24 hours in Dubai: the stopover guide

In town for work? Here’s what to do in Dubai.

Out of office, and in town but for a day? Dubai promises a heady mix of record-breaking architecture, pristine Arabian beaches and world-class shopping. Here, five of our favourite things to see and do.


1. Start your morning with a Dubai power breakfast 

Breakfast Buffet at Address Downtown, Dubai

Base yourself in Downtown Dubai for easy access to Dubai International Airport, DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre), and the Dubai World Trade Centre. Kickstart your day with the Power Breakfast at Address Downtown, which includes a one-hour workout in the gym or swim in the sun-drenched pool, followed by breakfast in The Restaurant. For an additional fee, they’ll even launder your gym gear and return it by the end of the day. 


2. Close your deals over lunch at Roberto's

Pasta Dish at Roberto's Ristorante, Dubai

Many a deal has been sealed over a long lunch at Roberto’s Ristorante. This polished fine diner in the heart of DIFC delivers sophisticated Italian fare in a sleek setting, with views over the Burj Khalifa and a terrace that beckons for post-work cocktails. The business lunch offers a choice of two or three courses, from midday until 3pm. 


3. Hit one of Dubai's best beaches

Once your working day is done, take a 20-minute taxi to Sunset beach for a swim in the Arabian Sea, or to take Instagram-worthy photos as the sun dips behind the seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel. Nearby at Kite beach, try your hand at kitesurfing or buckle in for a ride on the XDubai Slingshot. Or, venture further south to Jumeirah Beach Residence, where you can ride a camel along the water’s edge. 


4. Go shopping in one of Dubai's famous malls

Shoppers at Dubai Mall

If shopping is more your speed, you’ve come to the right place. Put your credit card through its paces in The Dubai Mall in Downtown Dubai, one of the world’s largest malls with more than 1,200 stores closing around midnight. For beautiful Arabian souvenirs, visit Souk Madinat Jumeirah, where the stores remain open well after nightfall. Or, to combine shopping and sightseeing in one handy package, head north to Old Dubai, where you can lose yourself among the maze of alleyways in the gold, spice and textile souks. Don’t forget to bargain. 


5. Sip on sky-high cocktails at Burj Khalifa's new lounge

People enjoying views from Burj Khalifa, Dubai

See out the night in style with drinks at the highest bar in the world. Take an ear-popping elevator ride up the tallest building on Earth, the Burj Khalifa, for cocktails and canapes in the recently opened Lounge. Soak up views of the sparkling skyline from 585 metres above the city as you listen to live music and take a tour of the outdoor terrace. But be warned: a round here comes with suitably steep prices. 


By Sarah Gamboni – Published Wednesday 31 July

Quick Facts 
Population Approx 2,262,000
Time Zone GMT+ 4
Languages Arabic (official), English
Currency United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)
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