Dubai desert tour Travels with Darley
Dubai desert tour Travels with Darley

Darley’s Dubai Vacation: Platinum

Enjoy an ultra-luxury Dubai Vacation that includes the authentic side of Dubai and a day trip to Abu Dhabi following in Darley’s footsteps on the ski slopes and in the desert!

Crashing out of the desert sands like an urban mirage, Dubai is one of the most unusual places we’ve visited to date while filming for Travels with Darley for PBS, Amazon Prime and Ovation TV. You can spend a morning skiing or scuba diving with sharks… in the mall… and the afternoon shopping in traditional marketplaces or souqs and trying tasty traditional foods, like falafel and hummus.

We loved our adventures in Dubai, where you can head out into the desert on a hot air balloon, ride a camel or sit by the pool on a palm tree made of sand. Dubai is your oyster and we can help you plan it best!

Talk with our Preferred Travel Advisor to book this luxury Dubai trip or customize it to fit your needs or that of your group!

8 days/ 7 nights starting at $7,155 USD* per person based on double occupancy

* Daily inclusions listed below. Itinerary pricing based on double occupancy. Prices are subject to fluctuations due to exchange rates at time of payment. Prices and reservations are not guaranteed until a deposit is placed. We are happy to customize this itinerary for you!

Dubai Platinum Itinerary

Dubai is a fascinating place to travel. Located in the Middle East on one of the seven Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, Dubai rises out of the desert with futuristic skyscrapers and fantastic architecture. Traveling here, it’s astonishing to think that most of the modern city was built in the last 50 years. From the world’s tallest building to some of the world’s most luxurious shopping to the starkly beautiful desert, Dubai is a place of extremes. Amid the grandeur, we also find authentic traditions and cultures. Dubai is a surprising land of juxtapositions, where glitz and glamour combine with old world history and cool architecture.

Day 1: Arrive in Dubai

A driver will meet you at the airport to take you to check into your hotel, where you can enjoy the rest of the day relaxing and get some rest after your long journey.

We’ve got you booked at one of Dubai’s most stylish and opulent beach resorts, facing the sea and reflecting an ambience of Arabian-influenced refinement. Enjoy the remainder of today in and around your lavish accommodations, enjoy 65-acres of abundant gardens, soothing fountains, arches, domes and intricate Arabic details.

Stroll out on more than one-half mile of private beach along Jumeirah Beach. Swim in a temperature-controlled swimming pool. Visit the watersports center, tennis courts or KidsOnly Club. Enjoy awesome international dining opportunities in one of a variety of onsite restaurants. Or take time off in the traditional Oriental Hammams, which provides a range of Moroccan spa rituals.

You may have too many choices to be able to sleep, but rest if you can, because the upcoming days also hold lots of adventures.

Day 2: Exploring Old Dubai

Enjoy a fabulous breakfast in your hotel before meeting your personal guide in the Dubai hotel lobby. Embark on a tour that showcases the older side of the city and learn about the rich culture of the UAE.

Head to the Jumeirah Beach Road and stop for photos at Jumeirah Mosque which is considered to be the most iconic and beautiful mosque in Dubai.
Visit the Bastakiya Quarter which was built in the late 19th century by the Persians. Admire the cobbled streets and wind towers as you proceed to the 150-year old Al Fahidi Fort. Visit the Dubai Museum, which records the city’s past of pearl diving and trading centre before the discovery of oil.

Continue your journey across the creek on a traditional water taxi called Abra. Visit and shop at the famous Gold & Spice Souk which offers wide variety of local produce, lavish jewelry, beautiful textiles, and fragrances.

Enjoy a traditional Emirati lunch at The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. Located in the Al Bastakiya trading village in the Al Fahidi Historic District, the center is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Bur Dubai. Enjoy a meal with local flair while chatting with an Emirati host about UAE culture, customs and religion. 

Old Town Dubai
After lunch, drive to see one of the UAE’s latest cultural landmarks, The Dubai Frame an iconic structure that ‘frames’ impressive views of Old and New Dubai, while serving as a metaphorical bridge connecting the emirate’s rich past with its magnificent present. Offering spectacular panoramic views across the city, the Dubai Frame celebrates the story of Dubai from its early establishment to its ambitious plans for future development.
Finally, stop for photos at the Zabeel Palace, home to the ruling family of Dubai.

At the end of the tour, you will be chauffeured back to your hotel. 

Return to your hotel in the evening and get some rest for an early rise tomorrow. Have dinner on your own at one of the hotel’s many restaurants.

Day 3: Dubai City Tour & Ski Dubai

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and then at 10:30AM, meet your personal guide in the hotel lobby. Today’s Dubai city tour shows you how much Dubai has changed over the past fifty years.

