If you're looking for the ultimate in luxury holidays, the opulent hotels in Dubai should be top of your list. High in the style, glamour and wealth stakes, this desert metropolis combines the best of both urban living and beachside relaxation. With its unrivalled selection of fine dining and luxury hotels, Dubai holidays 2013 offer the elegance and first-class service you would expect from a city that has become synonymous with indulgence and grandeur.
Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
Jumeirah Beach, DubaiOverlooking the Arabian Sea, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina is set in the modern, vibrant, and cosmopolitan city of Dubai, next to the Dubai International Marine Club. More Info
Unmissable Resorts in Dubai
Beaches: The warm inviting turquoise water will lure you to Dubai's shoreline. Take advantage on the white sand beaches and bathe in the Arabian Sea. Lined with restaurants, bars and hotels you're never too far away from the amazing attractions in this fabulous city. Jumeirah Beach is now a world renowned 10 mile stretch of beach and flanked with the sail shaped building - Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Palm Beach is ideal for relaxing and sunbathing or enjoying the watersports on offer on your Dubai holidays 2013.
Souks, shopping & gold: Take a journey into the past and wander through the souks of Dubai, selling spices, crafts and gold. Haggle your way to a bargain, and spend the rest of your day in the sparkling, malls of Dubai, a stark contrast to the traditional markets. The Mall of the Emirates is a leisure and entertainment complex, with all your high street brands and designer boutiques. After all that shopping cool down and visit Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort.
Desert adventure: Dune bashing as it is commonly known is a 'must do' activity in Dubai. Take a seat in the 4x4 Jeep and experience a thrilling ride up and over the sand dunes. Let the adrenalin subside and gaze at the stars whilst enjoying your desert barbecue and an evening show.
Waterparks: Dubai's water parks are the perfect places to have fun and get the adrenalin pumping. Wild Wadi Waterpark, next to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel is the most famous. Enjoy the views from the tallest waterslide outside of the USA and shoot down the flumes at 50mph. Visit Atlantis, the Palm AQUAVENTURE and zoom down the 'leap of faith' into the shark filled aquarium, take a trip on the rapids and swim with dolphins. With so much to do one visit just won't be enough
Iconic sites: Dubai's skyline is constantly developing and changing. The Burj Al Arab, designed to look like a billowing sail, is the most luxurious hotel in the world, sitting on a man made island off the coast of Jumeirah Beach. The man made Palm Island at Jebel Ali, Jumeirah and Deira and The World that host hotels, private islands, restaurants and entertainment centres are a feat of engineering. View this from the iconic building Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.
When to go
Temperature Range: 23°C - 41°C
Most popular: October - April
Best value: June - September, December - January.
Best weather: October - April
Direct flights: Emirates, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic
Indirect flights: KLM
Visa information: None for British citizens
Health information: No specific vaccinations required
Time Difference: GMT +4 hours
When To Go
To avoid the highest prices of November to April, stick to the summer months in 2013. There will be fewer crowds and you could get that same stunning scenery for a bargain price. Although these are the hottest months, the endless indoor and outdoor activities will keep you entertained. Hotel prices are considerably cheaper between June-August.
Best Time to Go
If you are looking for sunny days on the beach and comfortable temperatures head to Dubai between November and April, the heat will not be too intense. Should you take a evening dune safari, prepare for the temperature to drop slightly. Mid April and Dubai's summer commences, through to October, temperatures are high but the shopping malls, spas, eateries, water parks and ski slopes are the perfect retreat.
Most people choose to take holidays to Dubai between October and April. You can take full advantage of the outdoors with slightly cooler temperatures. Plenty of activities are available such as dune safaris and city tours, you won't constantly be on the lookout for shade.
Dubai is a desert metropolis, temperatures rarely drop below 20°C. The hottest months are June to September. Temperatures can reach up to 40°C.
Dubai has an arid sub tropical climate being located in the Northern desert belt, with blue skies and sunshine year round. Rainfall is irregular, but usually occurs between December and March and is the high season where temperatures average at a comfortable 25°C. In the summer months, June to September, can see temperatures soar to over 40°C and the humidity levels are very high.
Middle Eastern cuisine is still a relative enigma in the western world, and Dubai being the multicultural city that it is offers opportunities to try delicacies from around the globe, some of the best flavours however can be found in traditional Arabian treats. Because Dubai has only recently become a global power, it has had little time to establish a culinary culture, but food from various different regions in the middle east are expertly crafted here; some local favourites include...
