Sunday 26 December 2021 – Sunday 2 January 2022
Dubai & Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Direct Etihad flights to Abu Dhabi
Amazing 5* hotels at perfect locations!
The dates, program and hotels of this trip are 100% confirmed. It now depends on the Belgian, European and United Arab Emirates governments to open up their borders and allow safe (group) travel. You can pre-reserve your spot now and indicate your preferences for hotel rooms and meals. If the tourist sector opens up again you can reconfirm by making an official reservation. Please note that a quick reservation is important because we have only limited seats on the flights as well as limited hotel rooms. So at least get on the pre-reservation list and we’ll keep you updated.
For the end of this year Expat Club organises a grandiose New Year’s trip to welcome 2022 in one of the world’s most magnificent places: Dubai. This city is always spectacular, but with New Year’s Eve it transfers into The Place To Be with gigantic fireworks shows. During this 8-day trip we discover all the highlights with a local guide, including the 830m high Burj Khalifa, the super-de-luxe Burj al-Arab hotel, the Jumeirah Palm Island, Dubai Creek, the Old Town with the gold and spice souks, the famous mega shopping malls with large indoor ski slopes and ice rinks, the endless deserts and gold sandy beaches…. and so much more. On top of that we visit the vast Expo, as well as Abu Dhabi. A trip you can only dream about… in superb hotel(s) with exquisite rooms at excellent locations.
What is the trip fee?
The price of this trip will be €2599. This price is based on 2 people sharing a room. Since we have only limited spots, pre-reserving is essential. This is for free and comes without obligation. It allows you to book as soon as we can fully confirm this trip and thus prevent additional airfare increases. It also allows you to book with a discount. We are now just waiting for the lifting of the corona rules. Please note that Christmas – New Year is the most expensive period, but also the most exciting with the massive fireworks shows at the Burj Khalifa and the Expo. And let’s not forget absolutely perfect weather for Dubai!
What is included?
This should be the trip of a lifetime for you to fully enjoy. Therefore we offer a complete package so you can fully enjoy the city and won’t have to worry about missing anything. There will be a few optional items that you can choose (see below) to make the trip perfect.
- Convenient Etihad return flights to Abu Dhabi
- 1 large checked luggage (20kg)
- 1 carry-on bag (7kg) and a personal item (5kg)
- All taxes and surcharges
- Private transfer from/to Abu Dhabi airport
- Transfer in Dubai group program (private bus, metro)
- 1 night in a 5* hotel in Abu Dhabi
- 5 nights hotel-apartment accommodation in Dubai
- (hotel upgrades in Dubai for a surcharge)
- 6 excellent buffet breakfasts
- Guided Abu Dhabi trip
- Guided Dubai Old Town tour (lunch incl.)
- Visit gold & spice souks
- Guided Dubai tour (lunch incl.)
- Guided Abu Dhabi day trip
- Sunrise desert experience
- Entrance ticket Dubai Expo
- Entrance ticket Dubai Aquarium
- Entrance ticket Burj Khalifa (floor 122-124)
- Entrance Dubai Fountain walk bridge
- Visit Jumeirah Palm Island
- Visit Burj Al Arab hotel (from distance)
- Visit Dubai Mall (largest in world)
- Visit Khalifa mega fireworks show
- Welcome dinner & farewell lunch
- Desert sunset dinner
- Dubai Marina dinner cruise
- New Year Burj Khalifa fireworks
- Several suprises
- Lots of shopping time
- A great group of international people
- A lifetime expat memory
What items are optional?
Expat Club would like to give you the best holiday experience by offering a number of options to make it just perfect for you. You do not have to join these, because most have a steep surcharges and your holiday will still be perfect without.
- Business Class upgrade (>€2500 surcharge, upon request)
- Business lounge access (Brussels & Abu Dhabi)
- Hotel upgrade (see “Accommodation”)
- Single room upgrade (see “Accommodation”)
- Executive room or high floor upgrade (see “Accommodation”)
- Shared twin room with 2 single beds for solo travelers
- New Year’s Eve Gala dinner in hotel
- High-tea, lunch or dinner in 7-star Burj al Arab Hotel
- High-tea at the legendary Queen Elisabeth II cruise ship
- Various lunches, dinners and socializers
- Desert activities (sand-boarding, camel riding etc.)
- Skiing in Ski Dubai
Which flights are we taking?
