After an 11PM departure from Malé, and a comfortable 4-hour Emirates flight, we landed in Dubai at a slightly bleary 1:30AM. We added Dubai to our itinerary as a connection between the Maldives and South Africa. Other options to get from A to B involved going through Turkey and Germany before heading to the southern tip of Africa, and that didn’t sound like much fun.
The airport was relatively busy for 1:30 in the morning with lots of blue-shirted “Ask Me” people available to help provide directions. Customs had no line as most of the people were probably headed onto other destinations. No visa is required, and no prior paperwork (such as the customs form that you typically fill out on the plane) was necessary, so we showed our passports, they stamped them, and said “Welcome to Dubai!”
Our first hotel was next to the airport – the Premier Inn Dubai. Just a way-station to quickly get some sleep, get some food in the morning, and get onto Dubai doings. It was also super cheap – $60, but very decent and functional even at that!
A couple weeks before our trip, we booked a night at the magical Burj Al Arab, one of the most lavish, gilded, luxury hotels in the world and said to be the only 7-star hotel in the world.
You can read our mini-review of the Burj Al Arab over here, but we’ll include some photos and text in case you missed it.
At 11:50AM, we we were just planning to drop our luggage with the concierge, however, we were pleasantly surprised when we were met by Ana from guest relations who said that we could go right to our room!
Wow! The panoramic one-bedroom suite is AMAZING! This one-bedroom suite features two floors and floor to ceiling windows.
High Card: Burj Khalifa
We purchased tickets a month in advance to go to the top of Burj Khalifa, so we grabbed a cab and headed to the tallest man-made structure and tallest building in the world. The observatory is only at 1,483 feet, but still pretty darn high. From the Burj Khalifa website:
At over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, Burj Khalifa holds the following records:
- Tallest building in the world
- Tallest free-standing structure in the world
- Highest number of stories in the world
- Highest occupied floor in the world
- Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
- Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
- Tallest service elevator in the world
The weather was a little hazy–not much wind –so our visibility was about 10 miles. We could just barely see Burj Al Arab in the distance.
Burj Khalifa is adjacent to the Dubai Mall (sorry, no photos – we passed through it on our way to Burj Khalifa) which is the largest shopping mall in the world.
We had planned to come back that evening to see the spectacular Dubai Fountain show around the Burj Khalifa, but we ran out of time. The Dubai Fountain is the largest choreographed fountain in the world.
King High: Mall of the Emirates
We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying our hotel, the room, and the view before heading over to the adjacent Wadi Water Park for some raging water slides, some jetted up-slides, a wave rider, and a wave pool.
We were temped to change our insanely early flight the next morning at 4:40AM to something more reasonable so that we could enjoy our room a bit more, but we stuck with our plan and checked out at 2:15AM and headed for the airport.
Summary of Largest / Biggest / Best:
- World’s Best Hotel (in our opinon): Burj Al Arab
- World’s Tallest Building: Burj Khalifa
- World’s Largest Choreographed Fountain: Dubai Fountain
- World’s Largest Mall: Dubai Mall
- World’s First Shopping Resort: Mall of Emirates
- Coldest Place in Dubai (in our opinion): Ski Dubai
Day of Kings
We enjoyed our brief brush with royal treatment, and the girls felt like princesses.
Next stop: South Africa
Happy RTW Travels!