An increasingly popular destination, there is no danger you will be alone if you choose to visit Dubai this winter. Tourists from across the globe head in droves to enjoy the rich Emirate’s luxurious hotels and to shop at its vast malls. The looming threat of peak oil has prompted Dubai to invest heavily in its tourism industry, readying itself for life without petrodollars. Billing itself as the luxury capital of the world, Dubai has encouraged developers to think big and to build fast. There are opulent seven star hotels, towering skyscrapers and unique developments, such as ‘The World’ and ‘The Palm’. For those interested in topping up their tan on Jumeirah beach this winter, there are still plenty of deals on last minute holidays available online.
Dubai’s traditional souks, innumerable designer boutiques and vast malls are perfect for shopaholics looking to treat themselves to a little retail therapy. The Mall of the Emirates and the Dubai Mall are both on an epic, see-it-to-believe-it scale, the former the equivalent to more than 50 football pitches with its own aquarium and ice rink. However, there’s much more to shopping in Dubai than its cookie-cutter malls. Head to the traditional gold and spice souks in Deira, with their famous narrow alleyways full of colourful things.
The location of the Textile Souk and the oldest quarter of the city, Bur Dubai is well worth visiting. If you’d like to find out more about how Dubai transformed from pearling village to a modern metropolis, head to the Dubai Museum. Set in the Al Fahidi fort, the museum offers a snapshot of Emirati life before the advent of supersized tourism. Highlights include a reconstruction of a traditional souk and the Al Arish house complete with an original wind tower. After coming here you’ll see that last minute holidays to Dubai are not just about white-sand beaches and luxury hotels.
A cruise along Dubai Creek is another attraction not to be missed. Dhows have long been an integral part of Dubai’s transport network, returning laden with cargo from the Gulf states, India and Iran. Visitors to Dubai can take one-hour dhow trip along Dubai Creek, allowing them to see both the old and the new sides of the city. Teeming with marine life, this shallow saltwater creek was Dubai’s lifeblood long before its oil rich present.
An instantly recognisable part of Dubai’s skyline, the Burj al Arab’s design is meant to evoke the billowing sail of a traditional dhow, and it is arguably the city’s architectural highlight. Although now overlooked by the Babylonian Burj Khalifa, the Burj al Arab has not been overshadowed by its (much) taller neighbour. Inside, the Burj al Arab offers everything expected of opulent hotels. Even if you choose not to stay at the hotel, it’s worth dropping in just to marvel at the interior or to eat at one of the hotel’s ten restaurants and bars, nearly all of which boast spectacular views. Coming here will make your last minute holidays to Dubai unforgettable.