Destination Guide: Dubai (UAE)

Need to knows:

Visa info

British citizens will receive a 30 day visa on arrival in the United Arab Emirates. This can be extended by another 30 days by visiting an immigration office and paying a small fee. Those with a British National (Overseas) passport must obtain one before travelling

To tip or not to tip?

It’s common practice to tip in Dubai although most restaurants will add a service charge onto the bill anyway. If no service charge is added then a small tip of between 10 to 15% will be welcomed.

Getting there

Dubai is serviced by many key airlines but Emirates leads the way connecting more than 86 destinations to the city. Upon arrival at Dubai airport there are hundreds of public and limo taxis outside the terminal which are managed by concierge staff. There are also taxis for women only, managed by female drivers.

Staying there

Traffic can be heavy in the city so choose a hotel or serviced apartment near where you’ll be doing business. Here are three of our favourites:

Financial and professional services are based in DIFC. Recently opened in Al Haboor City and next door to the Westin and the St Regis is a classy W with an American bar and DJ sessions. The result is pure funk.

Media City and the Marina
Media City, whose name suggests its inhabitants, and the Marina are about 20-30 minutes from the airport and about 5 minutes apart. A number of serviced apartments have sprung up in
the area in the last two years including the Amwaj Suites and Suha Apartments.

JLT/Jumeirah Lake Towers
If your idea of a business trip includes a glass of Guinness in a sports bar, the Bonnington is for you.

Eating and drinking

With chefs like Gordon Ramsey, Jason Atherton and Gary Rhodes all mainstays you know there’s no lack of great restaurants in Dubai. Here are three different kinds of places in Dubai’s three main locations:

Downtown – Prime 68 at the J W Marriott
If you need to ensure that the person at the next table isn’t listening to every word, try Prime 68, a steakhouse on the hotel’s 68th floor. Great view, great food and perfect for a private business dinner.

Media City – Bubbalicious at the Westin
Friday is brunch time and a Dubai favourite is created when three of the Westin’s famous restaurants merge into Bubbalicious, one spectacular location on the ground floor. Check out the carved fruit – it’s spectacular.

JLT – Jazz @ PizzaExpress
The first Pizza Express to open outside the UK nestles between skyscrapers in the iconic Jumeirah Lakes Towers in Dubai. Munch a pizza while listening to live music from world class musicians
seven nights a week.

Business customs

Don’t be surprised if someone is late. All sorts of things can affect travel in Dubai including new migrants working as taxi drivers so they often don’t always know the route.

It’s the custom when meeting a woman not to shake her hand unless she takes the initiative. Many local women believe that they should not come into physical contact with a man outside her family. 

INSIDERS TIP - from Ciarán Kelly, General Manager, Middle East & Africa, FCM

“Given that there are areas such as the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) where you can’t just hail a taxi it’s worth considering hiring a driver for the day. You might pay 100-250 dihram for 2-3 hours but this is all negotiable and will depend on the time and where you want to go. “The traffic on all of Sheikh Zayed Road between Media City and Downtown between 4 and 6 on a Thursday is just crazy. Remember – it’s the beginning of the weekend.”

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