Discover Dubai for a perfect winter getaway. From the wonderful to the unexpected, amazing adventures are waiting, just for you. 40 years ago it was just desert and a fishing village. Today, Dubai is a gleaming super-city. From man-made islands to exhilarating water parks, this city in the sun can feel like a dream. But this is no mirage. Dubai truly is the real deal.
Culture & History
There is a commonly held view that Dubai has little to offer by way of heritage or culture. This is a myth. Whilst Dubai has exploded along the beach front, into the Arabian Gulf and out into the desert, Dubai’s origins are, and remain, around the Creek.
Visit the bustling Gold, Spice and Textile souks, taking an abra water taxi from one side of the creek to the other; learn about the importance of pearl diving in Dubai Museum; wander through the peaceful Al Fahidi district and observe the wind towers.
If you want to meet and talk to Emiratis, pay a visit to The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. This visitor center gives you the chance to meet and talk to local people about UAE and Islamic culture and traditions. They also offer visitors the opportunity to try authentic Emirati cuisine in a traditional setting.
If Art appeals, visit the galleries of the Al Fahidi District as well as the Al Quoz district and even within the Dubai International Financial Centre.
Dubai’s food scene is a reason in itself to visit. There are literally thousands of restaurants in Dubai catering to every taste and budget, from authentic Emirati street food costing small change, through to luxury gourmet dining prepared by Michelin starred chefs.
Friday is the first day of the weekend in Dubai, it’s a time when groups of friend come together to enjoy Brunch. At venues throughout the city a vast array of food is laid on along with themed entertainment. Try the Friday Brunch at Spectrum on One at Fairmont Dubai or the more informal offering at Double Decker at Al Murooj Rotana (Brunch not available during Ramadan).
Dubai also has a vibrant nightlife. The range of options is staggering. Enjoy a cool sea breeze at well-known hangouts like Calibar or the Jetty Lounge at One&Only Royal Mirage; watch some sport at the ever popular Barasti; or for a sophisticated ambience try Neos at Address Downtown, or At.mosphere high up the impressive Burj Khalifa.
Relaxation; Spa & Hotels
With over 60,000 hotel rooms and a further 20,000 in planning there is a vast array of accommodation on offer in Dubai. From bed and breakast hotels to half board special offers Virgin Holidays offer packages to suit all tastes and budgets.
Hotels range from vast Family resorts like Atlantis, The Palm and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel to small boutique desert retreats like Desert Palm and Al Maha Desert Resort. For those looking for the ultimate in opulence try the iconic Burj Al Arab, or for more affordable luxury try the beach front JA Ocean View Hotel or Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort.
Dubai is home to a wide range of fantastic spas, many of which have unique themes, styles and concept treatments. Spa treatments are equally global with specialists practicing techniques from Bali, Sweden, Turkey, Thailand, China and beyond. Try the magnificent Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray or the Lime Spa at the Desert Palm Resort.
Beaches in Dubai
There are several public beaches in Dubai such as Jumeirah Beach and Al Mamzar Beach Park; most are free or charge only a nominal entrance fee. Many hotels however have their own private beach; Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort has a 500m stretch and Atlantis, The Palm is home to Nasimi Beach.
Whether public or private the beaches are safe, clean, offer plenty of shade and of course access to the waters of Arabian Gulf.
On the private beaches, don’t be surprised to be greeted by a member of staff offering you a refreshing spray or water, fresh fruit, even a helpful clean of the sunglasses.
Family fun in Dubai
From top class hotels to water parks and beaches, Dubai is the ultimate family holiday destination.
With attractions such as the amazing ‘edu-tainment’ centre, KidZania in The Dubai Mall and the indoor snow-dome and ski slope at Ski Dubai in Mall of the Emirates, there is more than enough fun for all the family. Plus with a wide range of children’s activities and exclusive kids clubs at selected hotels, there’s enough to keep everyone happy without venturing far.
