12 unmissable things to do on a girls' trip to Dubai
Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned holidaymaker…
So the girls’ holiday has finally made it out of the group chat, and the chosen destination is Dubai. Perhaps you live here and you’re hosting your friends from home, or you might be a holidaymaker visiting Dubai for the first, fifth or even tenth time. Now that the dates are locked in and flights are booked, it’s time to start planning your itinerary.
From ladies’ nights to beach club days, here’s 12 things you have to do on a girls’ trip to Dubai.
Check out a ladies’ night
Dubai is known and loved for its ladies’ nights, and what began as three free drinks for ladies on a Tuesday has now evolved, with dinner-and-drinks deals, free drinks, or unlimited drinks for a set price at a number of venues across the city. For a guaranteed good time, the Pum Pum party at Miss Lily’s is where to head on a Monday, where you’ll get three drinks and five bites for Dhs150. On Tuesdays, you’ll want to book somewhere like STK, where two courses and two hours of drinks is Dhs200; or The Penthouse, where you’ll pay Dhs150 for three courses and three drinks. And on Wednesdays, top spots to head include Bar Du Port, where Dhs220 gets you two starters, dessert and two hours of free-flowing drinks; or The Maine Oyster Bar & Grill, where ladies can enjoy free-flowing wine at the bar from 8pm to 12am without spending a Dirham.
Top up your tan at a beach club
It’s almost impossible to come to Dubai and not check out the thriving beach club scene. They’re dotted all over the city, bringing slices of Greece, Ibiza, Miami and Beirut to the city. For pumping tunes, sparkler shows and lively entertainment, you’ll want to book Nammos (rates from Dhs200), Verde Beach (rates from Dhs700) or Nikki Beach (rates from Dhs200). For something a little more relaxed and refined but equally as wow-worthy, head to oh-so-chic Twiggy (rates from Dhs200) on the Creek, or Summersalt (rates from Dhs800), which is backdropped by the Burj Al Arab.
Get the ultimate shot for the ‘Gram with a boat day
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Looking to get the ultimate selfie of you and your mates out at sea backdropped by the city’s star attractions? Chartering your own yacht is surprisingly affordable in this city, especially if you’re splitting the price between a dozen or so people. Yacht Do You Want have a whole roster of boats available to book for half-days, full-days or several hours, which come with an expert crew to show you the sights from the Arabian Gulf. Prefer to join an existing yacht party? Check out Centaurus Yacht Charter, who regularly throw yacht parties that invite you to join in on the fun, with all-inclusive food and drink packages available from Dhs249.
Be amazed by a dinner and a show
In Dubai, dinner isn’t just dinner. It’s an opportunity to glam up, dine on fine fair, all while enjoying show-stopping performances from singers, dancers and a host of variety acts. These dinner and a show venues are the kind of spots that start late, so you’ll want to snag a 9pm reservation or later to ensure you get to enjoy the proper vibes. One of the original – and still the best – is Billionaire, which prides itself as being the ‘master of extravaganza,’ serving up the kind of expert choreography and jaw-dropping stunts that will leave your jaw on the floor. A newer addition, and one that’s just as daring is the sultry DIFC dinner and a show, Babylon. Here, everything from the staff uniforms to the club lounge where you party once the show concludes oozes glamour with a sizzling edge, and while dining on upscale Mediterranean and pan-Asian fare, expect to enjoy power ballads, musical mastery and some awe-inspiring feats.
Enjoy a pampering spa day
Between beach days and nights out, it’s important to get some R&R laced into your girls’ trip to Dubai, and what better way to bliss out than with a spa day? We love Away Spa at W Dubai – The Palm for its bright neon decor and high-fashion feel, and there’s always some brilliant spa day packages for you and your besties, like the spa daycation for Dhs599 that includes a 60-minute massage, a main and drink at the beauty bar, plus pool and beach access. Blended is another brilliant spot for a spa day-cation, with this wellness emporium on Palm Jumeirah inviting ladies to enjoy a relaxing massage, access to the thermal facilities, lunch next door at Ula inclusive of three-courses and two drinks, and all-day pool and beach access.
