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Dubai World Cup

Given that this week is the Kentucky Derby, I figured it was time for me to recap my most recent horse racing adventure: traveling to Dubai for the Dubai World Cup.

The Dubai World Cup is known as the richest race in horse racing, as the purse totals $10 million. What does that mean? The purse is the total amount of money paid out to the owners of the horses that do well in the race. Typically, the winner gets 60 percent of the purse, with the remainder being split among the runners-up. So, for the Dubai World Cup, the owners of the winner horse get $6 million.

How does that compare to the Kentucky Derby? Well, as Americans, we are biased to think that the Kentucky Derby is the biggest and best horse race in the world. While it is an extraordinary event full of tradition and great sporting, the purse for the Kentucky Derby is $2 million – one-fifth of the purse for the Dubai World Cup. So, that should put into perspective the magnitude of the Dubai World Cup.

Not only is the race the largest monetarily, the events surrounding the race cannot be rivaled. As with everything in Dubai, the occasion is marked with over-the-top celebrations in which His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum himself actively participates, as he is a passionate proponent of horse racing.

A Long Weekend in Dubai

This trip was my second time to visit Dubai. My first visit was back in 2013, also to attend the Dubai World Cup. On that trip, we allocated a nice long chunk of time (almost two weeks, if I recall correctly) for our visit to the region. We started out with a jaunt to Oman and a stay at the beautiful Six Senses Zighy Bay beach resort. We then journeyed to the desert for a stay at Banyan Tree Al Wadi, a true oasis with its tented pool villas and amazing spa facilities. Finally, we made it to Dubai where we spent a week soaking in the city and the Dubai World festivities.

This trip to Dubai, though, was squeezed in between other travel plans. So, while we were traveling for a full week (left on a Tuesday, returned on a Monday), our time in Dubai was really limited to four days – arrived on Wednesday night and left early Monday morning. Once I realized that fact and thought of this trip as a “long weekend” in Dubai, it stripped the trip of unrealistic expectations. The focus turned from obligatory sightseeing (which I had already done) to simply enjoying a long weekend in the fabulous city of Dubai.

So how did we spend our weekend? In addition to the horse racing festivities, here are some highlights of the weekend:

  • We stayed at Mina A’Salam and loved it! The beach provided an amazing view of its sister property the Burj Al Arab – known to be the most luxurious hotel in the world. The entire Jumeirah beach area is wonderful.
  • We enjoyed a beach day.
  • We visited Talise Spa several times. I received perhaps the best massage I’ve ever had in my life. Take me back!
  • We danced the night away at Pacha, a fun rooftop nightclub with great music and even better views.
  • We ate at Pierchic – a wonderful seafood restaurant set over the water, known at the most romantic restaurant in Dubai
  • We went on a fabulous desert adventure with Arabian Adventures, who I highly recommend. We had done this last time, and it was so fun and so well done that we did it again. Two words: dune bashing Dubai!

As you can tell, the trip turned into a relaxing, stress-free weekend getaway, even amidst the busyness of the racing activities. This was a big lesson to me in letting go of expectations and preconceived notions of what all we should cram into a trip. It was really quite freeing.

Dubai truly is a city like no other. What the people have created from the nothingness of the desert is awe striking. I have really enjoyed my trips there and hope to go back soon.

Have you been to Dubai? Do you have any questions about traveling to the region? I’m happy to answer based on my experiences…

Closing Thoughts

As usual, I’ll be attending the Kentucky Derby later this week. The greatest two minutes in sports carries with it a weekend jam-packed full of horse racing, fashion, and events. Be sure to follow along on my social media channels – especially Instagram (username: @carriec) and Snapchat (username: wearwherewell) for live coverage.

Fun fact: did you know that the Kentucky Derby weekend actually encompasses two days of racing? You know what that means: two days of outfits! Yes, indeed double the dresses and hats.

Wishing you a great day!

Details of My Look

Swimwear by Lenny Niemeyer (c/o): exact suit here, similar cover-up here; Lenny Niemeyer available at the following retailers: Anthropologie, Moda Operandi, Net-a-Porter, Neiman Marcus, and Shopbop

Beach hats by Eugenia Kim (c/o) : a plethora of exact and similar options linked below

Race day dress by Sachin & Babi : exact dress here (c/o), similar pieces linked below

Race day hat by Philip Treacy : a similar Philip Treacy option here


  1. Nina says:

    What an amazing trip! And you look fabulous, as usual. Can’t wait for your Kentucky Derby photos and snaps! xo Nina

    1. Carrie says:

      Thanks a bunch, Nina! Great to hear from you.

