United Arab Emirates

Welcome to Dubai

City Description  

One of the most exciting modern cities in the world, Dubai is a futuristic mini-metropolis in the heart of the Arabian Gulf that offers world-class gastronomy, shopping, culture, design and entertainment.

Like a shimmering, otherworldly oasis emerging from the desert sands, Dubai is the electrifying heartbeat of the Middle East. Imagine, only decades ago – before a wealth of glittering skyscrapers lined its horizon – Dubai was a modest fishing harbor renowned for its pearls, surrounded by an arid desert inhabited by Bedouins. When oil flowed in abundance in the late 1960s, the cosmopolitan Dubai of today was born.

Over the past twenty years, the world’s leading designers and architects have unleashed their creative talents in Dubai to conceive some of the most daring and luxurious developments humanity has ever seen. Ascend to the breathtaking summit of the world’s tallest skyscraper, the majestic Burj Khalifa, and the city’s endless modern high-rises will unfold before you in a glittering splendor of sapphire, indigo and onyx. The building’s ground floor reveals the world’s largest shopping mall, The Dubai Mall, a dazzling entertainment and retail complex boasting 1200 boutiques, an ice skating arena and an aquarium; the site is also home to the Dubai Fountain attraction which propels jets of water 150 meters into the air with spectacular choreographed precision. You’ll discover breathtaking archipelagos of man-made islands shaped like the Earth and its continents known as The World, and those sculpted into the shape of a giant palm tree called the Palm Islands. Dubai is also home to the world’s largest natural flower garden, Dubai Miracle Garden – an extraordinary feat in light of the region’s parched desert landscape.
A thrilling way to experience Dubai’s dramatic aerial views is to soar high above the city in a helicopter, a seaplane or a hot air balloon, from which the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf set a dramatic backdrop against the city’s modern urban design. Make sure to enjoy a refreshing swim at one of Dubai’s pristine beaches, which offer a welcome respite from the sweltering temperatures which can soar to over 45 degrees Celsius during the summer months from May to September.
Despite its modern facade, this global capital of consumption exudes the Arabic mysticism of “One Thousand and One Nights,” attracting a multi-cultural mix of ethnicities from all corners of the globe. Dubai’s world-class gastronomy scene offers a spectrum of international restaurants ranging from chic fine dining to delightful local eateries, while its cutting-edge nightlife scene rivals those of cities such as New York and London. Dubai is also known for its local souks, or traditional markets, where you’ll be intoxicated by the hustle and bustle as you negotiate with stall vendors over the prices of diamonds, precious stones, gold and other handcrafted wares while sipping fragrant mint tea. For a more serene experience, float along the Dubai Creek natural inlet in a charming local wooden ferry, called an abra, before wandering around the historic districts of Bur Dubai and Deira. Immerse yourself in the city’s up-and-coming cultural scene by visiting the leading Dubai art galleries, which are rising to international acclaim.
With a wealth of new developments under construction and the upcoming World Expo 2020 on the horizon, Dubai is a perennially evolving city that is one of the most exciting destinations in the world to discover. Experiencing our hand-picked selection of the quintessential things to do and places to visit in Dubai will ensure that you have an unforgettable stay when travelling with Sofitel.

Top things to do in Dubai

Enjoy our selection of finest attractions

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  • Highlight
  • Art & design
  • Shopping
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Where to eat

  • Sofitel restaurants
  • Café
  • Restaurants

A.O.C French Brasserie

Taking its name from the mark of quality known as France’s Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (Controlled Designation of Origin), this all-day brasserie in the Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach is inspired by the world of French cuisine. Chef Andreas Mensch has created a crowd-pleasing menu of classics ranging from traditional poulet roti (roasted chicken), to classic steak frites and a range of towering burgers. A relaxed hideaway from the bustle of the city, A.O.C is known for its all-day service, regular themed nights and popular brunch buffet. Secure a seat on the terrace at sunset and enjoy prime views as the sun sets over the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf. 



Offering a sophisticated, contemporary twist on the traditional Japanese Izakaya dining experience...



Surrounded by the gently lapping turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf, Pierchic is one of Dubai’s most romantic...



Situated in Dubai’s WAFI Fort complex, this ground-breaking modern Middle Eastern restaurant, lounge and bar...



This legendary restaurant in Nice transports its signature Mediterranean dining concept to Dubai...



The sultry Jetty Lounge is one of the most elegant beachside lounge bars in Dubai...


Common Grounds

Take a shopping break at the world-class Mall of the Emirates at Common Grounds cafe, opened by dynamic duo Tom Arnel and Serg Lopez who own a portfolio of funky cafés in Dubai. Alongside superb specialty coffees, enjoy a wholesome menu of health-conscious cuisine and stylish interiors designed in pale woods and soothing slate. 


