Follow Flight Centre consultant Greer Gardiner as she samples the best Dubai has to offer, as seen on The 48 Hour Destination TV series. So how many experiences can she squeeze into 48 hours? Here’s her action-packed Dubai itinerary to inspire you.
9am Old Town
Greer begins her Dubai adventure in the Old Town, often referred to as the heart and soul of Dubai. Here she meets up with her friend and local consultant Samiera Sumuri, and together they explore the souks. The pair has some fun trying on the exotic gold jewellery on offer in the Gold Souk. They meet up with Azzel, their guide, who explains the history of the souks, before Greer and Samiera learn from a spice trader how to choose the best quality saffron. Next up, the group boards an abra – a traditional boat made of wood – and heads across Dubai Creek to the other side to explore the Textile Souk.
11am Alserkal Avenue arts district
Ready for a culture fix, Greer and Samiera get to know all about Dubai’s art scene at Alserkal Avenue, set within the industrial neighbourhood of Al Quoz. Here they visit contemporary art gallery The Third Line, where they discover the work of Middle Eastern artist Amir H. Fallah. From here, Greer and Samiera head to Jean-Paul Najar Foundation and chat to curator Wafa Jadallah about the gallery.
12pm Tom & Serg Restaurant
Time for lunch! Greer and Samiera visit the popular restaurant Tom & Serg, run by Australian Tom Arnel and Spaniard Sergio Lopez. The industrial-chic restaurant is famous for its Melbourne-style coffee. They tuck into a delicious midday meal and grab some dessert to take away!
2pm Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray resort
After lunch, Greer has the chance to experience a luxurious Turkish Hammam Spa Treatment at the palatial Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. The centuries-old tradition of hammam is based around a philosophy of community. The hammam was once an important gathering place for people to relax, take time out from the rigours of life, and experience true indulgence.
Today, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray takes the traditional experience up a lavish notch, and Greer has the chance to indulge in a Turkish body cleansing ceremony that involves a foam massage (and millions of bubbles!). Then Greer and Samiera are off to another treatment room for a relaxing facial. Afterwards, they soak up the soothing atmosphere of the hammam while enjoying the spa.
4pm Sheik Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
Next up, Greer and Samiera visit the Sheik Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding where they have the chance to learn about Muslim traditions, including the relevance of the headscarf. The centre’s purpose is to increase awareness and establish an understanding between the various cultures that live in Dubai. Their motto is ‘Open Doors, Open Minds’ and all questions, no matter how sensitive, are answered. Greer and Samiera are invited to share in a delicious, traditional meal and, as part of the cultural experience, their hosts guide them through a local mosque.
5pm Pre-adventure refreshments
Greer and Samiera relax by the pool at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray as they recap on their day and wonder what desert adventure awaits...
6:30pm Arabian Adventures Sundowner Desert Experience
It’s not long before they find out! Greer and Samiera are whisked away for some serious 4WD circle work in the desert, guided by the experts: Arabian Adventures. After watching the sun go down over the dunes, they’re off again. After an incredible, action-packed day, Greer and Samiera finally arrive at an authentic Bedouin desert camp, where they try their hand at sand boarding, before enjoying a sumptuous Arabian dinner buffet and are entertained by the traditional Tanoura dancing. It’s a rare treat to see Tanoura dancing, it’s originally from Egypt and similar to the whirling dervish dance from Turkey.
9am Ski Dubai
In front of a roaring fire (what?! In Dubai? Yes!) Greer and Samiera start their day chatting about the fun they’re going to have on the slopes of Ski Dubai – an indoor ski resort covering 3,000 square metres, with five slopes of varying steepness and difficulty, and the world’s first indoor black diamond run! Once they’re kitted out, they’re off. Greer and Samiera have a go at rolling down the Giant Ball run and whipping down the tube slides, and Greer skis up a storm.
11:30am Etihad Museum
After the thrills of the ski field, Greer and Samiera take time out to visit the newly opened Etihad Museum. They are given a guided tour, and learn that the museum is dedicated to inspiring its visitors with the story of the founding of the United Arab Emirates in 1971.
1:30pm High Tea at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
Time to take a break. For Greer and Samiera on their whirlwind Dubai adventure, only the best will do, so the pair head up to the top floor of the luxurious Burj Al Arab Jumeirah for high tea. They arrive at the Skyview Bar and are met by breathtaking views of the Palm Jumeirah and The World Islands. What’s on the menu? Pure decadence! Greer and Samiera are treated to delights that include fresh scones and clotted cream, elegant sandwiches, pastries, cakes, preserves and jam, served with a glass of sparkling apple juice sprinkled with 24-carat gold flakes. No wonder Burj Al Arab Jumeirah’s service is regarded as ‘7-star’, raising the bar on luxury and service beyond what guests have come to expect from traditional 5-star establishments.
3:30pm Dubai Mall
After refuelling in style at the Skyview Bar, Greer hits Dubai Mall for some serious, uptown shopping. They have over 1,200 shops to browse through, covering an area larger than five football fields... good luck Greer! Samiera introduces Greer to the best way to get around the mall: on a comfy, customised buggy.
6:30pm Thiptara Restaurant, Dubai Mall
After some retail therapy, Samiera takes Greer to Thiptara, an elegant lakeside restaurant which is part of the Dubai Mall. Thiptara means ‘magic at the water’ and is perfectly named for its unimpeded views of the Dubai Fountain at the Palace Downtown Dubai hotel. The two relax with delectable mocktails and await the coming show...
7pm Dubai Fountain show
Dubai Fountain is the world’s second-largest choreographed fountain system, and the centrepoint for a spectacular water, music and light show, where the water reaches up to 140 metres high. The daily performances are a delight for all visitors, and Greer and Samiera sit back and enjoy the show.
8:30pm Qasr Al Sultan restaurant
At the end of a big, fun-filled day, Samiera takes Greer to her favourite restaurant, Qasr Al Sultan. It’s immediately easy to see why it’s Samiera’s favourite – the experience is like stepping back in time and being treated to a sumptuous dinner at the Sultan’s palace. Greer has an unforgettable night, getting to know the culture and history of the region, as both Iftar and Suhour meals are offered, along with true Arabian warmth and hospitality. For Greer and Samiera, it’s all about the enchanting ambience, friendly faces and spicy aroma of delicious food.
6am Sunrise over the desert
To catch the desert in a dazzling new light, Samiera brings Greer out to watch the sun rise over the empty dunes. As they walk through the cool sand and recap on Greer’s time in Dubai, Samiera lets Greer in on a secret – she has one last surprise in store for her friend.
7am Dune buggy experience
Ending on a massive high, Greer straps in for the ultimate desert fun: dune buggy driving! Greer and Samiera speed over the dunes, cornering like absolute pros and loving every last minute of Greer’s incredible 48 hours in Dubai.