Europe bound for your honeymoon? Take a rest en-route and enjoy a luxe layover in Dubai. This Middle Eastern hub is a haven for glamorous expats, chic Emirati locals and global tourists alike.
Smack bang in the middle of the desert, Dubai rises from the sand dunes like a concrete oasis; a veritable feast of jaw-dropping towers and daring architecture. Nearly skimming the stratosphere at 160 storeys high, the Burj Khalifa is Dubai’s crowning glory – and needs to be seen to be believed!
If you’re honeymooning between October and mid May, Dubai is the perfect way to break up the journey to or from your European destination. Just be mindful that during the summer months, this desert destination can reach sweltering peak temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius so it’s less desirable to visit during these times.
Rove Hotel Downtown
Overall, Dubai is a pretty pricey place to visit, so it will come as no surprise that accommodation is also expensive. For a budget savvy option, check into the Rove Downtown hotel – a hipster haven with super friendly staff and lofty interiors, just a few minutes walk from The Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa.
The foyer and relaxed lounge area is very Middle East meets Manhattan – with eclectic art installations, Emirates-inspired wall art, device charging stations, a love lock wall and bean bag gaming zone.
Rooms are equipped with all the home-away-from-home necessities – luxe body products, fluffy towels and comfy beds – the perfect retreat after a day of sightseeing! With a rooftop pool, fitness centre, market and casual café, it’s a great base from which to explore this dynamic city.
Start your day with a leisurely voyage across the bay by booking a stand-up paddleboard session at the luxurious Fairmont The Palm hotel. Comprising five-star luxury situated on the exclusive Palm Jumeirah enclave, this stunning resort is in itself, worth a visit!
Upon arrival in the foyer, mention you would like to use the club facilities and you will be directed to the palm fringed beach, where you can rent a board and venture out into a sheltered bay. Lined with luxurious private beach houses and the Dubai Marina in the distance, this is a scenic way to see some of the famous palm development! Note, it’s best to arrive early in the day for this activity in order to beat the heat.
Lose yourself under the sea
Venture beneath the surface to the lost city at The Lost Chambers Aquarium, housed within the extravagant Atlantis the Palm resort. From floor-to-ceiling tanks filled with cruising sharks and stingrays, to crustacean enclosures, seahorses and vividly hued tropical fish, this aquarium is a treasure trove of aquatic life.
Indoor ice skating, stylish souk, cinema, larger-than-life aquarium and more than 1,200 stores – The Dubai Mall is several storeys of sartorial and entertainment bliss. You can easily spend several hours browsing the stores brimming with mens, womens and kids clothing, homewares, jewellery, toys and accessories. From haute to high street – you’re bound to find some new honeymoon pieces here.
Take a lunch stop at one of the many cafes and restaurants onsite, and don’t forget to pop outside to get a great view of the Burj Khalifa! Here, you will also find the extravagant Burj Khalifa fountains, which erupt in a mesmerising display each evening.
Evening safari experience
Hop in to a vintage 1950s Range Rover and prepare for an evening of riding along sweeping sandtracks, spotting unusual wildlife and embracing Emirati culture under the stars. The Heritage Desert Safari by Platinum Heritage tours is an unmissable Dubai experience, and will be a honeymoon highlight you and your love reminisce about in years to come!
Upon arriving at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, you will convoy into the wilderness, pausing for photo stops and to see animals along the way. Next up is a breathtaking falcon show demonstration before you head to the luxurious Bedouin camp, where you can partake in camel rides and henna tattoos, see dynamic Emirati dancing and fire shows and enjoy a sumptuous Middle Eastern feast under a moonlit sky.
In Dubai, brunch isn’t smashed avocado on sourdough, rather a free-flowing champagne and extravagant buffet kind of affair. Come midday on Saturday, Dubai ex pats (and cluey visitors) are rolling up to luxe hotels around the city to indulge in an afternoon of fine wining and dining.
For an epicurean experience to remember, book a table at the luxurious Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City in downtown Dubai. From freshly shucked oysters, to smoked meats and multi-tiered chocolate fountains and epic cheeseboards to bountiful sushi bars, it’s a true food lover’s feast. Be sure to sample the array of Emirati cuisine on offer (think plump olives and rich hummus) and leave plenty of room for the delicate desserts!
Part of the fun in Dubai is to see the spectacular hotels – and Dubai icon Atlantis the Palm, is no exception. Make a post aquarium pit-stop at Platos, a gorgeous Arabian tea salon nestled just off the foyer. Select an exquisite treat from the gleaming cabinet (try the cheesecakes!) and order one of Singapore tea emporium TWG’s famous teas, or a gold leaf topped latte!
For sunset drinks and drone-style views, head to the sky high Uptown Bar at Jumeirah Beach Hotel to catch the last rays of the day and toast to your new married lives! This premium sunset spot is a great way to take in Dubai’s coastline and see the spectacular Burj Al Arab in all her seven star glory. At certain times you will also hear the calls to prayer from the nearby mosques – a very atmospheric experience, and a fitting way to farewell this truly vibrant cosmopolitan city.
All images by Anika Reynolds.
Ms Polka Dot says: Oh, that sunset and the food – one to put on the bucket list!