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Why do people dislike Dubai so much?

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I have just finished an article reviewing our hotel in Dubai from last month, which will go up tomorrow.

What crossed my mind when writing it, though, was the reaction you often get when you tell people you are off to Dubai for a holiday. You very often get a response which implies that you off to somewhere on a par with Magaluf (apologies to anyone who holidays in Magaluf ….)!

I’m not sure if this is based on snobbishness or simply a false impression of what Dubai has to offer. I have done Dubai holidays as a couple, as a family with young children and as a ‘boy’s trip’, and all have gone splendidly well.

Obviously if your idea of a good holiday is trekking in Mongolia then you will find Dubai lacking somewhat. But let’s be clear – over the last 20 years I have spent more than enough time holidaying in the less glamorous parts of the world. I am not writing this purely from the position of a middle-class, middle-aged holiday maker!

Here are the positive things about Dubai:

It is a doddle to get there, especially with Avios. Numerous flights per day, both daytime and overnight, into a functioning (albeit ageing) airport. And Abu Dhabi airport is only an hours drive away as well!

Modest four hour time difference

Fantastic weather at times of the year when it is a bit pants back home! You won’t get sunburnt in December, but it is warm enough to sit on the beach.

World class hotels. You will not find a better collection of high end hotels in one place anywhere. In particular, the quality of the beach-front hotels is very high. Madinat Jumeirah (photo below) is – as a combination of spa, rooms, retail, beach, restaurant, architecture, location – probably the most impressive beach resort in the world (although if you want peace, quiet and tranquility it’s not for you – The Maldives it is not!).

Fun, family stuff to do, albeit Vegas style. Camel trekking, trips up the Burj Khalifa, the indoor ski centre, plenty of desert trips, abra trips down the creek, golf etc etc. Plus, of course, ludicrous amounts of shopping, most of which you will recognise from the British high street.

Let’s be clear, I’m not suggesting that this is the place to come if you want to ‘find yourself’ or get in touch with a different way of life. But if you’ve got the cash (and the beach resorts are not cheap) and you want an easy few days in the sun with world-class restaurants, hotels, shopping etc then its just fine.

Security is excellent, the taxi drivers don’t rip you off, the water is fine (albeit desalinated), there is world class healthcare. (My wife had a root canal problem the other week and had no problem finding a German dentist). You can take a baby with no concerns over supplies, food, water or hospitality.

Of course, if you want to see world-class art, visit the theatre etc then you are in the wrong place. But there are plenty of other places you can visit for that. I am happy to put that side of my life on the back-burner for a week or so, frankly.

The only caveat I have is that you really should stay at a beach resort. Staying in a business hotel really isn’t the same (although we tend to do our first and last nights near the airport for convenience and to control costs) and there isn’t much in the way of public beach access unfortunately. But do give it a go at some point ….

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Comments (25)

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  • maltapoints says:

    I should of course add that you’re all much better off coming to Malta…

    • gnarlyoldgoatdude says:

      Come and stay round my place in Xemxija.
      Pain to get to with Avios, though. Vueling through Barcelona, anyone?
      Shout out to all Flypass members.

  • Paul says:

    I’ve never been anywhere else where all the people working there are so unhappy. The workers brought in from the sub-continent are basically slave labour. Ok they don’t have to come but they are desperate to earn money to send home and are exploited. Working with no rights with poor conditions and bussed to and from compounds. Their living conditions are shocking. I found it a bit depressing.
    The other things mentioned already don’t help. Overzealous application of laws to foreigners, attitude to women etc don’t help either!

  • Alan Westley says:

    “Appreciate and respect the local customs” my ass… I’m sure glad that there were time when brits didn’t respect local Indian custom sati and banned burning widows together with the remains of their husbands. Nor did they give up their decision for a couple of tasty local dishes.

    I’m no activist myself and sure my couple of grand wouldn’t make a big difference, but I’d just lose self-respect if I indirectly supported UAE regime when I have a choice to go elsewhere.

  • David B says:

    What cmcbugg said. Basically pre-apartheid South Africa (Indian slave labour) combined with mediaeval attitudes to sex.

  • None says:

    Most hypocritical and hooker filled place I have ever visited. Rather go to Rwanda!

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