All the major resorts offer excellent babysitting services and kids clubs, and parents will be reassured to by the number of trained life guards on duty at the hotel pools and beaches, the family dining options and the general friendliness of the staff.
Aquaventure is the ultimate water adventure destination, with acres of water based attractions, the pinnacle of which is the 30 metre high Ziggurat and the recently opened Tower of Poseidon attraction. Not forgetting Wild Wadi, this water theme park is 12 acres of pure, water based fun with 30 adrenalin-pumping rides.
Shopping malls in Dubai are so much more than shopping malls! First of all, their size and range of stores is breath-taking, but it’s actually what’s beyond the shopping that will appeal to families. Many malls in Dubai are also world class entertainment and dining complexes offering fantastic family attractions in beautiful air-conditioned environments.
A winter escape for couples
Dubai is renowned for its glitzy, marble-clad shopping malls, old souks, glamorous hotels, fine dining, pristine beaches and so much more. That's why couples come to Dubai time and time again.
There are many top things for couples to do in Dubai, these include:
- Starlight Express overnight desert safari excursion
- Lunch at Madinat Jumeirah’s romantic seafood restaurant, PierChic located out in the Arabian Gulf
- Dinner in the underwater seafood restaurant, Al Mahara at Burj Al Arab
- Dubai is simply a shopper’s paradise. From the impressive Mall of the Emirates and The Dubai Mall; through to the historic Gold, Spice and Textile souks and the more modern Souk Al Bahar and Souk Madinat; and not forgetting the incredible value at the discounted Dubai Outlet Mall.
And to make Dubai a perfect couple getaway, Virgin Holidays offers world-class hotels for couples in Dubai.
Shopping in Dubai
There is little more that needs to be said about Dubai’s shopping that isn’t already known. It is very simply a shopper’s paradise.
The variety of shopping options is world class. From the impressive Mall of the Emirates and The Dubai Mall; through to the historic Gold, Spice and Textile souks and the more modern Souk Al Bahar and Souk Madinat; and not forgetting the incredible value at the discounted Dubai Outlet Mall Shopping in Dubai is not only great value, but it is a pleasure.
Outdoor Adventure in Dubai
Whatever your chosen sport, and whether you prefer to watch or participate, Dubai doesn’t disappoint.
Golf: Dubai is home to 11 outstanding golf courses and two of the European Tour’s most prestigious tournaments making it one of the world’s best golf destinations. With year round sunshine holiday makers can enjoy great conditions in any season.
Desert Safaris: Take a trip in to the desert in a 4x4 with a trained driver for dune bashing, sand boarding, falconry and more. End the experience with a desert BBQ.
Watersports: Parasailing, windsufing, kayaking and power boating are all available at a number of beaches in Dubai.
Hotel resorts like the JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel offer first class facilities in golf, horse riding, archery, tennis, shooting and more.
Events & Entertainment
Dubai has a growing and burgeoning events calendar and regularly plays host to the world’s top performing musicians, sports people and artists. Take a look below at some of the enticing events:
January - Dubai Shopping Festival
February - Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships or Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival or Dubai Desert Classic
March - Dubai World Cup or Emirates Airline Festival of Literature or Dubai International Boat Show or Taste of Dubai or Art Dubai
3 August - 6 September - Dubai Summer Surprises
November - Dubai Airshow or Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby Sevens 29th November
December - Dubai International Film Festival
The Sandance music festival at Atlantis, The Palm brings you top artists, bands and DJ’s from around the world. This amazing beach party has featured artists such as Faithless, The Killers, Florence & The Machine, Ellie Goulding and many more.
Dubai may have the reputation of being one of the most luxurious destinations and the perception of being expensive but it is fast gaining a new reputation for affordable holidays. Travellers to Dubai can now find plenty of activities and attractions to enjoy Dubai’s glamour and excitement without paying the earth. The sun, sand, sea and fabulous skylines are free to all and inexpensive places to visit such as the Dubai Museum and taking an abra tour to name just a few are fast allowing Dubai to become a purse-friendly destination.