  2. Sarah W. says:

    I’m absolutely LOVING that fun suit of yours. I’m pinning this post right away, so I have some references when I get the chance to go to Dubai! I’m looking forward to your Kentucky Derby photos, Carrie! XO always, Sarah | http://www.thebellainsider.com/

    1. Carrie says:

      Oh good! I’m glad you like, Sarah. Dubai is such a fascinating place that intrigues me and draws me in each time. It’s a city unlike any other

    2. Sarah W. says:

      I hope to go with some petroleum girlfriends one day once we all graduate!

    3. Carrie says:

      Oh that would be really fun!

  3. Sheri says:

    Hi Carrie,
    I love this post. It feels so much like “you”. I don’t know why I say that, but I think there is something that comes through in your writing when you talk about a trip you have taken with your significant other to somewhere very unique. Perhaps like some of your earlier posts when you went to Paris, etc.

    I look forward to a Derby post. I think you tidbits of behind the scenes (not just fashion perhaps) is what makes it quite interesting and sets you apart from other bloggers.

    Have a great day,

    1. Carrie says:

      Hi Sheri – I really appreciate that feedback! That is great to know and means a lot. Thank you.

  4. Sydney says:

    Carrie you are so georgous !!! Your trip looked amazing, your outfits were off the charts amazing!! I can’t wait to follow along with you at the Kentucky Durby

    1. Carrie says:

      Thanks a bunch, Sydney! Dubai is a place I really enjoy visiting. It fascinates me.

  5. Edith says:

    Exactly what Sheri said. 🙂

    1. Carrie says:

      Hi Edith. Thank you for saying that! I enjoy writing this style of article, so I’m glad to know that you enjoying reading it. Thanks again.

  6. I LOVE this post! How AMAZINGLY fascinating. Dubai looks so magical and you look stunning in paradise. xo


    1. Carrie says:

      Hey thanks, friend! I’m not used to seeing your name pop up here. 🙂

      Love ya –

  7. Bella B says:

    Looks like you had a wonderful time!!! You are drop dead gorgeous Carrie!!


    1. Carrie says:

      Very sweet, Bella. Thanks. Yes it was a great trip!

  8. These pics are just amazing! What an incredible trip!

    1. Carrie says:

      Thanks a bunch, Jenn! I can’t wait to see and hear more about the Maldives.

  9. Jennifer says:

    WOW! These photos belong in a magazine… seriously incredible! Looks like you had the ‘perfect’ trip and you my dear are breathtaking!

    xo, Jennifer

    1. Carrie says:

      Ah, you are too sweet, Jennifer! Dubai really is a fascinating place to visit. I really enjoy my time there.

  10. I know nothing about horses and derby, but if it is an occasion to dress well, then it is where to wear that beautiful dress (omg I finally placed the wear where well words in a sentence …).

    1. Carrie says:

      Ha! That’s quite an accomplishment. Well done. 🙂

  11. Candice says:

    Do you travel by yourself? I would love to go but don’t have anyone to go with.

    1. Carrie says:

      Hi Candice! On this trip, I was traveling along with my boyfriend.

      But I do travel solo often! I’d encourage you to do the same. Travel enriches one’s life so much. Don’t let not having a companion keep you from going.

      Maybe I’ll add that to my list of article ideas… Tips for traveling solo.

  12. Bryn Bradsher says:

    Beautiful photos! Your outfits are all so bright and chic!

    I have always wanted to visit Dubai… it’s such a vibrant city!

    xo bryn

    1. Carrie says:

      Hi Bryn – you’re so right. “Vibrant” is a great word for Dubai. I just love it.

  13. Lauren says:

    What an amazing trip! And gorgeous photos, as always!

    1. Carrie says:

      It really was! Add it to your list of places to go. 🙂

  14. Jyotsna says:

    These photos bring so many memories, love Dubai! Always visited when I was young as I have many cousins there as well as in Abu Dhabi! Hope you had a fantastic trip xo

    1. Carrie says:

      Ah, I love reading that, Jyo!

  15. Dubai is a beautiful city all around the earth and also you can enjoy Desert Safari there with family or friends .

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