Dubai Holidays 2019
Dubai is one of the most awesome cities on earth. With its futuristic skyline, dazzling beaches and year-round sunshine appealing to travellers who are looking for something new and exciting.
Located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), this pioneering desert metropolis is becoming a cultural melting pot where old meets new. A place where historic mosques and traditional souk markets sit side by side with luxury shopping malls, world class dining and ambitious architecture.
So, for a city break with a difference, read on to discover our top resorts and hotels in Dubai and our guides to top attractions for couples and family holidays. We can even help you find some of the best and cheapest last minute deals on holidays in Dubai.
Most popular hotels in Dubai
FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai
The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
The Retreat Palm Dubai
The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
Jannah Marina Bay Suites
Dubai Marina, Dubai
Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort and SPA
The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
Dubai City, Dubai
Amwaj Rotana Jumeirah Beach
Jumeirah Beach, Dubai
Atlantis The Palm
The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach
Dubai City, Dubai
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 7h 5m
When to go
(°C) Avg. High Temp
Best beaches in Dubai
You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to lazing on the sands in sizzling weather but our favourites for beach holidays and waterfront fun in Dubai include:
- Jumeirah Public Beach - this beach boasts white sands and palm trees and offers sun lounger rental. Other facilities are springing up with plenty of food and coffee concessions making this an awesome spot to spend the whole day. The Amwaj Rotana Jumeirah Beach is a great hotel option if you want to be close to the beach and a number of other attractions.
- Kite Beach - popular with kite surfers and other waters sport enthusiasts but also a good spot for quiet morning walks and uncrowded sunsets.
- The coved Al Mamzar Beach is ideal for families, set in a relatively shallow and sheltered lagoon rather than the coast of the Persian Gulf proper.
- The Dubai Marina is a vibrant home for many bars, restaurants, impressive yachts and apartments, making it an excellent spot for relaxing and people watching with sea views.
Nightlife in Dubai
There’s so much to do in Dubai when the sun goes down, with a huge selection of bars and clubs catering to every conceivable taste. Many of the beach clubs provide live DJs and music or you can party on high at one of the skyscraper bars.
Ramadan (15th May to 14th of June 2019) is an incredible time for nightlife, as everyone breaks their fast and socialises after dark. Lots of businesses will tend to stay open later during this time. Check out our FAQ for holidays during Ramadan if you want to know more.
Now to address a few things that are different in Dubai compared to the UK.
Can you drink alcohol in Dubai?
It is possible for non-muslim visitors to buy and drink alcohol in licenced venues, but it is strictly illegal to drink or be drunk in public. The minimum age is 21.
Can I smoke in Dubai?
Similar to at home, smoking is banned in most public spaces, especially indoors. Stick to designated areas when you can and be courteous of non-smokers. E-cigarettes and vaping are banned, expect to have any devices confiscated at the airport on arrival.
Dubai for couples
Dubai is an outstanding choice for short getaways or a longer more luxurious holiday for couples and romantics. Though, as Dubai is an Islamic state with very strong cultural attitudes and strictly enforced public decency laws, there are just a few things for lovebirds to know before planning to go to Dubai.
Can you kiss in public?
No, even if you are married.
Can you hold hands in public?
If you are married this is usually ok, but avoiding any public displays of affection is easier than running the risk of causing offence.
Can you hug in public?
Not even if you are married.
Can un-married couple stay together in a hotel?
Technically no, the law against unmarried couples living together, including at a hotel is quite clear. Though hotels do not demand a marriage certificate, only a copy of your passport.
Top attractions in Dubai
As well as the beaches, malls and sky high views, here are some other top tips to help inspire your trip to Dubai:
- Al Bastakyia district -stroll around to get a flavour of the historic city, often overlooked.
- Explore Dubai’s waterways - take a cruise to get a different view of the city.
- Desert tours - take a guided excursion and stargaze, watch wildlife or take an adrenaline fuelled jeep ride on the dunes.
