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Cosmopolitan oasis in the heart of the desert

Undeniably bold and brash, Dubai is a city of superlatives, festooned with mega-architecture, manmade islands and first-rate shopping. Its soft sieved sands and turquoise waters call to mind the Caribbean while the dazzling skyline screams Las Vegas. The city’s penchant for bling and OTT excess is entirely its own though. Kid-friendly attractions abound, from fantasy theme parks to aquatic playgrounds inspired by the likes of Lego, Marvel and Bollywood. You can always escape the city’s clamour and glamour for a relaxing desert safari.


Dive into the hive-like craziness of Dubai Mall for the biggest sweep of designer labels this side of China, or for discounted designer brands head to the Outlet Village and snag some bargains from the likes of Armani, Coach or Hugo Boss. Then for a contrast snap a selfie at Dubai Miracle Garden, home to a kaleidoscope of 45 million artfully arranged flowers. After sundown experience a different type of garden. Dubai Glow Garden is comprised entirely of lightbulbs, plus there’s an enchanting ice park complete with miniature versions of famous Dubai landmarks. Brunch is a big deal in Dubai, especially at the weekend when you can feast for hours at extravagant spots like the Ritz Carlton’s London Brunch at Caravan themed around 12 culinary neighbourhoods of the Big Smoke. For a taste of local culture swing by the honey-hued Jumeirah Mosque. Book your flights to Dubai today and start exploring.


Our recommended hotels in Dubai

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Best hotels in Dubai for all types of traveller

We have a great selection of quality hotels in Dubai to recommend. Travel by luxury car and relax with personal butler service at Burj Al Arab, located on a private man-made island. This architectural masterpiece is designed to represent the billowing sail of an Arabian dhow and is the tallest all-suite hotel in the world.

A fantastic vision of soaring arches rising dramatically out of the Arabian Gulf, Atlantis, The Palm is an iconic award-winning hotel featuring the world's largest water park, world-class restaurants and a seemingly endless stretch of perfect sand.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel is situated on the renowned Jumeirah Beach. This vibrant, family-friendly hotel offers unlimited access to Wild Wadi Waterpark, a choice of six pools, a spa and 11 restaurants and bars.

Grand Hyatt Dubai is a sprawling resort overlooking the city and Dubai Creek, with a huge selection of restaurants, a choice of pools and plenty of luxury touches.

Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort is a Thai-inspired property that stretches along a secluded white-sand beach on the eastern crescent of Dubai's Palm Jumeirah. First-rate hotel facilities include five restaurants, a beachfront infinity pool, a fitness studio, two tennis courts, a lavish spa and dedicated kids’ and teens’ clubs.

Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah is a palatial beachfront resort occupying a prime position on Dubai’s artificial island, Palm Jumeirah, and features a private sandy beach, a lavish spa and three swimming pools – including an adult-only pool and a kids’ pool.


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Make the most of your Dubai holiday

Near to Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood and right alongside atmospheric Dubai Creek, you’ll find Al Seef, a mile-long waterfront promenade lined with restaurants, both trendy and traditional, nose-tingling spice shops and tempting ice cream parlours.

What are the best things to do in Dubai?


1. You can’t miss the Burj Khalifa. The world’s tallest building stands proud at a whopping 828 metres high. Whoosh up it in the world’s fastest pressurised lift and take in the view from one of two observation platforms on the 124th and 148th floors respectively. Dine with a view at At.mosphere on the 122nd floor, enjoy a cocktail in the Lounge, the world’s highest lounge spread across three floors. Back at ground level enjoy cruising around the Dubai Mall or take in the spectacle that is the choreographed musical fountain.

2. Wild Wadi is truly a water park fit for the 21st Century. It offers acres of aquatic adventures and gravity defying thrill rides, such as Jumeirah Sceirah which builds tension before dropping you down at a 70-degree angle and WipeOut Flowrider one of only four artificial surf stations in the world. If you want to relax after those try the park’s wave pools and a lazy river to gently glide along.

