My 7 Day Dubai Diary - The things NOT to miss! | Travel & Style

As highly requested via Instastory (and you were all pretty much unanimous on your decision of what to read!) after some seriously hard graft, gathering my memories together, searching for all my receipts (yes thats how in-depth I am!) and getting my head ‘in the zone’ as it were, my Dubai blog is finally here!

This is my day by day diary to one of the most glitz and glamour clad areas of the middle east, and one of THE places on my travel Hitlist that I've wanted to visit, plus I was luckily enough for this to be coupled with seeing 2 very good friends of mine that I only get to see once a year which made the trip even more special.

So without further ado get ready for sun, styling, brunches, clubbing, ladies nights, food and oh yeah more brunches as I show you around the dizzying heights of Dubai!

Day 1 - Marble marble everywhere!

Well Day 1 was an absolute whirlwind, with people getting off flights at different times with different types of jetlag, hurling together some pre-drinks, throwing our glad rags on and heading out for our first brunch of the trip, and the fanciest one at that (obviously post overlooking the stunning view of Dubai from my friends balcony!)

Now lets get one thing straight. If theres something that London can learn from the ever growing trend of day drinking, then its practically everything that Dubai brunches offer. From towers of sushi rolls and macaroons shaped like burgers to endless mojito buckets and Aperol Spritz, these brunches have it all! They come with a price tag of anything from £55 - £120 (and sometimes with an additional extra if you fancy staying on for longer), but trust me its like nothing you’ll have ever experience before in the UK, and we started with the most extravagant of all.

Madinat Jumeriah - Jumeirah Al Qasr - ‘The Big Friday Brunch’

If your brunch vibes are all about the lavish lifestyle with practically everything being instagram worthy then this one’s for you. I’ve never been to such an breathtaking buffet setting, hosted downstairs in this 5* hotel down a long winding marble staircase surrounded by huge chandeliers, high ceiling’s and marble pillars, theres a reason why this brunch was voted ‘Dubai’s Best Outdoor Brunch 2018’ by Shortlist. 

The brunch obviously wouldn’t be complete without 4 hours of live music all surrounded by an Italian themed terrace with a lake, complete with riverboat ride and view of the Buji Al Arab, plus several gold horses, ice sculptures and multiple fountains thrown in for good measure, it truly is a real show stopper!

As for the meal there was every food you could imagine to choose from hosted by 3 different restaurants including the Spanish themed Al Hambra, Steakhouse MJ’s and International restaurant Arboretum. You can choose anything from mexican, traditional English brunch, sushi, cold cuts, steak, italian, fresh fish, local chocolates, macaroons, fresh fruit selections.. I could go on…

Drinks wise theres a big selection of stations including cocktails from Aperol, a choice of many infused gin and tonics, Bacardi cocktails and Sangria, and to say we tried it all is an understatement. My favourite food taste-wise was practically all of the sushi section and the mini Mexican burritos, looks-wise you can’t beat those burger shaped macaroons!

Unfortunately with all of the excitement I only got some quick snaps of my outfit and mainly selfies on my friends balcony as you do! But I opted for a dropped front laced black body, black jean skirt, jewelled sandals and black patent leather Moschino clutch, plus prior to the trip I added a pink hair strip just to add a little colour pop! So pink features a lot throughout this blog.

The Price, Timings and Dress Code

Just incase you wanted to get into the nitty gritty and planning on booking yourself..
Pricewise as you can imagine the tag isn’t cheap with 3 options available:

AED 695 (£142/$190 USD) per person which includes - Champagne, bubbly, grape and house beverages, juices and soft drink
AED 595 (£122/$162 USD) per person which includes - bubbly, grape and house beverages, juices and soft drink
AED 495 (£101/$135 USD) per person which includes - house water and soft beverages

Although the the prices are expensive I couldn’t fault any part of the brunch and was perfect from start to finish so I would definitely advise biting the bullet on the price if you’re on a tight budget.

The brunch starts at 12:30 finished at 4:00 with last orders at 3:45

As for dresscode we all went smart casual wearing sandals, jean skirts, shorts and nice tops which was fine but there were some people dressed smarter.

So after all that brunch excitement, plus lots of food, and added jetlag we all decided to have a quiet night in with some wine and a delivery of Saj and Co for a great spread of Lebanese dishes. Being in Greater London myself I’m unfortunately not in the catchment to trial things like Ubereats or Deliveroo, and from speaking to my friend it seems everyone gets everything delivered here, and I mean everything. Which to be honest set the tone for even more ridiculous orders later in the trip.

