United Arab Emirates Honeymoon: Travel Guide Part 1

Back in College, Dan spoke about a dream to one day go to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He wanted to see the Palm, tallest building in the world, and all the crazy wonders of the Middle East. I nodded by head and say "yeah, sure"....I didn't know when this opportunity would come up for us, but kept the thought in the back of my mind.


When we were looking at flights to the Maldives for our honeymoon, we realized Dubai was the perfect layover city! After planning our itinerary for a little 1-2 day layover, we realized we wanted to spend more time in this futuristic city than anticipated. We decided to extend our trip to 4 days during the beginning of our honeymoon to tour through Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and the last 3 days during the end of our honeymoon in the Dubai Desert!


If you want to read about our time in the desert, you can read about it here: United Arab Emirates Honeymoon: Travel Guide Part 2


ANYWAYS, let's start with the first part of our trip... exploring Dubai and Abu Dhabi...




One of our favorite experiences was visiting the Burj Khalifa - the tallest building in the world. With 160 stories, this building has restaurants, offices, a hotel, residences, an observation deck and more! We went all the way up to the 148th floor and enjoyed the towering views over the city. We also went to the outdoor observation deck - it was CRAZY how high up we were!



For a (splurge) experience, we had afternoon tea at the At.mosphere lounge. We reserved seats next to the edge to look out over the dramatic arabic-landscape - highly suggest to do the same when booking a reservation! Also, it was a great spot to relax for us as tired travelers and enjoy the elegant dining experience. This experience included 2 courses, champagne, afternoon tea + dessert....it was the most over-the-top afternoon tea we've ever had!






We spent the next few days exploring around the Burj Khalifa... to summarize, very good shopping :) . Not only does Dubai have the tallest building in the world, but they also have the largest mall in the world! We loved walking around the mall to see the stores, food and enjoy some AC. Also, we found many of our favorite USA stores with arabic-signage - we loved seeing the arabic-store signs!






Another highlight of our time in Dubai was visiting the Souks - aka Arab shopping market-places! This place was called the Souk Madinat Jumeirah - filled with all kinds of stores. We loved seeing the lamps, clothing and little storefronts.









After exploring Dubai for a few days, we rented a car and drove 1.5 hours south to Abu Dhabi to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque! This was the first part of our trip that we had a strict dress-code for. Dan wore business casual clothing, and I had to wear an outfit showing no skin on my body (except face). Luckily, I brought a silk scarf and was able to dress it as a head-covering.


At the entrance of the Mosque, there was a shopping center (and food court) with stores filled with clothing options incase the women's and men's clothing was not conservative enough. Also, we had to show our vaccination cards before we could enter the Mosque. UAE took COVID very seriously, and everyone we witness was wearing a face mask in public - no issues on people being compliant. It made travel feel very safe.


Also, how beautiful is this Mosque?!







During our hotel stay, we picked a hotel right on the Palm! The palm are 3 man-made islands formed into the shape of a palm leaf. We stayed at the W Dubai - The Palm, and loved the hotel vibe. The room design and decor were a little 80's for us, but we really loved the food options and pool area!






After a few days, we said flew out of Dubai and spent the next 2 weeks in the Maldives! After those two weeks, we flew back and drove out to the Dubai Desert...Part 2 coming soon - details regarding our trip in the Dubai desert and hotel stays from one of the best Marriott Bonvoy experiences we have EVER had!