Travel Guide for Persons with Disabilities in Dubai
The hot and happening city of Dubai is known worldwide for its glitz and glamour. With state-of-the-art amenities, the city’s attractions; its malls, theme parks, is inclusive and accessible to everyone. In addition to its many facilities, Dubai is to hold The Future Accessibility Summit Dubai as a 2-day initiative with the theme ‘Making All Cities Friendly for Tourists with Disabilities’. The city plans to adopt ‘Dubai Universal Design Code’ by 2020 to make the city even more accessible.
How to get around?
The Dubai International Airport (DXB) offers a variety of concierge services like Marhaba which meet you upon arrival and guide you through airport immigration and even help you with your luggage. The airport also has special parking spaces for those who wish to rent their own vehicles. You can book wheelchair accessible private taxi, for power wheelchair users at the airport and through your hotel’s concierge.
As for getting around the city, public transportation will help guests travel anywhere they want to go. The easiest way to get around Dubai is using the very accessible and modern metro system. There are stations close to most major sights and tunnel connections to some malls. You can buy different kinds of fare cards which will give you access to different class metro cars. The Metro cars are level with the platform and the gap is not more than one inch. Wheelchair accessible restrooms are located beyond the fare gates in every Dubai Metro station. They are extremely accessible, and would meet the ADA requirements of the United States. However, beware of the high curbs, some metro stations lack curb drops so this may cause some difficulty for guests in wheelchairs.
Where to stay?
Many of the branded hotels in Dubai have used the Americans with Disabilities Act as a guide during construction so hotels are pretty accessible with with roll-in showers, grab bars and other accessibility features. For individuals requiring an accessible hotel room with roll-in shower, we recommend booking with hotel chains such as Hilton, Marriott or Radisson for the best experience.
What to do?
Credit: CC / CT Cooper
Dubai’s top attractions and sights are largely wheelchair accessible. You can take a wheelchair travel selfie at the top of the Burj Khalifa, visit the Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort, then take a sightseeing cruise aboard the Dubai Ferry.
Standing at 829.8 meters (2,722 feet), the Burj Khalifa holds the record for the world’s tallest building and freestanding, man-made structure. The building dominates the Dubai skyline and, from a distance, looks like a surreal thin needle stretching to the heavens. Tourists can visit observation decks on levels 124 and 148 of the building and the complex includes a wheelchair accessible outdoor observation deck. The views are stunning. The complete tour, which will take between 60 and 90 minutes, includes museum-like displays which tell the story of the building’s planning and construction.
The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall. It sits directly alongside, and is connected to, the Burj Khalifa. The Dubai Mall is more than just a shopping center, as it contains an aquarium and several dining options. The mall contains 4 levels, spanning 5.4 million square feet and with more than 1,200 shops, the brands at the mall range from midterm to luxury. It is also home to the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, which features a shark tunnel. The SEGA Republic, an indoor video game amusement park, is largely accessible and located on the 2nd floor of the mall, above the ice skating rink. Elevators are spread throughout the mall, as are wheelchair accessible restrooms.