Day 2 - Beach please

Our second day in the heat contained a few hangovers, and maybe just a touch of a lie in. So after hurling ourselves up we headed on down to Jumeirah beach for a little lunch and to top up our tans.. well.. I say ‘our’ loosely.. (please excuse me whilst I imitate a moonbeam!)

Jumeriah beach was HUGE so you never felt like you were in anyones space, it was also really safe to leave your belongings on the beach unattended as theft is very low here. I wore a pink and white laced snakeskin bikini, pink cat eye specs and my favourite gold twist earrings.

Once we’d had enough of the sun and sea we took to some shade and found ourselves a little terrace suntrap roughly in the centre of the beach for some food and drink. Myself and my friend shared a meal from ‘The Slider Corner’ and a freshly squeezed juice from across the way. The burgers were great and perfectly sized for a light beach bite.

Later on in the evening we decided to head downstairs in my friends block to a local restaurant for another light bite and heavy weighting of wine. For some reason we all opted to wear black and yet again I wasn’t great at snapping my outfit prior to leaving, but heres one of the 3 of us all in uniform, although I did wear my multi-hoop glitter heart earrings to livin’ things up just a little.

Day 3 - Give me glitter henna, dancing and off roading

It was all about discovering both the city and sands of Dubai for day 3, starting with a little walk round some of the local areas to my friends block and their shops before making it round some of the bigger malls. As we were going to the malls we decided to cover up a little more just to be as respectful as possible, and THIS time I was better with photographing my outfit! Cracking out my beloved pink, purple and green spray paint effect netted top that I love to wear at festivals and silver slip-on trainers. This is such a practical outfit for the day but the top really makes the outfit.

After a little spot of lunch at The Cheesecake Factory (there are so many American food chains here its unreal!), we were picked up and taken on a journey into the desert to experience some fun in the sand, traditional food and entertainment. Heres one of me and my friend in the mini bus before we fell asleep for 2 hours!

Once we finally made it into the desert it was time to get into a landrover and be taken on some off-roading on our way to the desert safari camp. There were some seriously hair-raising twists and turns on this trip so if you like being taken off-roading I’d recommend it. Once we got to the camp there were lots of activities to do including quad biking, horse riding, camel riding and sand surfing. Myself and my friend post frolicking around in the sand dunes decided to try out camel riding and sand surfing and it was SO much fun, we both got the hang of sand surfing so quickly I think we could’ve done it all day.. if it wasn’t ridiculously hot!

After some sand carving we headed into the camp for some traditional middle eastern dancing and fire breathing and treated ourselves to some beautiful matching glitter henna, which I was sad to wash off once it had dried. Post desert safari and having yet another 2 hour sleep in the van after feeling absolutely pooped from running around in the heat (which even at night is insane!), we headed home for some further shuteye as we prepared for a bigger evening out tomorrow.

Day 4 - Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Burj al Arab and a cheeky night out

During the day we organised to do some more shopping and see the 2 most well known and picturesque buildings Dubai had to offer (with my boyfriend and one other friend as they started their part of the trip!). It was by this point that I realised how insightful and helpful my lovely friend who’s a resident in Dubai had been to keep our whole trip moving and seeing all of the best sites while we were there and I can’t thank her enough for that (I hope you’re reading this Cassie!).

We went to Dubai’s most impressive Mall and home of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. If you’ve ever seen the Shard in London, you know when you tilt your head to see the top? Well imagine doing that but basically at the same time almost inverting your head.. thats how tall this thing is, and its absolutely stunning to see, plus the fountain that surrounds it is pretty insane too.

Now I was good enough again to not get carried away and get a snap on my outfit. As we were off to the mall I covered up in leggings and a vest dress and then flung on a gemstone body chain and my latest monochrome kaftan and trusty pink studded bag (that goes with everything and I apologise for how much it features in this diary!)

Whilst shopping and going round the mall we obviously went to see the 10 million litre 48 metre suspended aquarium thats one of the largest in the world, and It. Is. GIGANTIC! From reading up on it further there are 140 species of aquatic animal including over 300 sharks, rays and has the largest collection of sand tiger sharks in the world. Its just out of this world to be simultaneously shopping and then gazing at some incredible wildlife including sharks right in front of you, it was also at times very peaceful to just gaze and watch over the stunning beauty within the tank. Dubai really don’t do thinks by half and want the wow factor in everything they do so this is a must see!

