From its magnificent skyline to its glistening sandy shores, Dubai is one of the world’s most luxurious destinations. Whether you visit to see its daring architectural sights, its thriving modern art scene, or its fashionable collection of fine restaurants, bars and boutiques, you will certainly find a slice of the high life here.
A Glossy Exterior
My initial, somewhat naïve thoughts of Dubai were that it was a city with no substance; a destination that prides itself of appearance alone, but beneath its slick and shiny outer layer, its cultural heart was non-existent. Suffice to say, once stepping into this modern metropolis, I was proved very wrong indeed.
On first glance Dubai is a daunting city… soaring sky scrapers, designer shopping malls, and opulent hotels that put even Mayfair’s finest to shame. To say it is a playground to the rich would be putting it lightly, in fact, it is a veritable theme park for those who have deep pockets that they’re not afraid to delve into.
Being a duty free paradise, Dubai was most certainly made for shopaholics, with a lavish selection of malls that are home to some of the world’s most covetable names, from Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik, to Gucci and Valentino. A day of luxury shopping can be interspersed with lunch at some superb restaurants, which boast menus of fragrant fresh truffles, sumptuous saffron flavours, exclusive Prunier caviar and the very finest champagne.
As much as I, like any woman would, revelled in the chance to be spoiled amidst a landscape of fashion and fine dining, I was also intrigued by what other ostentations Dubai had to offer someone in search of luxury. I booked up my flights with Cheapflights and made my way to the desert.
Enter the hotel. The city is swarming with contemporary, glossy hotels that hide some of the most impressive surrounds you are likely to encounter on a city break. Their sumptuous interior décor ranges from the chic neutral tones of the Armani Hotel Dubai to the rich, Bedouin-style suites of the Al Maha Resort.
For beach living, it doesn’t get much better than the infamous One & Only Palm Dubai, which sits perched along the peninsula of the city’s artificial archipelago, the Palm Jumeirah. Found amongst a landscape of lush tropical gardens, a pearlescent white shoreline, and water that was so crystal clear it did not look as though it existed, this hotel is one of the city’s most elegant offerings.
The One & Only offers everything one could wish for from a holiday of a lifetime… dining at the hands of a Michelin-starred chef, a private white sandy beach, panoramic views across the ocean, sparkling swimming pools, and a plush spa.
Dubai does spa treatments like no other destination, and you will find a cocktail of otherworldly havens sprinkled across the city. Whether you want to bathe like royalty in a traditionally designed retreat such as the Assawan Spa, or you wish to seek out something unique, like the Ice Igloo and Rainforest Rainroom of the Amara Spa, the perfect secluded sanctuary is just waiting for you to indulge.
The beaches of Dubai offer an endless array of water sports and activities, whether you want adrenaline-fuelled adventures such as ship wreck dives and parasailing or more laid-back encounters such as snorkeling and dinner cruises.
Entertainment seemed to exist around every corner of the city, whether it was in a relaxed day spent on a superb golf course or in the desert safari that took me to the outer limits of the area, soaring across a rollercoaster series of sand dunes. I could even indulge my love for winter sports with a visit to the impressive Ski Dubai, where I experienced stepping from 40-degree heat into a bright white snow-filled dome.
Beneath these lavish adventurous attractions and entertainment options I was also able to discover a cultural side to the city, when I stepped back in time and into the Old Town. Home to the Dubai Museum and the traditional buildings of the Bastakiya District, Old Dubai felt a world away from the buzzing boulevards of the modern district, with atmospheric streets lined with art galleries, bustling souks, ambient restaurants and ancient buildings. The old town is also where you will find the enchanting Jumeirah Mosque, which is a striking example of Islamic architecture, and is one of the only mosques in the city open to non-Muslim visitors.
As Far as the Eye Can See
One of my most recommended experiences of Dubai, however, sits away from its glittering extravagant experiences and its deluxe attractions and can actually be found around mid-way up the iconic Burj Khalifa tower. The tallest building in the world, this tower offers an unforgettable encounter some 124 floors up, where you can step out onto the world’s highest open deck. From here you can take in every corner of the city, peering over its kingdom of lavishness, taking in what is decidedly one of the most impressive destinations I have ever visited.