Lifestyled by Paula Joye

The Joye Navigation

January 9th, 2013

Magical Mystical Dubai.

Magical Mystical Dubai.

I was beyond excited to visit Dubai.

It’s a city that I have dreamt of – magical castles in the sand – and envisaged myself in flowing gowns in vast palaces taking camel rides at sunset.

Countries that are so different from your own day-to-day environment provide wonderful journeys and Dubai does not disappoint. It’s a place of true juxtapositions – extreme luxury and opulence next to infinite acres of sand and dust – and a city of epic proportions, epic temperatures with an energy that is quite different to any other urban scape I’ve experienced.

Dubai needs to be added to your Bucket List.

Getting There.

I hadn’t flow with Emirates until this year and after three long haul trips I’m a little bit addicted. Here’s my favourite things.

Check In.

Business customers receive complimentary chauffeur collection to and from the airport. This means no taxi’s and an Express Customs pass mean no queueing –  you just head straight to the lounge.

The Plane.

The new Airbus A380 aircraft serves the Sydney-Dubai route daily. The seats are awesome – allowing a good degree of privacy (essential for me) and plenty of space for magazines, books, laptops etc. It has a built-in mini bar and massage system and the seat extends flat (two metres) with a fluffy pillow, underlay and soft blanket.

One of the things I love the most is the cabin’s ceiling which features a starlit sky that changes throughout the flight.

The Entertainment.

I’m not much of an eater on aircrafts (red wine and a snack) but you could eat all the time if you wanted to with amazing three course breakfast, lunch and dinner service. The entertainment system is the thing that really matters to me when I fly and this one is fabulous. Full of on-demand movies, music, television shows and games (plenty of latest releases) there is also in-seat laptop power, SMS and email facilities, in-cabin wi-fi and telephone handsets.

The Amenities Bag.

The women’s cabin bag is gorgeous. It’s tobacco satin, it’s Bulgari and I turned it into an evening bag once in Dubai.

Filled with Bulgari cosmetics it also has the BEST eye mask I’ve ever been given on an aircraft. Ever. Sensationally soft.

Emirates flies to Dubai daily from all major Australian cities. For enquires and bookings head to

Where To Stay.

(For Family) The Palm Atlantis. 

Dubai is amazing for kids. It’s the perfect place to stop over coming and going from Europe – deal with the jet lag and let the kids go nuts. As the name suggests, this entire hotel is underwater themed and includes Aquaventure water theme park, Dolphin Bay where guests can swim alongside the dolphins and there is a range of different size beaches and pools. There are fifteen restaurants and bars dotted throughout the hotel but the must is Ossiano – a seafood restaurant set underwater – it’s just you and the ocean.

The Palm AtlantisCrescent Road, The Palm, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 426 0000

(For Modern Cool) Jumeirah Creekside Hotel.

This hotel gives a new meaning to near the airport. You are literally in the car for five minutes before you’re pulling up at the the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel.

Yet it’s nothing like your typical airport hotel. Beautifully decorated with luxurious, spacious rooms and fabulous modern art – it has a rooftop pool and bar that looks like a hotel straight out of Miami or LA. Very cool and chic and centrally located to all parts of the city.

Jumeirah Creekside HotelSheikh Rashid Rd, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 230 8582

(For Extraordinary Luxury) One & Only The Palm. 

The One & Only The Palm Dubai is located on the peninsula of the world famous man-made structure that shares its name – The Palm Jumeirah. The resort is adorned with secluded features including lush gardens, fountains, pools, marina and private harbour with stunning views of the new Dubai skyline in the distance.

One & Only The PalmWest Crescent, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 440 1010

(For Business) The Media One.

The Media One is in the Media district and set up for the business traveller. Great gym and pool area it’s also a hive of activity at night. If you’re travelling solo you will never be alone because the bar is popular with the expat community. Also jumping – especially on Tuesdays when ladies drink for free.

The Media OneDubai Media City, Plot No. 1, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 427 1000

Postcards From The Souk.

You have to visit the old souk – it’s not Morocco (Carrie and Aidan in SATC2) – but it is full of colour, hustle and the spice markets are fabulous. Buying a wedding ring or in the market for gold – here is the place to buy it. You can also have old jewellery melted down and remodelled.

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Where To Eat.

High Tea At The Burj Al Arab.

The Burj Al Arab is one of the most expensive hotels in the world. Seven stars. It’s an extraordinary building full of colour and excess. Underwater restaurants, tables that sit on top of the sky and a beach covered in white tents on white sand – a visual feast.

Look Up: The Atrium at the Burj Al Arab.