3. Aquaventure is another water park worth making a beeline for. The world’s largest water park is housed in Dubai’s impressive Atlantis development and features the Surf’s Up wave machine where you can perfect your surfing skills. Go cliff jumping at Immortal Falls, feel weightless on Zoomerango’s vertical wall and face down the world’s tallest waterslide, the Odyssey of Terror – the opportunities for watery fun are practically limitless.

4. A Dhow Dinner Cruise is a great way to see the city’s Old Town from a new perspective. Cast off on an evening cruise in a traditional wooden craft lit up with twinkling lights. The dhow makes its way leisurely along Dubai Creek, allowing ample time for photographs. Look out for the Rolex Tower, the Wind Towers at the Dubai Heritage Centre, and the minarets of mosques on the shore. The cruise includes a buffet meal.

5. Only got one day? Get to know the city by starting at its roots – at Dubai Creek you can delve into the heart of the old town and visit the Al Fahidi Historical District and the Bur Dubai Souq. The massive, impressive Jumeirah Mosque is an important sight and you can easily visit it before a trip to the nearby Jumeirah Beach and a stroll along The Walk at JBR, a popular new hangout. Then it’s time for dinner, dancing fountains outside Burj Khalifa, and a rooftop bar.

Where are the best places to stay in Dubai?

The Palm Jumeriah’s ‘fronds’ offer many miles of white-sand beach to laze on. Stay at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, where all the rooms have beautiful views of the skyline or The Palm itself. Take afternoon tea in the light-flooded cafe, Peacock Alley.

North from The Palm, Jumeriah Beach is a series of powder-white beaches, with views of the Burj al Arab, many of which are hotel-owned, although JBR open beach and the Kite Beach are free to visit. Styled like an Arabian palace, with pointed arches and ornate latticework, One&Only Royal Mirage – Arabian Court has sea-facing views and a kilometre of private beach.

Jumeriah Beach Residence (nicknamed JBR) claims to be the biggest residential complex in the world. While the super yachts moored in the huge nearby marina are impressive, the rest of the area is very visitor friendly. Stroll along The Walk and enjoy the scene. There are two storey’s worth of shops all along the seafront. The new Dubai Eye, the world’s largest Ferris wheel, is currently cartwheeling into existence on nearby Bluewater Island.

Hilton Dubai The Walk provides a comfortable base for exploring this lively area. It has a lovely sky lounge and you can make use of the pool and restaurants at the adjacent Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort.

Dubai Creek is the gatekeeper of the city’s origins. Here you can see the longshoremen at work or take an abra boat down the coast for a few Dirham. The historic Al Bastakiya neighbourhood hosts the stunning Jumeirah Mosque and Dubai’s oldest building, the Fahidi Fort. The facade of the modern Grand Hyatt Dubai curves like an IMAX cinema, while there’s a great mix of restaurants within, including a lovely jazz bar.

Away from the seafront in Downtown Dubai, the fountains at the base of the Burj Khalifa and the monstrous malls are the biggest tourist attractions, but hipsters might want to look up D3, Dubai’s new up-and-coming design district, and Boxpark Dubai. The Fairmont Dubai, in the heart of the action and linked directly to a metro stop, plays host to The Theater, an innovative entertainment and dining complex.

If you’re prepared to stay further out, in another emirate, you’ll be richly rewarded with gorgeous views and stunning resorts. Why not hire a car with Avis to explore more?

Abu Dhabi - The UAE’s capital has a reputation for being more traditional and slower paced than Dubai, yet things are changing including its skyline, which is filling with mega-architecture projects. Major sights include the extravagant Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the super-opulent Emirates Palace Hotel, while the Louvre Abu Dhabi is the largest art museum on the Arabian peninsula. Elsewhere there are modern souks, a traditional Heritage Village and a skyscraper-lined corniche.

Ras al Khaimah - Ras al Khaimah makes a peaceful escape from Dubai and appeals to budget-conscious travellers thanks to its all-inclusive hotels. RAK’s 64 kilometres of coastline is ripe with white-sand beaches, lush mangroves and terracotta sand dunes. You can enjoy authentic desert camps, head to the Hajar Mountains for a hike up to the UAE’s highest peak Jebel Jais and whizz along the world’s longest zipline. The three-minute Jais Flight takes you 1,680 metres above sea level for 1.76 miles at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour. Look out also for Al Jazirah Al Hamra, a supposedly haunted abandoned village. The Ritz-Carlton Al Wadi Desert is a luxury desert hotel styled around a series of seriously lavish Bedouin tents. The palatial Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah boasts extravagant architecture, amazing restaurants, great golf and the beach to end all beaches.

