We all loved that scene in Sex and the City II, when the fashionable crew boarded their plane and enjoyed opulent service in their private suites on their way to the United Arab Emirates. Well, you and your girlfriend can do that now too. Just book your flights on Emirates Airline. They offer two upper-class services: First and Business. In First class you get your own “suite” that transforms into a full flat bed. Also, you get access to the on-board showers. The airlines has a very robust travel partnership program, so if you have miles on other airlines or credit cards, chances are you can use them for upgrades.
Business class also has full beds, but I say, “Why sleep when you can party?” The upper deck has a full size bar in the back and since you and your ladies are crossing a ton of times zones, it’s always cocktail hour onboard. The best part is, the bar stays open for the whole 16-hour flight. After the flight, you get chauffeared to your destination when arriving in Dubai. Thank goodness.
It is hard to believe that just twenty-five years ago, Dubai was a one-camel town, with a few nomadic Arabs called Bedouins crossing over its impressive sand dunes. Today, it’s an amazing mingling of Arabic and Western cultures in a sprawling, cosmopolitan city. Dubai’s list of sites include world-class shopping, dramatic futuristic architecture, the first 7-star hotel on earth, and grown-up adventures that leave you feeling like a kid again. With eighty percent of its population having immigrated from the far reaches of the planet, expect to eavesdrop on conversations in almost every language in the world. Along with being an international city, it is one of the safest places on the planet for a you are your girlfriends to go.
Taxis are reasonable, but the rush hour traffic jams are awful, so plan carefully. Also, their week is Sunday to Thursday. The new Dubai Metro is considered one of the most advanced public transportation systems in the world and it glides above all the traffic. What’s cool is that they have Women and Children’s only cabin on every train, so you and you soul sisters can travel in style in a cabin with only women.
Great Girlfriend Getaway Activities
1. Jumeirah Beach
If Gulf views, stylish hotels, and all that is luxury rings your bell, then you and your designer bags should feel right at home on Jumeirah Beach. A long strip of sand down the Persian Gulf, Jumeirah Beach is home to the 7-star Burj-Al-Arab, the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the Mina A’Salam, and many more.
Deira’s got souks, and souks mean shopping. As Arabia’s historic predecessor to the ‘shopping mall’, a souk is where local bargains abound. A good place to visit if you want to spend the day haggling for gold, silver, spices, perfume, water pipes, henna, carpets, and even tacky Arabic souvenirs.
3. Ripe Market
Ripe Market at Zaabeel Park is a family-friendly farmer’s market that’s worth the few dollar entry fee. There you’ll find a plethora of food stands next to the impressive craft market. This is a great location is you and your friends love international food. The choices are endless and the people watching is superb.
4. The Zeta Lounge
The Zeta Lounge at The Address is the best seat in the house to watch the epic water show that puts Las Vegas to shame. Dinner there is not only delicious, but absolutely stunning. Make sure that you ask for a table near the edge.
5. 4-wheel drive through the dunes
Whatever you do, do not miss a half-day desert safari! For a reasonable sum, you and your girlfriends can be picked up at your hotel in a large 4×4 and whisked outside the city to the rolling sand dunes. After a good hour of dune riding you arrive at a beautiful Bedouin camp filled with colorful carpets and pillows. An Arabic dinner under the stars will fill your belly, while girls draped in black will paint henna designs on your hands. Arabian Adventures proves an excellent all-inclusive experience (dinner includes beer and wine) for about $100, and will pick you up and return you to your hotel.
6. Shop Like An Arabian Princess
With its vast variety of ways to spend your money combined with the celebratory no-sales-tax law, Dubai is quickly overtaking the likes of Paris, Milan, and Rome as the shopping capital of the world. Best of all, if you fly Emirates Airlines, they will graciously bump up the luggage allowance on your way out of the country.
7. See those camels go!
For a taste of authentic bohemian life of the nomadic Bedouins, go to the races. The early bird gets much more than the worm at the 7 a.m. camel races outside of town at the Dubai Camel Racecourse (Thursday / Friday only).
8. Place your bet on the most expensive horses in the world
If you like ponies, Princes, and cold hard cash, then plan on going to Nad Al Sheba Racecourse. The scene is filled with international celebrities and famous athletes. Make sure to dress the part, ladies.
9. Drink in the view
Enjoy a drink and a variety of tapas on the Bahri Bar terrace at the super-luxe, Arabic-themed Mina A’Salam hotel. It’s free to gape at the seven-star Burj-Al-Arab, Dubai’s world-famous catamaran-shaped landmark, which lights up with multicolors at night.
10. Fly in the sky
To truly see the scope of Dubai, you need to parasail. Flying 492 feet above the sea, you get an awesome view of Burj Al Arab, the epic skyline of Dubai, and the island Palms—which is shaped like a palm tree. You can fly solo or go tandem with another girlfriend – either way it’s worth the US$85.00.
11. Hit the slopes
At Mall of the Emirates, you can buy everything from 10-karat diamond brooches to sexy lingerie. When that gets boring, spend some time on the slopes at the indoor “Ski Dubai” facility. You don’t have to worry about ski clothing or equipment either. Ski Dubai has thought of it all and offers guests the use of winter clothing, ski and snowboard equipment.
12. Indulge at a world-famous spa
I’ve been to hundreds of spas in my life, but nothing tops the opulence and beauty of the Talise Ottoman Spa at Zabeel Sarai, the Palm for Spa Treatment. They have a hammam that looks like the inside of a palace. You are your girlfriends will LOVE this place. Spend an afternoon in one of their private cabanas and dream of your Arabian princes.
13. Dine at the top of the world
Dubai likes to have the richest, biggest, tallest of everything. So, of course they have the highest building in the world called Burj Khalifa. Located on the 122 floor is At.mosphere Restaurant and Grill, which holds the Guinness World Record for highest restaurant in the world. Reservations are a must and I recommend going at lunch, so you can see the epic views and then continue shopping.
Great Girlfriend Getaway Dates in Dubai:
- Shopping Festival: A highly-organized spending spree with over 100 special events and 2,000 stores participating. It includes one week when the world’s top fashion houses are in town.
- And, for you crazy ladies think running in the desert is a good idea, the Dubai Marathon is held in January.
- Dubai Desert Classic: In case you and your lady friends need to fly halfway around the world to watch (mostly) Americans play pro golf.
- Dubai International Jazz Festival: An awesome music festival that is actually organized and not filled with crazy, drunk people
- Dubai World Cup: The world’s richest horse race, with a whopping US$29,250 million up for grabs in one day of racing.
- Fashion Forward: Think Fashion week in the Middle East. The 4-day event focuses on emerging fashion the Persian Gulf and they host panels with local and international designers.
- International Film Festival: This is a great way to see Arab films, meet film makers, and enjoy the art of film making in a beautiful environment.