1. Where to sleep
This is perhaps number one on the list for things you need to know about the Dubai International Airport. Terminal 1’s Snoozecube is the perfect place for the weary traveller to grab a few z’s before the next leg of his journey. It is next to gate C22 and you can use it by the hour. Snoozecube gives travellers enough space for the essentials: a cosy bed, touchscreen TV, Wi-Fi access and a place to stash your bags. Completely soundproof, you can even share a cube with a travelling companion for cheap. At S$38 per hour for a shared cube, it’s the perfect place for a moment of peace in the middle of a disrupted travel day.
b. Dubai International Airport Hotel
Luckily for luxury-loving travellers, Dubai’s airport has its own luxury hotel. If you’re staying the night and don’t feel like seeing the sights, cool off by jumping in the hotel’s awesome pool, head down to the spa for a sauna session, or just crash in some of the comfiest beds in the area, in rooms running from S$240 a night. It is is located inside the Airport Terminal Buildings before Passport Control.
2. Where to eat
If you’re hungry while at Dubai Airport in transit, find Carluccio Italian Restaurant, where the generous menu and full bar will keep you sated until it’s time to board your flight. Named for London-based chef Antonio Carluccio, this place serves up world-class Italian for hungry travellers 24 hours a day. Located near Gate A21, A-Gates, After Security, Departures, Terminal 3.
Yes, this is the same Pinkberry beloved by David Beckham’s boys. Serving up fantastical ice cream combos, Pinkberry will leave you with cravings for all sorts of flavour combos that you didn’t even know existed until now, like Green Tea and Chocolate with gummy bears. Healthy options are also available for the health conscious consumer. If all these choices seem a little daunting, try a free sample before you dine. Located in Terminal 3, Departure area.
Read more: Dubai Summer Special 2016: top 10 must-sees
3. What to buy
One thing that always blows our minds about Dubai is how easy it is to buy gold there. The city is famous for its gold vending, and when you can buy by the gram and pay competitive market prices for it, you might as well pick some up as you swing through. The airport’s so-called gold islands offer jewellery for men and women, and if you want to bling up a bit before you fly out, they sell gold chains by the meter. Make sure you look for the big island with a “gold” palm tree in the centre of Terminal 3.
b. Duty Free
In addition to the more exotic offerings, Dubai also has a fantastic duty free section. So make sure you note it down your list of what to do at Dubai International Airport when in transit! With annual sales approaching S$2.7 billion (yes, that’s a B, not an M), you know you can get it all here. Whether shopping for others or yourself, you will find something guaranteed to delight.
Go for gold in Dubai.
4. What can kids do at Dubai International Airport?
a. Zen Gardens
This enchanting space is a nice place for a stroll and a pause while waiting for the next flight. These gardens, located on opposite sides of Terminal 3, have water features and fish ponds that will fascinate the youngsters. You can also pick up some Haagen Dazs as a treat, and mum and dad can re-caffeinate at the nearby Starbucks.
b. Children’s Play Area
For families in Terminal 3 (near Gates B7 and B8), the airport has just unveiled a new play area where young ones can jump, climb and run around, burning off all the accumulated energy being stored up in their little bodies. TV screens keep them entertained, and babies can swap out their old nappies in the baby changing rooms. Aspiring gamers can enjoy the interactive games rooms, and rock hounds can clamber up the climbing walls, defying gravity and building muscles.
5. Other options
a. G-Force Health Club
If you’re feeling weak and bloated after spending a little too long on an international flight, G-Force Health Club is the place to go to make up for missed workouts. Guests have access to a lap pool and gym, and are charged per hour. There is also a Jacuzzi and massage services for a post-workout relaxation session. With fees starting from S$7 an hour for access, this is a cheaper and healthier option than boozing or shopping. Find G-Force in Terminals 1 and 3.
b. Connect Business Centre
Work might not be one of the things to do in Dubai International Airport but just in case you need to get caught up on work-related tasks in advance of the big meeting, head over to Connect Business Centre and get comfortable in your office away from the office. The centre offers private workstations with internet access, photocopying, faxing, secretarial services and more for the busy traveller in need. It even has four meeting rooms with soft leather chairs and long conference tables. It is open 24 hours and is at the Sheikh Rashid Terminal.
Read more: 10 must-read tips for sleeping at airports