Maybe “spend” is the keyword in the title, because whatever kind of honeymoon you and your significant other have talked about, Dubai can probably supply it…for a price.
Here are a few ideas that might resonate with you. I offer them solely in terms of quality of experience; you’ll need to do the actual research and decide if each sounds exactly right or spectacularly wrong in relation to your honeymoon goals and budget.
Stay in a nice hotel.
Dubai has plenty of nice hotels. Before I offer a few recommendations, the one thing Dubai doesn’t have is old world, charming locations that have been in business for hundreds of years.
Likewise, forget snow-capped mountains, flowing rivers, sparkling lakes and green meadows awash in wild flowers; Dubai doesn’t offer any of these things. Also don’t go looking for European or Asian style boutique hotels; this is a market niche that doesn’t really fit what Dubai wants to present to the world. It might happen one day, but not today or in the near future.
What Dubai does very well, and possibly better that anyone else, is big, bold, extravagant and glitzy.
Let’s start at the top: the Burj Al Arab has been open for business for sixteen years and is still number one; a remarkable achievement. Depending on the time of year, you might need to book well in advance. This hotel is a costlier option. Please see above link for pricing information and whether or not this hotel will fit in your budget.
If the Burj is number one, then the others I’m going to recommend to you are number two. They’re all beautiful hotels, and I’m sure you’ll be happy with any of them. Some are owned by the Burj’s parent company, the Jumeirah Group.
Start with any of the three hotels that comprise the Madinat Jumeirah cluster. The Al Qasr, The Mina Al Salam and the Dar Al Masyaf. They’re not exactly cheap, but not quite in the Burj Al Arab stratosphere.
Finally, two personal favorites. The Dubai Creek Park Hyatt has all those features I mentioned above. It’s subtle, low rise, beautifully finished, frontage on the Dubai Creek, and all the facilities and dining choice you could wish for. There is no beach-front, but I suspect you won’t miss it.
There are of course, many more. You can check out Tripadvisor’s rankings here and read what others have to say. (But I don’t think you’ll be checking into the Address, Downtown Dubai anytime soon though. The NYs Eve fire changed all that.)
There are other hotels in the Downtown area such as the Armani, which is understated and delightful. I am willing to stick my neck out and say that any hotel in the Downtown area will be nice and so close to Dubai Mall with all it offers.
Have romantic evening dinners at some nice restaurants
Again, you’re spoiled by choice. Some beat others on location, while some jump to the top of the rankings on the excellence of the cuisine and the quality of the service in an already very competitive market. I don’t think you’ll be unhappy with any of these.
Traiteur at the Park Hyatt: Dubai Time Out ranks it number one virtually every year. You can dine inside or out, depending on the time of year.
Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire: Michelin-starred, French fine-dining at its best. Also expensive.
Pierchic: just one of the restaurants you can access from the Madinat complex. This one is set at the end of a purpose-built pier, so you have the sea all around and the lights of the Gulf as your dining backdrop.
Nobu: Dubai’s branch of this popular and very contemporary Japanese restaurant is located on the premises of the Hotel Atlantis, near the tip of the Palm Jumeirah.
Of course, there are many, many more. Tripadvisor is probably as good a place as any to find the style and tariff rate to suit.
Go shopping and buy something extraordinary
Again, if Dubai doesn’t exactly have the ambience of the Champs Élysées, Oxford Street or 6th Avenue, it does have the convenience of bringing you pretty much everything you could want to look at in a single location. Dubai has some pretty wonderful malls, but don’t waste your time and energy. For a special honeymoon-shopping trip, there’s really only one place: Dubai Mall.
For top of the line men’s and women’s clothing, head for Fashion Avenue. Just cast your eyes over the list of names represented there. Jewelery, watches, and other such personal accessories: they’re all in pretty much one area of the mall. It is also the quietest and most relaxing part of the mall.
Do something extraordinary
Try a desert safari, go hot-air ballooning across the dunes, go deep-sea fishing out in the Gulf (a very safe and placid stretch of water, by the way). You don’t have to fish, if you don’t want to; you can just choose an Arabian Gulf cruise.
See Dubai by helicopter (OK, getting expensive here); cross the Dubai Creek on an abra water taxi (ridiculously cheap, but a totally authentic experience); take a Dubai Creek Evening Dinner Cruise (very atmospheric and not at all expensive).
Now the crazy stuff, but what the heck! It’s your honeymoon! Ride the Zipline across Dubai Fountain. Tandem skydive over the Palm Jumeirah. Scuba dive with sharks – relax; you can do this in front of an audience in the Aquarium at Dubai Mall. Even if you’ve never scuba-dived before, you can take a short instruction course and about 30 minutes later, you’re swimming with the fishes.
And lastly, give some thought to the time of year
You can divide the Dubai year into thirds, weather-wise. The four months from May to August are the summer months and really, the outdoor conditions are pretty dire. Temperatures can hit 50°C quite regularly in July and August and they’re well above 40°C the rest of the time.
That’s the disadvantage; the good thing is that prices tend to be at their lowest in Dubai hotels during these months. So you can’t go outdoors much, but there’s plenty to see, do and enjoy in the air-conditioned comfort of hotels, malls, museums and restaurants.
The four months from November to February are really very nice; the heat and humidity dissipate and December and January are almost too cool to go swimming for some folk. Trouble is, Northern hemisphere tourists have cottoned on to this and head to Dubai in droves, so it’s peak season, price-wise.
The other four transitional months each give in increasing doses, hints of what is to come. March is still quite pleasant, though midday temperatures will be heading into the high 30s. April is more so, with hints of the summer humidity as well.
At the other end, September is really still pretty hot and humid, but better at the end of the month than the beginning. The evenings start to become bearable, though the humidity can be a trial. The progression towards the Dubai winter continues into October.
The time of year is every bit as important to a wonderful Dubai honeymoon as the other elements highlighted earlier.