Need to Know: Dubai Travel Tips

Getty Images

The absolute essential information for planning a trip to the luxury-obsessed Middle Eastern city. 

Best time to go: The weather is sunny and pleasant (think winter in South Florida) from October–March; during hotter months air conditioning makes the heat bearable.

Getting There: The best option is flying Emirates into DXB. Though farther away, landing in the less crowded Abu Dhabi is also a fine option (and an Etihad business class ticket gets you a free town car to your UAE-area hotel). 

Getting Around: The subway and its beautifully designed stations along Sheikh Zayed Road are fun to marvel at, but a taxi or private car is more practical.

Top hotel: Burj al Arab is the most over-the-top extravagant, but the Armani Hotel Dubai and most Jumeirah properties are fantastic as well. More on Dubai hotels  »

Best restaurant for a celebration: Zuma, a mainstay on world's best restaurants lists (Gate Village No. 6, Dubai International Financial Centre; 971-4/425-5660;

Best restaurant for a client dinner: British import The Ivy (312th Rd., Sheikh Zayed Rd.; 971-4/319-8767; theivy.aeor a steakhouse like Rhodes Twenty10 (Al Sufouh Road; 971-4/316-5550; or Prime 68 (Sheikh Zayed Rd.; 971-4-414-3000;, two of the top restaurants in the city. More on fine dining restaurants »

Local dish to try, and where to try it: Baby camel with rice in the desert at Al Maha resort (Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve; 971-4/832-9900;; if you don't want to venture that far, try Al Fanar restaurant in Festival City (Dubai Festival City Mall; 971-4/232-9966; More on local eats »

Local drink to sip: Kahwa, light-roasted coffee spiked with rose water and sometimes saffron.

Nightlife: The club and hotel lounge scene is all bright lights and glitz and glam. More on Dubai nightlife »

City’s best spa: Amara Spa at the Park Hyatt Dubai (their massage oil is spiced with frankincense, sandalwood and amber) (Baniyas Rd.; 971-4/602-1234;

Best gym: Talise Fitness, Burj Al Arab (Jumeirah Beach Rd.; 971-4/301-7777;

Personal shopper: Kelly Lundberg, StyleMeDivine Personal Shopping (971-4/455-8475;

Don't leave without: Visiting Burj Al Arab (totally deserving of the hype); shopping at Burj Khalifa (1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd.; 971-4/366-1655;, the Dubai Mall (, and Gold Souk (Khalid Bin Waleed Rd.).

See the DEPARTURES Guide to Dubai »