Category Archives: United Arab Emirates

6 Simple Ways to Save Money on Your Hotel Stay in Dubai

When staying at a hotel, you get what you pay for.

Choose lower rates and you may find that the hotel’s provisions are quite limited or lacking in overall quality, resulting in an altogether lackluster and forgettable stay.

On the other hand, when you spend a bit more on your choice of lodging, you are more likely to have access to more impressive facilities and services, and enjoy more comforts and conveniences that will have you looking forward to coming back to the hotel every day.

However, paying big bucks is not necessarily the only way to secure a pleasurable stay at, say, one of the topnotch hotels in Jumeirah, Dubai. The next time you plan to come to the City of Gold, try following these useful tips and discover how to book a room at an upscale hotel in Dubai without paying a fortune, and even saving some money in the process.

  1. Travel during off-peak months

If you really want to save money on your trip to Dubai, schedule your travel during the city’s off-peak months: May to September. These are the hottest months in the UAE and, as such, the country does not receive as many tourists during this period.

During the off-peak months, expect lower hotel rates, so you pay less for a great room. You can also enjoy amazing discounts on airfare and entrance fees on some tourist attractions you want to visit.

  1. Compare hotel rates online

Before booking your accommodation, regularly visit the websites of various hotels in Dubai. Check out different hotel comparison and hotel deal sites as well. But do not immediately a book a room at the first hotel you find offering the lowest rates; spend additional time browsing online until you come up with a sufficient list of different hotels and prices you can choose from.

Make sure you take note of their prices. Aside from using these in making your final decision, you can also use them as negotiating points when you get in touch with hotel booking staff.

  1. Book directly with a hotel

If you plan on booking your accommodation online, consider getting in touch with your shortlisted hotels directly and not through third-party sites. Inquire about their rates and the perks they offer by email or by calling them up.

It is best to call the hotel you are interested in directly since you can ask as many as questions you want. You will also be able to tell the staff or reservation agent about the rates you saw online and ask if they can match this, or even offer something lower. And you do not have to pay a fortune for long distance calls since you can use Skype and other apps to call the hotel in Dubai.

Talking to an actual person offers the great benefit of scoring discounts, a better room, or some additional perks such as a complimentary breakfast or free massage at the hotel spa. Do not be embarrassed to ask; lower rates or no, you can still try to get some freebies. Although you may not get any discounts, you can still get more value for your money.

  1. Make sure you know the total cost before booking or paying in advance

Before booking your room or paying a reservation fee, request a quotation. Go over it carefully and check if the amenities and services you need and want are free or if you have to pay extra for them.

Keep in mind that some hotels charge a resort fee, gym fees, parking fees, etc. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, always ask about everything that is included in the total fee you will be paying. Find out how much you would need to pay for the additional amenities and services you are interested in.

  1. Consider getting a travel package

In case Dubai is your only destination and it is your first time to have a holiday here, look for a deal online that already includes airfare, airport transfers, hotel accommodation, meals and other services.

Many travel agencies offer these packaged deals and often, these can be cheaper than buying the components individually. If you can’t find the appropriate one, consider looking at special packages direct from the hotel themselves.

Again, before choosing your travel package, make sure you read up on various deals before settling on one. Get details about everything included, the kind of room you will get, travel details, etc.

Do not pay for anything until you are satisfied with all the information you get. This is because if you change your mind and you have already paid, you will have a hard time getting a refund and you will not get the full amount you paid.

  1. Join a loyalty club

Lastly, if a particular hotel brand or chain consistently meets your budget and comfort expectations, find out if they have a loyalty club and sign up for it.

Popular chains often have different hotel tiers that range from economy, upscale to luxury or high-end in various cities across the globe. You can, therefore, choose a hotel that meets your budget anywhere you go. Best of all, you may get to enjoy lower costs, free room upgrades, and a variety of other perks which you can only get if you are a member of a hotel’s loyalty club.

With some research and thorough prep work, staying at an amazing hotel in Dubai without spending a fortune, and even saving some money in the process, is truly possible.

How to Experience the Best of Dubai’s Modern and Traditional Allure

Photo by CC user Simon Bierwald on Flickr

Photo by CC user Simon Bierwald on Flickr

Well-traveled folks know that Dubai is the perfect amalgamation of old and new. In this desert city, you will find a main street surrounded by the latest modern designs for infrastructure. Make a turn to the backstreets and you will be surprised to find really old buildings inhabited by traditional locals.

