A city in its own league, Dubai is like no other on this planet. Although typically seen as a stopover to many exotic locations due to its geographical location there is so much more to this city than meets the eye. Often called the “Las Vegas of the Middle East” with its unending hotels, restaurants, and non-stop entertainment one could easily argue that this comparison could be looked at as a little unfair. One of the wealthiest cities in the world Dubai brings a level of luxury and high-class entertainment that is second to none; audacious architecture, the world’s tallest skyscrapers all surrounded by white sandy beaches, a truly new kind of modern metropolis.
It is no wonder this desert oasis has quickly risen to one of the most popular travel destinations on the planet. Where else can you ski indoors, shop at the largest mall in the world, climb to the 124th floor of the world’s tallest building, dine in an underwater restaurant, and relax at a 5-star beach club all in the same day? Although Dubai comes with its own set of rules (predominantly a Muslim country and with this comes traditions and laws unlike other destinations) you will find boundaries are pushed to the limit in all parts of the city. The desire and allure to set Guinness World Records are what sets Dubai above the rest on a global scale with sights that include the Burj Khalifa the tallest tower in the world and the world’s largest indoor theme park, water fountain, deepest pool, fastest roller coaster, you name the record, they have either set it or broke it.
Where to Stay-Burj Al Arab
As your private Rolls Royce arrives at the airport to chauffeur you towards the shores of the city, you can’t help but marvel at the awe-inspiring architecture and natural beauty all around you. A plethora of modern buildings line white, sandy coastlines that stretch out as far as the eye can see. Anticipation grows as you drive over the bridge to a private island where your home away from home awaits, the luxurious Burj Al Arab Hotel. Between the resort’s innovative design and the inclusion of four pools, a private beach, and a world-class spa, it is easy to see why this Jumeirah Group property is not only a global icon but has also been awarded the title of the top hotel in the world year after year.
Towering at 321 meters above the sea, this 7-star hotel is even more impressive inside than out. Its uniquely curved shape evokes the sail of a dhow, (a traditional Arab water vessel) yet many know the Burj Al Arab for its one-of-a-kind ultra-modern design complete with a world-famous helipad. This helipad is so world-renowned it has been said it could have its own Instagram account for all the action that takes place on its platform. Tiger Woods’ tee shots, Roger Federer and Andre Agassi’s tennis exhibition, China’s top male and female table tennis players match, Nick Jacobsen’s death-defying kiteboarding jump, world-famous DJ sets, you name it, it has been done there.
As you enter the lobby, you immediately notice aquarium walls and gold-plated columns that lead your eyes up to the ceiling of the hotel’s 56 floors. It is quite evident that the level of luxury is second to none with 1,790 square meters of 24- carat gold constructed throughout the interior. The hotel is home to the largest Swarovski crystal ceiling in the world with 24,000 square meters of Statuario marble used throughout the hotel, leaving no doubt why this hotel is quite simply stated, sits in a league of its own. After a quick check-in at the front desk, you make your way up to your private suite, where all the stresses of life seamlessly melt away before your eyes. From the first swipe of your room card, you are transported into a world of opulence that is unlike any other resort stay you have ever experienced. Each room at the Burj Al Arab offers stunning panoramic views of either the ocean or city skyline paired with ultra-comfortable furnishings that invite you to fully unwind before exploring the city. World-class butler service and a 24-hour concierge set the tone from the moment you enter your suite, so perfect that you may never want to leave. Each suite comes with a private living room with a dedicated powder room, master bathroom with a full-sized Jacuzzi, a five-head rain shower, duvets filled with eiderdown harvested from abandoned duck nests in Iceland, pillow menus, these are just some of the luxuries that await you in the world’s top hotel. After time well spent fully immersed in the luxury of your suite trade in the ultra-comfort of your robe and slippers and make your way to the resort’s world-class Talise Spa. Perched 150 meters high on the hotel’s 18th floor above the gulf coast, guests are invited to the ultimate destination for tranquility and rejuvenation. A plethora of luxurious treatments range from couple’s massages, body scrubs, hydrating facials, manicure and pedicure treatments to ensure you leave with a restorative state of well-being. For workout enthusiasts opt for a swim in the indoor Infinity pool or enjoy a workout session at their state-of-the-art fitness facility complete with gorgeous views of Dubai’s skyline.
There is no shortage of dining options on property with a choice of eight incredible restaurants to choose from it is safe to say you are in for a culinary journey of a lifetime. From opening day in 1999, the Jumeirah Group has solidified a standard of superiority that has only risen to new levels since the hotel’s inception. Proteges of the famed Joel Robuchon’s school of excellence chef Francky Semblat and Kim Joinié-Maurin bring daily flair to the hotel’s menus that continue to impress guests day in and day out.
