Firstly and most importantly check yourself into one of the luxurious hotels, I have reviewed a few to choose from on this blog as Dubai is all about pampering, resting and relaxing. Make sure you therefore spend some much needed time napping and reading by your pool or on your beach as you have paid for the hotel, you need to make the most of being there.
I would also recommend an afternoon at a water park, you won't need a full day at either of these choices and some hotels will come with free entry thus swaying your decision. I think both are a fun and a great day out, both are clean and both have a large variety of rides so I would go with the one closest to your accommodation. Aquaventure at the Palm or Wild Wadi part of the Jumeirah Group.
During the evening I would take a trip to one of the malls. The Mall of the Emirates is bursting to the seems with shops and restaurants, my fav is Johnny Rockets for some good old American grub. This mall is also home to Ski Dubai, which for ski lovers is a great experience and one I would recommend. Equally though there is the The Dubai Mall home of an aquarium (although I wouldn't pay to walk through), plenty of designer shops and a Magnolia Bakery (for a cheeky take away cupcake) and The Cheesecake Factory for some good old fashioned junk food! At the Dubai Mall don't forget to go outside and watch the fountain display with lights and music, you can also eat at one of the many outdoor restaurants along here. Finally take the opportunity to head up the tallest building in the world The Burj Khalifa for some insane views over the city. Tickets are timed so head to buy your ticket and then get some food and watch the fountains before returning for your slot.
Another top Dubai late afternoon and evening is a desert safari. They tend to leave your hotel around 3-4pm and return around 10pm. You are picked up in a 4x4 wheel drive and take a 20-30 mins dune bashing journey (literally bouncing around in the sand dunes) followed by camel rides, belly dancing and a massive BBQ in the desert under the stars. It is a little obviously touristy but it's also great fun!
For nights out my favorite is the open air Nasimi Beach at the Atlantis on the Palm with it's own table service and great DJ's. Another great spot is the Madinat Rooftop and the other bars available in this complex. I also especially like the night club at Raffles Hotel. Another excellent place for a cocktail is the Skyview Bar at the Burj Al Arab Hotel (dress smart) and also Jetty Lounge at the One & Only Royal Mirage.
Whilst in Dubai you must take advantage of the food on offer. All of the big names and chefs have restaurants here and every single type of cuisine you could imagine is represented. Aside from the hotel restaurants I have already blogged about my all time favorite in Dubai is Hakkasan at the Emirates Towers Hotel. The restaurant is split into sections making your dining experience feel quite private and is very dark, cool and romantic. There is a long bar for a pre-dinner tipple with excellent cocktails. Make sure you order the prawn toast with fois gras, they are the best version of a prawn toast on the planet. The XO lobster is great but at £50 for a small dish I think a tad overpriced. Other dishes to note are the roast chicken in satay sauce and the duck spring rolls. Dinner for two with drinks will cost £150 ish so it is a splurge but the quality is amazing and the experience very special.
For my next visit to Dubai I want to try afternoon tea in one of the famous hotels such as the Burj Al Arab and also one of the big named champagne brunches, which look simply divine.
All in all Dubai is a great little place for a long weekend away. It's well connected and a reasonably short flight from London. You are almost always guaranteed heat and sunshine and the luxury will not fail to disappoint. Go and check out this bizarre man-made city in the desert for yourself, I would love to hear your post trip thoughts.