The UAE (United Arab Emerites) didn’t come into my radar until a few of my colleagues travelled there and highly recommended this destination. I always had the perception that there is no way Gordi and I would ever be able to afford to travel to the UAE. I mean, everything I’d seen on TV looked over the top and luxurious. Thankfully, my colleagues explained to me that there is something for everyone to do when visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi. There are extremely luxurious hotels, but there are also affordable accommodations that can be made.
Dubai is the center for shopping and the hustle and bustle. The Dubai mall is like nothing I’ve ever seen. That mall has everything, and I mean everything! Every store you can imagine, every restaurant, an aquarium, an indoor snow park, and the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world).
During our trip to Dubai we stayed on one of the palm islands at Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway. Gordi upgraded our room and we had the most beautiful view of the city and that side of the island.
On our first night, went to Elevate Penthouse Rooftop at the Nine hotel. The view of the city from the rooftop is incredible. We also tried the best hookah we’ve ever!
Top Recommendations in Dubai:
*Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world
*Jetski to the Burj Al Arab and Atlantis – you can rent jetskis with a tour guide from various companies on Expedia
*Dubai Desert Safari Tour- this tour takes you to the desert where you drive through the desert, have an opportunity to drive an ATV, ride camels and ends with a wonderful show and dinner at a desert camp
*Dubai Spice and Gold Souq- Souq means market. You’ll be able to find unique and local spices at the spice souq and at the gold souq you’ll find any gold piece you’re looking for
*Arabian Tea House in Old Dubai- tea house in old Dubai where you can enjoy some fantastic tea
After our stay in Dubai, we stayed in Abu Dhabi for a few days. Abu Dhabi was definitely a different scenery and feel. We noticed that Abu Dhabi was more of a laid back, quite and family oriented vibe. Whereas, Dubai was always busy and go-go-go.
In Abu Dhabi we stayed at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, which has a perfect view of the Grand Mosque. The customer service at the Fairmont was exceptional. We highly recommend staying there if you plan on visiting Abu Dhabi.
The highlight of Abu Dhabi: The Grand Mosque! I mean, wow! It’s like something out of dream. Every detail is exquisite, extravagant and beautiful. Pictures do it no justice. Please note that you will have to wear a covering that the mosque provides for you during your visit. There are strict wardrobe restrictions when entering the mosque.
We also enjoyed the Louvre in Abu Dhabi. We missed the Louvre when we were in Paris, but Abu Dhabi definitely made up for it. The architecture of the museum is pristine.
We got a lot of questions on why we chose to go to Dubai. We went for my Birthday in January of 2020, right when there was tension between the U.S and Iran. We still decided to go because this was another step at getting out of our comfort zone. We were totally open to visiting a place where the culture had completely different views than we do. We respectfully took everything in, including the the food and the culture. Although we may think that we are so different (because we have different cultural norms) than someone in another country, we actually share a lot of similarities. We learned so much on this trip and made some incredible friends, which we hope to see in the near future!