Hi guys – I hope you are all having a great week! As you may know from my Instagram (@retroflame) & Snapchat (@retroflame1), last week Kaelin & I flew out to Dubai to meet my mom and aunty for a holiday. I had heard such great things about Dubai and it had been on my bucket list for a while so I was so excited to finally get the opportunity to go. I must admit, April was such a busy month for me that I actually didn’t get the chance to do a lot of research about Dubai or what was best to do there. However, I think because of that, I ended up being even more amazed by the place than I expected! It was a short and sweet trip, spending a total of four full days there but I am so glad we managed to squeeze in as much as we did. So many of you messaged me throughout the trip saying you also had holidays to Dubai planned so I thought it would be helpful to share what my top recommendations are and the definite must sees. I also got lots of questions about some items I wore throughout the trip so I have shared all the details of each outfit below too…
General Tips / Information you should know:
1.It is definitely not the cheapest place to holiday but saying that, you can definitely budget throughout the trip by simply shopping around when it comes to food & drink. They use AED as currency which is about 4 to every 1 euro. One thing that was very affordable was taxis which was handy as we did end up getting quite a few of them. If you are going on a girls trip definitely look into ladies day in various hotels – it allows you to use all facilities for free & get discounted drinks which is handy (sorry boys ha!)
2. It was extremely hot while we were there! It hit abut 40 degrees every day which some people may like but I found it quite unbearable at times. If I was going again, I would go between October & March which is supposedly a bit cooler.
3. We rented a car on the second day which drove us along to lots of different tourist attractions and this was great because A) it allowed us to not have to walk around in the midday intense heat & B) it saved time and allowed us to fit a lot into the day which was great when we didn’t have loads of time. I would definitely recommend it and again it was quite affordable.
As I mentioned above, we managed to squeeze in quite a bit throughout the short trip which we were very happy about. When we arrived and started doing proper research I definitely felt a little overwhelmed as it seemed like there was loads to do. However, I now know that it is definitely possible to fit it all into a few days! Below are some things that I would 100% recommend doing if you make the trip…
1. The Dubai Mall / Fountain Show – This was one of my highlights for sure, the mall is huge and has everything from an ice rink to an aquarium and the fountain show is so beautiful, a definite must see!
2. Dessert Safari – This was probably my favourite thing we did throughout the whole trip, honestly such a great experience and something you don’t get to do on just any holiday! It included a camel ride, quad biking & dune bashing and took about 3 hours in total which is plenty of time because it is quite hot in the dessert! We went with North Tours & it cost about 70 euro each – ask for Afdab, he was lovely!
3. Souk Madinat Jumeriah – This is a market/bazaar full of stalls & restaurants – something I would definitely recommend checking out as it felt like the most cultural thing we did in Dubai. It has a really nice outdoor area as well where you can go on a boat ride – very pretty!!
4. JBR – aka Jumeriah beach Residence, which is basically a waterfront strip with lots of boutiques and al fresco eating options. It’s definitely one of the fancier parts of Dubai and you can expect to see lots of nice cars lined up along the road. A really nice area to go for breakfast before heading to one of the nearby beaches.
Dubai has so many amazing restaurant and bar options so it was definitely hard to choose one each night and make sure we were going to the right seeing as we had little time. Luckily lots of you sent me recommendations which helped hugely so I hope this list helps you too. Both my mom & aunt are vegetarians so we kept that in mind when choosing somewhere to eat each night just in case any of you are also vegetarians..
Restaurants / Bars:
1. Joe’s Cafe – We ate here the first night while watching the fountain show. It had an amazing view of both the show and the Burj Khalifa and the food was amazing too. It is located upstairs in the Dubai Mall & is super affordable – I highly recommend a visit for either lunch or dinner!
2. Folly – Although we only went for coffee here it was definitely my favourite location. The decor & setting was just something else and the service was great too! It is located in the Souk Madinat Jumeriah and I will definitely be returning on my next trip for drinks at sunset!
3. El Chiringuito – We went here for lunch on the Friday with my friend Nessa and it was the most beautiful lunch spot I’ve ever seen – very Instagramable! I can imagine thats what the restaurants in heaven look like ha! it’s located on the Palm next to the Rixo’s Hotel. It also has a pool/sun loungers and apparently they do Ladies day on Sundays where you can use all the facilities for free – a definite recommendation!
4. Trattoria Toscana – Unfortunately, we didn’t make it here but I had to include as it looked divine. It is an Italian restaurant in the Souk Madinat Jumeriah looking out on the water. Definitely on my list for my next visit!
5. Pier 7 at the Marina – This is a building with 7 different restaurants looking out over the marina. We ate in ‘The Scene’ on our last night which I would highly recommend. It is an english restaurant so lots of great options for us Irish. The service was a little bit slow but the view made up for it! They also have lots of other dining options in the building too if you are looking to try something different!
6. Atmosphere Bar at the Burj Khalifa – Kaelin really wanted to go up in the Burj Khalifa to see the incredible views of the city but we were told it was better to go to the Atmosphere bar as drinks are included in the price. It was really cool however, I do recommend to book in advance and ask for a seat with a good view as we booked last minute and ended up with a table in the corner which didn’t have the best view!
7. Zero Gravity – Another spot we didn’t get around to visiting unfortunately but it is apparently a really fun beach club. I think it costs about 125 AED for a full day and has a really great view of the Dubai skyline. Next time for definite!
I think overall, what I loved most about Dubai was the OTT lavish hotels. There are literally so many and each one is fancier than the next (People watching in them was the best!!) We tried to visit as many as we could and here are the ones that stood out to me the most..
1. Ritz Carlton – This was on the JBR and we were recommended to go here for coffee as they have a balcony looking out over the beautiful grounds. It was very luxurious and in such a great location!
2. Al Naseem – This was by far my favourite! We went here for drinks one of the nights and had the perfect view of the Burj Al Arab. It is newly opened and a must to visit in my opinion. I can imagine it would be fab to stay there too!
3. The Address – This is actually attached to the Dubai Mall in a really ideal location! We had drinks here the first night on the rooftop and had an amazing view of the Burj Khalifa. It seemed super lavish as well with all the trimmings.
…And I think that covers all of my main recommendations & highlights from the trip. I truly couldn’t recommend Dubai as a holiday destination any more. It honestly surpassed my expectations. I really hope this post helps if you are planning a trip and feel free to Snap me (@Retroflame1) any other questions you might have! Also be sure to keep an eye out for my Vlog will be coming very soon over on my YouTube Channel!