Dubai sits on a golden sandy coastline in the Arabian Gulf, where the warm azure waves of the sea meet the desert. A high-rise oasis, this Middle East city is a pleasure-dome surrounded by dunes; one of the most fashionable cities on the planet thanks to its ability to satisfy the needs of legions of demanding vacationers.
Dubai is one of the few cities in the world that has undergone such a rapid transformation - from a humble beginning as a pearl-diving center - to one of the fastest growing cities on earth (along with Abu Dhabi). Dubai today is a tourism, trade, and logistics hub and has earned itself the reputation of being the ‘gateway between the east and the west.’ It is also considered the dynamic nucleus of the Arabian Gulf region. It will amaze you. It is clean, full of energy, and very westernized.
While Bur Dubai and Deira are traditionally considered "Downtown," the Downtown Dubai development is smack in the center of "New Dubai," between Dubai Marina on the south end and the border with the city of Sharjah to the north. It includes the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world), the Dubai Mall (world's biggest), Dubai Fountain, and lots of other skyscrapers and hotels. Every major hotel chain is here, including the only 7-star property in the world, the Burj al Arab. It is not to be missed. The rooms are two stories, featuring interior staircases, a butler, and magnificent views. The restaurants in the hotel are unparalleled. Don’t miss the underwater aquarium restaurant, Al Mahara, and the Al Muntaha on the top floor.
We discovered the ultimate indoors snow resort at Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East! With an amazing mountain-themed wintery setting, you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, or just playing in the snow. Plus you can now meet and play with Ski Dubai's newest residents: the Snow Penguins! Burr! They even provide you with attire: so no need to bring ski clothes, boots, and long underwear, thank goodness.
Ski Dubai has 5 runs that vary in difficulty, height, and gradient, the longest being 400 meters with a fall of over 60 meters. Test your skills on the world's first indoor black run or practice your turns on the gentle beginner slopes. Skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels will enjoy these various slopes and snowboarders can also practice their stunts in the Freestyle Zone.
Kids and parents alike will have fun in the huge interactive Snow Park, which at 3,000 square meters is the largest indoor snow park in the world. It is unfathomable to imagine being in the middle of the desert and skiing and playing with penguins.
Their exclusive retail shop, Snow Pro, has expert staff to advise you on your equipment needs and their team of professional Ski School instructors will guide you through the simple, fun process of learning to ski or snowboard.
Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club
At Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, you will discover the rich equestrian heritage of Arabia. We had an opportunity to watch several incredible matches from a perfect view on the outdoor patio. Whether you want to ride magnificent Arabian horses across the desert at sunset, learn to play polo, or take your family on a tour of their stables, this is the ideal venue. Launched in April 2006, the Club has already become the heart of equestrian activity amongst residents in Dubai as well as visitors to the city, thanks to the world-class polo, dressage, show jumping, training and livery facilities it offers.
The Club House, designed as a distinctive Spanish ‘hacienda’, provides members and guests with a wide variety of dining, leisure, business and entertainment options, featuring state-of-the-art communication facilities including Wi-Fi throughout.
Camel Ride to a traditional Bedouin feast
On this half-day tour from Dubai we rode a camel across the desert before spending an evening of entertainment at a traditional Bedouin desert camp. The camels took us into the Arabian Desert to feel the rhythm and beauty of the vast landscape. We arrived at the traditional Bedouin desert camp by sunset, where Arabic hospitality awaited us with a welcome drink of Ghawa and dates. The entertainment in the desert camp included a Tanoura dance show, henna painting, a shisha corner, and traditional costumes. We enjoyed a perfect evening as the BBQ buffet dinner was served. The evening finished with a spectacular belly dance show. You will not want to change out of your traditional Middle Eastern Sheik outfit and your Berka.
The Dubai Mall
Spending days in The Dubai Mall is totally understandable. With fountains designed after the Bellagio Hotel’s fountains in Las Vegas, the fountain show plays day and night with music from all your favorite artists. While dining in one of the hundreds of restaurants surrounding the lake fountains, you are serenaded by the water show.
Shopping here is unparalleled. Every major store, designer, and restaurant are there. From Tiffany’s, to Jimmy Choo, to California Pizza Kitchen, there is something for everyone. Beware: prices are high! However, the mall features, an aquarium, incredible sculptures, an ice rink, and over 1,200 stores and 160 restaurants. The mall is over a million square feet. Over 100 million visitors annually visit the mall!
What we loved about Dubai was how Westernized it was. How friendly the people were. How international it felt. How people were there from all over the world. If one goes at the right time of year, the climate is completely tolerable. The best months to visit are October thorough April. Also, the architecture is baffling. Each skyscraper is more contemporary and beautiful than the next. Some of the world’s best architects have built in Dubai.
There is a shopping festival held annually in Dubai. It is an internationally acclaimed shopping festival, launched in 1996. The annual event features street carnivals and entertainers: world re-known entertainers. It is one of the best shopping experiences in the world. The sales are incredible during the festival. Three million visitors spend over 10 billion USD during the 32-day event! It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It takes place the first week of January each year. Don’t miss next year’s Dubai Shopping Festival.