Are you intrigued by the allure of a bustling metropolis?
Dubai, a city of extremes nestled between the sea and desert, rises from the mist with its towering structures reaching towards the gentle winter sun. It boasts an impressive collection of architectural wonders, playful competition, a rich Persian heritage, over 10,000 restaurants, 200 diverse communities, and a population of 3.5 million people. You’ll find yourself captivated by the dazzling cityscape and its ability to blend modernity with traditional values. Marhaba, welcome! The city’s cooler temperatures until March, ranging from 20° to 25°, along with the sea at 22°, some fog, a few showers, and plenty of sunshine, make it an ideal time for sightseeing and dining al fresco.
Let’s dive into 48 Hours in Dubai : Ultimate Guide For Perfect, Adventurous Weekend:
The districts to be discovered extend over about forty km. If you choose to rent a car , get ready for a real gym between motorway junctions, car parks and speed cameras, master your GPS perfectly, and never drink a gram of alcohol under penalty of immediate prison.
Publicly owned, the famous red-roofed taxis operate cheaply . You will find them everywhere, and can also book them via the S’hail app. Support approx. $1 + 50 cents per km, airport surcharge $8.
The metro system in Dubai is both practical and safe, with automated trains running on the red line that connects the airport to the modern districts along the gulf. Meanwhile, the green line wraps around the arm of the Creek, providing access to the historic districts. For convenient navigation, download the Wojhati app which offers geolocation services, similar to the tools provided by RATP. Additionally, the app includes the timetables for all transport authorities, including dhows and water taxis. Magnetic tickets are available in Red, Silver, and Gold cards.
If you’re short on time, the double-decker BigBus offers a 2 hour and 20-minute circuit with commentary in many languages.
It’s important to note that weekends, from Thursday evening to Saturday evening, tend to be crowded, so reservations are recommended for dinners and outings.
Private medical emergencies: 800-362867
What to see
The Palm Fountain
- At The Point, located at the end of The Palm and against the stunning backdrop of Atlantis, you can witness the world’s largest fountain which has recently been Guinness certified. The fountain covers an area of 7,300 square meters and is equipped with 3,000 colored diodes. The jets dance to music and can reach up to 105 meters in height. This impressive display occurs every 30 minutes from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and until 11:30 p.m. on weekends. It’s a perfect opportunity to enjoy a leisurely stroll in the cool weather, with approximately 40 different brands to choose from for some window shopping and dining options.
- For more water-based entertainment, don’t miss the indoor show La Perle at Habtoor City, which pays tribute to the Emirates and is created by Belgian Franco Dragone, the former director of Cirque du Soleil and creator of Paris Merveilles at the Lido.
- End your night with a panoramic view of the city from Babiole at Hilton .
Great dining experience
If you visit the modern city’s strategically located aerial café Zeta, you can enjoy an amazing view from its half-moon terrace. Behind you, there is a tower that looks like a stepped pyramid, and in front of you, there is a lake with fountains and the Dubai Mall, which has 6,000 projectors at the base of the 828-meter Burj Khalifa. The view is as if you’re standing at a height of 2.5 Eiffel Towers.
People go to this place not so much for the food, but for the amazing view. You can see the famous landmarks and the impressive display of lights at night. It’s a great place to visit if you want to experience the beauty of the city from a unique perspective.
It is essential to make a reservation for this café, which is open from 5 p.m. to midnight, and until 2 a.m. on weekends. Expect to pay around $50. The café is located in downtown Dubai Mall, and you can find more info and reserve here.
Park Hyatt Dubai
This remarkable palace stands alone in the city, combining Moorish and Andalusian architecture with blue domes, pristine white walls, a luxurious pool fit for a sultan, and spa treatments from Anne Semonin. Offering a haven of understated elegance for aesthetes, it is a reminder of Dubai’s low-rise past. The Hyatt has barely over 200 spacious rooms and suites, some with views of the yacht club. Don’t miss the opportunity to dine at the exquisite Noépe restaurant, enjoying the alfresco.
From $400. Park Hyatt, Dubai
DAY 1: A LITTLE HISTORY
- If you’ve landed in the morning and want to grab breakfast, consider dropping off your bags at the hotel and heading to Eggspectation. It’s sure to satisfy even the heartiest of appetites with dishes like mushroom-pepper-potato omelettes and poached eggs Benedict. Enjoy your meal on the pleasant terrace located near the Hilton on JBR, close to the public beach.
- If you’re looking for a less calorie-dense option, check out Choix, a café-pâtisserie at the Intercontinental in the Festival City mall that offers delicious treats from the famous chef Pierre Gagnaire.