It’s a prohibitive stay for many budgets so a wonderful way to experience the property is to book High Tea in the Sky Lounge (top of the world with amazing views) or The Lobby Lounge (opulent and fabulous for people watching).

With the fishes on the Aquarium Wall in the Burj Al Arab Lobby.

You can’t just walk in to this hotel. You need to book ahead (weeks ahead before you get on the plane) and you will be assigned a code which allows you entry. Be prepared for the bill – it will cost a minimum of 395AED ($120AUD/$105USD) and make sure you don’t eat before you go – it’s ten glorious courses.

Burj Al ArabJumeirah Beach Rd, P.O Box 74147, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 301 7777

Fabulous Street Food.

For me it’s all about local cuisine and getting as close to authentic as you can. For terrific Emirate shawarma (sandwich/kebab) you need to go to Al Mallah.

Order lots of everything – the falafel blew my mind as did the hommus.

It’s a joint, it’s on the street and it’s full of locals – it’s a must.

Al Mallah Restaurant: Fujairah Trade Centre
, Fujairah, UAE. Tel: +971 9 222 2249

Rosé At Raffles.

The Raffles Salon (in the hotel) is so, so grand and beautiful. A gigantic room with huge marble columns full of red roses and Raffles palms. Book an afternoon drink in the Salon. Sit on a banquet, order rosé and one of their many delicate cakes.

You could spend hours in its cool, calm sanctuary – the perfect post-shopping trip.

Raffles DubaiSheikh Rashid Road, Wafi, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 324 8888

Heaven On Earth.

There are not enough adjectives to describe this hotel.

It is not a hotel it is a magical land where everything is perfect – you will never, ever want to leave. Staying at The One & Only The Palm is an experience beyond measure – the rooms, the pool, the staff – I have never seen anything like it.

 Spinning around in the palace halls.

Equally magical is dinner on the water at their signature restaurant – 101 at One & Only The Palm. Make a booking, dress up and revel in the food, the view and the absurd romance of this place.

Have I convinced you? It’s worth every single penny.

One & Only The PalmWest Crescent, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 440 1010

Fashion On A Plate.

This hotel is like a black Armani Privé dress – slick, dark, perfect.

The flatware (gold) and linen table cloths (tobacco) are reason enough alone to visit Armani Ristorante in the Armani Hotel – so chic I had the most delicious, simple pasta and a lovely Italian wine – all of this high above the city on the 100th floor.

It’s Italy in the sky.

Armani Hotel: Sheikh Zayed Rd, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 888 3888

What I Wore.

When I travel I tend to pack in character and in Dubai I wanted to be Carrie meets Talitha Getty meets Princess Jasmine. I saw kohl eyeliner, OTT jewels, big frocks and some sequins.

Camilla Franks very kindly lent me a whole host of the beautiful pieces from her S/S 2013 Collection and I mixed it up with some silk shirts, flat sandals, satin clutches and a couple of ball gowns I couldn’t resist bringing – it was actually a great holiday away from my usual work-day black.

Here’s what I wore.

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Four Fabulous Must-Do’s.

Dubai is full of things to do. Full. But here are a just a few things that I insist you try.

1. Talise Ottoman Spa At Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.

One word: Incredible.

Talise Ottoman Spa is the biggest spa in the world inspired by the ancient palaces and architecture of the Ottoman Empire. It features an authentic Turkish spa and hammam as well as two Thai massage suites, snow room, indoor saltwater swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms.

You get scrubbed, rubbed, dunked and oiled – it’s impossible to feel stressed after a visit here.

You can stay (and you’ll want to) all day or forever.

Jumeirah Zabeel SarayThe Palm Jumeirah, Crescent Road (West), Dubai, UAE. Tel: + 971 4 453 0455

2. Arabian Adventures Desert Safari.

You can’t go to Dubai and not ride a camel in the sand dunes. I mean you just can’t. The Arabian Adventures Desert Safari is the way to do it – everything is done for you.

It’s luxe and lets you experience all that the desert has to offer including Bedouin style tents complete with Persian carpets and a Middle Eastern feast.

It’s camels, belly dancers and all under the stars.

Book before you depart.

Arabian Adventures: Emirates Holidays Building, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 303 4888

3. Wild Wadi Water Park.

This place is a complete trip. It’s sort of indescribable .

The Wild Wadi Water Park is a water park like no other with over 30 different types of rides.

You hop onto a huge blow-up ring and a moving river floats you around the park. If you want to slide you get off the river into a channel and you’re propelled from one interconnecting slide to the next (about three or four in one burst) until you are deposited back into the river to start again.

Crazy fun.

GOOD TO KNOW: You can wear western swimsuits in this park (plenty of bikinis) but it’s important to realise you will be with locals (some in full Burka) and a one piece will make you feel more comfortable.