We are taking the direct flight to Abu Dhabi with Star Alliance partner Etihad Airlines. This is the best option for our group (see reasons under the transportation section). Checked-luggage of 20kg, onboard luggage of 8kg and a personal item are included.
- 26 December 2021: EY058 | Brussels 10h05 – Abu Dhabi 19h30
- 02 January 2022: EY057 | Abu Dhabi 02h20 – Brussels 06h50
Flying Business Class is optional (expect >€2500 surcharge). Business Lounge access at Brussels Airport and Abu Dhabi Airport is also optional.
Who can join this trip?
Expat Club is open to welcome everyone who feels like joining an open-minded international group of expats and Belgians. Also if you do not live in Belgium, but want to tag on to a group of friendly and educated people, you are welcome to join us. In particular we welcome solo travelers, for whom we can offer single rooms or shared rooms (we introduce you to another lady or gentleman).
- Members & non-members
- Expats & (international) Belgians
- Visiting friends
- All ages, including children
- Singles / couples / retirees / friends / colleagues / families
During this trip we fully explore Dubai, both with a guide and on our own. We offer a complete program with many moments for eating, shopping, walking around, or doing nothing and just enjoying our time in the perfect “winter” weather (28-32˚). The below program may still change a little before we fully confirm this trip, but it gives you a good idea of what you can expect. In the next section you can read more about the places we visit and whether certain activities are optional or already included.
– Pre-departure meeting / dinner
Sunday 26 December
– Meeting at 07h30 at Brussels Airport
– Departure to Abu Dhabi at 10h05
– Arrival in Abu Dhabi at 19h30
– Check-in hotel Abu Dhabi
Monday 27 December
– Easy morning at hotel
– Guided tour Abu Dhabi
– Visit to Grand Mosque, Palace Hotel, Corniche, Louvre Museum
– Optional visits Ferrari World, Warner Bros Park, Waterpark
– Bus trip to Dubai
– Check-in at hotel
Tuesday 28 December
– Guided Old Town Tour
– Visit gold & spice souks
– Desert experience
– Sunset Desert Dinner Bab Al Shams Resort*****
Wednesday 29 December
– Guided Dubai tour
– Visit Emirates Mall & Dubai Ski
– Jumeirah Palm Island (Atlantis hotel)
– Dubai Marina dinner cruise
Thursday 30 December
– Expo 2020 Dubai
Friday 31 December
– Free time
– Gala dinner party
– Burj Khalifa Fireworks
Saturday 1 January
– Visit Burj Khalifa floors 122-124
– Visit Dubai Aquarium
– Free time at Dubai Mall
– Farewell dinner
– Check-out from hotel
– Departure by bus to Abu Dhabi Airport
Sunday 2 January
– After-midnight departure to Brussels
– Return Brussels Airport early morning
– After-trip socializer
Dubai & UAE
Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates. With almost 3,5 million inhabitants it is comparable to Berlin, but with well over 4.000 square kilometers it is about 5 times larger than the German capital. Despite most people living and working in countless skyscrapers, the distances between the various areas are just huge. For instance, from the Old Town to the famous 7-star Burj Al Arab hotel is already 25km, and from Deira to the famous Atlantis hotel at the top of The Jumeirah Palm islands is the same distance as from Brussels to Antwerp! Finding your way around takes time, but with good planning, a private modern bus for our group and excellent metro connections, as well as strategic plan to discover the city part by part, it’s definitely possible to visit the entire city in a one-week trip.
Unlike what many think, Dubai is not the capital of the UAE but “only” the capital of the Emirate of Dubai. There are in total 7 Emirates. Located on the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula the country borders Oman in the North and South, Saudi Arabia in the South and has maritime borders with Qatar and Iran. The federation of seven emirates forms a federal elective constitutional monarchy of which Abu Dhabi in the South serves as the capital. The other emirates are located North of Dubai: Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain. The Emirates have about 10 million inhabitants, but only 1,4 million are actual citizens with the rest being expatriates. During our trip we will explore most of Dubai, probably a part of Sharjah and for sure spend a full day in the 2nd UAD economic and cultural powerhouse Abu Dhabi. Throughout the week we will learn everything about this special country and these cities. Our local guides are experts in their history, culture, architecture, economics, environment and more.