- During your historical exploration along the Creek, where Bani Yas Bedouins settled in 1833, Dubai will take on a new face and dazzle you with fireworks.
- To get to Al Shindagha museum (open from 10 am to 8 pm), take the green metro to Al Ghubaiba or a taxi depending on your hotel location. Located close to the souks and the Bastakiya district, this museum offers a diverse cultural experience.
- Once you are better informed about Dubai’s founding chronicle and fragrant traditions, visit the Saruq Al-Hadid Archaeological Museum, located closely in a beautifully renovated sheikh’s residence (open Sunday to Wednesday from 8 am to 8 pm, and until 2 pm on Thursdays and Saturdays). This museum hides national treasures, including 12,000 artifacts unearthed during excavations of a recently discovered Iron Age site in the heart of the Dubai desert.
- As you stroll through the textile market adorned with Chinese-inspired decorations, you can reach Mazmi Casa within 15 minutes, delightful Italo-Emirati house situated on the banks of the Creek and offering scrumptious pastries, scrambled eggs, and saffron ice cream. Additionally, there are three rooms designed specifically for writer-travelers.
- A mere 10-minute walk away, you’ll find the Arabian Tee House located on the outskirts of the Bastakiya museum district. Originally a tribute to Iranian traders who came from Bastak, the Tee House offers skewers and Indo-Arabian cuisine under an arbor.
- If you continue on for another 200 meters through the ancient alleyways, you’ll find the XVA Art Hotel & Café. This place, once the home of a local wealthy individual, has been transformed into a hotel and art gallery. You can enjoy your meals in the patio and, once again, be tempted by the alluring Oriental-themed rooms.
- Stroll 30 minutes in the pedestrian maze of “Basta” , which the authorities prefer to call Al Fahidi, from workshops to micro-museums, at the foot of the wind towers and to the remains of the old wall belt of old Dubai.
- Later it’s time to visit: Al Seef , a leisure area, its restaurants and shops.
- Don’t miss Museum of illusions which will shake up our spatio-temporal landmarks.
- Then experience the Jameel Arts Center in Al Jadaf (daily except Tuesday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and 8 p.m. Thu/Fri) opens its cubic volumes to the great signatures of Arab contemporary art . The opportunity to inspire great breaths of creative air over the exhibitions, monumental and enigmatic works outdoors, and to admire the garden of deserts created by the Swiss Anouk Voge.
- Treat yourself to a bath of light and energy: head towards the vibrant surroundings of the Burj Khalifa,
- keep a “business card” handy for a stop at the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Center). Focus on the luminous fountains and tower.
- and head to the Souk Al Bahar floor where you’ll find the Milanese restaurant, Bice Mare, the Lebanese eatery, Abd El Wahab, and the Franco-Oriental restaurant, Karma Kafé, owned by the Buddha Bar team.
- Two kilometers behind the Burj, is the surprisingly stylish DIFC business block with its art galleries. No more tourists sucking on ice cream, we’re in Business class. Spoilt for choice: LPM, an augmented clone of La Petite Maison in Nice, Atelier Robuchon in Paris, Cirque and Marea in New York, Cipriani in Venice.
- To embrace the night in panoramic, the Luna Sky Bar of the Four Seasons, pulsates with Minuty until 3am.
DAY 2: BEACH AND STRONG SENSATIONS
- Take a taxi to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, a 1997 vintage serpentine pyramid made of glass and concrete. Once it stood alone facing the Gulf and the widest beach around, but today it is your gateway to the city’s most stunning leisure scenery: right opposite is the Burj Al Arab, towering like the Eiffel Tower, a priapic structure clad in marble and gold.
- Smile at the guards, head to the beach, let the teenagers frolic in the Wild Wadi water park’s slides, and head left along Villa Beach towards the castaway Bait Al Bahar Royal Villas.
- Passing under the bridge, you enter another architectural school, Mozarabic adventure of the Al Naseem, Mina A’Salam, Al Qasr, and Dar Al Masyaf quartet, a 1000-room and villa lake complex.
- There are a thousand things to see and do -you can visit Summersalt Beach Club or other beaches accessible with the Beach Pass.
- Then visit the “beautiful-and-fake” Souk Madinat (10am-11pm), the temple of chic decor items.
- Either we stick to the sand, and the Greek beach restaurant Shimmers is ideal
- or we choose the tables near the souk and hotels: the delicious Tuscan restaurant Il Borro , run by two former members of the Gordon Ramsay brigade
- or the Tahitian Trader Vic’s Palm Jumeirah, the local restaurant of the brand created in 1936 in California by the Frenchman Victor Bergeron, a certified inventor of the Mai Tai cocktail and an expert in wood-fired smoked meats.
Ready for the adventurous part?