Wild Wadi Water ParkJumeirah Beach Rd, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 348 4444

4. DAS Collection.

I visited DAS – the salon of leading Emirati fashion design sisters Reem and Hind Beljafla – to gain a better understanding of the local fashion industry and history that surrounds the traditional Abaya. I didn’t expect that I would want to buy one but fell in love with a gold version (above) that the sisters had just shown on the runway at London Fashion Week (their very first show).

This is a really great retail experience – it’s different, interesting and the store and its staff are wonderfully welcoming.

DAS Collection: Villa 16, Umm Al Shief Road, Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 395 2427


Level Shoe DistrictThe biggest shoe store in the world. Do I really need to say anything else? Maybe just this. Run.

In the Dubai Mall, Doha St, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 362 7500

Boutique 1: Dubai’s answer to Barneys or Fred Segal it offers a beautifully curated buy of luxury brands like Isabel Marant, Mulberry, Elie Saab and Australia’s own We Are Handsome and Willow. It is a gorgeous, gorgeous store and although smaller than the department stores in the malls it is deceptively well-stocked and has some of Dubai’s best designer buying.

The Marant Etoile collection is just as good as Paris. 

The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai, UAE. Tel:+ 971 4 425 7888

Garderobe: Designer treasures go here to find new loving homes. Costume jewellery and handbag paradise.

Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 394 2753

The wall at Bambah.

BambahThis place is cool. A fabulous vintage shop full of 1950’s designer finds, well-travelled Louis Vuitton suitcases and contemporary vintage inspired homewardes.

39 Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 349 5585

Dubai MallThe world’s largest shopping mall – it’s 1,124,000 square metres with over 54 million visitors per year – it features over 1,200 shops.

From department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Marks & Spencer to stand alone Valentino, Prada, Missoni …it has absolutely everything under one roof. It’s also home to the Dubai Fountain, the Dubai Aquarium and Discovery CentreDubai Ice RinkSEGA Republic (indoor theme park), and Reel Cinemas.

You need flat shoes and time. Time is the key. This isn’t a duck in and duck out job. Map, supplies and off you go.

Time your trip so you can take in one of the Dancing Water shows – they’re extraordinary. Literally gallons of water are spurted into the air to the strains (and syncopation) of Whitney Huston and Beethoven.

This is what Dubai is all about – the biggest, the boldest, the best. 

Doha St, Dubai, UAE. Tel: +971 4 362 7500

I flew to Dubai courtesy of Emirates and Government of Dubai- Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing.  I saw sights/sounds/things that I never had before. Thank you for an incredible experience.



  • Anna

    Oh gosh! I’ve just gotten engaged and I think I’ve got my honeymoon all figured out after reading this!

  • Katie

    Hi Paula, love you site! However, how many of us do you think can really afford business class tickets to Dubai?! I love seeing all your designer clothes, jewellery etc, allowing us on the other side to apply your style within our budget. However, whilst this provides for a little escapism, I found this post a little too much.

  • PaulaJoye

    Hi Katie – thanks for your comment.
    I always try to provide luxe and less-luxe options in all that we do here – it is very much the way I live my own life. Dress, eat, travel etc.
    For me travel is about escapism and time out from your regular life – Dubai was certainly that for me.

  • PaulaJoye

    It is faboosh!
    Do it.

  • kateso

    I loved Dubai. This is a great guide – we’re stopping over on our way to London and will do all of this.

  • Envious

    Hi Paula, I too love your site and this post is a nice escape from reality with all of the extravagent and opulent places to stay/things to do in Dubai … But I have to agree with Katie, it is a bit excessive. Can the average person really afford the chafffeur driven- business class airline tickets, let alone a stay in some of the hotels mentioned? Adding in a few places to stay that may be a bit more affordable for the majority of us ( but still beautiful) would have made this post more interesting. Or is affordable not a word that you associate with Dubai??

  • PaulaJoye

    Hi Envious.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    At the moment I’m on the end of a beach holiday with my family where I have worn the same cossie and the same pair of cut-off shorts for two weeks. Worn thongs and eaten prawn rolls. Swam with the kids everyday. Baked, read, exercised, slept – had a wonderful, magical time.

    I take all different kinds of holidays as imagine you and many LS readers do too – Dubai was one type and it was fabulous.

    As to air travel… I’ve travelled every class in my life and was lucky enough to fly Business to Dubai. I reviewed the experience here because it was terrific (not a requirement of the trip).

    Dubai is very affordable Food and shopping especially. Many of the hotels and suggestions in the story are affordable as well – take a look at the $$$. They just look expensive because everything in Dubai is grand.

    Hope that helps.



