Must do’s Dubai
1. Miracle Garden:
The Miracle Garden is the most instagrammable place in Dubai right now. No wonder, all these beautifully arranged, colorful flowers are worth a visit. What you should know about this place is that you sould go in the morning around 11am. This is the time when the park is less crowded. Also make sure that you catch the stunning view above the whole garden as well as check out the „Heart-shaped arc“! It can be a little tricky to get a perfect shot there because of the amount of people passing by. But when you don’t go on crowded days and avoid the afternoon time you will be on the safe side! You can buy the tickets at the entrance.
2. On Top of the Burj Khalifa:
This was propably one of the most exciting days! When I first traveled to Dubai 8 years ago, the highest building in the world was just opened and sadly I could not go on top of the Burj Khalifa. But now I did it and I have to say that even if the tickets are not that cheap and waiting lines are long, you definitely shouldn’t miss this adventure. You have to plan maybe around 30minutes to come to the elevator and once you are in it takes less than 60 seconds to be lifted to the 124th floor! You can either stay inside or even go out to a little terrace to enjoy the breathtaking view over Dubai! Catch the right moment and take a seat right next to the window and I will assure you, this will be one of your most beautiful pictures you took on the whole journey! You should book the tickets online in advance (during the high season the tickets can be quickly sold out).
3. Atlantis The Palm
If you are looking for a mermaids castle you should go to the Atlantis Hotel on the Palm! The pink hotel with its unique disney-castle-like shape has a lot to offer. Starting with a huge waterpark coming to the beautiful beaches and underwater restaurants. Since the hotel is quite busy and there are a lot of people and tourists running around I would not recommend it for your stay. However a daytrip to Atlantis is totally worth it.
Secret tip: Actually to see the hotel you must be a guest or have a reservation for any of the restaurants – otherwise you will only be able to visit the shopping and waterpark area. Therefore make sure to book a table for one of the restaurants or beach clubs to have no struggle to get in! (There are two entrances/ You can only enter the main entrance with your booking or reservation only)
4. Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is the biggest shopping mall in the world! It even has an ice-skating platform and a huge aquarium. There are so many shops to explore but my favorite ones where the little souks on the lower floor. They had such beautiful oriental jewelry! The mall can be quite busy but you shouldn’t go on New Year’s Eve because getting a taxi back to your hotel can be a nightmare. Haha trust me I made the experience.
5. The Dubai Aquarium
The Dubai Aquarium is located directly in the Dubai Mall and you can enter the Aquarium from there. You can book your tickets online or buy them in the mall. I must admit that I did not really like this tour because it was quite busy and taking pictures in the Aquarium was horrible haha. If you want to have a „touch-the-sea-picture“ you should check out the Aquarium in the Atlantis Hotel. There are less people and of course tourists since you need to have a reservation. All in all I wouldn’t do the Dubai Aquarium again.
6. Jumeirah Beach
Jumeirah Beach is actually my favorite beach in Dubai! You can enter the beach from all the Jumeirah Hotels. From here you have the perfect view to the Burj Al Arab! If you look a little more on the left you will recognize the Atlantis hotel. When you are already here you should go on a little boat cruse though the Madinat Jumeirah Hotel‘s own channel!
Must-do‘s in Abu Dhabi
1. Scheich Zaiyd Mosque
Since we only went to a desert hotel in Abu Dhabi I actually didn’t get to see the city itself. But when we were driving down to the desert resort, I wanted to stop by the Scheich Zaiyd Mosque. And I tell you, this is for sure one of the highlights in Abu Dhabi! The beautiful white/gold mosque is one of the biggest ones in the world. If you want to go make sure to wear long pants and no transparent clothing of course. If you have a Sary you can already wear it – if you don’t have one you will receive one at the entrance. To walk through the mosque women have to wear the Sary, cover their hair and be barefoot. Take your camera with you and take the whitest picture ever
2. A trip into the Abu Dhabi desert
I am so glad that we booked 3 nights in the desert! Since I have never been to the desert this was a really special experience for me. The desert in Abu Dhabi is just incredible. Red sand overloarded! There are so many activities you can do – for example camel riding, sand boarding, sunset yoga and many more. My biggest highlight was the horseback ride into the sunset! Oh my gosh this was just sooo amazing! The light and the colors of the scenery just looked uneal! I always wanted to go horseback riding on the beach or in the desert. Luckily we went to the right hotel at the right time and I was able to make my dream come true. The horses are only in the desert during wintertime. Otherwise it would be too hot. I also asked in the hotel if I could take a picture with a camel and fortunately they drove me down to the camel place and I got some pictures with these cuties too!