Thanks to this, Dubai is all the more a fascinating place to visit — especially if you are all about combining history and culture with exciting innovations for your trip. It offers a bounty of experiences wherein you will feel as if you have travelled back in time — and yet, after a two-minute walk, you have seemingly managed to travel to the future because of all the modern developments around.

So, what are these “old and new” experiences that Dubai has in store for you? Check out the following six ideas:

1. The Desert Safari Tour

The desert is not that long a drive from the bustling modern urban hubs of Dubai. But once you get here, it will be like you travelled to a place where time stood still — especially if you signed up for a camel ride to take advantage of the different aspects of the classic desert safari tour.

There is nothing more old school than travelling across the desert via camel. However, while you are traversing the dunes, it is not unlikely to spot 4×4 vehicles speeding up and down the deep dips and ascents leading to the safari camp.

And speaking of the safari camp, it offers al fresco dining for tourists, and this includes traditional Dubai fare.

What is the modern element to be found in having dinner at the safari camp? It has got to be all the foreigners taking pictures and getting coaxed into learning parts of the special performance of a dance that is over a century old.

2. A stay at an Arabian-themed hotel

Staying at a beautiful Arabian-themed 4-star hotel in Dubai is sure to set the mood nicely for a splendid vacation. Such a hotel boasts of fine Arabian interior design and furniture, plus spa services that will make you feel like an Arab royal. What’s more, you will find modern facilities like a gym, conference rooms, and really hip restaurants.

If you are looking for accommodations with a harmonious blend of modern and traditional allure, a hotel with charming Arabian palace interiors is certainly highly recommended.

3. A walk around Bastakia Quarter

This heritage site is a must for all tourists because of its traditional architecture and artsy stores and galleries. You will enjoy the maze of wind-towered structures, and then comfortably conclude your exploration at the Arabian Tea House Outdoor Café.

The café serves international cuisine. You can enjoy soups, salads, pasta, yummy pastries, and a vast selection of refreshing tea concoctions.

4. Dinner at the DIFC

Come to the DIFC for dinner because there are plenty of dining establishments here that will introduce you to both traditional fare and the latest Instagram-worthy eats.

You will be sure to find a restaurant here that will take you around the globe with its menu. Choose to dine like a local and eat authentic Emirati dishes that have been around for centuries, or take the worldly gastronomic routes and sample the flavours of Japan, France, Spain, the US, and others.

5. Shopping at Deira Spice Souq

This is definitely old Dubai, but you will see a lot of foreigners here having a blast getting the best deals on exotic herbs and spices. Also, the moment you get here and catch a whiff of the pungent aroma of all the merchandise, you’ll automatically get a feeling of being in olden times (or perhaps the setting of Disney’s “Aladdin”).

In addition to this experience, though, you will know that things have become modernized here because there are “souq ambassadors” taking care of tourists. These personalities create an experience of the spice souq that visitors can really appreciate. They introduce unfamiliar herbs and spices and provide these products’ equivalent in other countries. Plus, they protect tourists from aggressive and assertive merchants.

6. Stroll through Marsa Al Seef

In this cultural hotspot, visitors to Dubai can take a peek at Dubai’s past as well as enjoy the edgy cosmopolitan vibe that the city is also known for. After browsing through local artwork and witnessing examples of traditional occupations such as boat building and pearl diving, guests can then immerse themselves in shopping and relaxing at various retail stores, restaurants, cafes and galleries.

These are just six ways you can experience a blend of old and new Dubai. When you come to the city for a tour and start off with these, there is no doubt that you will find other provisions that highlight its modern and traditional appeal even more.

AUTHOR BIO

Habib Khan is a seasoned Hotelier, currently the CEO of Planet Hospitality and General Manager of Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa. Khan has more than 30 years of diversified international experience in the hospitality industry. He is an expert in developing, transforming, and managing hotels, with an ability to analyze and solve problems in a challenging work environment.

Dubai On A Budget

Dubai is known for its luxurious fashion, hotels and nightlife. There are plenty of things to do even if you don’t have a luxurious budget. We’ve curated a list of the top 5 things do when you’re visiting Dubai when you’re trying to save a little cash.

