Dubai may be filled with sky-high buildings and glamorous shopfronts, but you don't have to have wads of cash to enjoy this desert metropolis.
From shopping malls that have their own ski fields, to the charming old town, Dubai is full of extremes and opposites. Although you may be familiar with seeing glittering fountain shows or stunning images of the Burj Khalifa, you can in fact choose to splurge or save and still enjoy the best this place has to offer.
Where to stay
If you're looking for something special, you can't go past the Renaissance Downtown Hotel. As the name suggests, this hotel is located in the downtown area just a short walk away from The Dubai Mall. With large luxurious suites, you will truly feel like you're a part of the Dubai elite when you stay here. As a bonus, depending on what room you book, you may even get a spectacular view of the Burj Khalifa.
If you still want a touch of luxury but a lower price point, Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens is a four-star hotel located by the marina. With prices starting from $150 (depending on when you book) per night, it's a steal. The rooms are more like an oversized apartment and have a completely separate living room and kitchen - feels like a home away from home.
What to do
If you want a dinner, a show and an adventure, Platinum Heritage Desert Safari should be your first stop. You can choose to venture out into the Dubai desert by camel, vintage land rover or stay for the night. The Heritage Desert Safari is one of their most popular safari options and takes you through the sprawling desert in a vintage land rover. Spot various wildlife, watch the falcon show and then settle into the bedouin for a four-course middle-eastern feast. You can also take a short camel ride before dinner if you feel daring enough. Splurge on this once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Join Dubai's first-ever food tour company Frying Pan Adventures on a gourmet feast. You can choose from a range of different tours to suit every taste, but their classic one is the Middle Eastern Food Pilgrimage. For about 4.5 hours you will be taken on a journey through 10 Arabic and Iranian food tastings. Learn how to spot good quality saffron and the art of making knefah along the way! Certainly one to arrive hungry for. At around $150 per person, this foodie tour is a must-do.
Where to eat
If you find yourself with a rumbling stomach after hours of shopping, duck into Operation Falafel located in The Dubai Mall. You can't go to Dubai and not eat falafel and this place serves them up deliciously crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.
For something a little more up-market, go all out with a reservation at STAY by Yannick Alléno. Located on the famous palm, STAY offers a dreamy dining experience with decadent desserts and exceptional French fine-dining cuisine. The ultimate STAY experience tasting menu offers foie gras and seared seabass to name a few of the star items.
For more information check out Visit Dubai.