There is so much discover in Dubai, you will not be bored a single second. From old buildings to supermodern skyscrapers, from traditional markets to mega shopping malls, from snow-covered indoor slopes to skiable sand dunes, and from traditional Arabian food to virtually any imaginable cuisine from around the globe, it is unending roller coaster. Speaking about g-force excitement, there are several waterparks you may visit and you could go from 0 to 100km/h in just 2 seconds and reach a top speed of 240km/h in the world’s fastest roller coaster in Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. To introduce you a bit more to what you can expect during this amazing trip, we have summed up some of the highlights for you. It’s too much to describe everything even more extensively, but surely you’ll get the gist of it… This is an awesome program!
Dubai Old Town
Where else to start a trip to one of the world’s most modern cities that in its historic part? Our guide(s) will show us around the various parts on the Western and Eastern part of Dubai Creek. We will visit Dubai museum, the Al Fahidi Fort, the gold and spice souks, and have lunch in the famous Arabian Tea House. Needless to say we will also make a traditional Dhow cruise through the Creek.
Driving through Dubai and seeing all those skyscrapers of downtown with the world’s largest dancing fountains in between makes you think you are in a part of the world with plenty of fresh water. But nothing is further from the truth because you are after all still in the middle of the desert. With temperatures often surpassing 40˚ its impact on the city is tremendous. Not visiting this barren area would be a big loss because also this is Dubai. Therefore we are simply obliged to also discover the area beyond the steel and concrete. A desert adventure takes us by bus towards the beginning of this endless sandbox, where multiple 4×4 SUVs will be waiting for us for an exhilarating dune bashing ride over the yellow-gold dunes. Optionally you can join a buggy tour, sand-board down the dunes or go for an old-fashioned camel ride. We close the morning with a lovely lunch. For our sunset dinner we depart our hotels in the later afternoon and enjoy the desert panoramas from a rooftop of a spectacular Arabian resort, while feasting on an amazing dinner to give you that 1001 Arabian nights feeling.
What the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, is the Burj Khalifa to Dubai. Surrounded by many other huge skyscrapers, this insanely high building is with 830 meters currently the highest building on the planet and is visible from almost 95 km away! Of course we visit the panoramic viewing platform on floor 124 (!!!). We also visit the famous Dubai Aquarium, see the spectacular fountain show at night, and “set you free to go on a shopping spree” in the world’s largest shopping mall. If that’s too much for you and you need to cool down, no problem, just click on a pair of skis and go down on the white slopes of Dubai Ski which is next to Dubai’s second biggest mall only a few metro stops away.
Certainly one of the city’s most exclusive places, the Dubai Marina neighborhood stretches out a few kilometers along the sea. With its backwater canals, many 200+ meters high rises (the highest 414 meters, higher than the Empire State Building), fancy rooftop restaurants and countless expats, it is definitely a place we have to visit. We will explore this part of Dubai with our guide by bus, foot and by private yacht (t.b.c.). After all, what is nicer than seeing Dubai from the water? The lights of the many beautifully designed skyscrapers will be one of the trip’s highlights!
The Jumeirah Palm
If there is one place in the world that can be summed up by the word megalomania, it would be Dubai. Having already the world’s highest building, it also boasts several mega large pieces of artificial land. Not in the shape like a Dutch polder, but in the shape of palm trees or the globe (with a little help of the Dutch though). If it’s possible, why not? During our guided Dubai trip our private coach and expert guide(s) will take us to this manmade archipelago, which are part of the much larger Palm Islands, The World and The Universe projects. But The Jumeirah Palm islands are the most interesting with its many villas, hotels and resorts and shops.
Burj Al Arab
The world-famous, insanely expensive and guests-only seven-star hotel Burj Al Arab is a true Dubai icon. With its 321 meter height, it resembles the sail of a sailing boat and is visible from far away. With an army of Rolls Royce reserved for its guest, an atrium of 180 meters heigh, and the most lavish suites (the hotel has no regular rooms), the guests’ personal butlers are always ready to make your stay unforgettable. We will take pictures from the beach, although for those who also like to get an unforgettable experience, you are invited to join a small group for dinner in the Skyview Bar on the 27th floor (optional obviously).
