The best things about Dubai are the shopping and the nightlife. Oh, and the golf. So let me tell you a bit about the places I’ve been to and the things I’ve done while on holiday in Dubai. Well, a few of them at least.
Dubai Summer Surprises: the shopping spree
The DSS festival runs from mid June to mid July and it’s massive. The malls try to encourage locals and tourists to get out of the house and go to their shops, but how do they do that when it’s extremely hot and you’d rather stay indoors? Well, with ridiculous sales of course – everywhere you go prices are between 40-75% off.
I went at the end of the month, towards the end of the sales, so a lot of the best stuff had been snapped up. Still, I managed to get some bargains. It’s funny how the local currency, dirhams, becomes like Monopoly money after a while. Especially when you hang around with expats who earn a lot, pay no tax, and haven’t heard of the concept of ‘saving.’
Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates are the best. Dubai Mall has a huge fish tank in it where you can actually pay to do scuba diving.
Clubbing before Ramadan
The best time for clubbing in Dubai is just before Ramadan, when all the expats go mental. They know that for a month they are not allowed to eat, drink, smoke, laugh, sing, kiss, hold hands, or hug in public, so they really go for it.
Ladies Night is consistently the best night of the week and is on a Tuesday. The Agency, aka Bubbalicious, in the Westin Dubai is quite swanky, like an upmarket All Bar One. Then Mahikis, which also has a branch in London, is just amazing. It’s quite exclusive, though, so it helps if you know someone who knows someone. When I went we knew that someone, the promoter on the door, so we skipped a huge queue. They are also very fussy on attire, so if you go make sure that you dress smart.
The strangest club I went to was called Bollywood and it was in the Ramee Royal Hotel. It was like a sort of strip club only for locals, very bizarre. And I say ‘sort of,’ because there is no actual stripping at all. The girls are fully clothed and dressed in traditional Indian attire. Alcoholic drinks are served only to the guests, while the music is extremely loud, the lights quite dim and the air saturated with cigarette smoke.
Other bars or clubs that I can recommend first hand are I2 and Barasti – the latter is the world’s largest outdoor bar. Or the Middle East’s largest outdoor bar at least. Either way, it’s pretty big. It wasn’t very busy when I went, as it was extremely hot in July. At night the temperature is bearable in jeans and t-shirt – a shirt would be a bit much for a place like Barasti, where there is no dress code, lots of cabin crew and plenty of people enjoying themselves to the full.
Good places to eat include Texas Roadhouse in Dubai Mall (great steaks and meat). For a late night snack after a big night out, you can’t beat BurgerFuel JBR at Jumeirah Beach Residence, which is always packed from 2-3am.
I also played golf at the Emirates Golf Club, where the views are awesome: sand, grass and skyscrapers all in one, but I’ll tell you about that some other time.