Chowing down during the day we headed to another American chain and the one me and my boyfriend love the most, Chillis! Not many of my British readers will know this one but Chillis is an American chain serving classic US favourites, think Hard Rock but with more variety, better deals and a younger clientele. Whenever me and my other half trip it to America we always go and it seems that our love of American food stems to the Middle East as there really is an abundance of American chains in Dubai. Its definitely worth a try if you love hearty rich plates, you will come away very full.

After stuffing ourselves silly with a combination of sliders, chicken tenders and egg rolls we headed out onto the water to have a few cocktails at bar 360 and see the other very famous building in Dubai the Burj al Arab over sunset before heading out into the evening. The jetti bar was right up my street and made for a peaceful sign off to the day with stunning drinks and views across the water looking at this kite-esk figure of a building over a gorgeous orange sunset, couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

Now the next section of the trip contains only one photo from Barasti Bar shown above and not much recollection of anything else, as lets just say we went out for the evening and drank a few too many 'bullfrogs' a Dubai signature party drink…

Day 5 - Pool day, Karma Kafe and Mahiki

So today was basically a write off during the day as a few too many soreheads had to skip the trip to the water park and instead venture out to the mall for food and hang out by the pool of the hotel we stayed in for the second half of the trip, which was good in a way as more plans for the evening were fast approaching! Pool day style was extremely pink with a beach coverup in aztec print, pink bag (again), a neon pink bikini, mirrored round sunglasses and star hoops. During this trip I really wanted to wear my hair down, or half up and all nicely straightened, when it reality it was so humid that most of the time it felt more comfortable tossed up so thats how it stay for pretty much the whole time.

Karma Kafe - 'Ladies Night'

In the evening with much fresher faces we went out to experience ladies night which is huge in Dubai and great for groups of girls who want to go out and socialise for a good discount! Our first spot to get the evening started was back to a daytime hotspot on day 4 at the Burj Khalifa Lake for a spot of sushi at Karma Kafe. 

With no expense spared on amazing decor and views of the Burj Khalifa and its lake with the most amazing water shows (just to note - when writing this part of my blog I did spend at least an hour on YouTube watching the choreographed videos of the water fountain in all its glory, I particularly liked the Thriller rendition, its definitely worth a watch trust me:, this restaurant has great atmosphere and is really set out to wow. The food itself is beautiful and fantastic in flavour but quite small in size, theres a selection of perfectly cooked Sushi, Sashimi and other favourites including Gyoza, Korroke and Tempura, the cocktails are also very very good.

The Deal, Timings and Dress Code

The ladies night menu is pre-selected both for food and drinks and the deal is 3 complimentary drinks for the ladies and 50% off food for ladies only tables, or 25% off for mixed groups.
The offer is on every Tuesday 6pm till 1am and needs to be pre-booked.
Dress-wise you need to dress relatively smart.

Mahiki - 'Ladies Night'

Post pan asian we ventured to the very well known franchise of Mahiki for their ladies night! With the usual luau style bar, popular club hits and 4 complimentary drinks, its was the perfect place to continue the clubbing side to our trip and also an excuse to get dolled up. Stylewise for this evening I wore the cutest poppy print bardot crop top and ring front zipped denim highwaisted skirt with a cheeky hoop and tattoo chocker to set off the 90’s vibe.

The Deal, Timings and Dress Code

4 complementary drinks, 7pm-1am, smart casual. But remember to pre-book!

Day 6 - Pool day and Ruth’s Chris

You guessed it.. today was yet another pool day for a few reasons.. but this time it was at Andreaa’s at Habtoor Grand Beach Resort. Overlooking the beach and with fantastic cool water, loungers and great bathrooms complete with showers, Andreaa’s was perfect to spend some time as a group. They also had a great selection of food as well, the wasabi mayo prawns and arancini balls in particular were to die for! Perfect for a *cough* hangover..

Ruth's Chris - 'Ladies Night'

In the evening myself and other half decided to split from the other girls and enjoy a little date night together (which also combined with another cheeky ladies night). We headed out to steak restaurant Ruth’s Chris. If you know your steaks then I wouldn’t put this up there with your Hawksmoors and Goodmans but it was a very close second, the steak was perfectly cooked with all the sides to die for in which we had creamed spinach and mash and they were both melt in the mouth buttery, the generous ladies night helping of alcohol also went down very well as you can see from the table!

The Deal, Timings and Dress Code

Ruth’s Chris offer 50% off main courses even when on a mixed table, plus 4 complementary drinks for the lady!
The offer applies only in the evening and you must pre-reserve to get the deal.
Dress-wise just like Karma you must dress relatively smart.