Sharjah - The UAE’s third biggest city is a key cultural hub full of family-friendly attractions. Lounge about on the 3.5km-long Al Heera Beach, soak up some contemporary art at the Kalba Ice Factory, make a splash at Pearls Kingdom water park, go wreck and reef diving along Khorfakkan Bay or shop at City Centre Al Zahia. Visit the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization and the Sharjah Art Museum, dine beside the dancing Al Majaz fountain and then wander around the vibrant Blue Souk. Be sure to sample some kunafa, a delicious Arabic dessert. Sharjah is a dry city, so the consumption of alcohol is banned.

Ajman - The smallest of the seven emirates has plenty to recommend it, including ancient forts and luxury resorts. Spot around 60 species of birds at the Al Zorah Nature Reserve, go hiking in the rugged foothills of the Hajar Mountains or tee off at Al Zorah Golf Club. Enjoy the tiny town’s small, sandy beaches and stroll along the corniche. Ajman’s 18th-Century fort has been transformed into a small but captivating museum housing archaeological finds and artefacts. The Dhow Yard has an impressive row of carefully crafted wooden boats. Modern and elegant, Oberoi Al Zorah is a beach-facing resort with excellent views. It lies between mangroves and an 18-hole golf course.



Which holiday type in Dubai is right for me?

Choose yourself a perfectly-located Dubai beach hotel. The understated, luxurious Jumeirah Al Naseem Madinat looks out towards the Burj al Arab and is within walking distance of the Wild Wadi Waterpark. It has a huge, wonderful private beach that’s over 2km long. There’s also a turtle rehabilitation centre in the grounds, home to rescued loggerheads and hawksbills.

For family holidays there’s nowhere in the world quite like Atlantis The Palm. Styled like a lost city and with its own adjacent water park, this extraordinary resort crowns the outer ring of The Palm. Many of the rooms are designed with families in mind, and the kids’ club has extensive activities, from a Command Centre featuring the latest tech, to an underwater theatre screening evening films.

At JA Palm Tree Court buggies will whisk you to wherever you want to go in this great Dubai all-inclusive hotel – and there are plenty of places to explore, since the resort has its own stables and water sports. The grounds – spacious and sumptuous, with roaming peacocks – are dotted with airy suites and 15 great restaurants. Try Asian cuisine at the White Orchid, where you’ll be tempted by the traditional Teppanyaki table.

Atlantis the Royal makes a sweeping statement, tracing the crescent of The Palm, putting you in prime position to lap up a luxury holiday. Or famous the world over, the Burj Al Arab stands on a plinth-like private island and is shaped like a billowing spinnaker sail. It often gets called the most luxurious hotel in the world. You'll see why when you see the rooms – or if you visit Gold on 27, its swanky cocktail bar. 

Service levels are unreal at One&Only Royal Mirage – and the spa is sumptuous. There are beautiful pools, winding boardwalks, and a kilometre of white sand beach. Eight superb restaurants are on hand to satisfy your appetite – from authentic Moroccan food, to modern dining on the beach. When night falls, dress up and have an evening of music in the Courtyards or a cocktail on the Rooftop Terrace.

Get unrivalled car hire with British Airways

Get ready to hit the open road with us. Hire a car, in partnership with Avis or Budget, and enjoy great rates and complete flexibility, with a fantastic choice of vehicle types, as well as a variety of pick-up and drop-off locations. Cruise along safe in the knowledge that all mandatory charges are included and enjoy the added reassurance of 24-hour customer support and roadside assistance. Feel the wind in your hair and tap a foot on the pedals to your favourite playlist. Best of all you can get rewarded for booking your car hire with us when you collect Avios on every rental. Whether you’re simply looking for a convenient holiday runaround or planning the ultimate fly-drive, find the perfect car to suit your trip. The world’s your oyster, so buckle up and settle in for the journey.  

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