Day 1 – First 24 Hours in Dubai

Dubai has so many activities that you can do, here’s how you can spend 24 hours in Dubai.

Day 1


Day 1 is a great chance to settle in as the city is open late you don’t have to try and cram it all on your first day plus, you might be tired from a long flight, lacking sleep or just needing some rest.  Here is what happened in our latest trip to dubai.

We arrived in Dubai at 4.30am on a Saturday morning, a little earlier than expected and checked into our hotel for next few days.  I was returning from a holiday/best friends wedding in Mauritius and decided to extend our return stop off to a 3 day layover.  Myself and my teenage son booked to stay at the Jumeriah World Trade Centre Residence. Shattered as I was lacking sleep I went straight to bed for 4 hours and woke up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day.  I wouldn’t suggest arriving  so early in the morning as often you can’t check into you hotel to 2pm without paying extra for early check in.

I’m a fan of the Jumeirah group hotels, (do try them out if you get a chance) I booked this city centre residence for a few reasons.

  • As we were in Dubai during the Easter holidays a lot of the Jumeirah group hotels by the beach the prices are sky-high. (£600 per night).
  • A residence has more space than a traditional hotel room. Our room on the 31st floor had a full kitchen, dining table and front room. A residence/apartment is often at the same price or cheaper than the main hotel, it might be set back from the beach or in the city.
  • I was travelling with my teenage son so wanted some extra space so we weren’t on top of each other.

We had breakfast at about 10am and the restaurant was close by on the floor below with amazing views of the city.

Breakfast with a view 72 hours in Dubai at

As with any hotel I’ve stayed in Dubai the buffet breakfast is top class with a wide range of cold cuts, hot food, cereals and fruits.

Cove Beach

We started our day with meeting up with a girlfriend who lives in Dubai and we went to Cove Beach.

Cove Beach is a beach club that has loungers, beds and tables for sunbathing and posing as well a small beach and plunge pool for cooling down, there is also a restaurant and bar.  Cove Beach is located at Jumeriah Beach Hotel and is open from 11am-3am each day.

Cove Beach 72 hours in Dubai at

Most people travel via Taxi in Dubai as it is reasonable priced. Once you arrive at the hotel go to the left of the hotel and ask for directions.

Tip: At the weekend (Friday’s and Saturday in Dubai) you need to pre-book the beds, loungers and tables, but you don’t need to book space at the bar, although it does get busy do arrive early.

Cove Beach Strawberry Daquiri 72 hours in Dubai at make great drinks and the food is decent too.

The team that set up Cove Beach have thought of everything, During the day, there is music playing in the day-time and a DJ later at night.  Besides having great changing facilities they also have UK plug points for charging your phones (for me this is like heaven).

This is a great setting,  its is however quite pretentious with the ladies dressed to impress with their swimwear, cover ups, designer glasses and full faces of make-up.

Tip: So be warned ladies, go glam and wear your favourite bikini and cover ups.

Bu Qtair Restaurant

After a few hours catching up we decided to grab some food from Bu Qtair restaurant. Bu Qtair is a seafood restaurant and is one of Dubai greatest secrets.

Tip: Open daily from 6am – 11.30pm this restaurant is nothing to look at from the outside but is it well worth a visit the atmosphere is laid back and the fish (catch of the day) & prawns are yummy.

Catch of the Day at Bu Qtair Resturant 72 hour in Dubai at

When you arrive you join the queue to choose your fish from the catch of the day.  It is weighed in front of you and you can also add prawns if you want.  You pay and then go to a table and wait for about 20 minutes for your name to be called.  Like most we choose to sit outside.  When your food arrives you can choose to add paratha (A flat bread), rice and water to your order.

Bu Qtair Resturant 72 hour in Dubai at

Tip: We arrived at about 6.30pm any later and you will have a long queue for food and then another queue for a table. See the picture above below of the queue when we were leaving.

You know the place is good when the locals and expats queue to eat & how often do you get your food weighed at a resturant?

Located along Jumeirah beach you will find it next to the fisherman’s quarters. Click here for the Map.

Burj Kalifah, Dubai Mall & the Water Fountains

That evening we had planned to go to Ski Dubai (An indoor ski centre) but after stuffing ourselves we opted for the easier option of going up the Burj Kalifah and a little shopping at Dubai Mall.  This is why Dubai is a great destination,  there are so many activites that are close to each other.  You can change your minds and move your plans around with ease.

Burj Kalifah 72 hours in Dubai at


The Burj Kalifah is the world tallest building.   I had been up the Burj Kalifah 4 years before but my son wasn’t with me on that trip and this we decided to go up at night.  Click here to see my post about my first visit to the Burj Kalifah by day.


The Burj Khalifah is located at Dubai Mall and is the worlds largest mall.  When we arrived at the mall we went down towards the lower ground and walked past the aquarium, we didn’t buy tickets as we have been before, but is worth a visit and you would have time to do it on your first day.

Dubai Aquarium at

We went down to the next floor and bought our tickets for the attraction which is called At the Top.  We booked to go to the 124th & 125th floors, which and not the higher option of the 148th floor.  Our ticket time was 9.30pm so we had enough time to go outside and watch the water fountain show at 9pm.  The water fountains outside put on a display to music every 30 minutes, which attracts crowds of people and well worth seeing.

We then came back inside the mall and joined the queue for At the Top.  We entered one of 3 lifts.  Our lift took us to the 125th floor.  As we got out we were accosted  immediately by the staff members to take “cheesy tourist photos” with green screen behind.  (We didn’t buy any, as they weren’t great and not worth £30, YES £30!!!!  We walked around the floor, working out key points around city, like the Burj Al Arab, the airport, our hotel…..

View from the Burj Kalifah at

The water fountains from Burj Kalifah 72 hours in Dubai at


We then walked down the spiral staircase to the 124th floor which also has an outside observation deck, we went outside and were able to watch the 10pm water fountain show from above.  This show was to the James Bond theme tune.



Gold Letter Box At The Top 72 hours in Dubai at son really enjoyed the experience and I was glad it was a new experience for me, as I got to see the city at night.  There is no time limit that you can stay up there which is great, so you don’t feel rushed at all.  On each floor there are souvenirs you can purchase and we found a gold letter box.  There is also a large shop on the ground floor as you leave the attraction. We decided to take a look around and bought our obligatory fridge magnet that we get when on holiday.

We then went shopping around the mall for about an hour….. Yes the malls are Dubai are open very late.


Waterfall at Dubai Mall 72 hours in Dubai at

Dubai Mall is open from 10-12am weekdays and 10am -1am on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays. We sat this waterfall which is stunning

We then got a taxi back to our hotel and crashed out…….

Click here to see my favorite pictures from my trips to Dubai



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