Vacations to Dubai with Virgin Holidays: Looking Beyond Skyscrapers, Artificial Islands and Underwater Hotels

Dubai Indoor Skiing

Go skiing in Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates; photo by k1rsch/Flickr

Planning a trip to Dubai? Then I hope you’ll enjoy this sponsored guest post about the dining, shopping and top attractions of Dubai.

Over the past decade, Dubai has experienced a new millennium gold rush. Whether you browse the pages of an architecture magazine or a travel brochure, this metropolis has been creating headlines. From manmade islands and underwater hotels to the world’s tallest skyscraper, this oasis in the desert has attracted the attention of jet setters, expats and travellers who are simply curious to see what all the fuss and hoopla is about.

Jumeirah Madinat

Souk Madinat at the Jumeirah Hotel; photo by PGBrown1987/Flickr

If numerous destinations have a must-see asterisk beside them, then this emirate in the Arabian Peninsula takes the idea of must-see to a whole new level. Instead of focusing on the mega-skyscrapers, artificial islands and seven-star hotels, here is a look at what else a Dubai holiday has to offer.

1. One of the best ways to comprehend a city is to get a feel for its restaurant culture. While Dubai has numerous eateries that are at the higher end of the social strata, there are still outdoor vendors, grills and cheap eats. Celebrity chefs Gary Rhodes and Gordon Ramsay both have five star eateries nestled in posh Dubai hotels. If you are looking for a Michelin star experience, then visit either the Grosvenor House Hotel or the Hilton Dubai Creek. On the other hand, Al Dhiyafah Road is dotted with vendors hawking curried lamb, seafood and Lebanese and Iranian specialties.

shopping mall emirates

Mall of The Emirates; photo by Tab59/Flickr

2. When it comes to designer brands or discount prices, the shopping in Dubai is on par with cities like New York, Paris and Milan. However, Dubai’s shopping malls are like the elaborate theme-park rides at Disney World. The Mall of Emirates is world renowned for its indoor ski slope, and the novelty experience of skiing in the desert is a major tourist attraction. The Souk Madinat, which is located in the Jumeirah Hotel, has its own Venice-style waterway to transports guests. The Mall of Arabia, which opened of 2008, holds the esteemed title of being the largest mall in the world. It not only boasts 10 million square feet of shopping complex, but it is also the home of Restless Planet, a mechanical dinosaur park that is popular with kids. In Dubai, shopping is secondary to the shopping mall experience.

3. If you want to get a feel for how Dubai was before its massive building boom, then head over to the Bastakia Quarter. Located between Dubai Creek and the Bur Dubai district, this maze of streets harkens back to the days when Dubai was a peaceful fishing village and not the harbour for super-yachts that it is today. The Bastakia Quarter is lined with art galleries and cafes, and the XVA Gallery has one of the best collections of contemporary art from the region.

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One Response to Vacations to Dubai with Virgin Holidays: Looking Beyond Skyscrapers, Artificial Islands and Underwater Hotels

  1. Zara
    Twitter: piggybackrideAZ
    May 15, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    After living in Dubai for more than 4 years I can honestly say the best thing about this city if the variety of food available. With residents from more than 100 coutries around the World, one can only imagine the variety of eats you get… and not necessarily expensive!
    Zara recently posted..My Bangladesh, part 2/2

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