A summer of surprises in Dubai
July 11, 2018 | 2:49 PM
by Priyanka Praveen
Ski Dubai

I live a simple life and I love the regular, extravagant, fabulous, clichéd things like shopping, sand and the sea, even though I can’t swim to save my life. So when I was told that a trip to Dubai was in the offing, I couldn’t stop dreaming about all the things money could buy. And before I knew it, I was far away from Muscat’s mountains, heat, and humidity.

Dubai, for many of you in Oman, is just a drive away and I’m sure you’ve been there far more times than you could care to count. But this was my first trip to the glitzy city and it lived up to every cliché — glamorous, throbbing night life and a shopper’s haven. And for a shopaholic like me, the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) seemed like a perfect gift and time to visit the city.

Children having fun in Dubai

Soak in the luxury

There is no shortage of luxury hotels in Dubai and I had no idea what was waiting for me at the Rixos Premium Dubai where I was put up. But when I reached my premium two bedroom suite that opened up to a view of the sea and the Dubai eye, I obviously had to Instagram it.

But if you want to tone down on the extravagance (I don’t know why you would) you can choose smaller rooms that offer similar views at lesser prices.

Shopaholics unite

I’m not a party person, but shopping is my weakness and if you’re anything like me, this is great time to visit Dubai. The ongoing DSS that ends on August 4, 2018, offers discounts anywhere between 25 to 75 per cent, so please remember to carry an extra bag for all the goodies. You could even get up to 90 per cent discounts at all Majid Al Futaim Malls that are part of DSS. But my favourite has to be the deal of the day (DOTD) where you can buy some of the best brands for really low prices, and the deal is announced 24 hours in advance.

I spent a majority of my time wandering from mall to mall and my fitness tracker was so happy for all the exercise that I got. But the best part? My purse didn’t really feel that light.

Mall madness

Dubai doesn’t have a shortage of malls that you can spend your days and money at, but I had my favourites.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Mall of the Emirates has to be the coolest in Dubai, literally, thanks to Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort. If you can ski (and boy the kids here can) then you can spend hours here. I chickened out when I saw how high the ‘snow-clad mountains’ here were, so I chose the ‘chair-lift’ that gave me an aerial view of the 3,000 sqm resort. All this while I kept wishing I was like the cool kids who skied, snow-boarded and flew down the hill on something called the ‘snow-bullet’.

But if adventure is really not on your mind, you can always spend your time at the penguin pen where a colony of Gentoo and King Penguins march around daily.

The Dubai Mall is home to over 1,200 stores and I only managed to cover 10 per cent of the mall. Apart from shopping, you obviously have to visit the Burj Khalifa that you can enter through the mall. However, it would be wise to check weather conditions before heading out. Since our tickets were already booked, we couldn’t cancel them, despite a rather hazy day. And obviously, do not miss the Dubai Fountain!

Mercato Mall makes it to my list simply because I loved its ambience. Unlike other malls, the architecture is inspired by Italy and takes you back to the Renaissance period. In addition to the high-end fashion stores, the souq-like-ambience adds to the experience.

Since I couldn’t get enough of the shopping experience, I visited the Dubai Festival City Mall and it was worth it. The mall offers every visitor a discount coupon book and that was all I needed to go crazy. Since I was bound by time constraints, I limited my visit to just a portion of the mall and part of that covered the Robinsons departmental store. The store has everything that one could dream of, but my favourite was its restaurant — Origami — that offered a great view of the light show and obviously great food. But no matter what you miss, please do not skip the mochi ice-cream. That is simply a sin. Post dinner, I was getting late but I made one stop at the Magnolia Bakery and I urge you to do the same, how else can you get their world-famous banana pudding?

Something for everyone

Dubai is very popular among the grown-ups but the city has a lot to offer for kids too. On the top of my mind are — The Green Planet Dubai and Modhesh World. The former is an interesting place where you can learn about the rain forest and animals that inhabit them. You can meet a sloth, naughty macaws, and even have toucans flying right across. This is the region’s first bio-dome that recreates a tropical forest and it has four levels of interaction. But take my advice and stand a little away from the Macaw, because that bird can be loud. You can also take your children to Modhesh world, an entertainment centre that offers over 150 joy-rides apart from entertainment activities.

Firworks at DFCM

A pass for entertainment

Honestly, Dubai has so much to offer that it can get a little heavy on your pocket, but as part of DSS there are summer passes that let you visit many attractions for a good deal. While the Dubai Pass helps you save 60 per cent and offers 33 attractions, you can also check out the Dubai Big Ticket that gives you access to some of the city’s biggest attractions at 40 per cent less prices. You can also choose three tickets for an adult for AED399 or three tickets for a child for AED389, here you can choose any three activities. You can also choose the unlimited pack priced at AED899 for adults and AED846 for children where you can choose as many activities as you can.

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