Dubai has been perennially listed as one of the most expensive cities in the world. Despite the recent financial crisis, tourists still flock to this tiny emirate on the edge of the Persian Gulf to get a taste of the high life. With some of largest man-made luxury havens and destinations in the world, the cost of living in this city is as atmosphere-piercing as its skyscrapers.
Here’s a look at some of the big places tourists from across the globe visit when in this desert oasis.
Atlantis, The Palm
Set on Palm Jumeirah, one of the largest artificial islands on the planet and even visible from space, Atlantis, The Palm is a six-star resort attracting some of the well-known VIP’s in the world. Michael Jordan, Chris Tucker and Lindsay Lohan have all experienced the premier luxury destination’s amenities while pop diva Kylie Minogue made her Middle Eastern concert debut at the resort. Atlantis has its own conference center catering to wealthy businessmen and a seemingly endless stretch of beach for those seeking a water hideaway. This man-made paradise is also complete with a marine habitat called Dolphin Bay where guests can befriend dolphins, a water theme park and an 11-million litre aquarium, it’s own monorail connecting the island to the mainland and luxury boutiques across 2,000 square meters of retail space. And don’t forget the main building of Atlantis itself, a giant luxury hotel with over 1,500 rooms for the pampered guests.
Burj Al Arab
The fourth tallest hotel in the world has a lot to brag about. Many know this luxury hotel being tagged as a “seven-star” wonder, a claim their management denies came from them. However, it’s easy to see why the Burj Al Arab strikes any guest as a paradise beyond luxury. Known more for its iconic architectural design, the Burj is set on its own artificial island connected only to Jumeirah beach via a bridge jutting out onto the sea. Rooms are not only spacious, ranging from 169 to 780 square meters, but also come with amenities like a private lounge, a master luxury bathroom and a personal butler service. The largest of rooms, The Royal Suite, has its own four-poster canopy bed, private cinema and private elevator. And the body products? – all courtesy of Hermes 24 – Faubourg fragrances.
Desert Safari Dubai
Visitors to the emirate who may want to have a bit more of an adventure Dubai-style head on to Desert Safari Dubai for their taste of the sand dunes. Driving across the sands with your own four-wheel drive, the safari also boasts of an after-adventure relaxation of star gazing accompanied by traditional Arab music. A delicious barbecue dinner is also set serving not only Arabic cuisine but continental dishes as well, complimented by a belly-dancing show while amidst the vast expanse of the desert. The Desert Safari management does the pick up and dropping of guests as well as the tours of historical sites and isolate villages in this oasis of a city, making it easy and convenient for the adventure seekers.
Spread across 400,000 square meters, the Madinat Jumeirah is almost a city of its own. It’s comprised of three hotels, the Mina A’ Salam and the Al Qasr, both boutique hotels; and the Dar Al Masyaf, Arabic summerhouses echoing Islamic architecture. There is also the Malakiya Villas housing the opulent Talise Spa offering a wellness experience ranging from a luxurious massage, yoga sessions, meditations or even nutritional guidance. An extensive gym is also available for guests with a 25 meter indoor pool. The summer houses themselves are enclosed in a series of gardens and courtyards with distinct Arabic design. The Madinat features 44 world class restaurants and bars, 2 kilometers of private beach, its own conference and banqueting centre and of course the much needed free Internet access in all rooms and suites.
If big is what we’re talking about, Dubai has it all patted down. The world’s tallest man-made structure in the world, Burj Khalifa, stands at an impressive and record-breaking 2,717 feet. Conceived as a large-scale, mix-used development, Khalifa, is twice as tall as the Empire State Building in New York and boasts of the world’s highest mosque, pool, nightclub and restaurant – all of which are above the 70th floor. The world’s first super-tall skyscraper also houses the first Armani Hotel designed by its namesake, Giorgio Armani. Burj Khalifa’s interiors include stone and Silver Travertine flooring, as well as intricate Brazilian Santos Rosewood to epitomize the meaning of luxury. Fine art pieces have also been commissioned to complete and adorn the tower’s interiors creating the ultimate luxurious ambiance of this one-of-a-kind urban destination.