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Hi, everyone. I will be in Dubai for 5 days in December. Anyone has any suggestions on hotels? I'll be traveling alone - do you think I should be concern as a women? My budget for hotel is $100 - $150. Please let me know. Thank you in advance.

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    try expedia etc. to get some names of hotels in your price range, then go to tripadvisor.com and read the reviews the hotels. I was just there, but my hotel was over your budget. Cool place, want to go back to Dubai someday. Good luck!

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    I agree that your budget is quite low. Hotel rooms are often overbooked and quality can be uneven. Its a booming, booming business city. Also, December is high season as the weather is dry and coolest then. I would try a beach or other area outside the city centre as these are not as popular with the business people as they are further out from the city centre. The new Courtyard by Marriott is quite nice and on a little lake, but quite far from the city centre (and there is no public transport, so you will need to get a taxi, not cheap in Dubai). It may be in your price range. The Renaissance in town is not as nice, but a better location and really OK if the price is in your range (it may well not be).

    I would not have any concerns with traveling in Dubai on your own as woman. Dubai is NOT the "Middle East" by any stretch of the imagination. Women can drive there for one thing, and men and women who are not married or otherwise related can eat together for another. It's a relatively safe place also in terms of crime, but take normal precautions with wallet and purse, etc.

    I don't know what you are going to do there for 5 days. When I am there on business, I run out of things to do after an afternoon at the souk or a jeep trip to the desert. (I don't need to go to a mall, I live in Hong Kong, and I assume you have been to Toys R Us and Dunkin Donuts at home...). For sure go into the desert. If you really want to see a beautiful part of the Middle East, hop on a flight to Jordan and go down and see Petra and the really wonderful deserts around there. The only good thing about Dubai in December is that the weather is very nice then, but unless you are at one of the beach hotels, you may not get to appreciate it.

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    I disagree strongly with Cicerone-U.A.E. absolutely IS the Middle East, and if you have been to Cairo, with its casinos, nightclubs and all night nightlife, or to Amman, and ITS all night nightlife, then you would know that Dubai has just got more construction going on, in a much smaller area with a much tinier population, with an obviously greater concentration of wealth, due to oil, real estate and tourism revenues but the Middle East is still very much there, in the old parts of the city, the souks, but also, just outside the city, where you can go and watch camel racing, or observe falconry, both sports very much part of the local life when Dubai was just a sleepy pearl diving village.

    Moreover, you can drink only in the nightclubs, but not in other places, (nightclubs close at 3am-that's hardly the case in the west) there are no racy strip clubs whatsoever-(there ARE however, fully clothed East Asian dancing girls-in the too numerous nightclubs to mention-at least THREE nightclubs to every 3 star hotel in Dubai it seems, and some hotels can't seem to make up their minds, are they more nightclub or hotel? Pick one and go with it!)

    So no, Dubai very much IS the Middle East-it is NO Las Vegas, however, as I have heard it referred to so many times-there simply are no casinos- and the mosques are still calling the faithful to prayer 5 times a day-, Dubai is just lux city ME style, if you will, with a huge ex-pat population, but make no mistake a about it, it is still ME all the way.

    2 of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from the U.A.E.; the pilot of UAL Flight 175, which hit the South Tower, Marwan al-Shehi, and another, one of the musclemen on that flight, out of Dubai.

    The thing about DUBAI IS, it is on EVERYONE'S LIPS RIGHT NOW. DUBAI, DUBAI, DUBAI-it's all I hear! I hear it from friends, in dance music, in travel articles, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and its lux spas, but Dubai, particularly, really appears to be THE hot destination for 2008. That, and the beaches of Oman.

    As for Budget hotels in Dubai, they are obviously hard to come by in the land of 5, 6 and of course, the world's only 7 star hotel- the Burj-al-Arab. Try DUBAI NOVA hotel, right in the heart of the historic Bur Dubai area, near the Dubai Museum (around US90 for a single) You want to be near the souks, and the creek, so you can actually experience a bit of old Dubai-so the closer you stay in and around Bur Dubai the better and more interesting experience you'll have, I think (unless you have the desire to be out in the lux Jumeirah beach area). This hotel is within a 10 min. walk to the creek, where you can take an "abra" (wood boat) across the creek to check out the Burq-al-Arab on the other side), among other things. A lot of the rooms have balconies as well, which look out onto the busy local streetlife.