Shawarma One of the most popular dishes among tourists, Shawarma consist of minced Chicken or Lamb cooked with Tomatoes, Garlic and Pickles and served in a soft Roti and eaten with Tahini or Hummus.
Falafel Often eaten as side dish, falafel is a tasty mix of chickpeas combined with different spices and often fried in small balls, watch out, it's extremely 'more-ish'. A favourite for people on their holidays in Dubai.
Wara Enab Rice is an integral part of Middle Eastern cooking, and this is a unique way of serving it, mixed with spices and wrapped in a edible vine leaf, this dish is tasty and convenient.
Average Prices Pint of beer - £5
Litre of Milk - £1.70
Can of Soft Drink - £0.20
Street Food Since many of Dubai's signature dishes are portable by their very nature, there is a strong parallel between Arabic foods served at the restaurants and the roadside. Shawarma is an ultra portable snack food popular with both locals and tourists. Other grab-and-go foods available in Dubai include fluffy Naan Bread and hot Sweetcorn doused in Butter.
Dubai is arguably the entertainment capital of the middle east, with reams of activities, events and festivities laid on to suit people of all ages, religions and nationalities. If you do ever get tired of reclining on the soft white sand as the sea laps at your feet you'll find facilities where you can take part in every sport under the sun, attend music festivals, interact with the local wildlife as well as spending some time in the indulgent malls.
Nightlife Being a Muslim country, the consumption of alcohol in public is outlawed in Dubai, this certainly doesn't mean you can't go out and paint the town red, however, as a general rule, alcohol is only served in hotel bars, although there are a few exceptions to this. You must be 21 years old to drink and 25 to enter a club on Dubai holidays 2013. Top night spots in the city include
Kasbaa: Widely regarded as the best nightclub in the city, Kasbbaa is split over two levels with traditional Arabic sofas and tables to rent for those who prefer to observe the action on the dance floor. With a heady mix of Arabic and Western music, this is where the beautiful people of Dubai go to be seen.
Planetarium: Entry requirements are strict here, although there is no fee. Special concessions are made for ladies here with discounted drinks on certain nights. The club is closed on Saturdays.
Festivals With balmy temperatures year round, a holiday in Dubai is the perfect opportunity to experience some great festivals, and while the city doesn't attract the same music-mad crowd as the UK summer season for example, there is plenty here to please tourists as well as ex-pats and locals.
Dubai International Motorshow: If you hadn't guessed already, Dubai is car mad, making it a Mecca for petrol heads. If the Ferraris and Lamborghinis cursing up and down the streets aren't enough the annual motorshow certainly will be. Packed with beautiful cars, the show held in the national Exhibition centre attracts over 100,000 people each year.
Dubai Shopping Festival: Being the epitome of luxury, opulence and wealth, it's no surprise that Dubai hosts its own shopping festival. Shopping enthusiasts flock from across to the world to take advantage of the duty free malls and impressive discounts offered by retailers during the festival.
Activities When taking holidays to Dubai you can be sure that they'll never be a shortage of things to do, the numerous activities and sports on offer will satisfy both thrill seekers and those in need of pampering and relaxation.
Desert Safaris: Take to rolling dunes just outside the city for some 4x4 driving either on your own or as passenger alongside an expert, or, if gravity is your preferred power source, try out some sand skiing! Round off the day with an Arabic feast, and even stay in a Bedouin tent overnight.
Ski Dubai: If you can't stand the heat, get yourself to Dubai's very own indoor ski slope! In a total contrast to the simmering dessert heat, Ski Dubai provides an authentic alpine environment where powder lovers can hone their skills, and beginners can learn the art of the world's favourite winter sport, slap bang in the middle of the desert
City Tours: Be a true tourist on your Dubai holidays and take a trip around this fascinating city on a London-style double-decker bus. Sit back as knowledgeable guides to reveal the intricacies of Dubai short but illustrious history as you sit in comfort and catch some rays ? something you'd be hard pressed to do in London!
Despite being a new city, Dubai has plenty of cultural artefacts and history to discover. The gleaming skyscrapers and golden beaches are contrasted by understated mosques and traditional Arabian markets selling spices and cloth. It is this mixture of old and new that gives the city its unique character.
Wildlife You might assume that being surrounded by dry, barren desert, a Dubai holiday would be devoid of any notable wildlife, this would be a gross misjudgement; Dubai is teeming with noteworthy flora and fauna , including Flamingos, Lizards, Snakes, and in the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf, Dolphins and Whales.