For a breakfast experience, you won’t soon forget to make sure to start your morning off at Al Iwan, a place where gold and red ruby tones are juxtaposed against the scenic blue waters of the Arabian Gulf only a stone’s throw away. A hand-delivered yogurt cart sets the tone for a meal fit for royalty accompanied by fresh pastries, exotic fruit displays, and endless delectable menu items combined which make for the perfect way to start the day.
Al Mahara the hotel’s signature aquarium restaurant gives guests the feeling that they are dining at the bottom of the Arabian Gulf. Helmed by Kim Joinié-Maurin (a two-time Michelin starred chef from previous restaurants) expect only the finest innovative seafood dishes that not only burst with flavor but are presented in a way that only a true artist could construct. The stunning floor-to-ceiling aquarium sets the scene for a one of kind dining experience where guests can enjoy the finest caviar, oysters and the freshest of seafood flown in daily.
Three-time Michelin star recipient Francky Semblat brings elevated French cuisine to new heights at Al Muntaha the hotel’s fine dining restaurant situated on the 27th floor. Serving modern French cuisine with extreme attention to detail chef Semblat brings an international resume that is sure to impress. Generating inspiration from his time spent in Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai this Joel Robuchon protege merges refinement, passion and fervor to each and every dish he serves. The ideal combination of world-class cuisine melded with awe-inspiring views is what guests can expect when they dine at Al Muntaha. Vast slanted glass windows offer the perfect gaze of the splendid Dubai coastline below, combine this with private label caviars, Tsarskaya oysters from France, Ceviche of Tasmanian salmon, Welsh lamb shoulder, the finest wine list in all of Dubai and you have the meal of a lifetime.
For a sophisticated yet casual dining experience, Sal offers a Mediterranean vibe that brings the island breeze of Ibiza to the shores of Dubai. The hotel’s most relaxed, casual dining venue guests can opt to sit indoors or poolside to take in the incredulous views that are offered of the Arabian Gulf just mere feet away. Perched on the Burj Al Arab terrace Sal presents a new bright and fresh perspective of the hotel offering a spectacular setting, impeccable service and an immersive atmosphere. Chef Roberto Rispoli brings his inspiration to Sal (which translates to “salt” in Spanish) from the Iberian Peninsula showcasing a menu that is bursting with innovation, flavor and style. Choose from delectable menu offerings such as the 3 Pescada Stew, Wild Crab on Rye Toast, or the Seafood Rice Cataplana filled with Langoustines, Calamari, Clams, Crabs, Prawns and more. For those looking to take the party outdoors opt for dining in style in your very own air-conditioned cabana with full service at one of the hotel’s two pools.
Located seaside at the iconic Jumeirah Al Naseem hotel next door, Summersalt Beach Club offers guests a fully immersive beach club experience that is second to none. Enjoy full access to the hotel’s private white sandy beach, shimmering pool, sunbeds and loungers for the ultimate Dubai beach escape. Plenty of indoor and outdoor seating is available with a casual yet sophisticated Mediterranean vibe making for the perfect lunch or brunch spot seven days a week. Tantalizing menu options bring guests in day and night with offerings such as the Mesclun Lettuce & Crispy Soft-Shell Crab, Mauritian Curry Wrap, or the fan-favorite Linguini Pasta with sauteed Prawns. Chill poolside listening to the curated sounds from the resident DJ while you sip handcrafted cocktails, the quintessential way to spend a day in the hot Dubai sunshine!
DRIFT AWAY WITH VIP ACCESS
It is safe to say that the white sandy shores of Dubai are home to some of the most visited beach clubs in the world. With an ooze of sophistication, DRIFT Beach Club sits among the top places to see and be seen with its ultra-private beachfront, sparkling infinity pool and incredulous views of the Dubai Marina skyline. Located at the One & Only Royal Mirage Dubai, Drift Beach Club overlooks prime beachfront real estate surrounded by lush foliage, oversized cabanas, and poolside loungers. Since its opening day DRIFT has been luring in its guests with its ultra-exclusive chic urban vibe where one can fully relax and whisk the day away.
Under the supervision of Chef de Cuisine Sylvain Noel DRIFT showcases a medley of flavor-bursting dishes with his playful take on classic Provencal cuisine. Using only the best sustainable, organic, fresh ingredients guests are treated to a medley of tantalizing menu options to go perfectly with their handcrafted cocktails curated by mixologist Ruslan Svezhenko. Items such as the Wasabi Basil Crispy Prawns, Black Truffle Pizza, or the DRIFT Shawarma perfectly paired with a salted watermelon margarita or the Provence Spritz make for the ultimate day in paradise.