  • Mars

    Amazing blog and definitely some great escapism! :) I was luckily enough to once travel business class to the UK. I was amazeballs! Almost as good as the destination ;-) Fingers crossed I one day score another business/first class trip.

    Paula, the shoping looks incredible – the markets in particular! How did you decide what to buy?? There looks like there was so much to choose from!

  • LucyM

    I flew Emirates Business to London last week and stopped in Dubai. It’s the best money I spent on my trip.

    Amazing plane and arrived jet lag free.

    Lucy M.

    PS: The Lounge in Dubai is awesome.

  • envious

    Thanks for the response PJ.
    I think the beach trip sounds just as fabulous! A balance between simple and the extravant makes you appreciate what you have or where you holiday.
    I will take a closer look at the hotels you.listed for $$$
    Thanks :-)

  • Dubailover

    Hi a fun read but sentences like this make me gape: “It is not a hotel it is a magical land where everything is perfect”
    Meaning, it reads as a bit amateurish. You can do better than this, surely? Also it’s taxis, not taxi’s: the apostrophe indicates possession, not plural. I wouldn’t bother writing this if it was written by a teenager in the suburbs, but aren’t you meant to be a long-time media professional?

  • Emma

    Don’t ever change the style of your blog Paula – it’s the perfect mix of practical information… inspirational and aspirational! I love how you mix it up – high-end with low-end. You bring that little bit of Paula joy and magic to everything you do.

  • Stefanie

    Hi Paula, hotel and scenery looks gorgeous (so do you, you look positively glowing in the pics!). The Palms looks AMAZING, have bookmarked this post and want to stay there if we visit, everything looks incredible. Have read all the comments with interest, the trip was very luxurious but I do believe you provide a good mix of high and low end for your readers. I think it’s difficult too as what is expensive for one person is affordable for another. My husband and I have stayed at luxe hotels but we have also stayed at cheaper places too on relaxed summer holidays and had just as much fun. I think that if you can’t afford a luxe hotel you could stay at a cheaper place for the bulk of the trip then stay somewhere really nice for a couple of nights, visiting markets and sightseeing doesn’t cost anything either. We mix it up in our life, sometimes we will eat at a upmarket restaurant and sometimes we just eat cheap and cheerful, same for other things in our life. Personally I loved this post x

  • Stefanie

    That’s awfully harsh…

  • Teegn

    Would love to see some of your amazing buys from this trip!!! I agree…love the mix of high and low end that you present regarding clothes, holidays, food etc! Keep doing what you’re doing! Xxx

  • Toby

    Satc was in Abu dhabi, not morocco FYI.

    Looks like a great holiday !

  • Stefanie

    It’s set in Abu Dhabi but filmed in Morocco :)

  • PaulaJoye

    Thank you so much Teegn.
    Will show you some throughout 2013 in What I Wore posts.

  • PaulaJoye

    The Palms is AMAZING. Do it.
    And thank you.

  • PaulaJoye

    Big Mwah Emma.
    Thank you.

  • Mel

    Great post, feels like I was there with you lol! So amazing and surreal. Love your wardrobe, especially the Camilla skirt as a dress xo

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Hi Paula! LOVED this post. The gold abaya looks stunning on you. Agreed, it can be hard to say what is affordable for one and another and I personally love the mix of aspirational and affordable that covers the range. Happy 2013! xxx

  • Karen

    Please don’t make comments again Dubailover.
    Keep up the post Paula I’m a huge fan xx

  • KillerChic

    After becoming a single mum a few years ago, I can agree that some parts of life (such as travel to exotic lands) are a little beyond my reach at the moment. Between the full time work & bambinos, there isn’t much left over. But I think Paula’s posts are inspirational and ones like these are pure escapism for me. That said, being a loyal follower of this blog, it is apparent Paula works extremely hard during the year and some of the luxuries reported on lifestyled are just the perks of the industry she works in. While I can’t afford any trip overseas I get a lot out of lifestyled… new ways to style my own clothes, wonderful recipes and ideas for my home. I think it is unfair to criticise a post like this. Paula, keep up the wonderful posts xx

  • Income-poop

    B I G thank you Paula for your fab travel tips for my recent trip to Dubai. I pretty much followed your every recommendation to the ‘T’, thanks to your ‘Magical Mystical Dubai’ post (via The Joye), from flying with Emirates, to hitting all your shopping recommendations (better than I could have EVER wished for) and then having a pamper (to end all pampers) at the D I V I N E Jumeirah Zabeel Saray – Talise Ottoman Spa. My travels were truly magical and I just wanted you to know how much I valued all of your recommendations – they were A L L ‘bang on’!! Will be refering to your ‘jet’ section prior to any future travels x

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