Dubai’s high-flying younger sibling
Just outside Dubai is the biggest manmade harbour in the world, Jebel Ali. An up-and-comer sandwiched between two towering emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), the resort is becoming best-known for the Jebel Ali Free Zone. This tax-exempt business hub is one of the most important in the Middle East, and is responsible for the whirlwind of sleek bars, upmarket restaurants and designer shopping catering to the jet-setters.
The beach scene is one of the best around; you’ve got a fantastic sweep of fine, powdery sand perfect for digging your toes in and soaking up the sun on. There are some high-octane watersports available, too – jet skiing and paragliding are firm favourites.
If you fancy seeing the sights in Dubai itself, it’ll only take you around 30 minutes by car.
Flight time from the UK to Dubai is approximately 6 hours 30 minutes.
Transfer time from Dubai airport to Jebel Ali is approximately 45 minutes.
Summers in Dubai are seriously hot – 40°C kind of hot. Although all buildings are air conditioned, outdoor activities can be uncomfortable in this kind of heat, and some may even be closed. November to April is the best time to visit Dubai; rain is scarce, and temperatures stay at a comfortable mid-20s average.
British citizens will be granted a free 30-day visa upon arrival in Dubai.
In most tourist destinations in the Emirates (such as Dubai and Ras al Khaimah), it’s customary to leave a 10% cash tip in restaurants. Small tips are appreciated for other services; aim for five to 20 UAE dirhams for porters bringing your bags to your room and for taxi drivers.
The official language of Dubai is Arabic. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.
Jebel Ali is about a 30 minute drive from Dubai. Abu Dhabi is a little over an hour away by car.
Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club is a 20 minute drive away. The UAE’s only Royal club boasts both polo and equestrian facilities. The season runs from November to March. Expect a bustling, local atmosphere.