There are a lot of descriptions used to describe this city in the United Arab Emirate, but much like the fable about the elephant, each term only fits one aspect of the city. Travellers looking for amusement rides, general amusement, incredible shopping, business, cool buildings, innovations or just a bit of everything will find it here. Those who enjoy luxury will discover that Dubaihas raised lavishness to an art form.
Gold Souk – It’s a market that is just for jewellery consisting of more than 300 retailers. Roughly 10 tonnes of gold are for sale in the souk at any one time and if you want bling, you can walk out of here several pounds heavier and many dollars lighter.
Spice Souk – Spices, herbs and fragrances are for sale in the market that covers several streets. If you’ve wondered what frankincense is, you can pick some up here along with a vial of myrrh.
Textile Souk – More textiles than you’ve ever seen in one place and the stock ranges from fragile voile to lush velvet and from luscious silks to plebeian cotton.
International shopping – Souks around the city have goods from Egypt, North Africa, Spain and other nationalities.
Mall of the Emirates – Once you’ve shopped at all the 700 or so stores, take a break at the indoor ski resort and then have dinner at an international restaurant without ever leaving the building.
Ossiano – the dining area is surrounded by two-story aquariums creating an undersea experience the suits the ambience perfectly. The food is just as spectacular and the seafood specialties are just divine. Don’t expect to spend less than $200, and that’s if you go for just the basics.
The Exchange Grill – The best steakhouse in the city is a small place with a minimal decor. They don’t need flash, however, since the meat the serve is cooked to perfection and the staff is dedicated to making your meal an incredible experience.
Fire & Ice – It looks like a super-trendy New York restaurant, but it’s inside a gold-topped pyramid. This is another carnivore’s dream spot, serving the best beef available.
Al Iwan – Arabic-Moroccan food served at the top of the Burj Al Arab hotels. If you aren’t planning on staying the hotel, visit the restaurant for the views and a trip to the top of the building.
Boudoir – More of a nightclub, the glitzy bar is the go-to spot for celebrities when they’re in town. To even get through the door you’ll need to be dressed to the nines.
Skydiving – Leap from a plane to see the city from the sky and sail around the harbor before a splashdown and speedboat recovery. You can even train for a paragliding license that will allow you to jump solo anywhere in the world.
Waterparks – Surf three metre waves and brave the free-fall waterslide at Wild Wadi or take a river tour and 27.5 metre vertical drop that slides you through a shark tank at Aquaventure.
Desert Safari – Take a drive through the desert in a jeep that can be a rolling drive through the sand or a screaming afternoon of dune bashing, depending on your wishes. The day ends with a Bedouin feed, dancing and camel riding.
Burj Khalifa – The tallest building in the world is visible from anywhere in the city and the observation deck is the third highest viewing platform in the world. The view is unbelievable.
Camel Racing – How many places have camel racing? If you get the chance, go to the Dubai Racecourse to enjoy the sport of Sheiks.
Burj al Arab Jumeirah
It’s built on an artificial island and is reached by a private bridge. The engineering required to complete the sail-like building is mind-boggling and includes creating a surface layer of rocks to protect the foundation that’s supported by 40-metre-long piles. Despite the size, 39% of the building isn’t habitable and the hotel only has 28 floors.
Go for the full spurge while here and book the Royal Suite for your stay. Your 780 square metre suite has a private lift and cinema, because you certainly won’t want to mingle with the riff-raff in the $2000 a night rooms. Be sure to take advantage of the hotel’s private beach, too.
Your brigade of butlers will ensure that meals in your private dining room is to your satisfaction and the guest bathrooms are suitably distant from YOUR bathrooms so you needn’t worry about putting away your selection of Hermes amenities. The 24-carat-gold iPad probably get s much better reception than the ordinary style and when you’ve finished relaxing in front of the 42-inch HD TV you can slip into sleep with Eiderdown duvets and 17 pillows to choose from. The price for all this pampering? About $13,000. A night.