dubai

Dreaming of Dubai? Here's how to go all out in the city of gold

How to get the experiences your friends wouldn't have posted on Instagram

Lauren Connolly

Year-round sunshine, luxury shopping malls and world-class restaurants has made Dubai one of the most desirable destinations of recent times. So when we were offered the chance to visit one of the city's latest destinations, W Dubai – The Palm, we couldn't possibly say no. Boasting the title as the largest man-made island in the world and located on the Palm Jumeriah, it's one of Dubai's most iconic attractions. The W brand's playful spin on the traditional resort experience adds a new beat to the already dynamic city, which we couldn’t wait to explore. Here’s where to stay, eat and play in Dubai in three days…

1st Day

Morning: Enjoy breakfast at LIV

Adventure begins at the W’s all-day diner Liv, which invites guests to “Liv a little”. The playful breakfast assortments include a sorbet counter, donut wall and a porridge station with multi-coloured sugar toppings. The never-ending breakfast buffet is free for Elite members and to gain even more access on your holiday Marriott Bonvoy is the membership you need! Marriott Bonvoy is Marriott International’s all-encompassing travel programme, where members can earn and redeem points for nights at the hotel. This point can be redeemed for exclusive Marriott Bonvoy Moments that offers thousands experiences covering music, sports and food.

Afternoon: Marriott Bonvoy Tour

With its vast contemporary malls, Dubai is one of the world’s most exciting shopping cities. But if you really want to get under the skin of this desert city, the traditional markets, known as souks, are a must-visit within Dubai’s Old Town. A day tour is perfect to experience the vibrant day-to-day life of the city’s locals, explore the glitzy Gold Souk, spice markets and even take a local water taxi across Dubai creek. Don’t be afraid to haggle, your tour guide can help you get the best price if you wish to make any purchases.

Evening: Dinner at Grosvenor House

Savour an Epicurean journey at the two glittering towers of the iconic Grosvenor House, just along the marina – it's the place to be seen. Part of the luxury collection you can indulge your senses in is a three-course meal transported through three different restaurants. Starting with 360 degree views from Siddharta Lounge, where you can enjoy oysters or an octopus salad, to the sounds, flavours and energy of Latin America downstairs in Toro Toro where you can enjoy “eat as much as you like BBQ”. We suggest you end the night with a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory moment in Dubai’s hot spot Buddha Bar, with a table covered in desserts to die for and decadent cocktails.

2nd Day

Morning: Spa treatment at AWAY Spa

Start the day at The W brand’s signature AWAY® Spa, the first of its kind in the UAE, the spa is designed for you to simply ‘stroll in and strut out’. Offering ten treatment rooms, a steam room, sauna, experiential showers, and a couples’ suite. The design is inspired by the underwater perspective of a pearl diver, where iridescent shells reflect the sunlight that peeks through the ocean above, when you step in, turn off the world and emerge rejuvenated.

Afternoon: Dine at Torno Subito

Indulge your senses at Torno Subito - the name means ‘I’ll be right back’ - and the décor is the manifestation of founder Massimo Bottura’s childhood memories, with beach ball lighting and pastel colours that draw you straight inside. This is Chef Massimo's first restaurant outside of Italy, and you can expect quality as he is the mastermind behind the three Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana, previously voted number one in the world. The creative and witty design will intrigue you as much as the food - expect your classic risotto and tiramisu but with a playful twist in a refreshing riviera atmosphere that's truly Instagrammable.

Evening: Vist The Ritz-Carlton Ras al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert

We were lucky enough to join The Ritz-Carlton Grand Tour, a three-day luxury driving experience with stops off at Ritz-Carlton hotels in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Muscat. Purchased as a Marriott Bonvoy Member Experience, you stop at the Ras Al Khaimah and experience the magic of this unique remote getaway just an hour from Dubai. The private resort offers adventure and tranquility within the sanctuary of a protected nature reserve, and allows you to experience the landscape as it was 50 years ago. We arrived to an exceptional traditional Falconry show, before getting to pet camels. We then made our way to a breathtaking desert dune dinner beneath a star-studded sky… it's a truly magical experience!

3rd Day

Morning : Depart for Yacht Cruise

Enjoy a slice of the A-lister life on a private yacht cruise, experience memorable views of some of the city's iconic sights such as Dubai Marina, the luxurious Burj Al-Arab and Atlantis The Palm. With breathtaking views that will fill your friends with envy, this is the perfect morning activity to beat the midday heat, all while enjoying complimentary snacks and drinks. Ideal for a romantic getaway, party, or trip with friends and family, this can be purchased through Marriott Bonvoy’s tours and activities.

Afternoon: Palm Sugar poolside Brunch

Swimwear at the ready! Hosted at the WET Deck, the eclectic Palm Sugar brunch offers epic live DJ performances, tasty bites and thirst-quenching beverages for a fun afternoon in the sun. The buffet which stretches along the length of the poolside brims with stations of seafood, colourful burgers, and even a nacho station. The dessert selection is expansive and as tempting as the fun doughnut inflatables floating in the large infinity pool. With a pool deck that would make Ibiza jealous, you can swim, soak up the from the cabanas, or explore the W’s pristine beach.

Evening: W’s Wake Up Call festival

Wake Up Call is the only music festival that takes place entirely in a hotel, creating an all-access experience in one place. Previously held in Bali and Hollywood, Wake Up Call allows you to trade in crowds and dusty fields for a luxe intimate set up where you really are able to get up and close to the acts, or even pop back to your hotel room!

There was plenty to do between performances with fashion and design pop ups, make-up artists and fire dancers all along the hotels beachfront. As a Marriott Bonvoy member you could even bid for exclusive experiences with the headliner acts, such as Yoga with Rita Ora or ping pong with EDM artist Rüfüs Du Sol. These experiences are truly once in a lifetime and make an amazing gift for a loved one, so make sure to see which W hotel will host Wake Up Call in 2020.

Room rates at W Dubai – The Palm start from AED 950 (approx. £210) per night on a Bed & Breakfast basis. To book, please visit www.wdubaithepalm.com.