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Things to do in Dubai

Embark on a desert adventure

You can't visit Dubai and not visit the desert, and there are a range of operators who will happily whisk you out of the city for camel rides and sandboard skids down the dunes. They'll even chuck in a barbecue under the stars. Arabian Adventures (+971 4 303 4888; www.arabian-adventures.com) is one of the best-known operators.

Fire up the rubber

Dubai Autodrome (+ 971 (04) 367 8700; www.dubaiautodrome.com) on the outskirts of town is a comprehensive facility, featuring a 1.2km (0.5 miles) outdoor track and 620m (2,034ft) of indoor track, thus offering everything for seven-year-olds upwards. Happy revving.

Hit the greens on the world’s most beautiful courses.

You don't have to be Jordan Spieth to appreciate Dubai's immaculate greens and fairways. The annual Race to Dubai is held at one of the city's newer courses, the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates (tel: +971 4 818 2000; www.jumeirahgolfestates.com), while other courses include the nearby Els Club (tel: +971 4 425 1000; www.elsclubdubai.com). The Emirates Golf Club (tel: +971 4 380 1919; www.dubaigolf.com) hosts the Dubai Desert Classic each year.

Kickstart your senses at the spice souk

The tiny winding stone streets of the spice souk are one of Dubai's most immersive experiences, and a must for kitchen fiends and novices alike. Located in Deira, close to the Deira Old Souk Abra Station, it's also just down the road from the Gold Souk, so don't forget your wallet.

Pukka up for a chukka

There's a conception that polo is a game for the moneyed hordes who've never seen hide nor hair of shovel… and they're probably right. That doesn't mean you can't give it a go at the Dubai Polo Academy (tel: +971 4 3618111; www.poloclubdubai.com/en/polo).

Featured Hotels

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Desert Palm Dubai

Set away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai proper, the Desert Palm Dubai is a peaceful spot that conspicuously lacks the bling that characterises many of the city’s ultra-luxe hotels. Gorgeous gardens and a full-size polo field surround it, while the onsite spa is particularly good.

InterContinental Dubai Festival City

Set in one of Dubai’s many shopping, culinary and entertainment destinations, InterContinental Dubai Festival City offers a luxury yet affordable experience. It is also conveniently located by a massive Event Centre, with exclusive direct access to Dubai Festival City Mall.

Jumeirah Emirates Towers

These two ultra-modern skyscrapers are among the tallest buildings in the Middle East. Part office, part hotel, each state-of-the-art room is geared towards business guests and have all the essentials, including super-speedy Wi-Fi. Although most of the rooms are ultra-modern, the deluxe rooms come with their own opulent chaises longue.

Grand Hyatt

Few business hotels come with a lobby floor decorated with mosaic tiles made from real gold but then again this is Dubai. Away from the lobby things are a bit less bling and very comfortable – think huge cushions and beds with crisp white sheets. It also boasts good restaurants and an excellent spa.

Citymax

Citymax has targeted the budget market in a bold way, opening large properties in Al Barsha and in the heart of the central Bur Dubai district. Its Al Barsha hotel is conveniently close to Mall of the Emirates and boasts comfortable, clean rooms – all within striking distance of the beaches and nightlife of the Marina.

EasyHotel Dubai

Sunglasses at the ready – Dubai's EasyHotel is almost entirely decked out in the Easy brand's trademark bright orange and white. That said, the hotel is comfortable and super-cheap, and offers free Wi-Fi in all of its rooms. The main downside is the location – Jebel Ali is about 25km (16 miles) from Jumeirah.