Pictures of drift beach club and the Dubai skyline
A trip to beat all trips (Picture: Édaein O’ Connell)

There are many thoughts that run through one’s head when you are hanging off the side of a building.

‘I had so much life to live.’

‘I wish I had told my ex co-worker from three years ago what I really thought of them.’

‘I love my dog more than myself.’

‘Oh my god, I think I left my curler on and the hotel is going to burn down and it will be all my fault.’

That very last thought was what ran through my mind as my feet were halfway off the edge of the Sky Walk in Dubai – one of the city’s top tourist attractions that involves walking around the edge of a very tall hotel.

Now, there was no danger to my life. I was hanging off the building while strapped nice and tightly into a harness. I was safe, and against all odds, I did not leave my curler turned on.

The Sky Walk is an experience. While getting ready to walk along the building’s edge, you gain a false sense of confidence.

From behind a glass door, it doesn’t look that menacing, but once you step foot into the warm, blustery air, scenes from your life start to conjoin and edit themselves into a very sad montage.

If it wasn’t for the brave woman in front of me, I think I would have cowered in fear for the entire experience. Her courageousness not only made me hang off the edge, but swing off it too.

Was it invigorating? Completely.

Enjoyable? I can’t say it was fun.

Édaein hanging off the side of the building
The Skywalk experience (Picture: Édaein O’ Connell)

Thankfully, it was the only extreme activity I was to partake in while in Dubai. The most populous city in the UAE, the destination has become a hotspot for holidaymakers.

With beach clubs galore, luxury shopping and guaranteed warm weather, people travel in their droves to take in some of the good life.

I was in the Middle Eastern city to sample all it has to offer for a girls’ holiday and it did not disappoint. The likes of Ibiza and Marbella may be obvious first choices for a girly getaway, but Dubai is always unique as it gives both a city and beach experience at your front door.

My home for the visit was the 25hours Hotel One Central located near Dubai’s International Financial Centre. The city’s hotels are known for being temples to luxury – they smell great but have a strange affinity for marble and the colour white.

In contrast, 25hours is filled with undeniable character. From the moment you walk in the door you are hit with the hotel’s distinctive scent, and your eyes are drawn to the large seating area which doubles as a mountain of books in the centre of the lobby.

The lobby of the 25h hotel
The lobby of the 25Hours Hotel (Picture: Édaein O’ Connell)

The rooms are decorated beautifully in rustic shades and with eclectic dessert touches in every corner.

There are a total of five bars and restaurants in the hotel and each offers guests a different cuisine and experience.

Monkey Bar is perched on the 6th floor and has impressive views of the Museum of The Future and Zabeel Park. The terrace is the ideal location for sundowners and has a nightly roster of DJs if partying is what you are looking for. Their margarita is a must order when there.

Meanwhile, for Indian fans, Tandoori Tina restaurant will satisfy your culinary needs.

Think high quality ingredients, bold flavours and classic dishes such as butter chicken and biryani.

One of the most impressive elements of Dubai is its skyline. Futuristic in nature, it is a sight to behold and explore, and Hero Odysea boat tour experience is a superb way to do both.

The Hero Odysea experience
The Hero Odysea experience (Picture: Édaein O’ Connell)

Disclaimer: I can’t swim and while you receive a lifejacket and the boat itself is sturdy, it may be a good idea to choose a capable partner to drive.

The boats allow you to captain your own ship and can go up to speeds of 50km/h. My driver was a qualified sailor, so all I had to do was relax and enjoy the views of a city that is constantly expanding and changing.

Following on from the boating excursion, there was no better time to enjoy one of Dubai’s many and varied beach clubs.

Drift beach club
Drift Beach Club (Picture: Édaein O’ Connell)

Whether you want to relax or embrace a party atmosphere, you have a choice. Zero Gravity may be for the ravers, but Drift Beach Club is a slice of coastal paradise for those who desire luxe tranquility.

The private beach club has a stunning infinity pool that overlooks one kilometre of prime beachfront. Having the skyline surround you makes the experience extra special.

Meanwhile, no girls’ trip to Dubai would be worth its weight in Prosecco without a trip to one of the city’s famous brunches. Cé La Vi is situated on level 54 of the Address Sky View Hotel and sits directly across from the Burj Khalifa.

The brunch caters to all ages with a set menu of high quality food and drinks. All the while, a DJ entertains and a man with a set of bongos joins revellers to ramp up the increasing party atmosphere.

The swing at Ce La Vie
The swing at Cé La Vie (Picture: Édaein O’ Connell)

I can attest to the fact there is nothing more thrilling than beating some drums in the middle of a crowded room with not one ounce of talent – you won’t forget that buzz.

To finish the girls’ holiday, a desert excursion was needed to wind down and relax. There are many options to take – whether that be in an individual trip or in a group – but for all the trimmings and an unforgettable experience, choose Sonora Camp.

Part of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, it is the home of oryxes and gazelles. With the sun setting over the expansive sand dunes, it simply takes your breath away.

The sunset at Sonora Camp
The sunset at Sonora Camp (Picture: Édaein O’ Connell)

After some relaxing, it was then prime time to sit on the edge of my seat while a trio of performers blew fire out of their mouths. To calm the nerves, this was followed by a three course sharing meal peppered with middle eastern influences.

Highlights on the menu included the station grilled marinated chicken with kefi and peri-peri spices and the seven hours slow cooked lamb with yemeni spices.

It was then time to depart and I left the city revived and excited to tell every woman in my life about what to expect.

As I sat on the plane, I kept thinking about those moments before I decided to swing off the side of a skyscraper.

Yes, I was panicking about curlers and hotels and mulling over ex co-workers, but most of all, I was thinking about what a city this was, and how it was a girls’ trip I would never forget.

Flights and activity prices

Emirates flies from seven UK airports including London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham and Newcastle Upon Tyne. Return economy flights cost from £559 per person.

25hrs Hotel – 25hrs Hotel Dubai One Central opened in December 2021 and rooms cost from £170 per night.

Hero Odysea Signature Tour costs £169 for two people on a 60-minute signature tour.

Drift Beach Club – Drift sun loungers cost £49 per person on Monday – Thursday and £61 per person on Friday – Sunday and includes water and access to a locker.

Ce La Vi Dubai Brunch on 54 every Saturday from 12pm until 4pm. Costs £120 per person including all house drinks for the duration

Sonara Camp Sunset and Dinner Experience – Costs £211 per person during high season (October – April) and includes dinner, activities, soft drinks and camel ride.

Sky Views ObservatorySky Views Dubai including admission to the observatory, slide and edge walk costs £122 per person.

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