The Ultimate Dubai and Maldives Honeymoon Itinerary

When it comes to dreamy honeymoon destinations, the Maldives tops everyone’s list. I mean, how can you beat a honeymoon full of picture-perfect beaches, frozen cocktails, snorkeling, and overwater bungalows? I’ll tell you how. You tag on a few days in Dubai. Given the long travel time to reach the Maldives, almost everyone flying to the Maldives from the USA or Europe will have a stop-over somewhere on their way, so why not make your stop-over an exciting part of your honeymoon?! A few days in the gorgeous city of Dubai can be the perfect complement to a dreamy beach honeymoon in the Maldives. Here’s my perfect 10-day Dubai and Maldives honeymoon itinerary. You can choose to do Dubai first or the Maldives first, up to you!

Option 1: 2 Nights, 3 Days in Dubai, 5 nights in the Maldives

Where to stay in Dubai:

One & Only Royal Mirage

The One & Only Royal Mirage is where I stayed in Dubai and it could not have been more perfect. There are multiple options within this resort – you’ll choose a room from either the Palace or the Arabian Court. The Palace is more pricey but absolutely breath-takingly opulent and luxe, and the Arabian Court is AMAZING as well, so definitely don’t feel like you’re getting the lesser pick at either of these two incredible resorts. From either, you can walk to the other easily, but you can’t use the Palace pool if you’re staying at the Arabian Court. 

Day 1: Explore the City

Get high tea at Burj Al Arab 

Make sure you make a reservation ahead of time! This is the most expensive tea you’ll ever have, but I promise you if you can get a reservation, you won’t regret it! The Burj Al Arab is the world’s tallest building and arguably Dubai’s most famous structure, and ‘high’ tea here is an amazing experience. You’ll have jaw-dropping views of the city and surrounding desert, a luxurious tea, snacks, all entrance fees, and round-trip hotel transport taken care of if you do one of these tours. 
JETSET TIP: If you can’t get in for tea, or you want to go twice, I looooved their bar Gilt for cocktails at night! You need a reservation for there, too!

 

 

Museum of the Future

If amazing architecture is your thing, you can’t miss Dubai’s Museum of the Future – which just launched in February 2022, and is one of the city’s proudest new additions. I loved it – and I’m not normally a museum person! This museum explores how society could evolve in the coming decades using science and technology, and it’s pretty dang cool. Termed a ‘living museum’, it incorporates elements of traditional exhibitions, immersive theater and themed attractions, so visitors can look beyond the present and towards the future’s limitless possibilities. 

Get Dubai Museum of the Future tickets here:

 

 

Rent a yacht for the day!

 
 

 

Old Town Dubai

Buzzing with back-streets and hole-in-the-wall Middle Eastern restaurants, spice markets and shopping. Old Dubai is a cultural experience, and a dichotomy compared to the mega-modern, futuristic ‘New’ Dubai. Stop by the Arabian Tea House cafe in the historical Al Fahidi neighborhood which used to be the home of a pearl merchant, but now serves traditional Emirati specialities, from tea to breakfast, in a charming courtyard, then hit up Dubai’s Spice Souk – a big spice market. 

Mall of the Emirates

Dubai’s shopping malls are pretty insane – and in the Mall of the Emirates there is even an INDOOR ski resort – pretty crazy, and worth checking out, if only to add to your bucket list that you skied in 100 degree weather.

Go to a beach club

One of my biggest surprises about Dubai was how great the beach scene was! If you’re craving a little relaxation and rosé, I recommend the Drift beach club at the One & Only Royal Mirage!

Dinner at one of these restaurants:

Where to eat dinner in Dubai

Flo Dubai

This Mediterranean-Japanese fusion spot is a trendy rooftop hot spot in Dubai with a magical ambiance and delicious food.

The Beach Bar & Grille at the Palace One & Only Royal Mirage

This was one of my favorite dinner spots in Dubai! You sit outside right on the water, the food is INCREDIBLE. Plus, if you’re staying at the O&O it’s super convenient.

Zuma Dubai

Zuma is famous worldwide for their inventive Japanese food – but their Dubai location can’t be missed!!! 

