We had the best time in Dubai visiting EAD Living’s own Amy I! Amy and her husband have been living there for a few months now, and so I thought what better excuse to visit a new, awesome country than to go visit a friend? So off to went to Dubai, which was somewhere I had wanted to go since I saw that episode of the Amazing Race (anyone else remember that one? Seriously, you won’t go down a water slide for a chance at a million dollars?! But I digress.).
We went from Chicago to Dubai via Heathrow. It was a total of 17 hours on planes, but we were lucky enough to have a 6 hour layover at Heathrow, and we decided to get a hotel room – such a great choice, after a shower and a 2 hour nap, we felt so much better! Due to all of the time changes, we landed in Dubai around midnight, and got to our hotel, the Al Manzil, around 2am. A good night’s sleep, and we were raring to go the next day! First stop, the Dubai Mall to meet up with Amy and pick up the Big Bus tour.
The bus tour took us on a loop of the main sights and got us acquainted with Dubai. We hopped off to shop at one of the souks and also to take a riverboat. Check out the awesome weather we had – that sky is right out of the camera, folks. No Photoshop needed!
(Even the sidewalks in Dubai are amazing.)
You may recognize this landmark we snapped from the top of the bus – this is the Burj Al Arab (aka the “Sailboat Hotel”).
On our second day, we had tickets to go to the top of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. Well, not the top exactly, but close. The observation deck is the highest round pod on the left in the picture below. If you don’t think it’s *that* tall, have a look at this, which compares the Burj to some of the other tall buildings in the world. It’s crazy how tall this thing is.
Looks fake, doesn’t it? The roof in the bottom left corner of the photo is the top of the Dubai Mall (the largest mall in the world). Our hotel is across that horizontal street, just to the left of the middle. The water is amazing, at night the fountains are choreographed to music, similar to the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
After going to the top of the Burj, we skiied at Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates! Hands down, this was one of my favorite things we did. Snow skiing in the mall? It’s crazy.
I am a big fan of what I fondly call “touristy crap”. This includes not only activities like indoor snow skiing, but also water parks and gigantic shopping malls. :) And let me tell you about this mall. The Dubai Mall has Marks & Spencer (yay!), Laduree, Garrett’s Popcorn, Magnolia’s Bakery, Galleries Lafayette, Bloomingdale’s, you name it, and it has it. It’s freaking awesome.
Speaking of freaking awesome, this is the lobby of the aforementioned Sailboat Hotel. You can only go in if you eat there or stay there, so we decided to take a visit for afternoon tea. View of the hotel from the lobby:
The bar and our awesome scones:
View of Jumeirah Beach from the bar in the Sailboat Hotel:
After tea, we took a drive to the Palm. Yes, those crazy kids in Dubai built islands shaped like a palm tree, and another set of islands in the shape of the world.
I was super excited that Abu Dhabi was close enough to Dubai that we could take a day trip there! We went to see the Emirates Palace Hotel (another so-called 7* hotel) and the Shiekh Zayed Grand Mosque.
The mosque was unbelievable. Not only was the outside stunning, but there were handcut inlaid marble floors, Swarovski chandeliers, and the largest carpet in the world.
Our last adventure in Dubai was an Arabian Desert Safari! I really wanted to ride camels, so we signed up for a nighttime tour that took us dune bashing in 4 Runners, camel riding, and then we enjoyed a dinner in a “bedouin camp”. I use this term loosely, as of course it was super-touristy, but it was still a lot of fun, and the desert at night is so peaceful. The stars are amazing!
On our last full day, we hit the Atlantis resort water park, and I did the “Leap of Faith” slide that chick on the Amazing Race wouldn’t do. Seriously not that scary. :)
So there you have it, our trip to Dubai! I absolutely LOVED Dubai and I would recommend it to anyone, especially those like me who love “touristy crap”. :)