World’s tallest building and World’s largest mall, yes it’s Dubai
Last month I covered the hidden gem that is Oman. Now it’s the turn of its neighbour Dubai. A popular stopover on long-haul travel routes, at just 7 hours flying time from London it is also an ideal destination for a short getaway.
We love it for the unique combination of Manhattan skyline and a golden beach that only Dubai can do so well. Deciding where to stay can be a challenge. Do you go for the mega resorts on The Palm or the Marina, stay in an ocean front hotel on The Walk and have easy access to everything, or chill out in Dubai Creek. A lot will depend on what you want from Dubai and, of course, your budget.
A must is to book a table on the veranda at Thiptara and gaze out over the man-made lake to the Burj Khalifa. Watch the fountain show, which puts the Bellagio to shame, as it shoots walls of water over 500 feet into the air. The views are what you’re here for but the food is worth it as well. Try to avoid a windy day, otherwise you may end up with the fountains in your dinner!
The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, is an incredible sight from the ground looking up. It’s even more magical when you’re on the viewing platform looking down. Tickets are affordable and it stays open well into the night. The city looks so different from above so don’t forget to take your camera. But, if you’re terrified of heights, bear in mind the viewing platform is a staggering 555 metres above the ground. High though that is, it is nowhere near the summit which still towers above you at 830 metres.
A trip to Dubai would not be complete without at least visiting the famous Burj al Arab. You’ll be blown away as you enter the hotel entrance, and you’ll be speechless as you witness the incredible view from the restaurant.
The Dubai Mall is the world’s biggest. Don’t be overwhelmed by the choice of shops. Grab a map before heading off into the mall, set up a strategy and you’ll be able to find everything you’re looking for. Not a fan of shopping? Don’t worry, the mall has plenty of other attractions, such as the Olympic-sized ice rink and the famous waterfall of falling men.
Friday is the start of the weekend in Dubai. And Friday is brunch day. Four hours of eating and drinking at some of the most opulent spreads to be found anywhere in the world. Dubai really has taken Las Vegas and then upped the level.
For a break from Dubai’s flamboyance, head over to Dubai Creek and take a traditional wooden water taxi to get a feel for a more authentic, traditional and historical part of Dubai. Combine this with a trip to the famous Gold Souk where you’ll be dazzled by row after row of shops selling yellow and white gold, silver, and gems.
Even though the city of Dubai offers so much, its beaches mustn’t be forgotten. We spent a lovely afternoon at Barasti Bar in Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort. The wooden deck is ideal for lounging about and taking in the stunning views of the Arabian Sea.
If you haven’t been to Dubai in the past couple of years then it’s time to head back to see the ‘new Dubai’ and all it has to offer. If you’ve never visited it before, then now’s the time to see and experience its uniqueness.
Sarah Laverty, owner of Compass Connections has travelled the world all in the name of passion and being able to pass on her knowledge to others. If a trip to Dubai interests you, please do get in touch. www.compass-connections.co.uk 01603 343555