When planning our honeymoon, we knew we wanted to do something different. Being that we got married in Jamaica, we knew we had to go bigger and travel further than we ever have. After a lot of brainstorming and Google searches we decided, what better destinations than Dubai and Maldives! The thought of being in the lap of luxury was just what we pictured a honeymoon should be!
With this being our first trip to the Middle East, we were both very excited and a little anxious! First time trips to a new country can always come with tons of questions. You can check out my past blog where I answer all those common questions. Continue reading below if you want to know about our 3 day experience in Dubai.
Traveling to Dubai
We flew direct from JFK, NY to DXB, Dubai with Emirates airline. From NY it was a long 12-hour trip in coach. We got lucky flying on a Wednesday and got the middle 4 seats all to our selves. Emirates has a great entertainment system as well as a lot of food! You will not go hungry flying with Emirates. They gave us 2 meals and a ‘snack,’ which was a small pizza, so I considered another meal. Also, alcoholic beverages are included!
Where We Stayed
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai – Tallest hotel in the world, at the time we visited. Now the Gevora Hotel opened up and stole that title from the JW Marriot! The first impression we had from the JW Marriot Marquis Hotel was that the hotel staff was amazing and very accommodating. When we pulled up in our Uber, we were greeted right away by our last names. No idea how they knew it was us, since we had no signage with our names or anything. I was impressed! On top of that, I had a surprise set up for my husband by the hotel. I contacted the JW Marriot to decorate the room for his birthday. They did an amazing job by filling the room with balloons, and providing delicious desserts! We even got hand written cards from the staff. Besides the great hospitality, the hotel also has a nice rooftop pool, some bars/nightclubs and tons of great restaurants.
We also looked at the Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert. This resort is located in the desert and boasts beautiful and unique views! Only reason we didn’t stay here was because we were only in Dubai for 3 days. So we wanted to be in the heart of the city for our short stay. If you have a longer time in Dubai I would suggest splitting up your stay between the city and the desert.
Tours / Activities / Sightseeing
Viator is my go-to for booking excursions ahead of time. You can find all there is to do in any location, with a wide range of prices. We chose to do the Desert Safari with Camel Rides and I surprised my husband with Dinner in the Sky!
Desert Safari with Camel Rides – The Desert Safari included pick-up / drop-off from our hotel, dune bashing, camel rides, ATV riding, BBQ dinner and belly dancer/falconry show at a great price of only $80 USD.
This Desert Safari started at 3-3:30pm with a shared pick-up and we were back at our hotel around 8:30-9pm.
Our driver was a lot of fun and he really went at it with the dune bashing! FYI if you get car sick, you’re best if you sit in the passenger seat. We then stopped at a gas station to fuel up and make any last-minute bathroom stops. Once we arrived into the desert, the drivers had to deflate some air out of their tires to make it easier to drive in the sand. At this time we were free to take some photos and walk around a bit. This was at around 4pm, and it was hot! When the drivers were all ready to go, we began the drive to the campgrounds. This is where the dune bashing came into play. We had no idea this was even part of the tour, but it was a really fun and a slightly scary surprise flying up and down the sandy hills.
Once the adrenaline rush was over we arrived to the campgrounds with a bunch of other tour companies. You are welcomed into the campground where they explained how the night will go. We were then sent off to either take a camel ride or ride the ATVs. Both activities were a little shorter than I thought but they were still fun. The ATV’s are in a small closed off area, so you only get to drive them in a circle a few times. The camel ride was also in a small circle and we got some photos in with them as well. After that it was time to head back into the campground, where you had a chance to have Arabic coffee and pastries, as well as watch the falconry. A very limited bar was available where you could buy alcohol and hookahs were also available to rent. We spend the rest of the night dining on Arabic cuisine and watching the dancers, all while seated on pillows on the floor.
Dinner in the Sky – If you haven’t heard of it, it’s exactly what it sounds like, dinner while suspended in the air! The table is connected to a crane, which is overlooking Dubai’s skyline from the marina area. You can choose to go for lunch, afternoon tea break, or dinner. I opted for the afternoon tea break, since it was during sunset and we all know I’m a sucker for a good sunset. This time slot was also the most affordable option ($138/pp USD). You are provided with small desserts and finger sandwiches.
No alcohol is served, so if you need to calm your nerves with a cocktail, you’ll have to do that before hand. You are only suspended for about 30-40 minutes or so, even though the website claims to be longer. The views were great – We were surround by both the city and the ocean so we were able to catch a great sunset. We definitely spent more time taking photos than actually eating our food, so I was happy with the small portions we chose. The staff was super fun and friendly. They played music, took photos for us and served you all at the same time.
Once you get over the fact that you are suspended in mid-air, you start to really enjoy the beauty of Dubai around you.
- Dubai Mall – There are plenty of malls throughout the city of Dubai. The one major mall I’d suggest going to is the Dubai Mall, which is the largest mall there. It is centrally located right next to the Burj Khalifa and the famous Dubai fountain. At this mall you will also find the ‘Human Waterfalls,’ an ice rink, an aquarium, and endless amounts of stores.
- Burj Khalifa – Tallest building in the word. We didn’t bother to go all the way to the top, but if you chose to do so, book ahead since lines are long! The Burj Khalifa also has light shows, where the whole building lights up with LED images and laser lights. It’s pretty mesmerizing.
- Dubai Fountain – There are 2 shows during the day, at 1pm and 1:30pm (1:30pm and 2pm on Fridays). Evening shows begin at 6pm and are every half hour until 11pm. Each show is 5 minutes long with music.
- City Walk – Even more shopping, but in an outdoor set up. There is also a crazy fountain with a smoke and light show worth checking out. Dubai really loves their fountains!
- Burj Al Arab – The world’s ‘only 7-star hotel,’ absolutely worth seeing. It is beautiful to look it from the public beach, but if you want to see the inside you need to be a guest or have reservations to one of the restaurants.
- Abra Ride at the Souk Madinat – To get here you should be dropped off at the beginning of the Souk Madinat and walk through all the shops to get to the Abra stand. We accidentally got dropped off at the Jumeirah Al Qasr Hotel, which is walking distance to the Souk Madinat. This hotel was gorgeous, but we weren’t supposed to be in there unless we were guests. We quickly found that out when we were stopped and asked if we were staying at the hotel about 5x.
Other places to catch an Abra ride:
- Dubai Canal
- Dubai Creek
- Dubai Marina
- Burj Khalifa Lake
Where We Ate
There are infinite options for dining in Dubai. Below are my suggestions from personal experience.
- Scape – Located in the ‘only 7-star hotel’ in the world on the marina. You need reservations to get onto the hotel property, so plan ahead!
- Wafi Gourmet – Lebanese cuisine. Located right outside the Dubai Mall, facing the Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa.
- Dinner in the Sky
- Al Mahara (insdie the Burj Al-Arab) – Dine while watching all the sealife swim by in the floor-to-ceiling aquarium. We didn’t dine here but we wanted to!
I hope my experience has helped you plan out your trip to Dubai. Feel free to ask any questions!
I will be sharing my traveling experience and advice in the Maldives on my next post.
For more photos from my trip visit my Instagram page!
*All photos are mine, unless otherwise stated
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