The Espresso Lab

Living up to its name, The Espresso Lab is at the forefront of coffee science in Dubai. Nestled with the Hundred Wellness Studio, this contemporary hotspot is home to some of Dubai’s most dedicated baristas, who work with single-origin, small-batch roasted beans to craft the perfect coffee. Help yourself to a book and relax with the city’s coffee connoisseurs at The Espresso Lab’s large communal tables.


Jamaica Blue

Bringing one of Australia’s most popular coffeehouses to Dubai, Jamaica Blue boasts eight locations across the city. Head to Al Barsha near the Mall of the Emirates for a laid-back atmosphere, sofa seating and beans sourced from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. For night owls, Jamaica Blue’s baristas are on hand to create a smooth latté or an immaculate macchiato 24 hours a day.


Stomping Grounds

Bringing California style to Dubai, Stomping Grounds sets the bar for specialty coffee in Dubai’s Jumeirah 1. With two sunlit terraces, spacious indoor seating and a hearty breakfast menu, this sociable hub is a casual haven of rough woods, polished concrete and cutting-edge coffee science. Try the cold brew drip coffee made after 7 hours of brewing.



Discover the rich flavours of Peru at Inka, where an enviable location on the 31st floor of the Sofitel Dubai Downtown showcases the glittering cityscape below. Head Chef Christian Motte, who grew up in Lima, will take you on an exciting culinary journey, giving a playful contemporary twist to his native gastronomic traditions. Start the evening by sipping a cocktail in the stylish lounge bar, where DJs take to the decks and friends share gourmet bites of deep fried calamari and sweet potato fries. In Inka’s main dining room, floor to ceiling windows offer sweeping vistas of the majestic Burj Khalifa as steaming sea bass ceviche and seared amazon beef with Nikkei sauce emerge from the kitchen. Enjoy this timelessly glamorous dining experience in Dubai.



A poolside sanctuary with a city-wide reputation for its seafood brunches, Moana Restaurant offers a relaxing dining setting surrounded by palm trees and parasols in the Sofitel Dubai The Palm Luxury Apartments. By day, the pagoda-style deck is the ideal place to enjoy Chef Olivier Chaleil’s signature sea salt crusted sea bass, perfect for a sociable lunch. By night, seafood lovers will be in their element with an extensive selection of fresh fish grilled to perfection, delicious curries and seafood platters, along with Japanese-inspired sushi and sashimi from the raw bar. Finish on a sweet note with the heavenly mango passion crème brûlée or the summer berry pudding. 

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Practical information

  • Travel transportation
  • event calendar

Dubai • United Arab Emirates

Sofitel Dubai Downtown

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Dubai • United Arab Emirates

Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach

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Dubai • United Arab Emirates

Sofitel Dubai The Palm Luxury Apartments

Treat your family to a luxury vacation they'll never forget at the Sofitel Dubai...


Dubai • United Arab Emirates

Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa

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Dubai • United Arab Emirates

The Retreat Palm Dubai - MGallery by Sofitel

The Retreat Palm Dubai - MGallery by Sofitel is the first holistic wellbeing res...


When to go

Dubai annual calendar

  • Jan

    Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF): All of January

  • Fev

    Dubai Jazz Festival (Emirates Airline): February 25-27

  • Mar

    Art Dubai: March 18-21

  • Apr

    Fashion Forward Budai: April 10-13

  • May

    Al Gaffal Dhow Race: May 23

  • Jun

    Dubai Sports World: June 21 - August 29

  • Jui

    Ramadan Night Market: July 2-11

  • Aug

    Dubai Summer Surprises: All of July and August

  • Sep

    Dubai International Dance Festival: Sept 14-20

  • Oct

    Downtow Design Dubai: Oct 27-30

  • Nov

    Dubai International Motor Show: Nov 10-14

  • Dec

    Dubai International Film Festival: Dec 9-16

Travel transportation


Transportation is easy to organise in Dubai and includes many options: local taxi, a private chauffeur or a boat, rental car, Dubai Metro, Dubai Tram, and local ferries. You can even consider travelling by abra, which is a motorised traditional wooden boat.
The Dubai Metro is a fully automated, driverless railway system including 2 lines: the Red Line (along the coast) and the Green Line.
Dubai Tram is also very convenient, running from Dubai Marina to Al Sufouh.
When driving in Dubai, you must drive on the right side of the road.


Metered taxis are comfortable and safe, and the majority of drivers speak English.

getting to & from the airport

The Dubai international airport is located 13 km from Downtown Dubai and the journey takes approximately 20 minutes.
Metered taxis are available 24h and private transfers can be arranged at the airport.
You can also take the metro from the airport into the city center, where trains run every 10 minutes from 5:50 am to midnight.

Getting around

Other destinations

* Prices start from. Offer subject to the hotel's conditions and availability. See the sales conditions for the rate. Depending on the country, these prices may not include taxes, may include VAT only or may include all taxes (VAT and city tax). When prices do not include all taxes, the relevant taxes (VAT and/or city tax) will be stated in the following stages of the reservation process. The price is only guaranteed at the time of reservation.

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