I got the opportunity to go on a sponsored trip to Dubai with a few other bloggers recently, courtesy of the tourism board (@mydubai). I have never seen this part of the world, and have been dying to, so of course, I couldn’t pass it up. Like most people, Dubai strikes me as a cool, modern, and glamorous city, but it turned out to be that and so much more. As soon as I arrived, we hit the ground running and spent a week exploring. Today, I’m sharing my week-long itinerary – and how you can make the most of 5 days in Dubai!
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What to Pack
First things first, it’s important to know that Dubai isn’t like other Arab countries where it’s necessary to cover up. You can basically wear what you want while being mindful of their culture and respecting the habits of the people. I wouldn’t recommend showing too much skin when you’re in public places. I stuck with the usual chic and classic pieces like midi dresses, bermuda shorts, blazers, and a few swimsuits for the beach.
The weather is pleasant around this time so packing should be easy. It’s hot but windy and there’s no humidity – similar to LA. At night it can get cold, so bring a jacket or two.
On Day 1 we, we arrived and stayed at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel courtesy of the Dubai Tourism Board, and I loved everything about it. The rooms were so nice and spacious with unique, clean decor and great views of the city. Not only that but the staff was amazing – and the food options were great too. I was surprised and excited to see that there was a Morimoto sushi inside! However, my favorite was the coffee shop (here), where I drank tons of Arabic coffee.
With only 5 days to explore, we immediately settled in and headed straight to our first stop, the Dubai Frame, which was more massive than I imagined. We went up to the top inside and there’s a part where you can walk across a glass floor. For most people, this is really cool, but since I’m terribly afraid of heights, I couldn’t find the courage to do it. I still loved seeing it though – very cool.
Then, we stopped by the Miracle Gardens, a must-see in Dubai. The flowerbeds and floral sculptures are so beautifully designed – unlike anything I’ve seen before. Don’t forget your camera because you’ll want to take lots of pics!
My first real meal in Dubai was at Al Falamanki, the cutest Lebanese restaurant my friend Reem took us to. I loved the ambiance. The food was so fresh and next level good. I even broke my strict dairy diet for the baklava – no regrets!
Day 2 started bright and early at the Burj Khalifa. You can’t go to Dubai and not see the Burj Khalifa! We took the elevator to the 148th floor and it was insane! This time, I did get close to the edge and caught the most amazing view of the city. Did you know that it’s the highest outdoor viewing platform in the world?
Right after, we got a Helicopter Tour of Dubai. I’ve been on a few helicopter rides, but it’s always exciting and new each time. On this one, I loved seeing the view of the city from above – it was even more impressive! Thanks Fly High Dubai for the great experience!
When it was time for lunch, we ate at the Flamingo Room by Tashas, my favorite restaurant. I just couldn’t get over the decor. It was so incredible with a menu and flavors to match. Then, we ended the day at the Four Seasons Mercury Lounge for drinks – and to hang out. I highly recommend this lounge, which sits at the top of the Four Seasons hotel. The views are breathtakingly good and never get old. I was also very into the upscale vibe.
I got up extra early on Day 3 to do some work at the coffee shop (here) in the Renaissance Downtown Hotel. I already miss this place! And once stores and restaurants started to open, the girls and I decided to go see the Dubai Mall. This is a major attraction not to be missed if you love shopping. There are tons of cafes and even an aquarium! While we were there, they had a Chanel pop up concept store with so many unique bags. I always love seeing the different handbag styles boutiques carry across the world.
Once our shopping excursion was done, it was time to spend a day in the desert. We got our Desert Experience with Platinum Heritage, and I loved every moment. Unlike that hustle city life, the desert is about vastness and tranquility. I got my head wrapped in a scarf for the first time which felt pretty cool, then got to ride vintage Land Rovers across the desert. It gave me such a good impression of Arabian culture.
This was an intense, full-day activity, but it was worth it. As the sun started to set, we watched falcons in the sky. My favorite part was at night where they took us to this camp-like villa with different stations. They had a henna tattoo station, camel riding station, performances, and tons of delicious food.
Day 4 was a much-needed day to relax. We basically spent the entire day lounging at the Cove Beach, which provided the ultimate beach experience. You have everything you need in one place here, including food. The elegant vibe is perfect for unwinding. I couldn’t get over the soft white sand and how nice the views were. If you love dancing, the poolside lounge plays great music and is a great way to end the day!
Day 5 was another activity-packed day. We kicked it off with a trip to the City Walk. City Walk is a huge attraction center in Dubai that I think really reflects that high fashion, luxe Dubai vibe. They have tons of eateries, a movie theater, plenty of shopping options, and more. They even have an Urth Cafe! It’s a great place to window shop and hang out.
Later in the afternoon, we took off to the historic part of Dubai – Al Fahidi Souk, one of the city’s oldest sites. Walking through the old markets were a highlight, especially getting to see all the different textures in the fabric shops. It was a really unique experience and showed a different side of Dubai I didn’t expect.
We spent so many hours on our feet and by the end of the trip, I was ready for a spa day. I went to the Emerald Palace Kempinski Spa, which was so luxurious. The treatments and massages were out of this world! Then, we had dinner at the chicest spot, BB DIFC. If you love Asian food, then you would love this place. It’s a fusion restaurant where you can get East Asian classics such as wagyu steak and pho.
My time in Dubai was short but intense. Looking back, I feel so lucky to have experienced such a beautiful city in the way that I did. If you’ve ever thought about visiting Dubai, definitely go and try out some of my recommendations above! If you’ve visited before, let me know what your trip was like.