Ronda Locatelli at the Atlantis the Palm

If you’re looking for the best Italian in Dubai, Ronda Locatelli is it!

Ossiano underwater restaurant

The most famous underwater restaurant in Dubai is Ossiano at Atlantis, The Palm hotel! If you’re looking to dine underwater surrounded by fish and have a truly unique experience, check it out. OR check out the newest underwater restaurant at the Burj Al Arab, which is an incredible experience.

Al Mahara, Underwater restaurant at the Burj Al Arab

Day 2: Get Out to the Desert

In the morning, go to Old Dubai and do some shopping at the spice markets, or go explore one of Dubai’s many famous shopping malls! 

In the afternoon, head off on a desert safari! 

Shop this look

Desert Safari

The best luxury desert safaris in Dubai

A luxury desert safari will generally take you on a private tour dune bashing (driving through the dunes in a car – if you get queasy easily or are pregnant like I was be sure to tell them to skip this part!!!), on ATV’s through the desert, to see camels (some allow you to ride camels, some are more seeing them in the wild), and followed by a traditional cultural dinner and show after sunset in the desert. If you are just interested in the ATV ride through the dunes and don’t care about the frills or dinner and show, you can also customize a tour to do just that! I would talk to the tour providers below about their exact offerings and do what sounds best to you!

Sonara Camp Safari 

Sonara camp is home to a unique eco-friendly safari in the heart of the Arabian Desert. 

Platinum Heritage Desert Safari

Platinum Heritage hosts eco-friendly luxury desert safaris in Dubai that 

If you’re looking for something less expensive, and no frills, there are these desert safaris as well:

 

 

 

 

Day 3: Morning at the hotel, maybe some more exploring, then head off to the airport!

5 nights in the Maldives

Where to stay in the Maldives

Six Senses Laamu

Barefoot, eco-luxury. A stunning and wild paradise on earth.

If I wrote a blog post on the very best hotels in the world, there’s no doubt that Six Senses Laamu would be on my list. This perfect island paradise was a huge highlight of my trip to the Maldives. Six Senses has a natural paradise vibe, and the eco-luxe villas that make it hard to ever leave your room! (I highly recommend upgrading to a pool villa, if you’re like me and a sucker for absolutely dreamy infinity pools!!!), to the adorable island bikes you use to get around (that are personalized with your initials!), to all of the incredible activities there are to do on the island, from snorkeling to sailing, to wine tasting with their sommelier in their overwater wine cave, to surfing (the Six Senses’ type of surfing is often called “luxury surfing”, because they boast some of the best waves, but you’ll often be the only one surfing them, a luxury priceless to most surfers).

St. Regis Maldives

Ultra-luxurious, opulent, seven-star luxury and service.

 

This dreamy private island resort is set on more than 22-acres, and has 77 beautiful villas scattered through the island – each with their own private pool and private entrance for an unparalleled degree of seclusion and privacy. The premium two- and three-bedroom villas – including the famed John Jacob Astor Estate, the largest overwater villa in the Maldives – are perfect for families and groups looking for a perfect escape.

Check rates for your dates here

Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi is one of my favorite resorts in the Maldives. The overwater bungalows here give off a rustic chic, understated luxury vibe, and feel somewhere between a luxurious pirate ship and a floating Tarzan treehouse. You’ll want to spend all day laying out on your hammock over the water. Some of the villas – called the “cruisers” give you an even more unique experience as they are only accessible by boat (you can boat yourself during the day or there is always one on call for you!). And, if you want the best of the best, or have a big family, you can look into the biggest overwater bungalow in the Maldives, called “The Private Reserve”, which is complete with four bedrooms, its own infinity pool, its own private ISLAND, and a slide into the ocean – yes please!

Gili Lankanfushi is only a boat ride away from the airport, so you won’t need another domestic flight or a seaplane to get to it, making it a popular vacation choice for Americans and Maldives honeymooners who want to make the most of one week in the Maldives. I highly recommend this spot if you’re looking to avoid an extra flight!!! (and the extra cost that comes with it!)

Should you stay in more than one resort in the Maldives?