This tour includes newly built Dubi at one of the world’s largest manmade islands, one of Dubai’s most luxurious resorts known for its architecture and a top spot for waterfront shopping and entertainment. You’ll also see where Dubai residents live at the Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residences, before photos at Burj Al Arab, the only 7-star hotel in the world and known for its unique architecture.

Next visit the Mall of the Emirates, one of the world’s largest shopping malls to enjoy the experience of skiing something pretty wild, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East. At Ski Dubai, you can ski inside the mall and there’s even a chairlift!

Snow Plus passes, services include : Full day and unlimited access to Snow Park  

  • Snow Cavern and Tobogganing,
  • Giant Ball, 
  • Bob sledge, 
  • Tubing Run and Bump Car
  • Unlimited Chairlift Ride
  • Unlimited Mountain Thriller

Winter Gear is provided at Ski Dubai, including jackets, trousers, disposable socks and snow boots.

*Note A minimum skiing skill is required. Basic equipment and clothing is included in the rate. Hats and gloves are available at an additional charge.

Enjoy lunch on your own pre or post your ski adventure in the mall. There are lots of fun choices.

Now head to your final stop in the downtown Dubai. Ascend through one of the world’s fastest elevators to the “At The Top”. Enjoy unbeatable views of the city from the world’s tallest tower’s observation spread across the 148th, 125th and 124th floors.

After your tour, you have the option to be chauffeured back to your hotel or stay in the mall to enjoy the many shopping and dining options. We highly recommend a visit to the Dubai Aquarium or a dinner at Souk Al Bahar with views of the Dubai Fountain at night. 

Day 4: Old Dubai Foodies Tour

Unravel the mysteries of Old Dubai’s souks and embark on a cultural adventure peppered with Emirati, Indian and Iranian food tastings on your Old Dubai Food Tour.

Your tour will cover the Old Dubai ‘must-do’s’—the spice souk, the textile souk, Al Ras neighborhood and Old Fahidi neighborhood. Try popular local snacks, nostalgic treats like egg rolls and tea, tangy Indian treats and succulent Iranian kebabs. You will meet a local resident guide who thrives on stories and passion and will introduce you to the textile souk, Bur Dubai, Deira, the myriad of Dubai food and its influences from other parts of the world, including falafel, kebabs, spices and treats like Iranian dessert doused in rose syrup and lemon juice, sweet and spicy Indian street snacks.

Inclusions & Information: 

  • Walking only; distance covered is about 2.1mi with stops in between. Dress comfortably to walk.
  • 2 standing snack stops and 2 sit-down tastings. 

*Tastings include Gluten/Lactose/Dairy/Nuts. Please notify us of severe allergies. Allergens Key: Contains G-Gluten; D-Dairy; N-Nuts; M-Meat (Beef/Lamb); P-Poultry; F-Fish; S-Shellfish. We regret that there may not be substitutes for dishes. Even if specific dishes do not contain these. Vegetarian options available.

Optional morning excursion: Should you wish, this morning you have the option to swim with sharks… or just observe them at the Dubai Aquarium. Take the plunge and swim with sharks from inside a cage or free diving.* Darley also tried this adventure in Dubai. Ask us about the logistics. If you’ve scuba dived before or always wanted to, you may find this offbeat adventure, thrilling!

The Dubai Aquarium in the Dubai Mall
The Dubai Aquarium in the Dubai Mall. Travelers with no experience can try scuba diving in a cage during the shark’s feeding time. 

Day 5: Stables Insider’s Tour & Dubai from Above

After breakfast, meet our English speaking chauffer at hotel lobby by 7.30AM. You will be transferred to The Meydan hotel for the Meydan Stables tour to meet the Thoroughbreds and enjoy an exclusive behind-the- scenes tour.

Every Tuesday & Wednesday morning, start the tour at The Meydan Hotel and watch the racehorses during morning Track work. Take a personal tour of the stables where these horses are groomed and conditioned and learn how they are trained and prepared for race day. See horses exercise in the equine swimming pool. Go behind the scenes at the Meydan Grandstand, which is over a mile in length and overlooks the Meydan Racecourse, home to the Dubai World Cup – one of the world’s richest horse races. Gain exclusive access to the Jockeys’ Room, Saddling Paddock and Parade Ring.

At the end of the tour, you will be chauffeured over for a helicopter tour. 

*Don’t want to visit the stables, stay back and visit the Wellness Spa at the hotel/ resort. We are happy to make arrangements.