(Reference: www.stockvault.net)

Abra boat rides across the creek

Dubai’s climate can be a bit unbearable to tourists who aren’t familiar, which is why this first option is not only inexpensive, but it’s also a nice way to cool down while viewing the historic center of Dubai at the Abra Dock. When you get there, you can take this boat for a whopping quarter. That’s right, a full $0.25 for this boat ride that will cool you off as the wind comes off of the water. This boat embarks from Old Souk to several spots along the river including Spice Souk, allowing you to cool down and get familiar with the Arabian banks.

Dinner against the Creek

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(Reference: https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeowatzup/4325886562 )

If you plan on spending your day at the Creek, whether it’s at a store or walking around after your boat ride, you can have an inexpensive meal against the waters of the creek. You can stay cool and watch the city buildings of historic Dubai light up your dinner backdrop. This is a great opportunity to try new cuisine such as Middle Eastern food. There are shish kebabs, vine leaf sarma, lemon with rice, bread with hummus and much, much more. But there are plenty of Islamic customs you want to make sure you follow at dinnertime so you’re not looked down upon.

These customs include:

  • No PDA with your partner while eating in public (you may even get arrested for doing so)
  • Cannot drink with your meal, but they offer “hubbly bubbly” for after your meal
  • Smoking tobacco from a hookah type setup

The Burj Khalifa

(Reference: www.stockvault.net)

The world famous Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. If you get too close you may not be able to get the entire structure in one photograph for your digital scrapbooks! While it’s not typically easy to get inside the Burj Khalifa, there is an Armani Hotel inside, but you won’t be allowed in without a reservation. If you’re looking to head up to the very high observation deck to see Dubai at it’s highest, you’ll have to pay a whopping 400 Dirhams or $108 bucks.

But thankfully, there’s a cheap way to get into this stunning and exquisite structure. If you book in advance, you can save almost 75% and get a ticket for $34 or 124 Dirhams. At first, you may pass because of the original price, but knowing you can book in advance will allow you to indulge when you’re actually in Dubai by saving so much money!

But that’s not the only exciting thing about the Burj Khalifa. The newest “Mission Impossible” movie was filmed in Dubai and Tom Cruise even sat on top of the needle without any harnesses. As he did this, he was able to overlook Dubai at 2,722 feet above the ground. Tom Cruise performed these stunts directly for the fourth installment of “Mission Impossible”. If you want to binge watch on “Mission Impossible”, you can hit up Netflix before the newest movie comes out. But if you’re planning to watch it in Dubai, you’ll have to unblock it on their Internet due to restrictions.

Karachi Darbar

The Karachi Darbar restaurant is actually a chain of restaurants in Dubai that’s pretty inexpensive but serves delicious cuisines inspired by the traditions and cultures in Dubai. Their eclectic neon signs draw you in for food that has a punch of flavor. Reviews all over the Internet continuously boast about their cheap prices for how good the food is. Some of Karachi Darbar’s more notable foods include Haleem, Roti, Peshawri mutton, Kadai, and Tandoori. If you’re looking to try Middle Eastern food for the first time without burning a hole through your pocket, you may want to stop in at a Karachi Darbar.

Gravity Zone

This destination in Dubai is for the adventurous only. Feel the thrill at Gravity Zone’s “adrenaline sports” location by bungee jumping a whopping 300 feet or roughly 25 stories! Your feet will be tied to the elastic bungee cord system and their guides will calm you down or help push you over the edge (in a good way, of course). There are three types of jumps including the tandem jump, the FAB bungee jump, and the single jump.

Prices vary, but for the basic, single bungee jump, you’ll be looking to pay $98 USD. This is the priciest on our list, but if with all the money you have saved, you’ll have more than enough to take a jump! This location even holds the Guinness World Record title for the most bungee jumps within 24 hours. With the previous record being 105 jumps in 24 hours, a man accomplished 151 jumps in three sections during the 24 hours. While he made the world record jump early in the morning, he decided to go for much more.

Conclusion

(Reference: www.stockvault.net)

Dubai is the heart of fun, culture, and adventure. Two of the five places on our list hold world records including the Burj Khalifa and Gravity Zone. Between the great food and many inexpensive adventures you can go on throughout your day while getting a taste of another culture, there’s no reason to not visit Dubai!