Both Miami and Dubai offer a high quality of life for residents, as well as lots of attractions for tourists. Not the cheapest places to visit, these cities are prime holiday destinations that attract sun seekers, party lovers and those interested in experiencing a multicultural city environment. Which one would you like to visit? Here are some reasons to visit both!
Sun, Sand, Hotel
Dubai is known for over-the-top malls, lavish hotels and the seven-star experience. Miami has it all too – from the party scene to luxury hotels. Shopping is taken care of in Miami at the high-end Bal Harbour Shops, while Dubai has Burjuman Centre, The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates.
The major players in the hotel industry are represented in both cities. Dubai charges a tourism fee and taxes on rooms (18%), but then so does Miami. Among both cities’ five-star hotels, the prices are comparable. A Miami Ritz Carleton South Beach stay is 460.00 USD, while The Ritz Carleton Dubai comes in slightly higher, at 2240 Dirhams (608.00 USD).
At these price ranges in both Dubai and Miami, hotel service is good, the food is international and delicious and the facilities outstanding. If hotels are busy in Dubai, you may find that service falls by the wayside, but that the hotel staff is always pleasant and apologetic.
Beach-lovers will find much to amuse themselves in Dubai and in Miami. Blue Marlin Ibiza beach club, just outside Dubai, has concerts and a cool grown-up beach atmosphere. Nasimi Beach at Atlantis, The Palm hosts concerts and Sandance events. Miami has beaches and nightlife galore, and it is possible to purchase memberships to use the beach clubs at exclusive resorts.
So why choose Dubai instead of Miami? Many people choose Dubai because it is a jumping off point to other exotic locations. Whether you go East or West, there is a wealth of travel opportunity at your Dubai doorstep. Beirut, Petra, Cairo and the Red Sea resorts are a three-hour journey by plane.
Beyond the Beach
Both Dubai and Miami have nature at their doorstep, albeit with completely different ecosystems. Miami has the Everglades National Park, while Dubai has the desert in all its majesty. It really depends on your preference, because both natural attractions are phenomenal.
Tours to the Everglades leave regularly from Miami, and include airboat trips through the saw grass marshes. These marshes have been termed the “River of Grass.” Tours include looking for reptiles, birds and other wildlife, fishing and generally enjoying the tranquility of nature.
The splendor of the desert outside of Dubai is amazing, particularly during the cooler months of October to March. You can drive a relatively short distance out of Dubai (45 minutes) and find yourself in a sea of sand dunes. Arabian Adventure Safari is one of the more established safari outfits in the city.
Safaris are quite formulaic. You can expect dune bashing in a 4×4 vehicle, a BBQ in a Bedouin-inspired tent, and possible entertainment such as belly dancing show and henna applications.
Venturing further out of Dubai (380 km) you will find the Moreeb Dune. At over 250 meters, the Moreeb Dune is the highest dune in the United Arab Emirates. It is in Liwa, part of the “Empty Quarter” (Rub al Khali). It is important to use an experienced tour guide to take you to these far-flung desert locales.
Both Miami and Dubai are multicultural. Miami, being on the southeastern tip of Florida, has a strong Cuban influence. It has a large Hispanic and Latino population and is home to Little Havana.
Dubai has many Lebanese, Indian, Russian, and European residents. Actually, Dubai is home to 150 different nationalities! You’ll find that entertainment venues cater to all tastes, sometimes leaving you feeling as though you are in a melting pot. Venues such as MusicHall bring in a variety of performers from Lebanon, Russia and beyond, and somehow the combination works.
Dubai has developed a problem with pollution over the years, particularly in hotter months. Traffic emissions hover near the ground and the air stagnates around Sheikh Zayed Road. Cars are monitored for emissions, but the sheer amount of traffic leads to air pollution.
Miami has better air quality. In addition, drinking water is purer in Miami than in Dubai. In Dubai, the local Masafi bottled drinking water comes from the ground, but some other brands of bottled drinking water is desalinated water. It is better to drink from bottles rather than from the tap. Both cities maintain a clean and tidy appearance with lots of parks and clean outdoor beaches.
Personal safety is taken for granted in Dubai. Both women and men can walk at night without fear of being robbed. Assault and armed robbery are virtually unheard of. Some assaults do take place but generally they happen between acquaintances, rather than as random acts of violence.
It is not advisable to accept rides home from strangers though, as there have been cases of people being driven into the desert and assaulted.
Miami has a higher lever of crime, including both violent crime and property crime. The drug trade is more visible in Miami than in Dubai. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any in Dubai. Rather, because possession, sale and use of drugs in Dubai is so strictly forbidden and enforced, you won’t see much visible drug use in the community.
Plus, expatriates who are found with drugs are generally given jail time and then deported, thus contributing to lesser use.
The cost of living in Dubai and Miami is about the same, but housing prices fluctuate in Dubai and are generally more expensive than in Miami (by around 20%).
Some nationalities need to obtain a tourist visa prior to arriving in Dubai. There is a list of countries whose nationals will be given a 30-day visa upon arrival in the UAE. You can generally find good discounted hotel rooms (even at the five-star hotels) during the hottest summer months, which are June through August.
Looking through the tourist lens at Dubai and Miami, it is easy to see why each city has its own unique appeal. While both are attractive destinations in their own right, Miami appeals more to those looking to explore the Art Deco neighborhoods and Cuban-inspired restaurants made famous over the past century.
Dubai is more appealing to those who want a five-star experience and who are interested in exploring Arabian Gulf culture and hospitality. Dubai is also a good mid-way point for those venturing to further destinations.