On first glance Dubai may come across as soulless, a place of extravagance and opulence. But this is far from the truth, when you look behind the glitzy façade you’ll find a blossoming modern culture.
Dubai is a city on the rise, quite literally as more and more skyscrapers are built. But original ideas are welcomed, and with each visit there will be something new waiting for you. Consequently, Dubai is an ever-changing space, and what was seen as a cultureless place is now blossoming with many sub-cultures. Cuisine from all corners of the world can be found and a fresh café culture welcomes the foodie crowd. A burgeoning contemporary arts scene is making the city a regional hub for expatriated artists. While the fantastic nightspots, which are popping up outside of the hotel areas, create a different scene within the clubbing crowd. Dubai is finally becoming the city it wished to be, an ethnically diverse, culturally relevant metropolis in the heart of the desert. Book your flights to Dubai and experience it for yourself.
The manmade island of Palm Jumeirah is a great place to visit, and ideal for luxury holidays. The luxury villas on the palm tree-shaped island’s ‘fronds’ exude exclusivity and offer captivating panoramas of Dubai’s glittering skyline. The islands also play host to a number of prestigious and opulent hotels, including the Fairmont The Palm, with private beaches and extravagant décor. Discover the aquarium and Aquaventure Water Park amid the island’s crowning glory – the breathtaking Atlantis The Palm, a palatial resort often voted the best hotel in the Middle East.
Downtown Dubai is reminiscent of New York in the 1930s, full of shiny skyscrapers bidding to outshine each other. Not to be outshined though, is the iconic Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, which at 828-metres soars above the rest. The massive Dubai Mall, next to the awe-inspiring Dubai Fountain, has an underwater zoo and aquarium, and of course, 1200 stores. It is the largest retail and entertainment experience in the world, with over 50 million visitors a year.
Soak up the year-round sunshine on Jumeirah’s beautiful ‘golden mile’, stretching from Palm Jumeirah to Deira. This area has everything you could wish for, from white-sand beaches to world-class restaurants. You can try adrenalin-fuelled water sports like wakeboarding or jet skiing, or for respite from the sun at the shopping malls. Sample international cuisine before heading off for an after-dinner cruise on a traditional dhow. The prestigious Jumeirah Beach Hotel is ideal for families looking for an action-packed holiday.
This small area of the city, close to the affluent Jumeirah Beach Residence, is jam-packed with great bars and restaurants, alongside high-end shopping boutiques. Stroll down the bustling strip known as The Walk, where you can browse shops or grab a drink at the chic bars. Head over to the Marina to gaze in awe at the super-yachts of the super-rich – they are breathtaking. If you fancy a swim, head down to The Beach, which has great views of the Palm Jumeirah.
Take yourself away from the sprawling cityscape of Dubai and immerse yourself in the traditional culture of Old Town. Soak up the sensory treats of the bustling souqs, where spicy aromas fill the air and precious metals catch your eye. Walk down to the Creek (dhor) to see the longshoremen at work, or take an abra down the coast for a few Dirham. The historic Al Bastakiya neighbourhood hosts the stunning Jumeirah Mosque, open to non-Muslims at certain times of day. The Fahidi Fort, the oldest building in Dubai, is also found here.
Glistening like a jewel in the Arabian Desert, Dubai sits within a vast undulating landscape. Leave the metropolis behind and go on safari, where you can admire the rolling dunes from the lofty heights of a hot air balloon. Or take a more traditional route atop a camel across the flats, before sitting out under the stars for a romantic dinner. Alternatively, for an exhilarating time, try driving at breakneck speed in a dune buggy. The luxurious Al Maha Desert Resort’s tent-shaped suites allow you to live like a Bedouin.