When going to Dubai, a quick one day visit to the capital of the United Arab Emirates is easy with a private bus. We depart in the morning, drive about one hour through the desert before arriving in Abu Dhabi. Although its skyline is by far not as impressive as Dubai’s, with 20+ towers of 200+ meters Abu Dhabi is definitely one of the Middle East’s most modern cities. Our local expert guide will introduce us to the highlights of the city, including the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Emirates Palace, the Al Jahili Fort, the Yas Marina Formula 1 Circuit and Ferrari World with the fastest roller coaster. Due to the interest of many of our regular guest, we will of course not forget to stop at the Louvre Museum, before we return to Dubai.
Expo 2020 Dubai
Like many events around the globe also the Dubai edition of the World Expo had to be cancelled for its original date. Lucky us, because the Expo 2020 Dubai is surely one of the most spectacular events you will ever be able to join. Due to potential copyright infringements we do not want to write much more information here except to let you know that we will take one full day to explore the Expo. If you feel like it, you are even welcome to go there a second day, because it will take considerable time to fully discover the 4 square kilometers of the entire terrain. For more information, just visit the official website https://www.expo2020dubai.com.
For the record, Expat Club is not associated with or endorsed by the official Expo 2020 organization. We try to provide correct information to the best extent possible due to . We will arrange an entrance ticket for you, and potentially a guided tour, lecture or special entries in one of the pavilions.
Happy New Year!
To ring in 2022 and forget about both 2020 and (so far) 2021 we will celebrate this at one of the world’s most iconic fireworks shows, namely at the foot of The Burj Khalifa. Enough said… play the video!
Expat Club puts a lot of effort into finding the best accommodation for all trips. We look at a variety of variables before we make a decision, including hotel chain, room types and sizes, hotel services, hotel class and reviews, and of course location. For this trip we found one excellent 5* hotel in Abu Dhabi, the Park Rotana Hotel Abu Dhabi*****. In Dubai our main accommodation will be the VOCO Dubai Hotel*****, complemented with 2 hotel-apartments alternatives.
Our direct Etihad flight from Brussels lands at 19h30 in Abu Dhabi. Hopefully we will therefore be in the superb Park Rotana Hotel***** by 21h00, giving us another hour to hang out in the pool and have a drink in the bar with the entire group later that night (note the 3 hours time difference, so it will be just 19h00 for us). This 5* hotel has outstanding reviews due to its beautiful decoration, large comfortable rooms and excellent service. And since we start our Abu Dhabi tour the next morning at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, we only have a very short commute since it’s located at just a few hundred meters from the hotel.
In Dubai you can choose between three different accommodations in Dubai. Our main location, and starting point, is the reception of the VOCO Hotel*****. The Nassimi Tower Apartments is located directly next to the VOCO Hotel, and The Apartments are on the opposite of the highway, but by using the Metro bridge it is only a 5 minutes walk to VOCO Hotel. Around these hotels there is a wide choice of bars and restaurants: from fast-food chains like KFC and McDonalds to high-end French restaurants and a panoply of international cuisines, (Irish) pubs, fancy rooftop terraces and night clubs. Although taxis are the main way of transportation in Dubai for tourist, we also choose this hotel for its location on the main metro line and its relatively small distance to the Burj Khalifa. The highways being jam-packed on New Year’s Eve, this would allow you to walk back in 40 minutes after seeing the spectacular fireworks (about the length of Avenue Louise from the roundabout to the Bois de la Cambre).
The VOCO Hotel***** is managed by the InterContinental Hotels Group, famous for hotels such Regent, Intercontinental and Holiday Inn. This is one of their premium concepts focused on both business and leisure travelers. Expect meticulous and very spacious modern rooms of 41 square meters (i.e. more than 2x larger than regular hotel rooms) with super comfy beds, a great bathroom, and all the 5* services that you need. Breakfast is amazing and the hotel has an outside pool with a little bar overlooking Dubai. The VOCO Dubai Hotel***** is the left tower of a beautiful white complex that scrapes the clouds at 269 meters above sea level.
In the right tower of the same complex we can also offer you accommodation in the Nassimi Tower Hotel Apartments. Officially it has no star-rating, but with its large apartments (80m2) and the possibility to enjoy the same breakfast and facilities of the VOCO hotel, we can guarantee you get great 4* experience with access to 5* services. Just take the elevator down, cross to the other side of the twin towers and take the elevator up again. This accommodation is especially suitable for couples. Although the apartments could be set up for “twin use”, please be aware that there will be one large bed in the bedroom and the living room sofa set up as a 2nd bed. We therefore only offer this for 2 friends who want to share a room, not for solo travelers who want to share a room with another solo traveler.