- If you prefer a more peaceful experience, you can still take a taxi and reach the Emirates Golf Club in 15 minutes, where you can relax and eat surrounded by greenery at the Carine.
Otherwise there are several options for exciting time depending on the weather and your mood.
- How about a jet-ski ride with Searide, guided by the six-time world champion, Frenchman Steven Dauliach, between the coast and the Palm?
- Or a helicopter ride?
- or maybe luxurious private trip on a speedboat or a mini-cruise on a yacht’s deck?
We had planned to have a fun night out, and now there are many great places to go to in Dubai. Some of these places are trendy and perfect for posting on social media, but they can be quite crowded, especially on weekends between Thursday evening and Sunday morning. So, it’s important to take a taxi and avoid any trouble after 2am, or you might end up in jail.
At night, Dubai’s skyscrapers light up and create a stunning kaleidoscope effect. It’s a great time to explore the city and experience its glamorous side.
- One of the best places to visit is the Four Seasons Resort at Jumeirah Beach, which offers a luxurious beach club called Nammos that originated in Mykonos.
- Another great spot is the Al Sufouh / Marina area, which is located near the Palm. There, you can find famous restaurants like Celebrities and the Beach Grill at the One & Only Royal Mirage.
- The Royal Meridien Beach Resort also offers great dining options, such as the Indya restaurant by renowned chef Vineet Bhatia. These restaurants are located in some of the biggest hotel gardens in the city.
- If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, the Westin Mina Seyahi offers a fun pizza place called Bussola,
- Meridien Mina Seyahi has the Fish Beach Taverna, a great outdoor dining option.
- Finally, to end your night, you can go to the Siddhartha Lounge by Buddha Bar, which is known for its great music and French-inspired ambiance.
- For the most adventurous, there is also the Barasti, a pirate-themed pub with a relaxed outdoor setting, open from 9 AM to 2 AM.
WHERE TO EAT AND HAVE A DRINK
Mazmi House Al Fahidi Tel. : +971 4282 7252
Arabian Tea House. Al Fahidi. Tél. : 971 4353 5071
XVA Cafe . Al Fahidi. Such. : +971 4353 5383
Bice Mare . Souk Al Bahar. Tel. : +971 4423 0982
Abdel Wahab . Souk Al Bahar. Tel. : +971 4423 0988
Karma Cafe . Souk Al Bahar. Tel. : +971 58 592 7107
LPM. Dubai International Financial Center. Tél. : + 971 4439 0505
Robuchon workshop . Dubai International Financial Center. Such. : +971 4297 7729
The Circus . Dubai International Financial Center. Such. : +971 4372 2323
the sea Dubai International Financial Center. Goal. : +971 4583 6366
Cipriani. Dubai International Financial Center. Tél. : +971 4347 0003
The Canteen of the Faubourg . Such. : +971 4352 7105
Moon Sky Bar . Phone: +971 4506 0300
Summersalt Beach Club . Jumeirah Al Naseem. tel. : +971 4366 8888
Shimmers . Madinat Jumeirah. Such. : +971 4366 8888
Il Borro . Jumeirah Al Naseem. Such. : +971 4275 2555
Folly . Madinat Jumeirah. Tel. : +971 4430 8535
Trader Vic’s . Phone: +971 4368 6559
Carine. Emirates Golf Club. Such. : +971 4417 9885
Nammos . Four Seasons Resort. Such. : +971 4340 1002
Green . Such. : +971 4333 8025
Celebrities. One&Only Royal Mirage. Tél. : +971 4 399 9999
Beach Grill. One&Only Royal Mirage. Tél. : +971 4 399 9999
India . By Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa. Tel. : +971 4316 5550
Bussola . The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina. Phone: +971 4511 7373
Fish Beach Tavern . Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina. Tail. : +971 4511 7373
Siddharta Lounge . Tel. : +971 4317 6000
Barasti . Le Meridien Mina Syahi Beach Resort & Marina. Tel. : +971 4318 1313
WHERE TO SLEEP
Old-school Riviera Palace, The Ritz-Carlton . Such. : +971 4399 4000
Beach with a view of the Burj Al Arab, Mina A’Salam . Such. : +971 4366 8888
Ocean Deluxe Suite in tropical frame, Dar Al Masyaf . Phone: +971 4366 8888
Full frame on the Burj Khalifa, Palace Downtown . Such. :+971 4428 7888
For the Golf View on the greens, Address Montgomerie . Such. : +971 4390 5600
The Exellent Sea View at the heart of the party, The Westin Mina Seyahi. Such. : +971 4399 4141
Souk Al Bahar : to leave with a Lego Burj Khalifa, a beautiful Gallery One photo.