As one of the most sought after cosmopolitan cities in the world, Dubai, the most popular of the seven kingdoms that make up the UAE, is a high-tech heaven. This oasis rises with sudden vigor from the arid sands of the desert and exults in luxury living…
Its glittering skyscrapers are framed by exotic, gently swaying palm trees. The incredibly impressive skyline, full of gleaming chrome, glass and steel seems to stretch out for miles. Home to the world’s tallest building and over 900 other high-rises, one can readily accept that Dubai has more skyscrapers than any other cosmopolitan city. Indeed it is rumored that there are more construction cranes here than in any other place across the globe. For business and leisure travellers alike, there is no dearth of things to see and do in this city of plenty.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
View the Burj Khalifa-The Gateway to the Heavens
There are many reasons why your discovery of Dubai should ideally begin at the dazzling Burj Khalifa. Apart from being the tallest man made structure (828 m ) to ever be built in the world since 2010, this sparkling skyscraper that connects to the popular Dubai mall also houses a high-tech office complex, an elite cigar club, the ultra-luxurious Armani Hotel, high class residential apartments, four magnificent pools and a state-of-the-art observatory.
The Burj Khalifa has many other firsts to its credit too. For instance, imagine living in the highest apartment in the world, which is located here on the 109th floor, or praying in the highest mosque at the 158th floor or swimming laps in the world’s highest pool located on the 76th floor! You can also ride the world’s fastest escalators here which glide at a speed of 64 km/hr.
Its sophisticated designcan not only withstand the blazing hot Dubai summers, but can even lower the heat. The 22,000 panels that are fitted together over the exterior are made of a sturdy reflective glazing that have withstood an incredible lightening attack, just a week after it opened in 2010.
Prices: Admission for an adult is 100 Dh, a child under 13 is 75 Dh. If you prefer to bypass the jostling queues, shelling out Dh 400 will give you instant access. More information at www.atthetop.ae
Explore the Golden Sands…
Most luxury resorts here have a rather unique privilege i.e. their own strips of private beach, complete with soothing sapphire waters and powder white sands. These may not always be open to visitors (while others may charge a day fee if you’re not a guest at the hotel), so be sure check your access to the beach properties as you make your booking.
The Mamzer beach is a popular hotspot. Here, you can rent homes with barbeque areas for that summer picnic or impromptu get together. If you don’t want salt water in your hair, then you don’t even have to venture into the sea. Just wade into the two large swimming pools here! You can rent deckchairs, sun loungers, umbrellas and explore the small cafes and grocery stores that dot the property.
Ride the Devilish Dunes
No trip to Dubai is complete without the wild, wacky ride on the burning hot sands of the wild desert. Riding the sand dunes on a four wheel drive is like having access to your own private rollercoaster, but the enchanting desert experience isn’t just limited to this hair rising ride. Sit on a camel and experience its seductive swaying gait as its thick hooves sink deeply into the shifting sands. Ride the famous quad bikes for more adrenaline pumping adventure. The list topper is of course, enjoying a barbeque dinner under the star studded night sky.
View from the top
An aerial view of Dubai can be a thrilling experience, especially if you also have a passion for adventure sports. Several luxury hotels operate hot air balloon excursions of the dessert.
Hop onto a minibus, which will take you to your nearest hot air balloon stopover. Here you can soar through the dessert on a balloon that will glide gracefully over miles and miles of golden sands. You’ll receive a personalized flight certificate and a cool drink when you land. You can also explore the options of viewing Dubai by helicopters and sea planes, for which separate tours and bookings are available from several tour operators.
Party at the Palm Jumeirah
The Palm Jumeirah is living proof that man can vie with nature and create incredible splendor. A manmade archipelago that was built on reclaimed land, it looks like a giant emerald with its fingers splayed over the sapphire waters. Some claim that this is the eighth wonder of the world and can even be viewed from space. It consists of three main islands – the Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira which extend into the Persian Gulf. The Jumeirah Palm Island is the adult version of Disney land featuring luxury themed hotels, spas, apartment buildings, beaches, restaurants and resorts. The Atlantis is a popular luxury hotel here.