Day 7 - water park and traditional food

We finally got over to Wild Wadi Waterpark on day 7, without sore heads, and pretty much spent the whole day here. Obviously being a waterpark and me being un-prepared with no waterproof cover for my phone I was only able to take sparadic photos so I only really got one of the actual park. Ridewise we tried all of them and they go from very calm to really high and scary so theres something for everyone. The only thing I didn’t try was a ride where they plummet you out of a trapdoor.. it felt a little too much of a thrill for me.

As my friend was busy showing another guest around Dubai, me and my other half decided we needed to experience the traditional food as well as the chains, so we headed to ‘Abd el Wahab’ in pier 7 of the Dubai Marina to sample some over another little date night overlooking the beautiful marina. If you like to put yourself out there and are an adventurous eater then this place won’t let you down, just beware there will be raw meat and the bill wasn’t cheap, but its well worth a try and the restaurant itself is very well decorated complete with an open kitchen and fish on ice to choose from. I’d recommend trying the ‘tiny birds’ as our waiter called it.

Day 8 - Mr.Myagis and Super sad faces

So yeah, I’ll own up right now. The above subtitle does say ‘Day 8’ and this blog is about ‘My 7 day Dubai Diary’, but it does have a better ring to it right? PLUS technically speaking this wasn’t a full day as we were flying home and no-one wants to read a blog about ‘My 7.5days Dubai Diary’ now do they.

Anyway, it was the holidays blues for myself and boyfriend on day 8, but my wonderful Dubai friend (post nearly being strangled from hugs as I was so sad to leave her!) organised us to go out with a bang with yet another Dubai brunch, and this one was set to be a mad one!

Now before we start this section theres a little disclaimer attached. So as not to worry all my lovely readers I wanted to just make sure you all knew that although this was a very drink focused brunch myself and my boyfriend were flying very late at night/early morning so we had a longtime post brunch to recover before flying, so don’t worry I’m not the type to fly irresponsibly!

Mr. Miyagis - ‘Wok and Roll’ Brunch

If your looking for more of a boozy party brunch then Mr.Miyagis is the perfect party starter, or for us party ender *sad face*. Its an asian street food extravaganza with live karaoke tunes sung by a fantastic singing duet in an wrap around bar and restaurant at the top of the Media One tower in Media City. The floor is decorated top to tail in a modern asian look like its come straight out of Bangkok, complete with pun based neon signs and a Tuk tuk!

The food comes as a 5 course set menu with the usual well cooked asian favourites on offer - starting with crackers, edamame and spring rolls and branching later into a variety of sushi rolls, curry and then ice cream. 

Foodwise I cannot compare this brunch to the extreme amount of luxury and choice available at Madinat Jumeriah, but drinkswise, ANYTHING is on offer in practically any quantity you want it in. From a Thailand standard party bucket to beer/wine/gins/cocktails (I can go on) with an option post meal to stay on for another few hours of drinking in the bar (which we took advantage of obviously). This place is for the party brunchers and is a fantastic way to get your Friday night started (or Thursday if you’re a resident) and as you can see from the photos, although a big group, we didn’t hold back!

The Deal, Timings and Dress Code

House Package - AED 290 (£/$ USD)
Sparkling Package - AED 390 (£/$ USD)

Thursdays 8pm - 11pm 
Fridays 3pm - 6pm/8pm - 11pm

Dresscode is smart causal but definitely leaning on the side of casual.

So after a few too many in the brunch bar we ate a Mcdonalds (classyily delivered obviously!), had a nap like the true party animals we are and then headed out to the airport to sadly end our trip in the glittering sunny hub that was Dubai. I honestly think of all the trips I’ve been on in my life this will be up there as one I will never forget, and I’m very much looking forward to revisiting soon!


What I wore

 Black drop front lace-up body - BooHoo (Similar here)
Black jewelled sandals - Mango
Star earrings - ASOS
Graffiti/paint splatter mesh top - BooHoo
Monochrome Kaftan - ASOS (Similar here)
Gemstone Body chain - ASOS (Similar here)
Pink aztec dress - Primark (Similar here)
Poppy bardot crop top - BooHoo
Black ring zip skirt - Topshop
Pink and white snakeskin bikini - ASOS
White floral cutout top - TKMaxx (Similar here)

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(Disclaimer - Any post stared with an asterisk (*) contains either an item that has been gifted to me in consideration for a blog review or is a collaborative/branded post. All opinions made on this blog are my own and not that of any brand or company I have connections with. For my full disclaimer please click here. Some images featured are registered to my lovely friend Karyu Wan)

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