Hello everyone - I need a quick tip from those who know Dubai and its airport well. I'll be transiting in late August with my wife and three young kids, and we have a 20-hour layover (on purpose). We arrive about 13:00 and depart next morning at 09:00. The question is, should we stay in the airside hotel in the terminal, or is it worth braving the immigration queues (and check-in queues on the way back) and heading out to a nice hotel in Dubai?
We won't have time or energy for any sightseeing, just want a chance for the kids to have a run around, a swim, and a proper sleep.
Ive never stayed in the airside hotel so I do not know what it is like. Best bet may be to get a hotel in Deira, they are generally cheaper than those in the Marina district especially in the summer.
The immigration queues at DXB should be bearable at 1300 unless its a local holiday. Deira is about 15 minutes taxi ride from the airport (sometimes a little more, sometimes considerably less in quiet times).
A tip when going back to the airport is to check in online and print out your boarding pass. If the airport is busy it will save you alot of hassle.
A good idea would be to check out hotels close to the metro. It leaves from right inside the airport terminal and is fast, frequent and cheap. I have stayed at a very nice hotel at Internet city which is very close to the Metro station. The name escapes me but if I can remember I will post.
I can't comment on the transit hotel (never used it) but it's located within the terminal building with no access to the outdoors. As such I'm almost certain that it doesn't have the facilities to allow your children the opportunity to run around and swim (no doubt somebody will be along in due course to confirm/rebuff this).
I often book similar layovers to yours at DXB. I like to leave the airport between flights, stretch my legs, get a bit of fresh air and explore. If booking your own hotel in the city, I'd recommend doing what Lance Murdoch suggests and checking in online- your bags will travel straight to your final destination. Take what you need for your overnight hotel stay in your hand luggage and buy toiletries landside. That way you won't have to worry about lugging your bags around or checking in the morning after, saving you quite a bit of time and hassle. If you wish to collect your checked baggage in DXB then I'd suggest contacting Emirates before you fly to ask if this is possible- they sometimes refuse in a seemingly arbitrary fashion...
In addition, Emirates advertise Dubai stopover packages on their website which are integrated with your itinerary. I don't think you can book online but it might be worth checking this out to see if they can offer what you're looking for.
P.s. Can't recommend a hotel- I tend to pack earplugs, an eyemask and a blowup pillow, 'borrow' a blanket off the plane then find a quiet corner of Terminal 1 to sleep and shower in (probably not ideal for a family with children)!
Last edited by Anansis; 29th Jun 2012 at 13:45.
Reason: Added information
Ramadan is approximately from the 20th July to the 18th August (dependent on sightings of the moon. Within this time period you may not consume any food or liquid during the daylight hours in public.
Up to the 18th it might be easier with the kids at the airport hotel.
True, this could pose problems (e.g. many restaurants etc will be closed until evening). However, Dubai is a tourist friendly city and reasonably accommodating of non Muslims. Last time I was there during Ramadan, Costa Coffee shops were open but had screens around the sitting areas so that people could consume food and drink discretely if they chose to do so.
You should definitely check this before booking a hotel though.
Thanks all - great info, exactly what I was looking for! We'll be there a few days after the end of Ramadan, so that's not a concern.
We'll check the baggage all the way through, book a nice hotel in Deira, and head out with hand luggage. May be able to get boarding passes before we leave the terminal, but if not will check in online.
Traffic to/from airport can be evil, so for good r&r look at the airport meridian. 5 mins in a hotel organised free and quick transfer. Very nice hotel, nice pool, screens during Ramadan. For sure you don't see Dubai but its an easy way to pass the time.
As a resident of Dubai and a regular user of the airport, I recommend you use one of the three hotels situated about 5 mins drive from the airport,,, 1. Le meridein 2. bustan rotana 3. Millennium airport hotel
All three have nice pools and many other facilities. They are much better for a family than the airside hotel.
The 3 hotels listed by Iraqi are all a good bet. Or the Hyatt Regency in Deira - small ice rink there if the kids are into that. Plus reasonable pool. The old Sheraton or the Radisson Blu on the Creek are only a short taxi from the airport and altho' the OP isn't intending to do the tourist thing the dhows on the Creek are worth seeing and a water taxi over to the Dubai Museum might fill in an hour or two. If you want to go further afield, the Metro is quick, clean and cheap BUT the station is only in Terminal 1 (no Metro connection to Terminal 3 which is EK,or T2 which is on the other side of the airport). And no metro service at all on Friday mornings.
i can definitely confirm that the Rotana would be a fine choice (never been there myself but after having lived in Dubai for 6 years i've heard good things) As far as Ramadan is concerned it should be a non-issue since most hotels and hotel pools/restaurants stay open.
FYI Ramadan is not quite a non-issue for those visiting DXB then (I know the OP is not going in Ramadan). Yes you will be able to eat somewhere all day in a hotel - but not in restaurants out on the streets. There is no live music (& that includes DJs) anywhere in the month. Every hotel has to nominate only one bar to be opened and only after Iftar (usually open around 7 pm). Any other clubs/bars have to remain closed throughout. All quite manageable - especially compared to Qatar and Bahrain which go totally dry - but not quite "business-as-usual"
These are great value if you have a short, stop over, and I would not recomend for the stop mentioned.
There are no kids facilities, and whilst the rooms are good minimalistic, I can not remmeber any food outlets, other than the terminal ones which you naturally have full access....... Airside.... T1 and T3.
I was there over 3 years ago, so thinks might have changed.....
I recomend the Rotana, and le Meridian.. There are also two budget hotels close to T3......
Enjoy Dubai, it will be HOT, and yes Ramadan...but as mentioned for tourists in western hotels no problem...Just do not offend local customs and traditions....