CALLING ALL ADVENTURE SEEKERS
For adrenaline seekers looking to push the limits, Dubai is an extremist playground. Let your sightseeing begin as you reach new heights at Xline Dubai. With two different zip lines to choose from, this extreme tourism experience allows riders to see the city in an entirely new way. Soar through the high-rise towers, past the sparkling waterfront as you brave the world’s longest urban zipline, the “Xline Dubai Marina.” After a safety briefing from Dubai Line’s dedicated team, your descent starts from a 170-meter-high platform as you plunge headfirst across the modern skyline enjoying scenic views of the Dubai Eye and the Palm Jumeirah until your feet touch down at the Dubai Marina Mall. One of the most insta-worthy adrenaline rides in the world it is for good reason Xline Dubai has quickly risen to the top of must-dos when paying a visit to the City of Gold. Created as a double-lined experience, visitors also have the option to experience this thrill with a partner, making this top-rated tourist attraction a must-go for brave couples and families. Keep in mind kids must be 12 years or older to ride, and those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
If a rush on the ground level is more up to your speed, take to the track at Dubai Autodrome. Named UAE’s first fully integrated multipurpose motorsport and entertainment facility, this attraction includes a race school, indoor and outdoor karting tracks, a Motorsport Business Park, and even a VIP Paddock hospitality area. Just a short 25-minute car ride from Dubai, you can find yourself getting ready for the ride of your life! Get behind the wheel as you choose between 13 heart-pumping driving experiences ranging from 6 laps in a twin-turbo Mclaren MP 4-12 C, to an hour and a half instruction course in a Ferrari GT. For those looking to fully adrenalize opt for the F1 Experience where you can drive either the F1 Jaguar 2000 or the F1 Arrows 2002 which will put you in a league of very few that have ever been to this level of power and speed. Get the feel of driving the same cars previously driven by famous Formula One drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Eddie Irvine, this is how you race Dubai in style! For the ultimate race day, upgrade your experience by including ‘Extra Laps’ and the ‘In-Car’ video. The ‘Drive Now’ add-on allows visitors to experience an even wider range of supercar thrills that will leave you planning your next visit back on the raceway long after your visit ends.
Water activities are in no shortage in Dubai, but a day spent at Aquaventure (the world’s largest waterpark) at Atlantis Dubai offers stomach-dropping thrills and hands-on animal encounters that are truly a step above the rest. With over 79 record-breaking slides and attractions along with 1km of a private, white sandy beach, the hardest decision of your visit will be where to start. If heart-pumping, adrenaline-surging rides are your vibe you have come to the right place. No shortage of thrill-seeking turns and drops here, solo, tandem or group whichever you go you are in for an aquaventure of a lifetime! Brave the waves on the Odyssey of Terror, boasted as the world’s largest waterslide. For some good old energizing family fun, the Shockwave is the longest family water coaster in the world with a series of dark tunnels and winding drops that will leave you screaming the entire way through! A triple threat of speed, power, and rafting it is all systems go as you tear down 449 meters of pure fun! Get re-energized with a bite at Barracudas, a casual restaurant serving American dishes combined with tropical flavors of the sea that will keep you feeling satisfied the rest of your adrenaline-pumping day. Animal lovers (aren’t we all?) make sure to visit the world-renowned Dolphin Bay animal habitat. Book one of their many bucket list activities ranging from a behind-the-scenes habitat tour to a dolphin dip and play package that ends with you posing for a picture with the newest love of your life. Other highlights include the Sea Lion Cove and the Lost Chambers Aquarium, UAE’s largest underwater home for sea life, with over 65,000 marine animals for viewers to see. Want to get an up-and-close look at all the amazing sea creatures that call the Ambassador Lagoon their home? Try the AquaTrek Extreme, the world’s deepest AquaTrek experience which allows guests to descend to a depth of 30 feet, now that’s what we call living in the moment!
For the ultimate desert, thrill-seeking adventure look no further than Arabian Adventures Desert Safari. Leading tourism experts will guide you through what most call the perfect day trip excursion where you will be immersed in a multi-cultural and adventure experience of a lifetime. A guided driver will pick you up outside your hotel lobby and then transfer you to a landscape of rippling dunes in the isolated Arabian desert, where a unique cultural experience awaits. From early morning excursions to rugged Jeep safaris, Arabian Adventures has something for everyone. Start off your day with an exhilarating sand dune drive that will be sure to awaken your senses, a professionally trained driver showcasing incredible skills of twists and turns! Sandboarding, wildlife sighting, and henna hand painting are just a few of the many unique activities guests can participate in, and when in Dubai, make sure to try a camel ride! For the perfect way to end the day, there is nothing better than the Evening Desert in Dubai package. Riding camels to a private historically inspired camp is the ideal setting for an authentic BBQ dinner offering the best regional fare. Tanoura and fire dancers add exciting entertainment for guests to enjoy, making this experience the best for dining under the stars.
The City of Gold is a place that could never be fully experienced in one visit. A destination that truly has only been in its modernized state for a few decades yet strives to grow immensely with each passing year. With a large part of Dubai currently under new construction, it is safe to say that the best is yet to come. Between its rich culture, immaculate hotels, exhilarating attractions, and thriving culinary scene, it’s easy to understand why a trip to the UAE is unlike any other on this planet.