This is a common question I get asked a lot and I’d personally recommend staying at one resort the whole time, to get the full deserted private island experience, and to really fully disconnect, if you have anything less than 7 nights there. However, if you have more nights you’re able to add in the Maldives, you could always do more than one resort! Keep in mind the transfers between resorts can get really pricey (especially if there are sea planes involved!). For more info on the actual costs of a trip to the Maldives, read this post here. I would say if you had more like 8 nights, my opinion is that you could do 4 nights and 4 nights in two different resorts – but keep in mind you’ll more fully disconnect and get on vacation mode the longer you’re at one resort.

What to do in the Maldives

Depending on where you decide to stay, ask to see a brochure of all the activities available to you at the resort. Since you’re on a private island, you’ll be limited to what the resort offers, but trust me, the options won’t feel limited!! From sunset sails to surfing, snorkeling, and paddle-boarding, to chef’s dinners and wine tastings, to movies under the stars, lunches at a private sandbank, and of course, spa treatments, you’ll have limitless things to do in the Maldives!

Option 2: 3 Nights in Dubai, 6 Nights in the Maldives

6 nights is the perfect amount of time to spend in the Maldives IMO!

3 Nights in Dubai

Day 1: Explore the City

Day 2: Get Out to the Desert

The best luxury desert safaris in Dubai

A luxury desert safari will generally take you on a private tour dune bashing (driving through the dunes in a car – if you get queasy easily or are pregnant like I was be sure to tell them to skip this part!!!), on ATV’s through the desert, to see camels (some allow you to ride camels, some are more seeing them in the wild), and followed by a traditional cultural dinner and show after sunset in the desert. If you are just interested in the ATV ride through the dunes and don’t care about the frills or dinner and show, you can also customize a tour to do just that! I would talk to the tour providers below about their exact offerings and do what sounds best to you!

Sonara Camp Safari 

Sonara camp is home to a unique eco-friendly safari in the heart of the Arabian Desert. 

Platinum Heritage Desert Safari

Platinum Heritage hosts eco-friendly luxury desert safaris in Dubai that 

If you’re looking for something less expensive, and no frills, there are these desert safaris as well:

 

 

 

 

Shop my look, and Kenny’s men’s shirt here.

Day 3: Beach club + shopping OR head to Abu Dhabi for the day

If you head to a beach club, I recommend the Drift beach club at the One & Only Royal Mirage!

Abu Dhabi

If you have the time, I highly recommend getting to Abu Dhabi on your trip! Abu Dhabi is only an hour and a half drive away from Dubai, and you can hire a driver / tour guide to take you around. This is where you’ll find all of the mosques (there aren’t really any mosques in Dubai, which is strange!)

 

 

5 Nights, 6 Days in the Maldives

I think 5 nights is the minimum number of nights I would do in the Maldives, anything shorter will just feel way too short! Of course, if you can add more nights, I’d always recommend that 🙂

Where to stay

Six Senses Laamu

Barefoot, eco-luxury. A stunning and wild paradise on earth.

If I wrote a blog post on the very best hotels in the world, there’s no doubt that Six Senses Laamu would be on my list. This perfect island paradise was a huge highlight of my trip to the Maldives. Six Senses has a natural paradise vibe, and the eco-luxe villas that make it hard to ever leave your room! (I highly recommend upgrading to a pool villa, if you’re like me and a sucker for absolutely dreamy infinity pools!!!), to the adorable island bikes you use to get around (that are personalized with your initials!), to all of the incredible activities there are to do on the island, from snorkeling to sailing, to wine tasting with their sommelier in their overwater wine cave, to surfing (the Six Senses’ type of surfing is often called “luxury surfing”, because they boast some of the best waves, but you’ll often be the only one surfing them, a luxury priceless to most surfers).

St. Regis Maldives

Ultra-luxurious, opulent, seven-star luxury and service.

 

This dreamy private island resort is set on more than 22-acres, and has 77 beautiful villas scattered through the island – each with their own private pool and private entrance for an unparalleled degree of seclusion and privacy. The premium two- and three-bedroom villas – including the famed John Jacob Astor Estate, the largest overwater villa in the Maldives – are perfect for families and groups looking for a perfect escape.

