every turn, it can be an affordable time to head off to the emirates for sun seekers.

Generally the British winter, late autumn and early spring is the best time to visit Dubai – including the autumn half term holiday, Christmas school holidays, February half term and Easter. April is a wonderful month for warmth, November is sunny but manageable if you want to sightsee. And don’t forget that even on hotter days there are waterparks aplenty for a cooling day out.

Take light jackets during the autumn and winter months if you want to dine al fresco in the evenings. Also bear in mind the month of Ramadan where you can often get a great deal to Dubai, but there will be restrictions on eating and drinking out.

What is the food like in Dubai?

As you’d expect from a metropolitan city such as this there really is every cuisine under the Middle Eastern sun.

Ranging from a selection of the world’s most coveted Michelin star restaurants and celebrity-chef run establishments to relaxed beach and pool side fare, Dubai has it all.

Renowned for its brunches, these lavish displays of dishes with live cooking stations and bottomless drinks are certainly worth booking. And there are unique dining experiences to be had too. From aquarium-side dinners that make you feel like you’re underwater to cocktails and nibbles at the top of a skyscraper.

Read our 5 Best Restaurants in Dubai blog for Travel Seen’s top pick of eateries in the city.

Facts about Dubai for travellers

Language: Arabic, although English is widely spoken

Time zone: GMT + 4 hours

Currency: United Arab Emirates Dirham known as AED

Visas: British passport holders are granted a free of charge visitor/tourist visa upon arrival in the UAE which expires after 30 days. Find out more here.

Best for: Dubai ticks lots of boxes for lots of travellers. For solo visitors it’s very safe and easy to get around. Families will love the theme and water parks, the kid-friendly dining and of course the beaches and swimming pools. Couples can find romance in abundance at top restaurants, iconic lookouts from the Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa, and on a sunset champagne Dhoni cruise. Those who want to fly and flop will love the beaches, while travellers wanting to shop til they drop can explore the many malls. Or for visitors who like to add some authenticity to their holiday there are tours of the souks and mosques, and day trips into the desert.

Will there be Covid restrictions in place at my Dubai hotel?

Covid-19 restrictions are constantly changing and updating dependent on the country you’re travelling to and from. Your Travel Seen specialist will be able to support you with current advice based on when you intend to travel.

At the time of writing this blog, Atlantis The Palm requires visitors to wear a face covering when walking through indoor public areas. The hotel conducts extra levels of sanitation and testing is available on site. More information can be found here.

For those not quite feeling ready for a busy hotel with lots of restaurants and public areas, Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf is an excellent option. The privacy and space afforded by the accommodation makes it more villa-style, so guests can dine and relax in their own private space. Jumeirah also has certification for its hygiene standards from the Bureau Veritas Safeguard for extra reassurance, and contactless service is delivered where possible.

Did you know?
  • The bell desk at Atlantis The Palm manages more than 513,600 pieces of luggage every year.
  • Dubai is home to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world and definitely worth a visit if you have a head for heights.
  • Another globe-leading spot is the Aquaventure waterpark at Atlantis The Palm, the world’s largest waterpark that’s home to Aquaconda, the world’s largest tube waterslide.

Feel inspired to head to Dubai for your next luxury holiday? The Travel Seen team can assist you with our latest Dubai travel offers, top tips and fully-protected package prices.