Step into a sleek, air-conditioned lobby of a hotel where there are lavish chandeliers above you, a fleet of Ferraris and Lamborghinis parked outside, and just down the road there’s the world’s tallest building and the most expensive hotel. This is Dubai – the Arabian city of superlatives where extravagance is the norm.
Marvel at the glimmer of high rises and saunter down the streets of affluent man-made islands. There are few cities where you could be drinking tea in a desert tent, eating in gold-filled Michelin-starred restaurants or shopping for hours in a futuristic, air-conditioned shopping centre all in the same day. Years of culture is preserved in the older Dubai Creek area, where you can haggle for spices and see great mosques.
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This adrenaline-pumping waterpark set within Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai includes the chance to take the Leap of Faith or zoom through the darkened tunnels of Shark Attack; as well as an invite to tackle Aquaconda, the world’s largest water slide. Or, perhaps you prefer to just sit and mind everyone’s towels as you relax on 700 metres of private beach. Ticket prices from £55 per person.
Dubai holidays aren't complete without a visit to the tallest building in the world. The experience starts with the lift up to level 125, where you can marvel at the view from the 380-degree enclosed observatory. Then you can choose to go up a little more, to the 148th floor at 555 meters, where you step onto the world’s highest outdoor observation deck. After all that sightseeing, visit Level 122 which is home to the restaurant and bar, At.mosphere. Ticket prices from £35 per person.
Dubai’s first mega themed entertainment destination will be the largest temperature controlled indoor park in the world and will wow guests with its four epic adventure zones. Two are created with global adventure brands Cartoon Network and MARVEL, while IMG Boulevard and the Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure are original concepts from the IMG Group. Think rollercoasters, thrill rides and attractions – all based on popular characters and hair-raising dinosaurs. Combine with the amazing array of retail temptations and exclusive dining venues and you have a day of fun for the whole family.
One of the best family days out while on your Dubai holiday, Wild Wadi Waterpark™ is set in front of the iconic Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, and offers 30 watery rides and attractions. Themed around the tale of Juha, a character from Arabian folklore, the rides range from sedate “lazy rivers” where you can bob along in a rubber ring, to the Jumeirah Sceirah, which has two tandem slides you zip down from a 32 metre high tower.
The 270-degree acrylic walkthrough tunnel takes you under one of the largest tanks in the world so you can see some of the 33,000 animals - representing more than 85 species including 400 sharks and rays. You can also just stroll past it from The Dubai Mall, with one of the world’s largest viewing panels to gaze through to the aquarium. Ticket prices from £20 per person.
There’s only one way to really get to grips with the scale of things here - from the air and these tours by seaplane do just that. Giving the finest views over Dubai, these comfortable little planes can use 27 different water landing strips and runways across UAE, so any combinations can be arranged. The 40-minute Dubai Silver Air Tour flies you over all the Dubai classics, taking off from either Dubai Creek or Jebel Ali Resort, then cruising along the coastline, giving you a bird’s-eye view of The World, Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Ticket prices from £356 per person.
Situated within the Mall of the Emirates, this made the world sit up and take notice of Dubai’s many ambitious projects when it first opened – and still does. It was the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and today offers a snow park, Ski School, Penguin Encounter and Snow Bullet. Ticket prices from £47 per person.
Calling all adventure seekers, Dubai Parks and Resorts opened its doors in October 2016 and should be at the top of your must-visit list. Home to three world-class theme parks, one water park and over 100 attractions ranging from rollercoasters and waterslides to cinematic rides and live shows, Dubai Parks and Resorts is sure to delight guests of all ages. Lapita, a four star Polynesian style hotel is located within the parks and offers guests the convenience of a night’s rest only a few minutes from the rides. Located on Sheikh Zayed Road, opposite Palm Jebel Ali, a trip to this fun-filled resort is a great option for guests staying in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
If you want to do more than “fly and flop”, you’ve come to the right place. One way to get the measure of Dubai is to catch it from the air – whether that be via an adrenaline-fuelled skydive over The Palm Jumeirah, or a scenic seaplane ride. Other aerial options include a sunrise hot air balloon experience, which will lift you off the ground 1,200 metres above the desert as you spot oases and the occasional wandering camel below. Kite surfers will love Kite Beach, one of Dubai’s best stretches of sand, and one where water sports operators aplenty await to help you pick up a new skill or hone your talent. Meanwhile at Dubai Mall, you can try a snorkeling cage experience within the huge tank at Dubai Aquarium, or even swim with sharks.
The emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is an hour's north of Dubai and it is one of the most picturesque emirate's. It is surrounded by the sea and makes the perfect holiday destination if you're looking for relaxation and adventure.