Dubai from Above: VIP Helicopter tour
Explore the Dubai from above on a 40 minute flight (sharing basis) flying over key attractions in Dubai. Grab an overhead view of the crazy islands and buildings that have been built in Dubai over the past few decades, literally emerging out of the water like a mirage. View Port Rashid, the Dry docks, Jumeira Beach Park, Burj Al Arab, World Islands, the Palm Jumeirah and the Burj Khalifa, among other sites.

Lunch and dinner on your own today.

Day 6: Full day Abu Dhabi Capital City Tour

Today, tour a whole new part of the Emirates on a trip to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates and second to Dubai in population. You’ll visit the new and stunning Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island, the largest art museum in the Arabian peninsula, have lunch at Emirates Palace, visit a palace and more.

Head to Abu Dhabi at 9pm and along the way, drive through Yas Island to see the Yas Marina circuit and Ferrari World Park. See art ranging from prehistoric artifacts to the contemporary at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Drive along the Abu Dhabi Corniche to see the waterfront mosques and high-rises and then on to the Madarin Oriental, one of the most iconic landmarks of Abu Dhabi and an epitome of Arabian luxury known for its gold and marble interiors and sweeping lush gardens. Enjoy choosing your lunch spot at this five-star hotel and beachside resort.

After lunch, visit Qasr Al Watan, an incredible, new and unique landmark in the United Arab Emirates. A Palace brimming with knowledge, offering the world a first-of-its-kind insight into the Arab heritage and the governing principles that shaped the history of the United Arab Emirates and its vision to the future. Qasr Al Watan is more than just a palace, it is an enriching journey in a contemporary setting that reveals and reflects on governance and craftsmanship. If Qasr Al Watan is closed, visit Qasr al-Hosn, a historical landmark and the oldest stone building in the city of Abu Dhabi.

An authentic experience of Abu Dhabi is not complete without a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – a majestic marvel that reveals a spectrum of architectural splendours. The Mosque features 80 domes, over 1,000 columns, gold plated chandeliers and the world’s largest hand woven carpet, and has a capacity for an astonishing 40,000 worshippers. 

Day 7: VIP Sundowner Desert Safari

Take the morning off to enjoy your resort or head to something you’ve learned about that you wanted to experience that you haven’t yet. Enjoy lunch on your own as well, before you head off for your VIP Sundowner Desert Safari experience.

At around 4PM, meet your safari guide in the hotel lobby. You’ll head off to the desert, where you’ll be taking a four-wheel drive journey deep into the heart of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Then, hop aboard a camel to ride into the dunes to a camp set up with traditional rugs and cushions, where you’ll enjoy sunset and the desert evening.

Flaming torches and a barbecue under the starry skies add to your exclusive dining ambience. Our staff will indulge you with a delicious Arabian feast and unlimited select beverages. 

After dinner relax with aromatic shisha as you gaze into the desert and skies. 

At the conclusion of the evening, re-join the convoy of four-wheel drive vehicles to return to the city. 


  • Exclusive 4×4 vehicles supplied with Bottled Mineral Water
  • English Speaking safari Guide/driver
  • Dune driving through the desert with sunset photo stop
  • Camel rides and aromatic shisha available at the camp.
  • Personalized Waiter service.
  • Personal tent/Majlis set-up on the dunes. 
  • Falcon Show
  • Tanouradancing 

Optional inclusions (at additional cost): 

  • Henna painting
  • Fortune Teller
  • 01 bottle of Moet & Chandon
  • 01 Celebration cake

Day 8: Depart Dubai

You’ll be picked up at your hotel after check out for a private transfer to the airport for your flight back home or continue to a further destination. 

Trip Prices & Inclusions

8 days/ 7 nights starting at $7,155 USD* per person based on double occupancy

* Daily inclusions listed below. Itinerary pricing based on double occupancy. Prices are subject to fluctuations due to exchange rates at time of payment. Prices and reservations are not guaranteed until a deposit is placed. We are happy to customize this itinerary for you!

Package Inclusions

7 Nights at Virtuoso luxury hotel
Resort fees and service charges
Transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
Meet & Greet upon arrival w/escort at the airport

PLATINUM Activities:
-Traditional city tour with lunch and passes to Dubai Frame
-Private foodie tour w/tastings
-Modern city tour with fast-track passes to At the Top Sky and Ski Dubai Snow Premium passes for 2 guests
-Stables visit per the itinerary
-Helicopter tour (Sharing basis-40min) including chauffeur service (excludes guide)
-Full day Abu Dhabi city tour w/guide and driver
-VIP Private Desert Safari per the itineraryw/falconary
-VIP evening with Tanoura dancers
Bottle of mineral water during private tours
Taxes and fees

Activities not mentioned as “Inclusions”
Travel Insurance
Meals except where indicated
Drinks of any kind
Personal expenses