ELLE Promotion: Affordable Luxury in Dubai

Dubai has earned a reputation as one of the world’s leading luxury destinations, but you don't have to be a high earner to experience the glamour and excitement of this Middle East metropolis.


Room for a bargain
While the luxury hotel offerings tend to hog the media spotlight, a number of affordable hotel developments are springing up in the city, providing a highly desirable yet inexpensive alternative for travellers on a budget, such as Holiday Inn Express (ichotelsgroup.com), Premier Inn (global.premierinn.com) and Ibis (ibishotel.com). Alternatively, there are some great all inclusive deals available at Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa (jebelali-international.com) and Ibn Battuta Gate hotel this summer (moevenpick-hotels.com).

Style at a snip
With an influx of flagship designer stores, Dubai is steadily acquiring a reputation for serious style pedigree. But that doesn’t mean you need the bank account to match, especially if you coincide your trip with the annual Dubai Shopping Festival (mydsf.ae), when opportunities to bag a discount are plentiful. For thrifty shoppers, the Dubai Outlet Mall (dubaioutletmall.com) is a must at any time of the year. Home to over 800 of the world’s premium fashion brands, this bona fide fashion mecca boasts discounts of up to 90%.

Alternatively, haggle for a bargain and get a sense of Dubai’s rich cultural heritage at the city’s traditional Arabian souks in the Deira district. A feast for the senses, you’ll find myriad stalls vying for your attention with a host of local products on offer, from gold, spices and textiles to tantalising fresh produce. Afterwards, you can take a wander around the Old Bastakiya area, exploring its traditional wind tower architecture, local cafes and art galleries.

Cheap eats
You don't have to frequent Dubai's five star hotel restaurants to get a taste of the city’s gastronomical delights. At The Walk you’ll find al fresco cafes and bistros where you can sample local specialties at very reasonable rates – about £15 per person for dinner. In addition, the atmospheric Souk Al Bahar in Downtown Dubai has more than 22 restaurants and cafes lining its waterfront promenade, from international dining options to local restaurants specialising in mezze and kebabs. And what better location to be amazed by the free Dubai Fountain shows every evening?

Free time
With guaranteed sunshine Dubai truly is the destination where you really can do as much or as little as you like. For downtime, head to the pure white sands and crystal clear waters of the free public beach at Jumeirah or explore one of the many free parks in the city, such as Mushrif Park, which boasts swimming pools, children’s play areas and camel rides. For an inexpensive yet cultural excursion, take a visit to Jumeirah Mosque (cultures.ae) where you can discover more about how local traditions and religion make Dubai what it is today.

Finally, no visit to the city is complete without a trip to Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo (thedubaiaquarium.com), which costs less than £9 per person for a Combo ticket. With the capacity to hold 10 million litres of water, this fascinating centre showcases one of the most diverse collections of marine life worldwide via its 270-degree acrylic walkthrough tunnel.

Getting there
With over 135 direct flights per week from six airports in the UK, Dubai is served by many airlines including the award winning national carrier Emirates (emirates.com/uk), as well as British Airways (ba.com), Virgin Atlantic Airways (virgin-atlantic.com) and Royal Brunei (bruneiair.com). Many tour operators are offering a ‘Kids Go Free In Dubai’ promotion this summer which includes half price flights with Emirates, plus free accommodation at selected hotels and free entry at participating attractions for two children when accompanied by two adults (kidsgofreeindubai.com).

Getting around
Once you’re there, there are multiple inexpensive ways to navigate the city. Hail or pre-book one of the many air conditioned taxis, jump aboard the abras (traditional wooden boats used to ferry passengers across Dubai Creek) for only 20 pence, or ride the air conditioned and reliable Dubai Metro network all day for less than £2.50. You can also take advantage of the plentiful free shuttle buses available between many hotels and The Dubai Mall (thedubaimall.com) / Mall of the Emirates (malloftheemirates.com).

For practical information, holiday inspiration and tips, visit definitelydubai.com or your local travel agent.

Sponsored by Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

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