Luxury Dubai Holidays
Dubai has been called the crowning jewel of the Middle East. It is a place where two worlds meet - an abundance of modern man-made wonders, right in the cradle of one of the world's most ancient civilisations. All this, plus a wealth of natural scenic beauty, makes for a fusion that very few places on earth can equal.
The name Dubai conjures up many different images for many people. For some, the place is simply a giant theme park, for others a showcase of spectacular architectural masterpieces, for some a shopping metropolis, and for many it is a place to escape the winter and enjoy guaranteed sunshine in decadent luxury. Whatever you imagine Dubai to be, your imagination is almost certainly just a small part of the phenomenon that is Dubai.
Sightseeing Could Be Enough
In fact, no matter what you are looking for, it's virtually certain that Dubai has got it. Even if it's just sightseeing, there's more than enough to keep you wide-eyed -- starting with the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, soaring 2,500 feet into the air, built in a design inspired by the spider-lily desert flower, and especially spectacular at night -- or, some say, at dawn. Beside the Burj Khalifa there is a 30-acre man-made lake, in which are set the Dubai Fountains, one of the city's most stunning attractions. Three huge arcs and 5 circles of jets shoot water 500 feet in the air, illuminated by over 6,000 powerful lights and 50 colour projectors, with songs and music accompanying the displays.
The Shopping Experience
If shopping is your priority, the world's largest mall, the Dubai Mall, is right beside the fountains, and, with its dramatic entrance featuring monumental LED displays, this should definitely be part of your sightseeing too. Actually shopping is only a small part of what is on offer here, as it also includes the massive Dubai Aquarium and Under-water Zoo, an ice-skating rink, a cinema and a children's theme park. Incidentally, another huge mall, the Mall of the Emirates, has an indoor snow ski slope. For a different and exciting shopping experience, you can visit Dubai's traditional souqs, and haggle for food, gold, frankincense, spices, jewellery, clothing, carpets and virtually anything else you can think of.
Away from the Glitz
But Dubai is not all about shopping and skyscrapers, and if you miss out on Dubai's other side, you really have not seen Dubai. For a glimpse into the city's past, you can wander at will through the narrow winding lanes of the Bastakiya Quarter, and take in its traditional Gulf houses built of gypsum and coral stone, with their intricately carved wooden doors and lattices, and large courtyards. Many houses are topped with tall wind towers, an early form of air conditioning that is reflected in much of the city's modern architecture.
Around here you will find the city's oldest building, the Al Fahidi Fort, built in 1787 to guard against threats from neighbouring tribes. Within the fort is the famous Dubai Museum, with archaeological exhibits dating back 4,000 years. Also within the Bastakiya Quarter is the Sheikh Muhammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, and many enchanting art galleries including the Majlis Gallery.
The Dubai malls and skyscrapers don't really give the impression of being on the edge of a desert, so that makes the dune landscape seem all the more startling when you arrive there within minutes -- a stunning contrast. You can go dune surfing, sand skiing, sand-boarding or camel riding, or take a safari tour in air-conditioned comfort. An exciting experience is the Dune Dinner, in which you can watch the amazing sunset from high dunes, and savour a barbecue under the stars at a traditional Arab camp.
A Happening Place
Dubai holidays aren't just for families and the retired, either -- the burgeoning cutting-edge nightlife and club scene is increasingly attracting the younger crowd. The slick designs of clubs like the Armani Privé inside the Burj Khalifa, the unique Cavalli Club, or the mesmerising Cirque du Soir are the places to party, where top DJs play chart-topping music. For something a little more relaxed, there is a plethora of great jazz clubs, piano lounges, and very chic and happening bars and pubs.
There's no denying that Dubai is hot, especially in the summer months -- March to May is the best time to go, if you can. But of course one of the main reasons people visit Dubai is the wonderful range of 5-star luxury hotels, which virtually all, besides being air-conditioned, have not just one pool but several -- and of course one way to spend your holiday in Dubai is to stay by the pool all day. In fact, however, absolutely everywhere is air-conditioned -- restaurants, shops, malls, taxis, public buildings -- so it doesn't really matter when you go, as long as you go. There is no real way to describe Dubai -- ultimately, you just have to experience it.
Dubai Jumeirah Beach Hotels
Dubai Palm Jumeirah Hotels
Luxury Multi Centre Holidays
Dubai, with its pivotal location, is the natural starting point for a multi-centre holiday, and with the extensive route network of Emirates Airlines, combining two or more destinations could not be easier. You can revel in the delights of Dubai before continuing on to fascinating places like Ras al Khaimah or Oman, to sample different aspects of the Middle East. Or you could continue on to such exotic destinations as Mauritius, Sri Lanka or South Africa, all with direct flights from this central hub.