I booked this tour based on the excellent reviews published on Viator/Trip Advisor and since this was my first trip to Dubai, a short stop over and I was a female travelling alone it made sense to go for a more personalized tour option covering the main attractions. This was the one part of my stop over that i was looking forward to the most but unfortunately I was completey underwhelmed , so much so, I departed the tour once I was deposited at the Armani Hotel for dinner. In my experience this tour failed to deliver value for money. In fact, I followed it up with the Hop On/Hop Off bus tour the following day where I was equally informed and served by enthusiastic staff at a fraction of the cost.
I was met as scheduled at my hotel by the tour guide who didnt think it worth his while to introduce himself. There were already 2 tourists on the minibus which had an odour of stale sweat and we picked up 2 further tourists. There was no attempt to bond the group , something I would have appreciated given I was travelling alone. The tour guide gave a brief overview of the tour in German and English, afterwhich I asked him his name, Ahmed. He said he forgot to introduce himself as he was fasting. We got off at the marina stop, walked to the marina in silence where he said something to the other tourists and asked me to follow him. I asked him what was happening and it was at that stage he informed me that the other tourists were not doing the Dhow Cruise or the Armani dinner. He accompanied me on the Dhow Cruise during which he did not engage with me at any stage, in fact, he played with his phone and slept. I inadvertantly captured him sleeping in one of my photos.
Once we were back in the minibus, Ahmed engaged more with the group, explaining the various stops Atlantis, Souq, Public Beach and answered questions.
The stop where we were guided around a market of traditional artefacts and tourist gifts cant remember the name was frankly embarassing, for the man who was trying to sell to the group and for the group who were not buying....
Following this, I was dropped off at the Armani hotel for dinner. Ahmed walked me to the restaurant reception area and told me the driver would return for me at 8pm.
It turned out I was 40 mins too early for dinner 6:20pm but was guided to my table not on the terrace as advertised and served drinks and nibbles which I wasnt allowed to touch until the buffet opened at 7pm. As the restaurant started to fill with guests, I quickly realized that smart casual per recommendation did not cut it in terms of dress code, moreover, it was not an ideal option for solo guests. At that stage, I decided to forgo the dinner, fountain show and Burj Khalifa and depart the tour. I had no way of contacting Ahmed to inform him of my decision but was able to do so when he contacted me at 8pm, time of pick up.
This was an expensive tour and for that reason I would have expected it to deliver on all counts.I have listed some recommendations below:
A professional branded look tour guide uniform and minibus signage
A friendly, enthusiastic and engaging tour guide less of the sullen, uninterested variety, fasting or not!
An attempt to bond the tour group, in particular small groups and where there are solo travellers
Remove the market stop
Dress code smart smart and less smart casual for those going to the Armani hotel, also, the recommendation that this is not a suitable option for solo travellers.
The tour was good but it was a bit overpriced. I loved the Dhow ride, buffet at the Armani hotel and going to the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa but all the other added attractions just seemed like time fillers and made the tour way longer than necessary. The tour could be cut down at least by 2 hours.
My wife and I enjoyed this tour on March 14th. Initially I was concerned, as we were to be picked up at our hotel in Dubai between 2:30 and 3:00 pm, but our pick up did not arrive till 3:25. However, our tour guide, Ahmed Sarah, soon put our mind at ease. Easily the best guide we’ve encountered!
Highlight was the dinner - food was great and plentiful - views were awesome with the fountain displays - also need to mention the marina cruise and the skyline views - amazing city architecture - such a clean modern city. Only complaint was the long lines to get to the 24th floor of Burg Khalifa and to then get out again. Appreciated the hotel pick up and drop off. Overall, a great day.
Dubai is beautiful city and architecture is astonishing, but tour was not that grate. Guide was not giving much information and mostly was speaking on the phone, probably with his daughter on speakerphone !!!. Although we requested English tour but it was few French people and guide spoke mostly French. The attractions are really great, but it is better to attend with different operator. We had 90 min boat tour and we were able to see much more and received more information.
I am slightly delayed writing this review as we went over summer. However this was the best trip we have ever been on! We were picked up on time, fantastic tour guide who told us so much information and helped us to take photos etc. It was just so magical and the Armani Hotel for dinner was the most INCREDIBLE meal I have ever eaten, right by the dancing fountains.
Thank you so much!
This was a complete disappointment and waste of money. The last attraction was the only one; see the Burj on your own. Armani dinner decent. The tour itself though was poorly orchestrated (even the Burj tickets were not at the right time), had no actually tour interaction, and a waste of time.
The tour guide was so knowledgeable about the city and very eager to answer all our questions no matter how silly they seemed. He really helped us understand the culture and history of Dubai and the UAE, making the site seeing all the more interesting. We booked dinner at Armani, which was delicious and beautifully presented though it would have been great to have more time to enjoy it as we only had one hour.