Check rates for your dates here

Gili Lankanfushi

Gili Lankanfushi is one of my favorite resorts in the Maldives. The overwater bungalows here give off a rustic chic, understated luxury vibe, and feel somewhere between a luxurious pirate ship and a floating Tarzan treehouse. You’ll want to spend all day laying out on your hammock over the water. Some of the villas – called the “cruisers” give you an even more unique experience as they are only accessible by boat (you can boat yourself during the day or there is always one on call for you!). And, if you want the best of the best, or have a big family, you can look into the biggest overwater bungalow in the Maldives, called “The Private Reserve”, which is complete with four bedrooms, its own infinity pool, its own private ISLAND, and a slide into the ocean – yes please!

Gili Lankanfushi was started by the same owners as Six Senses, so many of the principles, philosophies, vibe and decor remain similar between both properties. What’s nice about Gili Lankanfushi is that it’s only a boat ride away from the airport, so you won’t need another domestic flight or a seaplane to get to it, making it a popular vacation choice for Americans and Maldives honeymooners who want to make the most of one week in the Maldives. I highly recommend this spot if you’re looking to avoid an extra flight!!! (and the extra cost that comes with it!)

What to do in the Maldives

Depending on where you decide to stay, ask to see a brochure of all the activities available to you at the resort. Since you’re on a private island, you’ll be limited to what the resort offers, but trust me, the options won’t feel limited!! From sunset sails to surfing, snorkeling, and paddle-boarding, to chef’s dinners and wine tastings, to movies under the stars, lunches at a private sandbank, and of course, spa treatments, you’ll have limitless things to do in the Maldives!

What to pack for Dubai

Is there a dress code in Dubai?

If you’re anything like me, one of the biggest questions on your mind when traveling to Dubai was what should I wear in Dubai? Do I need to cover my shoulders and body in Dubai? Or cover my hair? Can I wear a bikini on the beach in Dubai? What about what to wear going out in Dubai? And I’m here to assure you that Dubai is a very cosmopolitan city where people from all over the world live, work and travel. Dubai is actually very open-minded and relaxed when it comes to clothing. You will see everything from people in short shorts and sleeveless tops to bikinis and burqas. I wouldn’t worry about the dress code in Dubai in the most touristy areas, and I never felt uncomfortable in the least, as everyone around the city was wearing whatever they wanted! However, when you visit Old Dubai, you may want to cover your shoulders or dress slightly more conservatively, and, if you are going out of the city (to Abu Dhabi, especially!) you will definitely want to dress more conservatively. You’ll also want to be aware if you happen to be visiting Dubai during Ramadan, you might want to dress more conservatively.

Tularosa Poppy Midi Dress in Vanilla Bean AMUSE SOCIETY Heather Bag in Natural    Tony Bianco Glamour Slide in Honey Sheep Nappa

Indah Tilda Tie Top in Mocha MAJORELLE Renata Top in Ivory

joolz by Martha Calvo Khloe Hoops in 14k Gold SHASHI Celestial Drop Earrings in Gold

 

IRO Hunnie Gown in Black LIKELY Rocky Gown in Black

 

 

 

Cult Gaia Thara Coverup in Dusty Dye  Cult Gaia Nala Mini Clutch in Gold

superdown Emilija Short Set in Green I love any excuse to break out fun brights, and Dubai style is definitely maximalist enough to pull them off. Now I just need that 90 degree tan to go with this set!

BEC&BRIDGE Ula Maxi Dress in Chili Veronica Beard Galoma Mule in White  Image 1 of Bottega Veneta Skypper Tote in White & Gold  

I love these shoes so much I’m probably going to get a second pair just for when I wear through these ones. They’re SO comfy, and don’t feel like you’re wearing heels at all, and I’ve found they go with any chic resort outfit, from Dubai, to Hawaii, to Charleston. They also come in tan!

What to pack for the Maldives

A cute matchy-matchy his and hers swimsuits combo is a must for a honeymoon to the Maldives & Dubai! 

Eugenia Kim Valentina Hat in Ivory this hat is a total splurge but when I tell you it’s MY FAVORITE HAT I’ve ever owned, I’m not lying. 

Hayley Menzies Sunray Midi Sundress in Yellow & White

ROCOCO SAND Ame Maxi Dress in White

Luli Fama Open Side Wide Leg Pant in Multicolor

 

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