Dubai: A City of SuperlativesFifty or so years ago, no one would have believed that the most lavish, luxurious, futuristic city in the world would be built, practically from scratch, surrounded by the desert.
Yet, that describes Dubai’s amazing metamorphosis into what is today the epitome of opulence among cities in the world. There’s no shortage of amazing architecture, superb cuisine, hotels featuring every amenity imaginable, shopping galore and creative diversions to amuse even the most bored billionaire. But the royal builders of Dubai have spared no expense in making sure this city is unmatched in extravagance. In short, it’s a city of superlatives.
Everything You Need to Know.
About DubaiIndulgent, glamorous, and progressive are words that describe Dubai. This United Arab Emirates city is a luxury travel destination for leisure and business travellers. Dubai combines a modern metropolis with a timeless sensibility and Arabian flair. It’s a dining, shopping, and nightlife mecca where you can allow your adventurous side to take over and partake in excursions such as desert safaris, hot air balloon rides, and sand boarding. Enjoy the beaches, spas, waterparks, and famous golf courses. Whether you’re staring in awe at the Middle Eastern icon: Burj Khalifa, lounging in the world-famous Buddha Bar enjoying late-night drinks, or strolling through the chaotic camel market and interacting with traders, there are so many unique facets of Dubai culture to experience on your next vacation!
From the airport:
The Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world.
Taxis and the Dubai Metro Electric Trains are the most common ways for tourists to travel. The Dubai Metro operates at 10-minute intervals. There are bus connections and taxi pickups at each station and stations are typically 1.5 km apart. Ticket fares depend on distance travelled, but day passes can be purchased for $14 or declining balance cards can be loaded and used on metro, buses, and water buses. Car rentals are available for travellers with an international driver’s license and a valid passport.
The world’s tallest building is an architectural and engineering masterpiece, standing at over 828 meters.
Visit the world’s largest shopping mall with 1,200 retail stores and 200 food outlets. This complex houses the Dubai Aquarium, SEGA Republic indoor theme park, and the Dubai ice rink.
Located just outside the mall in the Burj Khalifa Lake is the Dubai Fountain that shoots water as high as 500 ft. Enjoy the daily light and music performances.
Stroll through the Bastakia Quarter of Dubai and visit the art galleries, garden cafes, textile boutiques, craft markets, and traditional homes that decorate this historic area
These magnificent artificial islands are shaped like a palm tree. Jumeirah, the only island open to the public, is where the ultra-luxurious Burj Al-Arab 7-star hotel rests. Also located on the Palm Islands are upscale hotels, residential villas, water homes, restaurants, malls, spas, marinas, and other attractions.
Here are 10 parameters that provide a glimpse of what Dubai has to offer to lucky visitors.
Double-digit growth: Dubai is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, the most populous in the UAE, a country founded in late 1971. Back then the country’s entire population was 183,000; now Dubai alone homes 2.3 million, made up of 200-plus nationalities. With one million daily visitors, Dubai International Airport has just overtaken London Heathrow to become the world’s busiest.
Dizzying heights: Dubai is home to the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa (829.8 metres, or half a mile high, at 160 storeys), which also contains the world’s highest mosque, restaurant and nightclub. Dubai also boasts the world’s tallest hotel (the 72-storey JW Marriott Marquis) and the tallest residential building, Dubai Marina’s Princess Tower (414 metres and 101 storeys).
Dubai’s Palm Island is famous for being the world’s largest man-made island. In fact, it’s so big, you can see the palm-shaped land mass from space. Construction began nearly 20 years ago, and its logo-like shapes spanning Dubai’s coastline are on every visitor’s agenda for the sheer scope of the project. Each crescent of the palm tree houses a vast number of residential, commercial and entertainment properties, including several luxury resorts.
Dazzling bling: Some 40 percent of the world’s gold is traded in Dubai: more than 2,000 tonnes of gold. Another world record was set by the world’s longest handmade gold chain - 22-carat, 5.5 km long and 256 kilos in weight.
Dubai is infamous for its love of expensive, fast cars. Dubai Police has a fleet of supercars including a BMW i8, Ferrari FF, Lamborghini Aventador and one $1.8 million Aston Martin One-77. During the Dubai Motor Festival, cars costing over AED 1 million each are also available for hire.
The Burj Al Arab set the standard for Dubai when it opened as the world’s first seven-star hotel in 1999. The interior is decorated with 1,790 square metres of 24-carat gold leaf and the Royal Suite costs approximately $20,000 per night.
Dubai Mall is the world's largest shopping mall based on total area, with 1,200 shops. Mall of the World, to be built in time for Expo 2020, will be the world’s biggest and first ‘temperature-controlled city’, with 7km of retail streets, as well as a theme park and 100 hotels. Not to forget Mall of The Emirates with its famous and world biggest indoor Ski Slops.
Dubai's two artificial Palm Islands imported 94 million cubic metres of sand - enough to fill 2.5 Empire State Buildings - while Lebanon is the only ‘country’ in the 263 World Islands open to the public (it’s a nightclub).
Once home predominantly to desert Bedouin and sea fishers and pearl divers, oil, banking and tourism have modernized the city of Dubai radically but you can still see traditional wind towers, falconry, camel and horse racing and find Emirati food such as camel meat, biryani and luqeymat, a deep-fried pancake batter rolled in sesame seeds and drizzled with date syrup. Men wear white dishdashas or kanduras, with a head covering (guthra) held in place by the agal, a black rope originally a camel tether, while women wear black abayas.
As crazy is it may sound, Dubai has plenty of green spaces despite being in the desert. Actually, the proof that luxury living is alive and well in Dubai is found in the lush, green golf courses that are practically everywhere. Consider that Dubai is surrounded by the desert, where water is not exactly in abundance, and you’ll soon understand why all of this living, manicured turf is a sign of opulence and splendor. It costs plenty to keep these grounds tournament-ready. And all that green grass is framed by lavish, gorgeous botanical gardens, resplendent with every sort of tropical plant and flower.