What to do in Dubai in 5 days
What to do in Dubai. Marhaba Dubai! With a warm temperature of 26/28°C during the day (and only ten degrees less during the night), a not too long flight, lots to do and see: Dubai, you’re my new favorite winter destination! Here are all the things I did in my 5 days in Dubai!
What to do in Dubai: my travel guide
We arrived in Dubai with a direct flight from Milan Malpensa operated by Emirates. In little more than 6 hours we passed from the icy Italian winter to the dry heat of the Middle Eastern winter. As soon as you step out of the airport you can feel the warmth enveloping you. But this is only the first cuddle of the trip! On the one hand you see a boundless desert, on the other a futuristic metropolis in great ferment, which focuses on tourism. Dubai is in fact full of hotels, especially luxury ones: most of them are concentrated along the coast. The one in which we stayed the first three nights is in a sheltered area, in the lagoon. Palazzo Versace, as you can easily guess from the name, is a resort permeated by the distinctive style of Gianni Versace. The suite in which we stayed was incredible: entirely pink, with fabrics that reflect the classic motifs dear to the designer.
I appreciated so much the welcome sweets, typical of the Arab tradition, which I ate while taking these pictures!
There was also an outdoor area with a balcony furnished with comfortable velvet armchairs and a view of part of the Dubai skyline.
Palazzo Versace decor are studied in details and made with Carrara marble, fabrics and mosaics Made in Italy and Bohemian crystals. One of the furnishings that fascinated me the most was the alternative Christmas tree, made with pillows! Although decorating the tree is not a Muslim tradition, most hotels, restaurants and public places have at least one and seem to compete for originality of decorations!
For our first dinner we tried a restaurant specialized in Turkish food called Enigma, tasting a really great selection of dishes!
Our real first day in Dubai could only start with a major breakfast at the hotel. Like many other aspects of Palazzo Versace, even the breakfast room has been able to amaze me: among the various tables spread with every type of food, there was a truly inviting chocolate waterfall, deliciously donuts and an amazing choice of juices!
First stop: Burj Khalifa, the skyscraper of the records. Not only is it the highest ever built by man, the one with the largest number of floors, but also boasts the highest and fastest lift in the world. With the height of 829.8 meters for 163 floors of apartments, offices, restaurants, a hotel and an observation center called At the top which is located on the 148th floor, open to the public. I recommend buying tickets in advance to avoid boring queues. From up there it really seems you can walk on air!
Second stop: another record-setting place, the Dubai Mall. It is the largest shopping center in the world for the total area occupied, almost 400,000 square meters. So big that you can rent a kart to visit it as comfortably as possible!
But the Dubai Mall is much more than a common shopping center. Over 1200 stores, including 70 exclusive single-brand stores, and a range of attractions so huge that there is necessarily something to be done: whether it be to watch thedancing fountains, ice-skating on an Olympic-sized track, watch one of the 22 films in the multiplex cinema or, what I have chosen, visit the largest suspended aquarium in the world. The fish swimming above the visitors’ heads, the shades of the water changing according to the time of day: it really seems to be in the deepest depths of the ocean. Sharks, piranhas, marine beavers, turtles, penguins for a total of over 33 thousand marine animals… Crossing the tunnel of the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is an experience to try at least once in a lifetime!
Third stop of the morning: the Miracle Garden. I really wanted to visit this park because I love flowers and nature, and seeing these well-kept and colorful heart-shaped arches on Instagram was one of the things that made me fall in love with Dubai at first sight. And in a moment it seems to be walking in Alice in Wonderland flowers garden.
At this point I was really tired and hungry: I wanted sushi and ice cream, so I ordered them both and they served them to me at the same time, because the kitchen was about to close!
We then returned to Palazzo Versace to relax a little before dinner. We took a look at the guide we found in the room and chose a restaurant called Pierchic which seemed perfect for a romantic dinner, with a view of the Burj al Arab that illuminates the darkness of the night. We ate good fish and sipped good cocktails. There too there was an original Christmas tree, made with shells!
Dubai is not just modernity, avant-garde and record numbers. There is a different, unexpected, hidden Dubai: it is located in the Al Fahidi district. Old Dubai is the ancient and original Arab city dating back to the 19th century, made of narrow alleys, coral stone houses and wind towers. Here, just a step from the sea, the merchants of the time lived and traded, and there are still traces of them in the many souks.
