It is a life-size Lego city, or bigger than life even. You are arriving to a city of contradictions: An Emirate that combines skyscrapers with traditional quarters, sitting between desert and sea, between tradition and modernity, conservatism and openness. To be in Dubai is to live these contradictions however you choose and wherever you want. We present you Dubai as we live it, on a 48 hour trip.
Mona Hauser will welcome you with a big smile at the XVA Hotel. This Art Hotel is located in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. This hotel is Mona's home since she got the keys to the building in 2003 and converted it into a hotel and art space. You can choose one of 13 rooms, each with a special character, and a local artistic touch.
After a good night's sleep, you can have a not-to-be-missed breakfast at the hotel lobby, drink coffee and try the wide variety of juices. Do not miss the mint lemonade! You can choose anything you want from a big vegetarian buffet from all over the Middle East. Dubai has plenty of places to have breakfast, but we suggest not to waste your time before starting your exciting day.
The location of the hotel is perfect for a cultural and traditional tour in the heart of the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, also known as the Bastakiya. Here you are away from the skyscrapers and luxury life. You will instead immerse yourself in the old Dubai, between the old wind towers, and move along from the textile market to the souvenir shops, the renovated traditional village, and the diving village, to the Dubai Museum.
The visit is not complete without taking the "Abbara" an old wooden boat to cross to the other side of the bay (costs one Dirham or 30 cents). There, you will find the gold market. You will be impressed by the ornamented facades featuring gold pieces of all sizes and shapes. The spice market will be another sensory experience with smells of saffron, aniseed, cinnamon and more. This place gives you an idea about the past of this region. Dhows, traditional Arabic sail boats, would come here from all over the neighboring countries to make deals and trade in these markets.
After this tour, you must be starving, and it is time for lunch. You have many options for your culinary desires. You can go for Indian food, or Persian cuisine in one of Dubai’s oldest restaurants, Spetial Ostadi. You can also choose to have Chinese, or Pakistani food in the many small restaurants spread around the Bastakyia. If you choose to dive into a traditional Emirati house, you can go to the Arabian Tea House. You can enjoy a variety of teas and a lunch made up of traditional dishes and ending with Emirati sweets such as Lokum with coffee.
Now it is time to explore the other side of Dubai! Take the Metro to Al Ghubaiba or Al Fahidi in the direction of new Dubai, so to speak. You will be going away from traditional buildings and into the world of unique skyscrapers. You must stop at the Burj Khalifa station, and see the tallest building in the world and the biggest mall. You might choose to get lost in the mall, and spend your afternoon shopping, or sit down in one of the many cafes to enjoy the Dubai Fountain shows. You can also visit the top of the Khalifa tower. Otherwise you can also have cheese and wine at cafe and restaurant Atmosphere, on the 122nd floor and 442 meters high. The prices might be also high, but the view is certainly worth it. The more affordable option is to go and relax in the neighboring Burj Khalifa park, to rest a bit before you go explore the city’s nightlife.
Join us on an exciting trip around Dubai, between the old traditional markets and the tallest skyscrapers
Spend 48 hours with us in Dubai, one of the most exciting cities in the Arab world.
Dubai is a city offering countless bars, restaurants, and night clubs. You might find it difficult to choose what to do, but we would recommend going for a little break at the hotel (you can take a taxi, it is not very expensive). Put on some elegant clothes and go to Dubai International Financial Center. Don’t worry it is not time to do any financial transactions, or check the stock market. It is time for fun and music. You can start by going to Indie where you can have some Sangria Dandy with some Edamame while listening to live music.
You can then go to the other side and visit Zuma, an expensive Japanese restaurants known for its amazing food, and great Sake. But then it is probably time to dance a little to music played by some of the best DJs.
There is no time to sleep too much, you are here for only 48 hours after all. Your visit to Dubai is not complete without going to the desert. Here as well you will have too many options. You can go for a safari with some 4x4s, or take a Quad with a guide around the sand dunes for more adrenaline and adventure. However, we would recommend the unique experience of going on horseback for an hour and a half around the desert. Even if you have never ridden a horse before in your life, head to The Farm, an oasis in the middle of the desert. It will seem like you are in a different city. Here, between the trees, the flowers, the wood and the artificial creek, you can have delicious organic food.
If you are a fan of surfing, you could go to Kite beach, either to enjoy some surfing or to relax on the beach and enjoy the sun and wind (watch out, in Summer it is closed). The day on the beach is not complete without some juice or ice cream from one of the many kiosks across the beach. You can have some frozen banana from Wanna Banana or some sugar cane juice from Mr. Sugar Cane. And if you feel hungry and want to have the best burger in town, check out Salt.
The beach will be your companion on this second day, but this time we will go to the other side of town, to the Dubai Marina, and more precisely to the The Jetty Lounge, to enjoy a glass of white wine while watching the sunset while looking at the artificial Palm Island and the famous Atlantis hotel.
You might want to go dance and spend the night at the neighboring Barasti for guaranteed loud music and a variety of beers. And do not hesitate to come back again for more adventures and experiences, because the city still has plenty to offer!