National Dress Locals are often easy to spot in Dubai, many can be seen walking around traditional dress which consists of;
Kandura - a long white gown that stretches from head to toe
Guthra - a plain or chequered headscarf
Egal - a black band fitted over the Kandura that fixes it, and the headscarf in place
Na-aal - sandals, though these are rarely worn in Dubai, most favour shoes
Laws and Customs Although Dubai is very Westernized, there are still some local laws and customs that reflect the dominant Islamic beliefs, these should be observed so as not to cause office to locals.
A zero-tolerance policy on drugs, even some anti-depressants
Pork products are banned
Swearing or rudely gesticulating can result in arrest
Kissing and holding hands in public can also lead to arrest
Swimwear is permitted at the beach and around the pool, but nowhere else
In public, women's clothing should not show her stomach, or be above the knee, men should not wear shorts
Alcohol can only be consumed in hotels or in licensed nightclubs
Permission should be asked before taking pictures of people
During Ramadan, food and drink should not be consumed in public
Key Cultural Locations Dubai already has many established cultural icons, most notably the distinctively shaped Burj-Al Arab hotel, best known for being the world's first and only seven star hotel and a big draw for many that decide to holiday in Dubai, even for tourists that aren't staying here. Other key locations include the Burj Khalifa building and the spectacular man-made palm islands, all must-visit hotspots.
Country Profile Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates, located on the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula. The United Arab Emirates is commonly abbreviated to UAE, it boarders Saudi Arabia to the South West and Oman to South East.
Traditions There are some traditions in the city that would be wise to note when interacting with locals on your Dubai holiday, these include;
Have clean feet and or/socks as you will expected to remove your shoes at the entrance to people's homes
Never refuse refreshments
Do not discuss religion or politics in public
Muslim women will not generally shake hands with Western men
Arabic is the national language in Dubai, although most inhabitants speak English to a very high standard, and many, if not all of the signs in the city are in English, making it incredibly easy and accessible for tourists on their Dubai holidays 2013 to settle right in. This is largely due to the high expat population and multicultural, cosmopolitan nature of the city.
Top 5 Key phrasesHi - Salam
How much is This? - Kan Howa Thamanoh
Do You Speak English? - Titakellem Ingleezi
I Don't Speak Arabic - Ana La Atakellem Al Arabi
And most importantly...
One Beer Please - Waheed beera, meen fadleek
Dubai Travel Information
There are a number of carriers to offering flights to Dubai from the UK.
Direct Carriers: Emirates, British Airways & Virgin Atlantic offer direct non stop services from the UK.
Indirect Carriers: KLM offer regional UK departures via Amsterdam.
Departure Taxes: There are no relevant departure taxes in Dubai.
Fastest Flight Time: 7 hrs
Dubai is a relatively easy city to reach from anywhere in the world, the airport is close to the city centre, with good transport links. Since the city embraces many elements of Western culture and most residents speak English to a very good level, getting by without any local knowledge is fairly straightforward.
British EmbassyAddress: Al Seef Road PO Box 65 Dubai United Arab Emirates
Switchboard: (971) (4) 309 4444
GMT: Sunday-Thursday: 03:30-10:30
Local Time: Sunday-Thursday: 07:30-14:30
Consular, Passport and Notarial Services opening times: 08:00 - 11:00 Sunday to Thursday.
Admittance into the Embassy will not be possible before 08:00 hours. Please bring a form of ID with you to enable entry.
Transport Dubai has excellent transport links with highways linking the city to surrounding areas. Within the city, public transport is readily available, buses, trams and a metro system allow tourists and commuters to move around the city with ease.
Electricity Dubai uses the same three-pronged plugs as the UK, so there is no need to invest in any adaptors.
Tourist Boards The website for the Department of Tourism in Dubai can be found at http://www.dubaitourism.ae/
Recent Developments Dubai is without a doubt one of the most rapidly developing cities in the world, new buildings and attractions are constantly being added.
Dialling Code The dialling code for Dubai from anywhere outside the country is +97 14
Time Zone GMT+4 - Dubai is four hours ahead of the UK.
Flight Times All flight times depend on the route, type of aircraft and wind-speed/direction, but generally a flight from London Heathrow to Dubai International airport takes between 6 hours 50 minutes and 7 hours 15 minutes.
Call Tariffs Call rates will vary depending on individual mobile packages, but here are the standard rates for outbound calls and texts to the UK, from Dubai for major UK network operators;
O2 - Calls: 179p per minute Texts: 40p per message
3 - Calls: 200p per minute Texts: 35p per message
T-Mobile - Calls: 150p per minute Texts: 40p per message
Orange - Calls: 145 per minute Texts: 50p per message