THE WORLD’S BEST PLACE TO INDULGE IN INTENSE RETAIL THERAPY
Gold Rush at the Gold Souks
Dubai’s gold souks have an aura that is straight out of the Arabian nights. It’s an unbelievable display
of jewels that is meant to dazzle. 10 tonnes of pure gold hangs from hooks all around you. Surely among these 300 vendors, each with their own extraordinarily unique designs, you’ll be able to find an ornament that’s to your liking.
Givori Luxury Mobile
Accessories Even the technology here comes swathed in gold and precious gems! Shop at the luxury mobile firm Givori (browse their Phantom Collection) for 24 carat gold iPhone, rare black platinum mobile covers, iPhone 5 and 5S enveloped in alligator skin and silver dust, with personalized logos in black rhodium. Every accessory is hand crafted and requires hours of labor. They have several outlets across the city; the popular ones are located in the Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall and the Burj Al Arab. www.givori.com
Other Luxury Brands
For your luxury shopping needs, visit the Dubai Mall, a one-stop destination for every luxury brand in the world. With over 1200 stores, a beautiful indoor aquarium, impromptu concerts and other entertainment options, it’s little wonder then that the Dubai Mall is a luxury shopper’s slice of paradise.
For the latest in haute couture, head over to the Mall of the Emirates. You’ll love the full Giorgio Armani ready-to-wear collection for both men and women, available on level 1. Other note-worthy luxury brands here are Boutique 1, Aigner, Burberry and Berluti. The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai’s only beachfront promenade is being renovated for a further enhanced luxury retail experience & al fresco dinning.
DUBAI IS HOME TO FOOD LOVERS WITH ITS MICHELIN STARRED RESTAURANTS AND AL FRESSCO CAFES
Dubai is a melting pot of international cuisine. There’s food to please every palate here, no matter how discerning you may be. The restaurant, Reflets by Pierre Gagnaire, with its elegant rose tinted interiors and exquisite French food is also known for its impeccable service. You’ll especially love the recommended wine pairings and the exquisite truffle desserts. For more French and international food served up in lavish buffet style, visit the Imperium at the Jumeirah This gleaming restaurant with its gold gilded columns and crystal chandeliers offers breath-taking views of the sea. For some of the best seafood in Dubai, look up PierChic, which as the name suggests is a fine dining restaurant that juts into the pier overlooking the glittering waters of the Arabian Gulf. If it’s Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine you’re interested in, head over to the Majlis Al Bahar at Burj Al Arab. Here, you can dine on tables spread over the sands that overlook the tranquil sea.
Nobu at Atlantis Hotel is the best place for Japanese cuisine, albeit with some Arabian influences. Savor recipes created by the world famous chef Nobu Matsuhisa. The sushi bar here comes highly recommended. For cuisine with fresh ingredients sourced from Europe and a collection of new and vintage wines, the flagship restaurant at the Grosvenor House, the Rhodes Mezzanine would be a perfect choice. Fine dining in Dubai, with many of its hotels hiring Michelin rated chefs is certainly not hard to come by!
DUBAI HAS NO SHORTAGE OF OPTIONS WHEN IT COMES TO LUXURY ACCOMODATION.
You are spoilt for choices when looking for luxury stay in Dubai. One of the most iconic places to stay (and indeed a very interesting and integral part of the Dubai skyline) is the Burj Al Arab (Tower of the Arabs). It is the world’s most famous 7-star hotel, designed to resemble a billowing sail and the most easily identifiable part of the Dubai skyline. Burj Al Arab has become a significant cultural symbol, it’s more than just the luxury accommodation. It is suite-only accommodation, offering discreet check-in within your rooms, a private reception on every floor and a host of personal butlers, each a warm messenger of unparalleled hospitality.
Another iconic place to stay would be the Atlantis, in the Palm Jumeirah. This resort has unique marine habitats called The Lost Chambers, the Aquaventure park that kids would love, world class cuisines spread across 18 restaurants here and ShuiQi, a luxuriant spa which they say has been designed to lull you into a stupor while simultaneously awakening your senses.
Deep within Dubai’s dune landscape in Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is Al Maha Resort. Al Maha offers a sense of desert adventure with its luxurious suites all with a desert view, private pool & deck.
For other classic luxury options, explore the Conrad Dubai, the Banyan Tree Al Wadi Resort and Spa, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the Ritz Carlton Dubai, Fairmont (at Palm Jumeirah).
Dubai is certainly an unforgettable experience for the business or leisure traveller and one that is sure to present you gilt-edged memories to cherish.