Lifestyle & Travel

Published on August 2nd, 2015 | by Kelly Rose Bradford


Dubai city break

I admit that going on a Dubai city break on my own was a totally indulgent ‘me time’ event, but as much as I love holidaying with my son, I have to ‘fess up that I also like (understatement) a bit of adult-only, luxe travel. Trips which do not feature 9pm bedtimes, ‘family friendly’ dining and constant cries of ‘Mu-um can I have some cash for…’ so my four-day stay at the 5 star Shangri-La hotel in Dubai totally ticked all my boxes for a child-free city-break.

Like I said, I like luxe, and while the Shangri-La is not the most expensive hotel in town (we are talking Dubai, remember), you wouldn’t know it from its amazing rooms (which range from superior doubles through to fit-for-a-princess swish suites) attentive staff and myriad onsite amenities (eight restaurants/bars, a spa, tennis and squash courts, outdoor pool, free shuttle service to the shopping malls for starters).

The 43-storey building is on the Sheikh Zayed Road, just 15 minutes from the airport and a short taxi ride from the shopping malls and tourist attractions, so perfectly situated. My room was a straightforward double, but was uber luxurious and equipped with everything I needed –  tons of hanging and storage space, a huge (and comfy) bed, free wifi, giant TV, a very well appointed bathroom (a notepad next to the loo for recording those all important mid-wee eureka moments – just what every journo needs!) and – best of all – baskets full of L’Occitane toiletries to indulge in during my twice-a-day showers (Dubai is bloody humid and hard on the armpits).

I would have probably quite happily stayed in my Shangri-La room for the extent of my four day break had I not wanted to top up my tan and stock up on Argan oil and local spices in the souks, so after a day of hotel-based luxuriating, the sights beckoned.

From the Dubai Museum (complete with full-sized taxidermy style camel), to a ride in the water taxi across the creek, a meander to the spice souks, and some serious shopping opps at the fab malls, there really is much more to see in Dubai than just celebs on the beach and towering glass buildings glinting in the non-stop sunshine.

The tourist must-see of course is Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building (828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 storeys high for those of you who like numbers). I am not good with heights and I’m not usually that into modern architecture, but I have to confess I was AMAZED by the view and the lift which sped me up to it in just 60 seconds (some more numbers for you – the elevator travels at 64km/h (40 mph) or 18m/s (59 ft/s). Gulp.)

Unsurprisingly, the Dubai shopping malls are a retail paradise but with some surprisingly familiar brands (I’m looking at you, Waitrose). While some might question the sanity of travelling 3,000 miles to wander around a supermarket you have on your own high street, I spent an enjoyable hour checking out the spice, fruit and veg and beauty aisles, (while managing to resist the lure of a Pre-Date Skin Lightening Face Mask in the latter). I’ll say nothing about the sexual-performance enhancing chewing gum I also spotted while out shopping…

As I am vegetarian I had (as usual) been worried about what and where I would eat on my trip outside of the hotel (where nothing was too much trouble, and where I could have taken every meal if I’d wanted to). But my fears ‘on the high street’ were unfounded as there were various pizza restaurants, a Wagamama and even a Costa just a few minutes walk from the Shangri-La. But obv you don’t go to Dubai to dine out in Costa, and an indulgent slap up dinner at the Armani hotel at the bottom of the Burj Khalifa was the culinary highlight of my trip, along with a no-less satisfying dinner at the Gary Rhodes 2010 restaurant a short taxi ride away at the Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort.

And although my trip was a grown up treat just for me, from a travelling-with-kids point of view, Dubai is a totally child-friendly destination, and having enjoyed it so much myself, I am now really keen to return with my son.

I know William would love nothing more than spending an afternoon in the Sega Republic indoor theme park at the Dubai Mall or Dubai Marina Mall, or a whole day at the Wild Wadi water-park (as I did on my last day – relaxing on a lilo as I floated down a lazy river…) or indeed just chilling around the hotel pool, plugged into one of his devices with a mocktail in hand and a huge bowl of fruit salad at his side…

And frankly, who who wouldn’t?

For more information about holidaying in Dubai, check out

About the Author

Kelly Rose Bradford

is a London-based journalist and broadcaster, writing for the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sunday Telegraph, and a host of women's magazines. Her robust opinions and feisty debating skills make her in demand as a social commentator, regularly guesting on ITV's This Morning programme, and across many radio stations, including 5 Live and BBC Radio London.

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