Trying to decide if you should visit Dubai? The answer is yes and the time is now. Dubai is an amazing place that mixes old world Middle Eastern charm with the modern western world. In fact if you can dream it, Dubai probably has it. From the world’s tallest building to ski slopes indoors, this is a fascinating city that will keep you coming back for more. And with the fast paced construction that is constantly taking place, you’ll be sure to find something new and amazing on every visit.
One misconception is that Dubai is only for the wealthy. In fact, Dubai is affordable for everyone’s budget.
Because of the extreme heat most of the year, albeit a dry heat, everywhere you go there is air-conditioning. The city’s endless miles of air-conditioned walkways, makes it easy to explore the city in comfort. Our last trip began with a tour of the city’s famous malls. Even if you are not a shopper, you’ll marvel at the architecture each mall has to offer, the many restaurants and activities offered. The Dubai Mall is home to the Dubai Aquarium, with a floor to ceiling fish tank that can be viewed as you stroll through the mall. Outside of the mall you’ll find the awe-inspiring Dubai Fountain. Experience the world’s largest dancing water fountain,with the Burj Kalifa as your backdrop.
One of our favorite things to do in Dubai is to take a ride on the Abra boats down Dubai Creek. These boats ferry locals and tourists to different stops along the river. Take a ride to the old spice market, and stroll the many shops of the Souk. This area is called Bur Dubai, it’s the oldest area of Dubai, where the city was first settled. Here you’ll find the Al Fahidi Fort, built in 1788, now housing the Dubai Museum. The Arabesque style buildings in this neighborhood and the sound of the “call to prayer” coming from the minarets, will encapsulate you in a true Middle Eastern feeling.
Don’t miss The Souk Madinat Jumeirah. You’ll stroll through a modern version of the Arabian bazaar’s of the past, while taking in the beautiful architecture and picturesque scenery of this sprawling property, which is home to the Al Qsar and Mina A’ Salam hotels. Abras (water taxis), will carry you along the resort’s Venetian style, man-made waterways to the many shops, canal-side restaurants and bars throughout the property.
Welcome to The Palm Jumeirah, the man-made island in the shape of a palm tree housing premium hotels and residential property. Our first stop was Atlantis, a huge hotel which attracts many tourists, but doesn’t feel overcrowded. This is a beautiful place with a magnificent pool overlooking the Persian Gulf and the city skyline of Dubai. Inside you’ll find an array of restaurants including our favorite, Levantine, serving traditional Lebanese cuisine complete with music, belly dancers and after dinner shisa! Atlantis is also home to the hip and ever trendy, Nasimi beach. We rented our own cabana and were treated like royalty as we soaked up the sun and sipped on cocktails, at this adults only beach club.
We decided to go to Neos for pre-dinner drinks. Neos located at The Address, Downtown Dubai was the perfect choice. On the 63rd floor overlooking the Burj Kalifa and The Dubai Fountain, sunset never looked so nice. What a great opportunity to see the daylight fade as the lights of Dubai come alive! Neos was created for just this reason. Spectacular!
High above Dubai you’ll marvel at the dizzying views and excellent cuisine at At.mosphere, billed as the worlds highest restaurant at 442 meters (1,350ft) on level 122 in the Burj Kalifa. We were pleasantly surprised on our visit that the menu selection and quality of the food was quite good. I thought the hype of dining above the clouds would result in a less than satisfactory dining experience, another way to lure in the tourists with the view then serve a sub-par meal. In fact it was the opposite, with excellent choices of wine and very attentive servers. It’s a fantastic way to spend the evening. Check out the restroom, another room with a view.
Touted as “The world’s only 7 star hotel,” our curiosity was peaked to get a glimpse of this iconic sail shaped landmark, The Burj Al Arab. We made a reservation at the Skyview Bar on the 27th floor overlooking the Persian Gulf. Not only was the view amazing, but the drink menu consisted of innovative cocktails with unique ingredients dreamed up by one of the many mixologists tending the bar. If you’re not afraid of heights, take the glass elevator directly to the Skyview Bar. Very cool!
The Rooftop Terrace at the One and Only Royal Mirage is a great place to relax and unwind under the stars. The ambience is pure Arabia. We went with a group of friends, but it’s perfect for couples too. We enjoyed cocktails and traditional mezzehs while listening to what this place call Arabesque chill-out music, while sinking into the cozy couches complete with lots of pillows.
Our visit to Dubai was truly extraordinary, but there’s still more to experience in this city that’s only just begun. We look forward to returning, knowing we’ll find something new and impossible to imagine, but always possible in Dubai.
Cy & Rich
Photos by Cy & Rich