One of the accusations which often get leveled at Dubai is that it is an impersonal city. It gets endless good reviews for the quality of accommodation on offer and the numerous options for things to see and do, but with its reputation as a tourist city it does have the inevitable criticisms of being a city that has too little spirit and character. It would even be fair to say that these accusations are more frequently leveled at Dubai than at other tourist destinations like London, Paris or Tokyo – but then, those are all cities which forged their reputation in a slightly less cynical age, before the Internet made the whole world come closer together by enabling information to be exchanged more quickly.
The accusation is a mite unfair, too. Certainly there is some sense that it comes from the sheer weight of tourist locations, with more than 300 hotels in the city and its surrounding area, along with numerous malls and other various activities for the tourist. But anyone who cannot find the true character of Dubai among all of this simply cannot be looking very hard, as there is a strong identity for those who are willing to look. The souks and various street markets that proliferate in Dubai provide a real opportunity to get a feel for the city, while if you do want to have a break from the “real Dubai”, there are plenty of choices for you that are in line with more Western tastes.
As with any major world city, Dubai is really what you make it. The assertion, frequently put forward, that Dubai is a city which is horrendously expensive to visit, just does not ring true if you look hard enough. Yes, there are certainly some expensive, opulent hotels that are undoubtedly worth staying in if you have a moderate five-figure budget for your holiday. There are also more than a few that are genuinely affordable for any budget, and they are far from being poor quality. The Landmark Hotel is an example. Although less than a hundred dollars per night, it is a hotel that offers an excellent level of comfort and is staffed by dedicated, friendly workers who will go to great lengths to ensure that your stay is comfortable.
Although located at some distance from the city center, the Landmark Hotel does not cut you off from Dubai. It is located close to public transport links which are excellent, clean, safe and affordable, and is served by Dubai’s famous abhras – water taxis that take you to other nearby resorts. If you bring your laptop with you, then you can even use the Internet for free in the front lobby. The restaurant is open for three meals a day at excellent value, and the hotel even has a rooftop swimming pool, something one would expect of a more expensive hotel but which is a real treat from such an affordable spot. All in all, if you want to see Dubai without cashing in an insurance policy, this is an excellent way to do it.