From the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, to the man-made World archipelago; when Dubai does something it does it big. And that’s just one reason why the United Arab Emmirate is made for large group trips. Here are a few more of the best sights in Dubai for groups…
Burj Khalifa: Travel by high-speed lift to the top of the world, literally, as this is the tallest building in the world at 828m. There are observation decks on the 124th and 148th floors, as well as a restaurant/bar on the 122nd. There is a variety of tour options for groups.
Dhow cruise: An early morning cruise on a traditional dhow on Dubai Creek is a great way to appreciate the charming contrast between old and new that Dubai offers as the sails flicker in the wind and skyscrapers gleam all around. You can organise a charter, join a guided tour or just hop on one of the public ferry boats that crisscross the creek.
Shopping: Dubai is the ‘Shopping Capital of the Middle East’ and a top-class retail destination with no sales tax. Opportunities are largely divided into two main types – the old souks in Deira and Bur Dubai, and the glossy new shopping malls that have sprung up across the city. The airport also boasts superb opportunities for a spree.
Pictured: The Burj al Arab hotel, a feature of Dubai’s skyline.
Food and drink
Quality and choice are the culinary bywords in Dubai – here groups can feast on cuisines from all over the world, everywhere from little food stalls serving simple curries, through to fine dining restaurants offering the finest of Argentinean beef.
Fresh local seafood from the Persian Gulf is a treat that many visitors never think of trying. There have been issues with over-fishing in recent years, but when it is available try the hammour, a local fish delicious when simply grilled with garlic.
Being a Muslim country there are controls on the sale and consumption of alcohol. Dubai is not as strict as many places in the region, though, with a range of alcohol on offer in many hotels, bars and restaurants.
Live like a local
Locals looking for a change of scene (and cooler temperatures) at weekends head for the Al Hajar Mountains. These rugged, arid mountains spectacularly separate Dubai from neighbouring Oman. As well as 4X4 drives around the snaking mountain trails and wadis (water holes) there are hiking trails and a few dining options that help make a day of it. There are a few hotels here too that locals use for overnight escapes.
Pictured: Dubai creek.
Melia Dubai: Gloriously luxurious, this was the first Spanish owned five star hotel in the Middle East. Its Presidential Suite – one of the largest suites in Dubai – sets the tone.
The Sofitel: This is one of the best value luxury hotels out at Jumeirah Beach, with bedrooms spread across 32 floors, five restaurants on site and a sea view swimming pool.
The Dream Palace Hotel: A modest three star hotel in Deira, ideal for groups wanting to be part of the city centre action rather than be stuck out at the beach.
Best for groups
Head out into the Dubai deserts for a spot of dune bashing in a 4X4 vehicle with Arabian Adventures who run regular adrenaline pumping safaris through the shifting sands beyond the city. This is not a ride for
Designed by a Parisian company, the Bateaux-Mouches dinner cruise craft will look familair to anyone who has visited Paris. The floor-to-ceiling window format works well in Dubai, allowing diners a sweeping panorama of the evening city skyline as it sparkles across the Bur Dubai and Deira flanks of the lifeblood creek.
Groups can take a step back in time at Al Fahidi Historic District, with its traditional architecture, including examples of the old wind towers
(a form of early air conditioning) that you used to find all over Dubai. There are also craft shops and art galleries to sift through en route.
Journey Time: 7 hours London-Dubai.
Best time to go: Late autumn and early spring are the best times to visit before the searing heat of summer kicks in. Winter can be a little chillier than you may expect.
For more information visit www.visitdubai.com.