There is the souk of fabrics and carpets, the one of slippers, spices and fruit, but also a souk of gold. An explosion of smells, tastes and colors that tempt you at every step!
The architecture of Old Dubai is even more magical if you look at it from the water. You can do it by booking the excursion on board an Abra, a typical wooden boat that navigates the Creek!
For lunch we moved to Jumeirah Beach, a stretch of golden sand that runs under the city skyline. Here is a Tuscan restaurant that won the award for best Italian restaurant in Dubai in 2017, Il Borro Tuscan Bistrot. Really yummy!
After lunch we took the opportunity to take a walk along the seafront to see up close the Burj Al Arab, one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, characterized by the particular shape of sail!
Here is our guide, Abdullah!
Later we reached Dubai Design District to visit one of the most important fairs in the city, SOLE DXB, where I discovered the new collection of D1 Milano watches (I’m wearing my favorite in the picture below).
In preparation for this trip to Dubai I bought a new pair of Dolce&Gabbana sunglasses, that in just 24 hours was delivered at my home: just in time for the flight! What do you think?
In Dubai there are almost no sidewalks, people move by car (you can imagine how busy is, and how long a car drive can become). However, it has been created an area for walking outdoors: it’s called City Walk and it’s not a normal walk, but an outdoor shopping center with shops, bars and restaurants. We arrived after sunset, but its multi-colored murales fascinated us so much that we decided on the spot that we would come back with the sun!
At this point it was the perfect time to see the show of the dancing fountains of the Dubai Mall (and to admire the view of the illuminated facade of Burj Khalifa). The fountains shoot the water over 150 meters in height: to this are added colorful light games and music, for a truly magnetic show!
First we returned to the City Walk to admire the bright colors of the many murales with the light of day!
We then moved to visit another of the symbols of Dubai, also this record-setting: The Palm Jumeirah, the largest of the three artificial islands of Dubai that seen from above has the shape of a palm, which is also the largest in the entire world. Here we enjoyed a few hours relaxing on the private beach of the Fairmont The Palm, after having lunch in their barefoot restaurant.
In the afternoon we changed hotel: we spent our last night in the Emirate in the desert, at Bab al Shams Desert Resort & SPA. Just 45 minutes drive from Dubai, in the heart of the Dubai desert, there is a Resort of a beauty that you would not expect: super-luxurious, with palm trees, plants and flowers.
Our suite suite was super modern but with unmistakably Arabic elements: wonderful carpets, lanterns everywhere, even in the bathroom. There was a living room with a very spacious mini-bar, a bedroom with a four-poster bed, a large walk-in closet, a first bathroom with a shower and a bath, and a second bathroom.
Before sunset we left for a desert trip in an open 4×4 jeep. The wind was hot, but I had to cover it with a sweater to protect myself from the sand. We spent over sixty minutes going up and down the sand dunes, impressive, exciting, spectacular: a truly unforgettable experience!
Here with our very nice driver!
The evening began with an aperitif at Al Sarab Rooftop Lounge (the panoramic terrace of Bab al Shams). Live music and luminous decorations recreated the perfect atmosphere of One Thousand and One Nights!
We then went to Al Hadheerah Desert Restaurant, open-air restaurant close to the resort. There the dinner is buffet style and at each of the ten tables there is a chef who offers dishes of a different Arab culinary traditions making a live show-cooking! I ate excellent grilled fish with vegetables, accompanied by traditional Arabic bread!
In addition to the chefs, guests are entertained during the dinner by a show of belly dancers, tanoura dancers and a live band!
And then there was a wonderful surprise in the depandance of the restaurant, open air: the possibility of a night walk in the desert on the back of a camel! How cute are they?
My last day started very early, with a traditional Balinese massage in the Bab al Shams Satori Spa, and I must admit that it could not have started better! We still had the whole morning in the desert before having to return to Italy and we took the opportunity to relax in the beautiful hotel pool and to try one of the many activities that it offers: archery in the middle of the desert!
Which place is more suitable to take some pictures with two of my favorite perfumes by Perris Monte Carlo, Oud Imperial and Rose de Taif? Click HERE to discover more!
I sincerely thank Martina and the whole team of Dubai tourism board for this trip, for allowing me to discover this fascinating city and to be able to capture its many facets with these photographs!
A happy new year to you all!