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Experiences

The best ways to celebrate big occasions in Dubai

Mon, January 1, 1

From gourmet restaurants to wild rollercoasters, luxurious spas to majestic desert dunes, Dubai is packed with intense experiences, making it perfect to celebrate a big event.

From gourmet restaurants to wild rollercoasters, luxurious spas to majestic desert dunes, Dubai is packed with intense experiences, making it perfect to celebrate a big event.

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Take a seaplane ride

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Along with hot air ballooning, a seaplane ride is a fantastic way to enjoy an aerial experience in Dubai. With operators including Seawings offering several packages, these short but thrilling flights can give you a whole new perspective on Dubai. A brilliant way to get a group together for a celebration is to book a private charter flight, exclusively reserved for you and your guests. Routes can be tailored but we recommend taking off from the historic waters of the Dubai Creek to enjoy the sights of Old Dubai.

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Book a private desert safari

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A desert safari is usually included on the list of essential things to do in Dubai – but for a truly special occasion it is possible to book a private experience with tour operators such as Platinum Heritage. You can customise your desert safari as you wish, from a gourmet meal followed by a luxurious night by a private oasis, to a stargazing experience in the deep dark and clear air of the desert and a conservation experience to see Dubai’s native animal life. Whatever takes your fancy, the beauty and tranquillity of Dubai’s desert spaces can elevate any special occasion.

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Take in a show

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Front-row seats for a spellbinding performance is a definite way to make a splash. While Dubai has plenty of opportunities to see some phenomenal live shows, from opera to theatre to live music, the unique acrobatic experience at La Perle in Al Habtoor City is hard to beat. The VIP package offers pre-show access to the exclusive lounge, with gourmet bites and more, as well as the best seats in the house. Afterwards, you can head to one of nearby lounges and keep the good vibes going.

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Soar in a balloon

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A balloon ride is a classic way to celebrate a big day, for some very good reasons. High above the earth, a hot air balloon drifts with the wind, making the experience surprisingly serene. Far slower than a plane, a balloon may be the best way to see the sights below. Balloon flights in Dubai start in the desert, usually at dawn – and can be combined with desert safaris, gourmet breakfasts and even falconry shows. Book space on a communal flight, or splurge on your own private hot air balloon experience.

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Enjoy horse riding

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Dubai has a rich equestrian culture, and is a great place to enjoy horse riding, whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced rider. With several stables in the city, or further out towards the desert, there are plenty of options to choose from, and many ways to create the perfect celebratory experience. One of the most popular options is Al Jiyad Stables, where you and your crew can try both horse or camel riding at the Sieh Al-Salem nature reserve – the sunset and sunrise sessions are especially popular, so book in advance.

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Sail away

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With a pristine coastline that stretches for miles and miles, Dubai is fast becoming the cruise capital of the region. Its strategic location and shoreside charms also explains why yacht rentals are such a popular option for celebrating in the city. There are many operators to choose from, including Xclusive, where you'll be able to tailor every minute of the experience, from the playlist and the menu right down to the city sights you'd like to have as a backdrop, such as Burj Al Arab or Palm Jumeirah. Whether you're looking to sail away with family or friends, come together in style.

Feasts of flavour

Dubai is one of the world’s gastronomic hubs, with restaurants from Michelin-starred chefs across the city, including Massimo Bottura, Nobu Matsushita and Heinz Beck and Alain Ducasse. A meal at any of their establishments would certainly make a day special. But beyond the world of fine dining, the melting pot of cultures that is Dubai opens up many more possibilities. Adventurous foodies can eat their way around dozens of different cultures, often within the same district – Deira and Satwa are especially good for this – and without breaking the bank.

Get thrilled at theme parks

Dubai has some of the best theme parks in the world, from one of the largest indoor parks at IMG Worlds of Adventure, to more than 100 rides and rollercoasters at Dubai Parks and Resorts – home to three incredible theme parks and one LEGO-themed waterpark. If you've got a big enough group, some parks are also available for a full park takeover but usually only outside regular park operating hours. For a splashier time (literally), head to one of Dubai’s renowned waterparks, such as Aquaventure Waterpark or Wild Wadi.

Spa days for days

For more wellness-focused groups, why not enjoy a spa day together? From traditional Turkish-style hammams to ultra-modern high-tech facilities, Dubai has some of the best spas in the world and will leave everyone feeling like a million dirhams. Spend the day being pampered, or perhaps enjoy an extended yoga and meditation retreat. Consider a stay at The Retreat, the region's first wellbeing resort that has tailored programmes that range from 24 hours to weeks-long experiences.

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Hike in Hatta

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For more active couples and groups, the rugged beauty of Hatta may be the perfect way to mark a special occasion. Dominated by the majestic Hajar mountains, Hatta is an altogether different experience from the city of Dubai. With clearly marked hiking trails, you need nothing more than a vehicle, a map and a few essential supplies to embark on a hike through the mountains – though there are guided tours as well. And beyond hiking, Hatta offers plenty of other activities, including kayaking, horse riding and mountain biking – as well as some well-appointed hotels for a longer trip.

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Jump and shout

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If you’ve exhausted all other forms of excitement, if you are faced with a group of the most demanding, most adrenaline-seeking thrill-hunters out there – then just jump out of a plane. While some have suggested skydiving is a great way to surprise a loved one, it is probably much better as a group bonding experience – and Skydive Dubai is here for you. Tandem jumps mean that no one needs any experience, and cameras are on hand to film every moment of terror. What better way to make memories…

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