Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- More about your oliver guide: jenny galluzzo
- Trip type: Family, Beach, City, Desert
- Activity level: high
- Ideal length of trip: 3 days minimum. Enough to do to fill a week
to & from
Emirates Airlines is fantastic and Dubai is a stop along their route to many global destinations and a fun stop for a few days. Once you are in UAE you can arrange car services easily and Uber (and other ride-share apps) are available. Not worth renting a car.
Where to Stay
Four Seasons Jumeirah: It feels like a beach resort but it is just outside the downtown area of downtown Dubai. There is a beach, many pools and restaurants, a kids club and babysitting services. The rooms are big and very family friendly.
- We spent a night out of the city in the desert at an oasis hotel. The best ones are farther into the empty quarter but they are all very fun: Anantara, Bab Al Shams
- Another option is to take a few days in Dubai, a few days in the desert and then go to the chic island resort of Nurai Island to unwind on the beach.
Where to Eat and Drink
When at Mall of the Emirates eat at Al Hallab an upscale Lebanese spot with delicious salads and spreads and a chicken schwarma wrap that I still dream about.
What to Do
To plan my trip relied on friends who lived in the area with their children but because we were there for only a few days we didn’t even crack the surface of what you can do. I can’t wait to go back!
- Burj Khalifa : My sons were studying the Burj in school and visiting the tallest building in the world was a major hit. The elevator ride alone is fascinating. The mall under Burj is so big there are indoor golf cart taxis to bring you from place to place.
- Wild Wadi Waterpark :Sort of like an old school water park that has an Arabian Nights theme. Super fun way to cool down.
- Mall of the Emirates: Ski Dubai indoor skiing is a must-do. Magic Planet is a huge arcade with a nerf gun battle ground. Also, every store you can think of is there to shop while the kids play video games for hours.
- If you don’t have the time in your itinerary to spend the night you can go for a day trip to the dunes outside of the city and go dune bashing and dune surfing with 4x4s. Book through your hotel.
- Yas Water World
- Ferrari World Amusement Park
- Kite Beach Dubai— like Bondi beach and Venice beach hybrid. Great boardwalk, activities for kids. Surfing, skateboard parks, food vendors.
What to Pack
Dubai is less conservative than Abu Dhabi where people don’t really wear tank tops and shorts. Sneakers for walking. Covered shoulders for going into many religious locations. It’s HOT in the summer months so pack light clothes, sunblock, and hats! But the shopping is amazing and you can buy anything you forgot in the many, many, many malls.