In the Dubai Trade Centre Hotel Apartments you will have a spacious fully furnished and equipped room of 30 square meters. Room amenities include individual temperature controlled-air conditioning, city view, WI-FI and high speed internet access, LCD screen TV with satellite channels and tea and coffee maker facilities. We also offer twin rooms and a few very apartments with a separate bedroom, a living area and a kitchen. If you stay here you have free access to ‘The Club’ which offers many leisure facilities, including swimming, tennis, a fitness centre and an outdoor climbing wall. Also this apartment-hotel does not have an official star-rating, expect a 3-4* accommodation.
Choose your room:
In each hotel you can choose between various room types. It is important that we know exactly what room you require, especially if you travel with more than 2 persons or a family. All rooms are spacious, have private bathrooms, and all the services you may expect in the respective segment. Be aware that we have limited rooms and/or specific room types in each hotel. An early-confirmed reservation is therefore advised.
- Single room – 1 large bed for 1 person
- Double room – 1 large bed for 2 persons (a couple or parent/child)
- Twin room – 2 single beds (for 2 friends sharing a room)
- Twin room – 2 single beds (for 2 solo travellers sharing, only in The Apartments)
- Triple/family rooms – at request
Surcharges (per person):
- The Apartments double/twin room – no surcharge
- The Apartments single room – €290
- Nassimi Tower double/twin room – €115
- Nassimi Tower single room – €325
- VOCO Dubai Hotel***** double/twin room – €245
- VOCO Dubai Hotel***** single room – €495
Room sharing for solo travellers
If you travel alone, you can share a “twin room” with 2 single beds (only female rooms, male rooms upon request). We introduce you to the other travellers who also want to share a room. This means you don’t have to search for a friend who wants to join, you are guaranteed not paying for a single surcharge. We also do not assign you to a room, but you choose who you want to share the room with. You can select this room sharing option during the reservation processs. It is a perfect way to lower your costs and to meet another friendly expat. We offer these rooms only in The Apartments hotel, a twin-sharing for solo travelers can be requested for the VOCO Hotel*****.
Please contact us if you would like to bring your family. The trip is certainly very nice for children, but we want to make sure the trip is right for your child and that you would get the right room. Needless to say that children get a substantial discount (see above). Please contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know the number of persons in your family and the age of your children.
We are flying with Etihad straight from Brussels to Abu Dhabi. Indeed, not to Dubai that is just 100km away, but this is by far the best option for our trip for various reasons:
- The direct Emirates flights are over €500 more expensive.
- Other airlines require an extra stop, making the travel time considerably longer.
- Other airlines arrive after midnight. Etihad arrives at 19h30 in Abu Dhabi and our hotel is only a 10-minute drive.
- Dubai is only a 1h15 drive away.
- Etihad is one of the world’s best airlines with an excellent economy class.
Our direct Etihad flights to Abu Dhabi (1 large checked luggage included):
- 26 December – EY058 – 10h05 Brussels – Abu Dhabi 19h30
- 02 January – EY057 – 02h20 Abu Dhabi – Brussels 06h50
From Abu Dhabi we will take a private coach towards Dubai on the second day. The desert ride will only take 1h15. In Dubai we will make use of a private bus for the various tours. We may also take the excellent and safe metro system for certain routes (tickets provided, metro station next to our hotels).
- The trip will be carried out with Etihad Airlines and various local official partners.
- The trip is carefully planned. Still, all timings are indicative and may change if required by circumstances. Expat Club is known for well-designed programs and changes are rare.
- The trip is sold as a package. In principle you cannot go with your own transportation or arrange your own accommodation. If there are specific things that you do not want in the package, please let us know.
- You are personally responsible for getting a good travel and/or cancelation insurance.
- You are personally responsible for using the hotel room in an appropriate way. Any missing or broken items will be billed after the trip.
- Expat Club cannot be held liable for unforeseen delays that influence the program (e.g. missed guided tours), neither can Expat Club be held liable for weather-related cancellations or any other unforeseen events that influence the course of the trip, including, but not limited to technical problems with airplanes, coaches, strikes, weather etc.
- Expat Club cannot be held liable for personal injuries during the trip, such as, but not limited to, things that happen during the guided tours. Joining this trip is safe but still at your own risk.
- If you choose to share a room with another solo traveler, during the outbound trip we will connect you with others in the same position.