- The Dubai Fountain (the second-largest in the world), has a 150-metre water jet that dances to music in a fabulous sound and light show.
- Burj Khalifa observation deck – Revel in the views from the world’s tallest building.
Eating out in Dubai
Being truly cosmopolitan, you’ll find food from all corners of the globe in Dubai, especially at all inclusive resorts. You’ll also be able to find a range of different types of food to suit all budgets out and about in the city. Some things we recommend you try include:
- Book a table at Amaseena at the Ritz Carlton for more typical middle eastern cuisine, under the stars in Bedouin inspired ‘tents’, with Arabic music and live entertainment thrown in for good measure.
- For seriously posh food with a view go 122 floors and 442 metres up the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, to At.Mosphere. The restaurant here serves unique and original creations based around the very best European cuisine.
- If you really want to eat like a local then try camel meat, Harees (a kind of meaty, wheaty porridge) and Quizi (slow-cooked lamb with nuts and raisins on rice). Emiratis are also big on fish and seafood so be sure to sample what you can.
- For more information and inspiration, read our blog on food in Dubai.
Dubai for families
Family is central to the culture of the UAE so you’ll be warmly welcomed if you are travelling with the young ones. Top things to consider when planning an itinerary for kids of all ages include:
- The Dubai Parks and Resorts complex is home to a Legoland and a Legoland waterpark and the film inspired Motiongate theme park which combines rides and attractions based around Dreamworks and Columbia movies among others.
- The Dubai Mall also has an Aquarium with a 10 million-litre tank full of sharks and rays and 140 species of marine life, with 48-metre glass tunnel that you can walk through.
- Serious adrenaline junkies can go for jeep tours of the desert or try their hand and kite-boarding in the Persian Gulf.
- Quieter family activities include a visit to the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, these natural wetlands are a good place to spot huge flocks of flamingos.
- History buffs should check out the Dubai museum and Al Fahidi Fort.
Culture in Dubai
Culture in Dubai can be summed up as Islamic by religion, with a traditional Arab culture but with a growing tourism industry and globalisation. So, although rules for certain things are incredibly strict, in many areas of life, a more cosmopolitan feel is slowly taking hold.
Here are a few useful pointers to help you blend in:
Is Friday a holiday in Dubai?
Friday is a sacred day for Muslims around the world, centred around the importance of congregational Friday prayers. For this reason, expect Dubai on a Friday to resemble an old-fashioned English Sunday with certain shops and facilities closed for the day and most locals and residents off work.
Is Christmas celebrated in Dubai?
Not officially, but there are Christian churches of various denominations in Dubai and you’ll see Christmas trees at the malls. You’ll certainly not offend anyone for spreading a little Christmas cheer.
Is Sunday a working day in Dubai?
Sunday is the start of the working week, so unlike back in Blighty, you can expect Sunday in Dubai to feel like a Monday in the UK.
Is there a dress code?
Everybody, but especially ladies should dress modestly. Clothing that covers the top of the arms and shoulder and your legs is highly recommended. Underwear should never be visible and swimwear is only for the beach or swimming pool.
How widely is English spoken in Dubai?
Although Arabic is the official language, 75% of the city’s inhabitants are ex-pats, many of them British, so you shouldn’t find yourself in many situations where you can’t make yourself understood.
Frequently asked questions about Dubai
When is the cheapest time to fly to Dubai?
British summer time tends to be the most expensive, as the number of tourists from the UK increases. So, if you are looking for cheaper flights avoid June, July & August. In terms of finding the cheapest flights, this will depend on your airport and airline choice.
As always, we often recommend booking as far ahead in advance as possible to get the best price out of the supply and demand nature of airlines.
How hot is Dubai in December?
The temperature in Dubai in December ranges between 17 and 26, making it very pleasant but by no means cold.
What is the coldest month in Dubai?
December through March are technically the coldest months of the year, with average temperatures in the mid to high twenties.
What is the hottest month in Dubai?
August is typically the hottest month in Dubai, with temperatures nudging above 40c in Dubai, but this is also common in June or July.