The hotels we stayed in:
1. Four Seasons, Financial District (stay: 1 night)
We started our journey in the Four Seasons which is located in the Financial District. Why we chose this hotel? We wanted to have a view above the whole city and a direct view to the Burj Khalifa for the NYE. To celebrate into the new year they arranged a flowergarden on the rooftop which was incredible! The Dj was playing the perfect NYE music and our 17 dishes menu was delicious. Unfortunately there were no fireworks at the Burj Khalifa this year. But instead they planned something new and special – a laser show!! We had a great night there and started calmly into the new year. But since the hotel was more for business men, and not so vacation-like, we decided to change the hotel.
2. Address Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (stay: 3 nights)
So after the Four Seasons we stayed at the Address Boulevard in Downtown Dubai. The hotel is super new it just opened some months ago. I totally recommend this hotel if you want to make a full downtown experience! The hotel is directly connected to the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa is not far, too. But besides its centrality, the hotel has a lot to offer. First of all the rooms are so beautiful. The interior is totally my style, everything shines in the brightes white. Moreover the whole hotel is beautifully decorated and for christmas time they put the cutest christmas trees and nutcracker – all in white – in the entrance hall. When you enter one of the three terraces you will always have an incredible view to the Burj Khalifa. The pool area, whith its infinity pool is breathtaking. Of course the food is more than perfect!
3. Palazzo Versace, Dubai Greek (4 nights)
When entering our next hotel I was quite impressed. Already the entrance looked like a real Palace. The most beautiful mosaic on the floor and an interior that was more than well-designed. From the glasses in the hotel room to the hotels shampoo, the pillows, curtains and the plates at the restaurants. Everything was made by Versace. The pool looked incredible, too, but unfortunately it was still a little bit to chilly to swim. One of my favorite places in the hotel was the breakfast buffet. They just had such a wide selection! The hotel walls were covered with framed Versace illustrations or vintage Versace scarves. And oh my god, I don’t even have to tell you about the amazing rooms! One evening we ate at the Vanitas, which is one of the best restaurants in the hotel. The food was truly delicious and the whole atmosphere was mystical. What a great candlelight dinner!
Anyway the two negative comments I have to make are about the not so friendly service and the location. Speaking of the service I have to admit that they are very bad organized – will it be the breakfast where you ordered a coffee and it is not coming for ages so you have to remind them again. If you are asking for a special birthday surprise they don‘t really put effort in it. A day before my dad‘s birthday I ordered a little surprise for the breakfast table but they told me that they don’t do this in the morning. However, I got to order the surprise to the room. Then I double checked it on the reception and it was delivered with an hour of delay… And the surprise we got was not really worth waiting for it. Just a little cake, of course branded with the Versace logo, and it was not even nicely decorated and there was not a single candle on it…
Also the location of the hotel is quite far from the center and the beaches.
Anyway this is criticism on a high level and the hotel was still a stay worth it!
4. Anantara, Qasr Al Sarab
Okay, now we are coming to my favorite place! The Anantara Desert Resort! This was such a beautiful place. Waking up to a view that is unforgettable, having dinner inbetween the sand dunes and enjoying many once-in-a-lifetime-experiences. The rooms had quite an oriental touch as well as the whole resort. The Anantara Resort has different restaurants so you will for sure find a wide variety of delicious food. Also, the pool area is very big and you can even enjoy a cool cocktail on the pool bar! The drive down to the resort is a little tricky so make sure you check your route because getting lost in the mittle of the desert can be exhausting, especially when it gets dark
I hope that I will be back there soon! This was such a perfect ending for our trip! And the hoseback riding was of course my top 1 experience! Clean rooms and perfect service!
5. Jumeirah Al Naseem, Jumeirah Beach
Before I was heading back to Florence, we decided to drive back to Dubai one day before because the route from the Abu Dhabi desert was a little too long. But I am glad that we still got to see this beautiful hotel. The Jumeirah Al Naseem is the newest hotel of the Jumeirah collection. When you stay there you can visit all the other hotels for breakfast, dinner or just to explore. Even if I only spend one short night there I will for sure come back!
So guys here is all the advice I can give you for your travel to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. For sure, there are many more incredible places you can explore so let me know if you have any recommendations for my next trip to Dubai/ Abu Dhabi!!
Can’t wait to be back there – and I tell you it will be sooner as you think Stay tuned!