The thing about living in Dubai is that you can and WILL have a lot of friends, family, and even some unwanted guests stopping over from time to time, because DXB is a major hub for connecting flights. While some visitors plan trips with Dubai as the final destination in mind and have about a week on hand to take everything in and engage in every tourist activity under the sun, what we mostly get are “transit” guests, who only have 1-3 days to spare, and want to do everything.
I have a cookie-cutter template for the first-timers- the quintessential with a Burj view, a leisurely stroll in City Walk, Global Village if time allows or your standard Dubai Mall/Mall of the Emirates for the shopaholic. If said visitor is more of a food enthusiast, we’ll skip the tourist traps and take them to one of our favorite restaurants instead- places which usually skip the radar of the average Cheesecake-Factory-Shake-Shack-P.F.Changs-loving-tourist.
The exception to the above templates are the repeat visitors, the close friends and family who you really do look forward to spending time with, but they’ve already done all the touristy things. How does one spend 3 days in Dubai with that lot? The answer is plain and simple: one just goes in overdrive and does with them (a lot more of) what they would have done on their own in Dubai anyway. So, when my mom dropped by for (a little less than) 3 days this month, here’s what we did, and you can too, if you’re wondering how to spend 3 days in Dubai.
12 p.m: She landed.
2 p.m.: We were home. She showered, changed, had a cup of tea and some shortbread.
4 p.m., we headed out, this time to (poorly chosen) Outlet Village. We found nothing to buy, and proceeded to dinner by 6:30.
7:30 p.m., We reached JW Marriot Marquis for dinner at Tong Thai. We were famished, the food was hot and fresh and so delicious that it demanded for our spoons to be put down for a second and a couple of tears to be wept in sheer gratitude and amazement in honor of how perfectly this meal was executed. Standing ovation to the chef.
10 p.m., We get home. Showered, passed out.
7 a.m.: Day starts. Showers are taken, some repacking is done. Light breakfast is had.
10. a.m. We headed to a spa. Our choice of spa this time was The Spa at Address Dubai Marina. While my mom completely and thoroughly enjoyed it, in hindsight I feel like Iridium Spa would have been a better choice. The Spa at Palazzo Versace is one of my favorites too, but it’s just way too far.
2 p.m., We reach Carnival for Tresind for lunch. As expected, the streak of never-disappointing food that makes one completely surrender to overeating, made us overeat with no regrets. The meal was everything I hoped for it to be, my mom was thrilled, and I can’t stop recommending Carnival By Tresind to anyone and everyone who likes good Indian food but isn’t a strict traditionalist.
4:30 p.m., We left and went to MOE. My mom helped me pick out a new dining table, we hopped from one furniture store to another, and headed home. We called it an early night after some repacking, kashmiri chai, and fruits for dinner.
7 a.m., We woke up. Had a breakfast of granola and greek yogurt parfaits, avo-toast and sunny side-up eggs, and more chai. Then my mom decided to take a nap, so she slept till noon.
2 p.m., We headed to La Mer beach. Finding parking was crazy. The weather was sunnier and warmer than we would have liked. We had some Saj2Go, took in some Vitamin D and then headed to Dubai Mall because that is of course customary for every Dubai visit. An alternative to La Mer Beach is going to City Walk.
4 p.m., We get to Dubai Mall. Mom goes crazy. We buy the whole mall.
7 p.m., We head to Thiptara at The Palace for dinner. I was super excited about this meal and was prepared for a night out on the floating deck, views of the fountain show and cool breezes! None of this happened. We got a table inside, with only a partial view. Major disappointment. I would suggest just sitting on your balcony at home over some tea or a cheeseboard.
And that, my friends, is how to spend 3 days in Dubai when if you’ve already seen it all and have time to kill.