Photo credit: Wild Wadi Water Park
There are many concepts that have emerged in the last few years that have been so eagerly embraced by the world that it seems as if they have always been a part of our lives. Think selfies, twerking, asking for a Wi-Fi code as soon as you arrive at a new restaurant/hotel/café (you know you do it). Another of the most popular concepts of recent years is the staycation, which originated in the early Noughties in the UK and USA during times of financial strain when many people just could not afford to travel abroad for their holidays.
The staycation has now become a staple in the travel sphere, due to the many benefits it offers over an overseas holiday. Staycations provide the opportunity to not only save money and avoid the headache of travelling but also to enjoy your home location in ways that our regular lives do not allow. During the working week, our calendar is bursting with chores, appointments and admin, leaving little time for us to appreciate just how fantastic our hometown/city/country can be. And, in a location that is world-renowned for its fun-filled, experience-laden lifestyle, a Dubai staycation may be just what you need.
A good sport
Photo credits: Ski Dubai
Holidays are a great time to try something new, and with a Dubai staycation you can experience practically every type of sport under the sun. That’s figuratively speaking, of course, as a Dubai staycation also includes many ways to have fun and escape the oppressive heat. If you want to go to extremes, try a spot of snowsports at the Mall of the Emirates with Ski Dubai, the largest indoor ski resort in the world. The resort has been built for skiers and snowboarders of all levels to enjoy, with a chairlift, ski runs up to 400 metres long and the world’s first indoor black run.
Experienced instructors are on hand to offer guided learning or full programs to help you get the most out of the experience and to help first-time skiers and snowboarders learn the ropes. Those with more experience can head over to the Freestyle Zone to show off their best snowboarding moves and wow the crowds.
If you fancy a more laidback type of Dubai staycation, take a swim with the resort’s resident penguins or simply play in the snow and have a giggle. With the equivalent of three football fields’ worth of real snow covering the resort, there’s some great potential for snowball fights! The Snow Park is also great fun, featuring an interactive Snow Cavern, tobogganing hills and the Giant Ball ride. The themed restaurants complete the experience and create a real feeling of being out on the slopes in the middle of the Alps, feeling a bit chilly and enjoying hot chocolate. There’s no need to bring any equipment either, as the resort provides it all for you.
He shoots, he scores
Another great place to enjoy some active sports and spend a fun day out during a Dubai staycation is the JA Shooting Club. Located just five minutes from The Residence at JA Palm Tree Court, the fortress-like complex is host to a variety of exciting activities in a safe and secure environment. For an adrenaline rush, it’s hard to beat the thrill of clay pigeon shooting in the outdoor academy. Then head over to the pistol shooting range to try some target shooting with real bullets. You will need a steady hand, but even the most nervous will feel at ease with the expert supervision of the instructors. If a slower pace is more appealing, the 9-hole champion-standard golf course offers a lush space to play surrounded by the resort’s resident peacocks and beautiful views of the sea.
Bounce Dubai is another way for kids on a Dubai staycation to enjoy a great day out. This enormous indoor trampolining centre includes more than 100 interconnected trampolines for seemingly endless fun. Escape the heat and have a good old jump around or enjoy a game of Dodgeball or Slam Dunk in this bouncing paradise. You can even try your hand at Wall Running, within a space inspired by the Cirque de Soleil.
Wet wet wet
Weather will not be a problem on a Dubai staycation, as the city enjoys a beautiful, hot climate year-round. When you wish to cool off, there are plenty of places to do so. The Wild Wadi Water Park is situated in front of the Burj Al Arab – the tallest building in the world – and offers endless opportunities for fun and games. The 30 rides and attractions are all themed around Juha, whose eponymous tales are a popular part of Arabic folklore. Daredevils can take a ride on Masters Blasters, the whirlwind water rollercoaster where tubes hurtle at up to 15 metres above the ground, or Tantrum Alley to revel in the excitement of the downhill waterslides and tornadoes. Breaker’s Bay offers a fun-filled wave pool for smaller kids or you can try your hand at surfing on the Wipeout and Riptide FlowRiders. With all that action you’ll be sure to work up an appetite, and the Water Park includes an assortment of restaurants offering a choice of healthy and fast food to ensure everyone is fed and watered throughout the day.
For an alternative water-based experience, head over to Dubai’s Dolphinarium where you can swim and play with the dolphins within an indoor, air-conditioned space. This popular attraction also hosts live shows and photo sessions where you can get up close and personal with the dolphins and the seals, enjoying the beauty of these majestic creatures.
Dubai is famous for its world-class accommodation, and many of its top-class hotels offer some great ways to enjoy a Dubai staycation. The Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa is situated outside Dubai within the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. This beautiful, Bedouin-style hotel rests among the sand dunes and offers a privileged viewpoint of the area’s wild animals including the Arabian red fox, oryx, gazelles and rare sand cats. The cuisine in Dubai is another of its greatest attractions and the Al Maha offers exquisite fare to enjoy in the peaceful setting. The spa is also well worth a visit, where the experienced staff use the traditional Arabic ingredients of frankincense and dates to offer signature treatments in a paradise setting, providing the ultimate in escapism.
The Raffles Dubai is another great spot to enjoy a Dubai staycation and the lap of luxury in the Emirates. World-renowned for their service and hospitality, the Dubai branch of this coveted hotel chain offers entertainment and leisure galore. Its exquisite indoor and outdoor spaces are a wonderful place to enjoy world-class Arabic cuisine and a cocktail, perhaps in a private cabana with a shisha pipe in the Raffles Garden. The hotel is also a short distance from some other fantastic staycation attractions, including the Wonderland Theme & Water Park and WAFI – a retail, dining and entertainment haven with fun and games for all ages.
As a location where fun and relaxation are high on the agenda, a Dubai staycation is just perfect. If you fancy just relaxing and indulging in some retail therapy, head on over to one of the city’s fantastic shopping malls where you can find some great designer pieces. Dubai Mall is also home to the Emirates A380 experience – a flight simulator where you can spend 30 minutes in the cockpit and realise your piloting ambitions. Alternatively, you can just lie on the golden sands of the city’s beautiful beaches and top up your tan.