Party at a Saturday brunch
Alongside ladies’ nights, Saturday brunch is a right of passage for anyone visiting Dubai, whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned visitor. For first-timers, few party brunches compare to the all-singing, all-dancing hotel buffets that offer endless food and drink stations, live entertainment and music aplenty. Book Saffron at Atlantis The Palm, Bubbalicious at The Westin Mina Seyahi or Wanderlust at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai for an all boxes-ticking experience. For something just as fun – but with a set menu served to the table – top Saturday party brunches include Candypants at Akira Back, Maiden Shanghai and Clap.
Have a wholesome trip to the desert
It’s easy to get caught up in the soaring skyscrapers and stunning beaches that dot the city of Dubai, but no girls’ trip to Dubai is complete without making making for the desert. Platinum Heritage offer a whole host of tours and experiences, although the most popular to book is a desert safari, that takes you on a one-hour drive through the Desert Conservation Reserve in a vintage land rover, as you spot desert fauna, flora, and wildlife. After taking in a breathtaking sunset and falconry show, a dinner of Emirati flavours is served against the backdrop of live entertainment. For a luxe desert dining experience, head to Sonara Camp where you can try activities like sand boarding, camel riding and more before heading down to a dinner of Arabic eats and entertaining shows.
Book a dinner at one of the city’s liveliest restaurants
Dubai is the kind of city where no matter what cuisine you’re in the mood for, you’ll find it. For dinner with the girls where there’s a lively vibe, you’re spoiled for choice pretty much any day of the week. Opa is popular for its dual serving of excellent Greek dishes with plate smashing and zorba dancing, while next door at Bagatelle the live music and fine French fare are always on point. Few haute hangouts have the global rep of Zuma, and a late-night table in the lounge at this DIFC hotspot is one of the most sought-after tables in the city. Looking for sweeping vistas with your meal? Then a table at Sushisamba is a must. Heart-eyes for Italian dishes served up to live music, flashing lights and shots shows? Lucia’s at Address Sky View shouldn’t be missed.
Dance the night away at a super club
The night doesn’t have to end just because dinner does in Dubai. The party keeps going until the early hours, especially in the winter months when all of the late-night, open-air venues are operating in full force. You shouldn’t miss a night out at Sky2.0, the D3 super club has a trio of themed nights from Thursday to Saturday where you can dance the night away to house, R&B or hip-hop tunes. Soho Garden at Meydan is another unmissable party spot in Dubai, with several different spaces and nights and a regular rotation of live performances that always draw a crowd on weekends.
Wake up early for a wakeboarding session
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While many of the activities on a girls’ trip to Dubai happen long after noon, here’s a case for waking up early and blasting away the cobwebs: an opportunity to rise with the sun and take to the ocean for a morning wakeboarding session. Wake Dubai’s wakeboarding trips are for all abilities and set sail conveniently from Dubai Harbour. Even if you’ve never given it a go before, you might be surprised with how quickly you’re wakeboarding like a pro, backdropped by Ain Dubai and the Marina skyline. You can book sessions from 30 minutes up to three hours, which come with capacity for up to six, all the equipment you’ll need and water and towels provided. Sessions start all the way from 6am and go until sunset, with prices from Dhs350.
Glam up for a ladies’ day
Dubai ladies’ days come with various benefits, from complimentary access to some of Dubai’s best pools to unlimited free drinks and even lunch. On Thursday, few compare to the Secret Parties’ Praia Ladies’ Day, which runs from 12pm to 4pm, offering ladies lunch and unlimited drinks for Dhs150, or Dhs250 if you upgrade to include unlimited prosecco. For guys it’s Dhs300 minimum spend, or use that for a set lunch and four selected beers. On Wednesday, Surf Club invites ladies to bask in the sun, whilst they tuck into a specially curated food platter and bottomless mojitos and wine from 1pm to 5pm for Dhs199.
Go for cocktails with a view at a rooftop bar
There’s something special about watching the sunset over Dubai’s ever-evolving skyline from a rooftop, especially during winter. Golden hour enthusiasts will love taking in the views from Palm Jumeirah surrounded by the sea while city dwellers can admire the lights of Downtown’s urban night scene. On the rooftop of the W Dubai – Mina Seyahi, Attiko’s wrap-around terrace offers lovely views of the Dubai Harbour and Palm Jumeirah, while from the Palm’s 52nd floor bar CouCou, you get commanding views of all of the twinkling fronds at night. Further into Downtown, CE LA VI’s Burj Khalifa views are unrivaled, while back at JBR, Zeta Seventy Seven shouldn’t be missed for views that stretch as far as the eye can see.