Discover The Delights Of Dubai
A Playground For The Rich & Famous crack
Dubai is jam-packed with adventures to suit all tastes, from shopaholics and culture vultures, to thrill-seekers or those just wanting to relax.
Just a seven-hour flight from the UK, the golden gulf state is a popular playground for the rich and famous, with the likes of David and Victoria Beckham and Pamela Anderson snapping up properties.
With year-round sunshine, it’s also the perfect spot for a long weekend break, but try and avoid the summer months when temperatures hit the high 40s.
I stayed at the ultra glamorous Atlantis Palm Dubai, which is a 1539 room 5 star hotel situated at the apex of The Palm Jumeirah, one of Dubai’s spectacular man-made islands. With a wealth of entertainment and leisure facilities Atlantis The Palm is one of the best known hotels in the world and really does need to be seen to believe; it’s spectacular in its pure opulence.
Just minutes after arriving, we were treated to a massage at the hotel’s luxurious Royal Towers, which are made up of 27 treatment areas set over two floors. This was the perfect start to our trip and magically soothed away the stresses of a working week and helped me recover from the flight.
Refreshed, I headed for dinner at Saffron, one of Atlantis’ 17 restaurants, bars and lounges, serving Asian specialities a vibrant atmosphere. The food is prepared freshly in front of your eyes and the sights, sounds and smells provide the ultimate in dining experiences.
Then it was time to really kick off the holiday with cocktails and shisha at Levantine Bar, a perfect place to sit back and enjoy the breathtaking views of Palm Jumeirah
The following morning found us circling the incredible Burj Dubai hotel in a helicopter - which gave me a fairly good idea of what the gulf state is all about. The Burj rivals most of the city’s taller skyscrapers.
The Burj is quoted as being “the most prestigious 1km on the planet”. While, just down the road, the Dubai Mall is like an oasis for retail fanatics, with the tagline ‘the earth has a new centre’.
This is a land of superlatives, where no hotel or shopping centre can be too big, or have too many fairy lights draped around its gardens. But that’s not to say it’s gaudy or overly ostentatious. The desert city is a wonderful mix of ancient and modern, refinement and extravagance, where all cultures come together under the sunshine of Sheikh Mohammed’s dream kingdom.
For a stunning overview of the city, don’t miss a helicopter ride along the coast, over the World and the Palm Jumeirah islands, then past the seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel, with its iconic sail shape. For other spectacular views, at much less cost than the chopper trip, there’s the Dubai Cable Car, which runs the length of the park overlooking the creek.
Wowed by the city’s modern achievements, we headed to the spice and gold souks of old Dubai to get a taste of the its heritage. Sacks upon sacks of brightly coloured spices lined shop-fronts tucked down cobbled passageways, where bartering is a must.
Exploring the narrow streets around the gold souk, you’ll also find beautiful pashminas, kaftans and other glittering textiles. For the ultimate shopping experience, lose yourself in the Mall of the Emirates - the largest outside North America - with 350 shops.
Dubai’s many malls stay open from 10am until 10pm and sell everything from French fashion to Japanese electronics. Sales are on from June to September when Dubai throws its annual Summer Surprises, or you can wait for the Shopping Festival in winter.
Adrenaline-junkies enjoy dune bashing in a 4x4 through the desert before cooling off with a ski session at Ski Dubai. Built like a real resort complete with chalets, the world’s first indoor black run and fresh snow made each day, the complex at the Mall of the Emirates is an impressive one - but it’s easy to forget where you are.
After an exhausting day of fun, we retired to the Khaymat Al Bahar restaurant at the Madinat Jumeirah for a taste of real Arabic cuisine and culture. Here you can sample delights from kibbeh (minced lamb) to baklava (nut pastries) while being entertained by a belly dancer. Or, for a slightly more romantic dinner, hire your own private yacht and sail down the creek at sunset.
With so much variety, it’s easy to see why Dubai is fast becoming one of our favourite adventure destinations.
Travelbag offers three nights B&B at Atlantis the Palm from £679 per person in June, including flights with Royal Brunei from London Heathrow.
To book call 0871 703 4240 or go to www.travelbag.co.uk