‘Anything is possible’ has got to be the catchphrase to sum up holidays in Dubai. From thrill seekers and history buffs, to shopaholics and beach bunnies, there’s something for everyone in this unique playground in the desert. As well as the glamorous, luxurious resorts on offer, a key ingredient of Dubai’s success is the hospitality of its wonderfully friendly people. It’s the place to be pampered, indulged, and spoilt.
Things to do
For water babies large and small
Don’t miss the Aquaventure water park, inside the Atlantis Palm. As you might expect from Dubai, this is not your average water park, everything’s bigger, better and more exciting than usual! As well as the world’s largest water slide, kilometres of rapids and a lazy river snaking round the entire complex, you can also don a diving helmet and get up close with dolphins, rays, sharks and an abundance of other colourful marine life.
Shop till you drop
Everyone knows Dubai is the ultimate place to shop, and the Dubai Mall is just the place to spend a few hours if the sun’s getting a bit much. Its air-conditioned interior houses stores from just about every fashion brand that you’ve ever heard of, and there are countless other activities to keep even the non-shoppers occupied. You’ll be dazzled by the underwater aquarium, with the world’s largest viewing screen, and kids will never want to leave Sega Republic, a high-adrenaline indoor theme park. As well as a host of interactive video games, there are rides for every type of thrill seeker, from the youngest to the oldest.
Take in the views from the tallest building in the world
Towering above the city’s other skyscrapers, at just over 829m, the Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world and is a true monument to Dubai’s ambition. A visit to the tower by night is an experience not to be missed on your luxury holiday. The elevator whisks you up 124 floors in under 60 seconds to the outdoor observation deck, called ‘At the Top’. From there, you’ll get panoramic views of Dubai’s twinkling lights. Back on the ground, the Mall’s fountain show is another spectacle. Choreographed to music and an accompanying light show, it’s romantic, mesmerising, and absolutely worth a visit.
Where to Stay
There is such a huge range of accommodation options for Dubai holidays but it’s all about finding the one that suits your holiday requirements. The exclusive Palm Jumeirah Island really is a spectacle to behold. Currently the world’s largest artificial island, its trunk, crown and fronds are home to luxury villas owned by A-listers like David Beckham. At its top end is Atlantis, the hotel playground which has become one of the city’s iconic images. Complete with dolphin beach, waterpark and over twenty restaurants, it’s a perfect place for a family to base themselves on a 5 star holiday. Another great option is the Dubai Marina area - home to Dubai’s other iconic building the Burj Al Arab, with its top floor helipad. This is a classy and cosmopolitan area with plenty of things to see and do. Or perhaps choose your base at the quieter end of town in Deira, no less luxurious, but where you’ll find smaller, more independent shops and a chance to experience some real Arabic culture, with its gold souk, traditional coffee shops and the excellent Dubai Museum.
Flight time from the UK (London): Approximately seven hours.
Arrival Airport: ADubai International Airport.
Entry details (for British passport holders): You do not need to obtain a visa before departure as a 30 day visa will be issued on arrival. Passports need at least 6 months validity from your date of entry. Before you depart, check the latest travel advice at www.fco.gov.uk.
Time difference: GMT +4 hours
Currency: United Arab Emirates Dirham.
Language: English and Arabic.
Here to help:
A local Thomas Cook Signature representative will meet you at your arrival airport and direct you to your pre-booked transfer vehicle. If you've booked the VIP Mahaba meet and greet service, you'll be escorted and fast tracked through customs. You will receive a welcome pack containing local information and all contact details. A welcome meeting will be arranged at your hotel and should you need advice during your stay, local representatives will make regular visits to your resort.
Best time to go:
Dubai’s arid subtropical climate means that during the summer (June to September), temperatures can get very hot indeed (up to 45 C), Believe it or not, swimming pools are usually cooled during this time to be more refreshing! So it’s advisable to visit outside of these extremely hot months, with November to March considered the best times to go. You should also consider whether you want to travel during the Holy month of Ramadan, when restaurants may be closed during the day and alcohol restrictions are in place at many of the hotels.