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Fancy a trip to Dubai? Here’s where we eat, sleep and explore

With six holidays to Dubai under her belt, it's safe to say our Editor knows her way around. Here's everything she recommends...

Written by Laura Kingston
Published 28.10.2023

Sponsored by Newcastle International Airport

In my opinion, Dubai is a unique holiday destination that you can’t miss.

It’s an opulent metropolis of luxury, that’s also rich in alternative experiences, world-class hospitality and sprawling sandy beaches.

To me, it’s perfect for people that want it all. I’ve rarely been back somewhere twice, but after six times in Dubai, I can safely say it’s somewhere I’d wholeheartedly recommend. I’ve had some of the best experiences of my life there.

And with daily flights from Newcastle International Airport, there’s no reason not to try it, right? Trust me, you’ll love it.

 

HOW I GET THERE

 

Dubai Guide High Life North

Flight time: 6 hours, 50 minutes

Emirates is one of my favourite airlines to travel with, as the entire experience is such a pleasure from the minute you step on the plane. ‘Emirates, Fly Better’ really does live up to the claim.

There are two options when flying from Newcastle:

Economy: The economy class that feels like luxury. Throughout the flight, you can expect a full range of complimentary drinks as well as a multi-course meal which is seasonal and changes regularly (here’s an example of the menu).

Business: Perfect if you want to arrive feeling rested, in Business Class they have lay-flat seats, as well as 23-inch HD TVs to keep you entertained. Dinner is served at your seat on a white tablecloth and the chefs always include traditional food on the menu, so you can get a taste of the culture before you even land.

Newcastle International Airport has daily flights all year round.

DISCOVER MORE HERE

WHERE I STAY

Dubai travel guide High Life North

GROSVENOR HOUSE, DUBAI MARINA

For first-timers, I’d recommend finding a hotel around Dubai Marina and this hotel is grandly situated right in the middle of it all.

Some of Dubai’s best restaurants and bars are literally on your doorstep, including Buddha Bar, Siddharta Lounge which is one of my favourite rooftop bars in the world, and Toro Toro where you’ll likely have the best steak of your life (more on these later).

Half-board can be a great option here as there are 11 super high-quality restaurants to choose to have dinner in (including Toro Toro), as well as the option to upgrade to Club Lounge access which offers breakfast and light bites during the day, and unlimited pre-dinner drinks between 6-8pm.

What’s great about it is that you get full access to its sister hotel, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa. Just hop on one of the regular shuttles and within minutes you’ll be immersed in a completely different vibe, where you can relax on a white sandy beach and enjoy cocktails at the beach bar.

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SHANGRI LA HOTEL, CITY WALK

A beautiful hotel located in the City Walk district, the Shangri La offers everything all in one place.

The food here is exceptional, the spa is insane, and there’s a great pool area to relax during the day.

It’s a little further out so expect to get more taxis here, but taxis in Dubai are super cheap and regular.

Choose from views over the skyline or the Arabian Sea and the Burj Khalifa. The restaurants in the hotel are mainly Asian-inspired – Shang Palace has the most amazing Massaman curry, then head to the dark and romantic Balcony Bar for after-dinner drinks.

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SOFITEL DUBAI, THE PALM

The world-famous Palm Jumeirah is worth a visit, especially if it’s your first time visiting Dubai.

The Sofitel Dubai is inspired by the South Pacific, with French Polynesian accents throughout the hotel from the bedrooms to the grounds and the super-friendly staff.

This is also a great option if you’re travelling with children as it has its own pool, beach and a huge range of watersports on offer (plus, it currently has an offer where kids stay for free).

There’s also a spa for ultimate relaxation, and bedrooms offer a choice to overlook the gardens or the Arabian Gulf from your own private balcony or terrace. Heaven.

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WHERE I EAT & DRINK

RESTAURANTS

If you’re a foodie, one thing you’ll love is the quality of dining in this city. The options are endless and you’re pretty much guaranteed to eat amazing dish after amazing dish.

Around the marina, check out Buddha Bar where you can eat incredible Asian food beneath the iconic Buddha statue, or head to Toro Toro – a Latin restaurant which serves up the best sizzling steaks.

Pier 7 is a great place to check out – it has seven floors with seven restaurants, all over-looking a marina and is great for shopping and lunch by day, or dinner and cocktails by night. My favourite is Asia Asia which has both indoor and outdoor dining and the vibes are perfect. Head upstairs to the rooftop bar afterwards.

For date night, Thiptara is incredible. It has a terrace right next to the fountains at the Dubai Mall. Be sure to book a table outside so you can be treated to the amazing fountain displays as you eat.

I had the best black cod of my life at the Beach Bar & Grill at the One and Only on The Palm. I’d recommend heading here for sunset as it has views across the city and you can enjoy the stars as it gets dark. trust me, you’ll never want to leave.

And finally, if you’re there on a Saturday, brunch is a must. I love the one at Le Royal Meridien. Starve yourself in advance as the food is just incredible and you’ll want to eat everything in sight. You choose between the soft drinks or the alcohol package, and from there, everything is unlimited for three hours, including Möet Champagne, lobster and steak. There’s live music and dancing, and afterwards, you can stroll down to the beach for sunset. Heaven.

Laura Kingston High Life North Dubai Guide

BARS

It’s a common misconception that you can’t drink much in Dubai. It’s true, you need to be careful and can’t get Geordie Shore-style drunk and then wander the streets. But the bar scene in Dubai is next level. The weather lends itself to beautiful rooftop bars and terraces.

Siddharta Lounge is one of my favourite places. The bar is quieter, so you can enjoy relaxed cocktails, or head around the corner where there’s usually a  DJ and more of a party atmosphere.

At Pier 7, Atelier M has a rooftop lounge and terrace where you can enjoy shisha and chilled vibes. Don’t make the mistake of missing the actual rooftop lounge, which is accessed via a lift from the main restaurant.

Iris Dubai is great for party nights. The Margarita Sunday is a great weekend activity, and you can almost always guarantee live music, DJs and fun times.

WHAT I DO

Laura Kingston High life North Dubai Guide

From entertainment and relaxation to exploring the culture and history of Dubai, there are plenty of fun things to do.

A desert safari is really worth the experience. There are so many to choose from, to make the most of it I’d choose one which has lots included, from falconry displays to an authentic lunch or dinner. Seeing the sprawling desert is eye-opening and the guides are always super fun and friendly.

You can choose from morning, twilight and even overnight stays although, to be honest, I wouldn’t recommend staying overnight. The accommodation is basic, to say the least, and it feels like a waste when you’ve paid for a beautiful hotel.

For a day of relaxing, check out one of the pool days at the Palazzo Versace Hotel. There are loads of options where you can go for the day and enjoy unlimited food and drink.

Shoppers, don’t miss the Dubai Mall – it’s ginormous and is the ultimate shopping destination. Or for something more authentic, head to the Souk Madinat. Here, you can explore the stalls, have a waterside lunch, and even enjoy a boat trip around the canals which is really worth doing.

READY TO BOOK?

Discover more about how you can experience Dubai with Newcastle International Airport.

Don’t forget we also have a handy discount code for 10% off parking at Newcastle Airport using the code HLNWINTER.

Want to go further? As a hub airport, Dubai is the perfect place to explore before going on to some of its connection destinations, including Thailand, Maldives and Singapore.

Laura Kingston High Life North Magazine North East, Newcastle
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