    There's also a hop on/off double-decker Big Bus if you want an easy way to get around and see the sights-I believe it also may include a Dhow cruise, for a bit extra. There's camel racing, the gold souk, the textile souk-there's quite a bit to see, in and just outside the city. And of course, there are the nightclubs, which you should check out, at least for one night!

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    Calling the faithful to prayers five times a day in no way makes a country "Middle Eastern". It simply means that there are Muslims living there. The largest Muslim nation in the world (in terms of population), is Indonesia. It of course is not in the Middle East and does not have a Middle Eastern culture by any stretch of the imagination. But the faithful are called to prayer five times a day. Malaysia is also overwhelmingly Muslim and again, is not in the Middle East and does not have a middle eastern culture. It does have a Muslim culture, however. Pakistan, which I believe is the second most populous Muslim nation, is on the Indian subcontinent, and does not, IMO, have a Middle East culture either, although it does have more of a Middle Eastern influence than say Indonesia (and IMO more of a Middle Eastern influence than Dubai). India of course has a "minority" population of about 100 million Muslims, and again is does not possess what I would consider a Middle Eastern culture, yet I was in Hyderabad last week and of course the mosques were calling the faithful to prayer five times a day. I don't believe I ever mentioned casinos in my post so I can't respond to that. Malaysia has casinos and is officially a Muslim nation, so I would not say that having casinos would necessarily make a country non-Muslim or non-Middle Eastern. You can drink in hotels in Pakistan and many many other Muslim nations as well. That is not the test, at least for me, of whether the country possesses a culture that is "Middle Eastern".

    In Dubai, women can drive, and can eat meals in public and otherwise socialize with men to whom they are not married or related. This is in fact not that common in many parts of the Middle East. Egypt would be an exception, as would parts, but not all, of Jordan. Kuwait and Bahrain would be exceptions too. That is why I consider that Dubai does not truly represent the Middle East, but also mostly because very few of the people, and certainly the people whom the average tourist will encounter, are not actually FROM Dubai. They are mostly not even from the Middle East. IMO its hard to "experience" the culture when no one you meet is actually from that place.

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    we just got back from 5 nights in dubai also.

    if you dress modestly you should not feel uncomfortable, although the men in the souks are certainly gawkers. i felt very safe in dubai. i was wit my husband and adult daughter but i did go out several times alone to find an internet café, and have a mint drink nearby.

    in the resorts and malls you could almost get away with anything, i think. it does NOT feel like a completely middle eastern country, but has enough tinge it does feels somewhat exotic.

    we stayed at the sheraton creek dubai becuase i was able to get a good rate there and decided it was the only hotel right on the creek and would hopefully provide a nice atmosphere.

    we thoroughly enjoyed it.

    it is probably over your budget but i do recommend its restaurants. you can have a delicious lunch buffet for 50 dhs every day, sitting on the terrace enjoying the river traffic entertainment.

    i liked being near the creek but if you want a beach, either you must stay at one of the hotels with their private beach, or taxi up to a public or private one. public transportation is nearly inexistant for the tourist. taxis are not too expensive, but for one person alone.. it will add up.

    some hotels have a free shuttle back and forth to malls and restaurants/nightclubs nearby.

    but TIME OUT at the airport after changing money at a bank there and read it front to cover to get a feel for what is going on in the city. there is also a website called "eye of dubai".

    mondays at one of the public beaches is for women only, i believe.

    enjoy heritage village. try a delicious lemon/mint drink served there at the first restaurant along the creek that has a sidewalk café as you are walking towards the end. excellent. this place served one of the best ones we tried.

    dubai museum, be sure to go downstairs.
    the souks.
    and then the obligatory luxury visits.

    jaw dropping places not to miss:

    desert tour. do at least one, and perhaps a second different one if you have time, and i think you do.
    it was really a highlight of our trip.

    floor 44 grosvenor hotel for a drink. you will feel like you are in manhattan.

    -the one and only mirage hotel. enjoy this place, at least for coffee and dessert in a poolside restaurant. you will not be disappointed.

    -emirates towers hotel top floor restaurant. also unbelievable. they have a 145 dhs menu at lunch time.

    -the madinat hotel/mall. very disneyesque but fun mingling place. there might even be something cultural at the theater there.
    great views of the untouchably expensive burj arab hotel from these places here.

    i found nothing at the malls to buy except fabulous chocolates of any imaginable flavour.

    But I was impressed with the architecture and opulence of every place we entered.

    enjoy your time there. the food was fabulous but i admit we did not have a very authentic middle eastern dining experience as we were trying all these wonderful hotel restaurants!

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