This is Part 4 in a 4 part series about traveling/saving money in Dubai. You can read the rest here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
We spent our last full day in Dubai taking the train back to downtown Dubai, visiting some more big malls and having a camel burger and some camel milk yogurt, for which I had purchased a Cobone (think Groupon). Interesting texture, but not bad! The camel milk yogurt was actually quite good.
In the afternoon and evening, we went on a desert safari, which is the real reason I had wanted to go to Dubai in the first place, and we were not disappointed. There are many tour organizations out there; we chose Platinum Heritage Safari, mostly because of their great reviews on Trip Advisor, and also because I liked the fact that I would riding around the sand dunes in a genuine 1950s Landrover! So cool!
They picked us up at our hotel, gave us traditional head gear (which you get to keep), and drove us out into the desert, where we went on an hour long safari, watched a falcon show, got henna tattoos (don't worry--they fade in a few days!), rode camels, watched traditional dancers and swordsmen, and had a meal of Arabian coffee, hot camel milk (it's salty!), camel and mutton dishes, rice and several other things I can't remember in a bedouin camp. It was as amazing as I thought it would be. The desert has a beauty all it's own.
Our last two nights were free compliments of my Club Carlson Visa Card(issuer is US Bank, this is not a referral link). Club Carlson offers 4 different Visa cards, including one with no annual fee, which each come with varying levels of perks. I have their premier signature card, which gives you 85,000 points if spend $1500.00 in the first 3 months. You also get 40,000 points annually and Gold Status with Club Carlson as long as you the card. This gives you early check in/late check out and several other benefits, but the 40.000 annual points makes this card a keeper for me.
We stayed at the Park Inn by Radisson, within walking distance of the Mall of the Emirates, which boasts the largest indoor ski slope! How crazy is that?
The hotel was also very close to the metro, had a nice roof top pool that we had all to ourselves, and a fully equipped kitchen. As a Club Carlson member, we had another nice fruit basket waiting for us, along with some sweet treats and bottled water. This room would have run us $420 USD for two nights, and although it was the least expensive of all our hotels, it was by no means inferior.
So, to summarize our savings in Dubai (approximated):
Free night at the Waldorf: $680
Free night at Ramada Downtown: $400
Free night at Grand Hyatt: $400
2 Free Nights at Park In by Radison: $420
Savings by using Cobones for day trips and food: $100
Savings by booking early/sale on Emirates: $200
Could you do Dubai cheaper than we did by staying in hostels? Sure thing! But this was a fun experience, and in my top 3 vacations ever.
Tell us where your dream destination is! Are you saving for it??