A complete guide in few words.
Get ready for Dubai!
Emirates. An aircraft that puts most US American flights to shame. They treat you like gold, even if you're not in first or business class. Fly this aircraft to over 100 world-wide destinations.
I flew Emirates from JFK directly to Dubai. It was about a 12-ish hour flight, but flying out at 11 p.m. (and after a glass of vino) helps pass the time...that is if you can sleep on a flight. But with individual tvs on your seats to watch an abundant amount of movies, television shows, listen to music or email/text from the sky...you can keep yourself pretty busy.
Oh did I mention you're fed about every hour or two and cocktails are complimentary! To find out more information, visit www.emirates.com.
A modern environment that doesn't feel real at times. I was a little intimidated to fly over by myself (before meeting up with Mr. Z) as I didn't know what to expect. I was fretting prior to the trip on making sure I had conservative clothes and wouldn't offend anyone or its culture.
Ladies - continue reading for suggestions/tips on clothing and what to pack below.
Be sure to remember a few things before going...you are not in America so respect the Muslim country.
No intoxication, no PDA and dress conservatively.
Alcohol isn't served in a lot of the restaurants, especially during Ramadan, the holiest of months in the Islamic calendar. So, if you are coming outside of that month, pick up a couple bottles of your favorite adult beverage from the duty-free store at the airport. Alcohol can be found in most hotel restaurants. If you stay where we did, you may want to bring your own wine opener, as there is only one in the entire hotel/restaurant.
PLACES TO STAY
The Flora Grand Hotel, Dubai
Mr. Z and I stayed a little outside of the main area, near Diera City Centre which was only about a 5-min cab ride to the Dubai Mall! Considered a 4-star hotel, the Flora Grand Hotel on Al Rigga Road was perfect. The hotel picked me up from the airport (Mr. Z was delayed in another foreign country) and checked me right in, while offering a refreshing juice beverage upon arrival. The room (suite) was clean and very spacious. Amenties included a pool on the rooftop (Dubai was pretty warm in February), a spa and an exercise facility. If you don't want to take a cab, the metro station is only a 2-3 minute walk from the hotel.
Room Service. :) I was tired and a little timid to venture out of the hotel my first afternoon before Mr. Z arrived so when all else fails, order room service (veggie sandwich aka delish cucumbers with french fries and a Coca Cola Light!)
On our first night we ate Egyptian food and Mr. Z did a good job ordering a variety of dishes to try even not knowing what some of them were. I can't even remember what was all that we ordered, but it was pretty good.
Our second night was spent in Abu Dhabi and we ate dinner at the Tiara which was the restaurant on the top level of this space-needle type of building that spun around at a snails pace, similar to the one in Seattle. Hummus it was (I think we ate this at every meal) along with salads and fish. The food was not that great there.
*Tip: Go for the view, enjoy a coffee at the coffee shop a few floors down and save your money for dinner somewhere else. They also do not serve wine here.
There are restaurants all along the roads and cafes are every where! Of course I had to take a picture of the COLUMBUS CAFE inside the Mall of the Emirates. Columbus meets Dubai.
On our third night, we had a FABULOUS dinner at the Address. It was a trifeca as we like to say. We were craving three things: hummus (go figure), sushi and lamb. They had all and we (or maybe I) capped it with a nice glass or two of vino.
Prior to dinner, which I'll get into below, Mr. Z suprised me with a trip to "At the Top" which was an AMAZING sight to see...a sight of all of Dubai from the tallest building in the world, the Burj Kalifa (picture). After lots of photos, my sense of being scared of heights almost going away and over an incredible windy view, we headed back down the fastest elevator I've ever been on and had a caffeinated beverage at The Social House. Nice place to stop and take in the view.
When our reservations were ready (another surprise) we headed into the Address to the Cigar Lounge for a cocktail and a cigar for Mr. Z and watched the lights of downtown Dubai brighten up the sky.
It was breathtaking.
Conservative, conservative, conservative -- Ladies, think scarves to cover your shoulders, long skirts (or at least to your knees) or longer shorts/capris. Although, I will say you're completely fine in your hotel, but just be respectful...this isn't Vegas. You can wear bikinis at your hotel pool, but cover up more if you're walking on the public beach.
NEARBY EMIRATES TO VISIT
We took a bus (2-hr ride) to Abu Dhabi our second day, which was beautiful and in about 3-5 years will be right up there with Dubai. I loved seeing the modern skyscrapers, walking along the corniche/boardwalk and wondering aimlessly around the Emirates Palace of Abu Dhabi.
Mr. Z. visited here his first go around, so I can't comment on this. But all I know is that this will be visited for Round two! I believe it is only about 30 minutes away and he got to ride all over the sand dunes on sand buggies and the area was loaded with entertainment, camel rides, etc.
Lucky for us (although I didn't partake) we visited Dubai during the Biggest Shopping Festival of the year. A whole month full of sales, sales and sales at the malls. It brings in visitors from all over the world to purchase handbags, fabrics, shoes and more at a great rate in this lavish country.
We went to the Mall of the Emirates the first night and the Dubai Mall on our last night. That afternoon we also saw "Mission Impossible 4" which had a scene filmed there, as you know. It was very cool to see the real thing after watching the movie! I would also recommend visiting The Gold Souk which we didn't make it to, but you may have caught a glimpse of Kim Kardashian visiting it on her show!
All in all, this was ONE amazing trip that I will never forget. It's definitely on our list to go back and visit other attractions for Round Two (three for Mr. Z).
Eventing off on a jet plane,
Travel tip shared by Ashley Curl