Name of Traveller: Rhoda Davids
Destination: Dubai, UAE
Dates: April-May 2012
My Little Black Book
The best hotel: MediaOne Hotel
The hotel is based in Media City. I found it on a random internet search and it was within budget. Little did I know this place was party central – starting on a Thursday night with themed parties all weekend long. Loads of expats and media types frequent the pool bar/club area. MediaOne is a four star hotel and falls within the medium to luxury range. Its décor is sleek and modern. Although, in my opinion, you don’t really find an awful hotel in Dubai!
The best place for dinner… Depends on what you want to eat. Dubai has every type of cuisine you can possibly think of. I enjoyed Madeleine Café & Boulangerie at Dubai Mall while watching the Dancing Fountains as the sun sets over the skyscrapers (including the breath taking Burj Khalifa). The French cuisine is a bit pricey, but the setting is magical. The gourmet pastries,and the seafood soup and baguettes is delicious.
The best place for lunch… More Café at Mall of the Emirates.
It has a laid back atmosphere, which makes it popular with families. Grab your own table or try communal-style seating at a larger table. The meals are well priced and offer great value for money. I highly recommend the ice cream and pasta.
The best place for a drink… Barasti Beach Bar.
Besides the fab food and drinks, the weekend parties are crazy fun. Big sports games are also screened continuously – and although it’s usually football, rugby is becoming increasingly popular.
The first thing travellers should do upon reaching this destination:
If you are a first time Dubai traveller do not go straight to passport control, you need to do your security eye scan first – no one tells you that and often people stand in a long queue only to be turned away to do that first. Also remember men and women stand in separate lines.
The best place to shop… is Dubai Mall, especially for designer labels. The mall is a must-try experience even if you don’t buy anything, you simply have to go just to see the size and sheer magnitude of the space! And this is no ordinary mall, there is also an adjoining souk (open air market place) – and boasts a merged aquarium.
The best way to get around is… Taxis are very convenient but can become pricey. Try the metro, it’s cheaper, runs on time and is fast.
If you want to feel like a local you should… There really is no way to feel like a local, they live large! But take a moment along the marina, at a local Shisha café, to take it all in.
Watch out for… Dubai is an extremely safe place. You can walk around by yourself late at night, and leave your personal belongings on a restaurant table to go to the bathroom – and never worry about safety or theft. But whatever you do, do not break the law, even to cross the road when the little man is flashing red. You will get arrested.
Don’t leave without… Going on a sunset desert safari – dune bashing is so much fun and you feel completely at ease in the capable hands of these well-trained expert drivers. I recommend Arabian Adventures, they pick up and drop off from your hotel.
Insider tip: Dubai is the kind of place you will want to visit time and again, there’s just too much to do and see. And the contrast of traditional and modern Dubai, offers interests for all tastes.