After nine amazing days in France and the best flight in Etihad First Class Apartments, we arrived in the UAE tired but ready for more adventures. The first four days of our UAE trip started in Dubai with two nights at Al Maha Desert Resort and two days in the city. Here are the details of our four day Dubai itinerary.

Days 1-2: Visit Al Maha Desert Resort

Start your four day Dubai itinerary by heading straight to Al Maha Desert Resort located in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Al Maha can be booked with Marriott Bonvoy points at 85,000 points per night for standard nights, 70,000 for off-peak, and 100,000 for peak. This may sound high, but your stay includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as two desert activities per day. The only thing you really have to pay for is alcohol and surcharges on some of the desert activities like dune bashing. Honestly, if you have an extra day in your itinerary, I’d recommend three nights at Al Maha!

Room service at Al Maha

During our two-night stay, we rode camels, learned about falconry, did archery, went dune bashing, and ate way too much food.

Dune bashing at Al Maha

You can read my full review of Al Maha here.

Day 3: Explore Modern Dubai

After checking out of Al Maha, head to your hotel in Dubai. We decided to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Dubai, but there are plenty of points options in the city. One tip is to rent a car while in UAE. Our five-day rental cost only $200 and made it easy to drive to and from Al Maha and explore Dubai efficiently.

Afternoon Tea at Burj Al Arab

Our first activity was afternoon tea at the Skyview Bar at the Burj Al Arab.

Burj Al Arab

The Burj Al Arab is a self-proclaimed seven star hotel. You can only enter if you are a hotel guest or have a reservation at one of the restaurants.

Burj Al Arab Lobby
Burj Al Arab Lobby

While pricey, tea at the Burj Al Arab is a fun way to get inside the hotel and enjoy the view. You can reserve a table here.

Burj Al Arab Skyview Bar
Burj Al Arab Skyview Bar
Burj Al Arab Skyview Bar Afternoon Tea
Burj Al Arab Skyview Bar Afternoon Tea
Burj Al Arab Skyview Bar Afternoon Tea Menu
Burj Al Arab Skyview Bar Afternoon Tea Menu
Burj Al Arab Skyview Bar Afternoon Tea
Burj Al Arab Skyview Bar Afternoon Tea

Burj Khalifa

After tea, head to the Dubai Mall to visit the Burj Khalifa, Dubai’s top tourist attraction and the world’s tallest building. The Burj Khalifa gets very busy so I recommend booking tickets online in advance.

View from Burj Khalifa

We went at sunset so we could see the view during the day and at night.

View from Burj Khalifa

Visit Dubai’s Mega Malls

The Burj Khalifa entrance is located in the Dubai Mall. Part of the fun of visiting Dubai is checking out the massive shopping complexes.

Dubai Mall

Walk around the mall a bit before heading outside to the Dubai Fountain.

Dubai Fountain

The Dubai Mall has a large outdoor complex with plenty of restaurants.

Dubai Mall

You can also get some cool shots of the Burj Khalifa.

Burj Khalifa at night

You may also choose to visit the Mall of the Emirates to check out the indoor ski resort Ski Dubai. Mall of the Emirates is much less fancy than the Dubai Mall. We preferred staying in the area around Dubai Mall as there were better restaurant options.

Ski Dubai

Day 4: Explore Old Dubai

We left our last day in Dubai somewhat open. We spent most of the day lounging around the hotel at the beach before heading to Old Dubai for a walking tour.

Swim in the Persian Gulf

If you choose to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Dubai, they have the perfect beach setup with lounge chairs, umbrellas, and coolers of water.

Ritz-Carlton Dubai Beach

If your hotel doesn’t have a beach, check out one of the best public beaches in Dubai.

Walking Tour of Old Dubai

In the evening when it’s less hot, take a walking tour of Old Dubai. We booked this tour. Highlights of the tour include the Al Fahidi District, b Coffee Museum, the Dubai Museum, riding a traditional wooden boat across Dubai Creek, and visiting the textile, spice, and gold souks.

Coffee Museum Dubai
Coffee Museum
Dubai Museum
Dubai Museum
Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek
Spice Souk Dubai
Spice Souk
Gold Souk Dubai
Gold Souk

Dinner at Ravi Restaurant

We learned about Ravi Restaurant on our tour. If you want cheap, delicious Indian food, this is the stop for you!

Final Thoughts

It’s crazy to see how much Dubai has grown over the past 20 years. While the modern side of Dubai is what’s most well-known, be sure to spend some time exploring Old Dubai and the desert. This four day Dubai itinerary covers all of the highlights and allows for enough downtime to explore more on your own.

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