Disclaimer: I partnered with Address Dubai Marina, Palace Downtown and At.Mosphere to bring you this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
Dubai is a longtime favorite city of mine. I am part Lebanese, and the authentic Middle Eastern food reminds me so much of my late maternal grandmother.
I've been to Dubai a few times before, and honestly, of all the places I've traveled, Dubai feels like the safest, which may come as a surprise to people. I think the surprise can be traced to the US media, which doesn't often show the good that comes out of the Middle East. I've traveled alone in Dubai and never once felt unsafe. No one is going to cat call you, no one is going to even look at you twice. That being said, just like anywhere you go - whether it's NYC or Dubai, you'll always want to use common sense.
One cool thing I love is the option for the separation of women and children from men. If you ride the tram, for instance, there's a car specifically for women and children. You can get in if you're a solo female traveler and know that you'll only be surrounded by other women and their children. You don't have to get in the car (you could take the mixed car without a problem), but I like that they offer an option. They also have female-only taxis. They're noted by their pink roof, and they are driven by females and only take females. How freaking great is that?! I've flown into Dubai at 4am and hopped right in without an issue - I wish this were an option everywhere just for safety purposes.
One of the most frequent questions I get about Dubai is if you have to cover up. You don't necessarily have to cover up (at some malls there will be signs at the door asking you to cover your shoulders and knees - nothing you can't do with a maxi dress and scarf), but otherwise, it's really more about being culturally respectful, rather than feeling oppressed. I choose to dress a bit more conservatively which means lightweight long pants or maxi dresses, and billowy bohemian tops or sleeveless (but high cut) tanks. At the beach, however, this all goes out the window, and you can wear any old swimsuit you like.
Of course, there's a lot more to Dubai than I'm sharing here, but that's a the quick rundown. Recently, during my thirty day trip abroad, I had a few days to stop in Dubai to take some meetings and check out various hotels. I stayed at two different hotels while in town, and thought I'd share my experiences here.
Address Dubai Marina
The first two nights I was in Dubai I stayed at Address Dubai Marina. I really like the Marina area of Dubai. It's quiet and laid back, and the perfect spot for people recovering from major jet lag like myself.
Address Dubai Marina had the best breakfast buffet I've ever seen at Mazina, their all day restaurant. I mean, you couldn't dream up a better breakfast buffet. They have Asian, Middle Eastern and European cuisine choices all cooked right in front of you.
The service in Dubai in general is unparalleled, but it was really above and beyond at Address Marina Dubai. I was chatting with one of the servers and mentioned I was Lebanese and how I cannot get enough of the fattoush and hummus in Dubai, and he goes, "Oh well then you have to try all our spreads. I'll get you a dish!" Then he came back with the above dish - a little serving of each Middle Eastern spread they had. It was so kind!
I also got a chance to eat at Shades, a pool-side restaurant at Address Dubai Marina. The chef was incredible, and even came out to say hello and ask how the meal was (delicious, I had the Arabic mezze platter).
High Tea is also an option for people staying at the Address Dubai Marina. I was treated to high tea service during my stay, and thought it was the perfect option for people looking for a light lunch and cool experience. There are so many different teas to choose from and the knowledgeable server thoroughly explained every detail of the food and tea. My favorite was the homemade scones you see above, with homemade jam. So good.
The room they offered me was fantastic. The bed was so comfortable, and I loved that I had a separate sitting area that was perfect for working. It was equipped with a large desk with paper and everything I needed to take my 11pm business call (#timezoneprobs). The sitting area also had a little couch and tv area, which is where I shot our couch yoga video above.
This bed was so comfortable, and I loved the blackout shades. I've found one of the best ways to get a quality night's sleep is to be sure your room is completely pitch black. These curtains totally helped!
For the next two nights, I stayed at Palace Downtown, another Address hotel, which blew me away.
Just driving up, you feel like you're leaving the real world and going into some mystical, royal land. The entire place is just so extraordinary.
Again, the service went above and beyond. The guy checking me in mentioned he was from Kenya, and I told him how I was actually on my way to Kenya after Dubai, and he recommended the best coffee to buy, and gave me little tips I never would've known otherwise (like be sure you bargain when buying souvenirs).
The architecture of the entire place was just so beautiful. The junior suite they gave me was unbelievable, with a view of the Burj Khalifa and the famous fountains right outside.
Their pool also offers views of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and you can order food poolside or go into one of the air conditioned cabanas.
I mean...when in Rome, right?! Don't worry, this was my only puff - I couldn't handle the shisha!
Another great plus to Palace Downtown is their gym. I didn't work out a lot while I was out of town, but when I could fit it into the schedule, I did.
Gonna be honest, this was mayyybe the fourth time I've worked out since I left for this trip a few weeks ago 😑 It doesn't feel great to not be on my normal workout schedule, but when I travel I always try to tell myself it's more important to enjoy the place I'm in than stress about working out. I can work out any time when I'm home, but how often is it that I've got a view of the Burj Khalifa outside my door or the best hummus ever at my fingertips, you know? Anyway, today I *was* able to get in a little workout at @palacedowntown's gym. 🙌🏽 Takes about 15-20 min and is 3 rounds of: 20 back lunges, 20 sumo deadlifts, 20 med ball cleans, 20 sit ups. Then finished it off with 300m row. • song is Monaya by Moustafa Amar (heard it in the car today and shazamed it) #hotelworkout #palacedowntown #discoverpalace #ybcgym #workout
Luckily, I had a little time to get in a quick workout while at Palace Downtown. Their gym is excellent, especially for a hotel gym. It has treadmills, a rower, weights - everything you need for a solid workout.
Since the Burj Khalifa was pretty much right next door, I popped over to At.Mosphere for their high tea at the top of the building. What an experience! Don't let the pic above fool you, I did not walk up over one hundred floors to get to the top! Instead, I took an elevator that was so quick and so quiet, I couldn't believe I was actually at the top.
View from the top! Dubai is stifling hot this time of year but it was the perfect little break between retreats in Santorini and Kenya. Thank you to @palacedowntown, which you can see on the right in this pic, for hosting me. Until next time, Dubai! #palacedowntown #discoverpalace #ybcdubai #yogabycandace @atmospheredubai
Before seeing the views, the only real indication of being at the top was the fact that my ears had popped a number of times! Once you get off the elevator, there's just one flight of stairs to take to get to At.Mosphere.
A high tea at At.Mosphere is an experience not to be missed. It starts with a glass of champagne and an amuse bouche.
The amuse bouche that day was berries with homemade whipped cream in a coconut rimmed glass topped with mint and gold leaf.
Next up are the mini sandwiches, which were so intricate and delicate that they almost looked too good to eat. Almost.
Honestly that would've been enough for me, but then came the main meal! I especially appreciated that it was a small main meal because I'd already eaten quite a bit and knew dessert was coming up. This was the chicken dish which was fantastic.
Then came dessert - ugh! It was so beautiful I didn't want to eat anything but of course I couldn't resist. I just loved the presentation with the different heights of the various desserts. Everything, once again, was so delicate and intricate.
It was such an incredible experience - highly recommended if you are planning to go to Dubai!
And that was pretty much my quick stopover in Dubai! It's a fantastic city and was the perfect place to regroup before heading to Kenya for our yoga retreat - stay tuned for that! In the meantime, I'd love to hear if you've been to Dubai - let me know down in the comments below.