Dubai: Imagine sitting on the 148th floor of the world’s tallest building, sipping a hot cup of tea and watching the sun bidding adieu to the day. Well, you can do at the iconic Burj Khalifa tower here that offers the best panoramic view of this throbbing, cosmopolitan city.
Dubai, a vibrant tourist hub in the Middle East, offers everything one could seek during a vacation — from exotic, heavenly and delicious dishes to a museum basking in the glory of the region’s rich history, to amusement parks and shopping malls. Make a wish, and Dubai grants it.
The love affair with Dubai begins the moment you land in the city. It is a man-made wonder of glitz and glamour. Step out of the airport and skyscrapers of a fascinating variety stand tall to greet you.
My stay was at a newly revamped five-star luxury hotel, The Address, that offers a magnificent view of the Burj Khalifa and a breathtaking view of the Dubai skyline. Located in downtown Dubai, a highlight of the luxurious accommodation is that it directly connects to the Dubai Mall — said to be the largest in the world.
Spread over 13 million square feet, Dubai Mall is paradise for any shopaholic. Name a brand and it is right there. The Mall also has a section called ‘Fashion Avenue’ which is hub of all the premier brands — Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Cartier, Armani, Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior and more.
Also, one can experience the original souks of Dubai which are recreated inside the mall. An added attraction is an aquarium and some exquisite fine diners offering the best culinary excellence of the Emirate’s capital.
Just next to the mall is the Burj Khalifa, which, of course, is a must-visit. It gave me an adrenaline rush while I stood at almost its peak. The view will leave one enchanted and so it did with me. With vast stretches of sand dunes on one side and the crystal clear blue waters of the Persian Gulf on the other, the city appeared charismatic.
A trip to the Queen Elizabeth 2 floating hotel is also worth your while. Steeped in British heritage, this monumental ocean liner, now retired, has a storied history spanning almost 50 years.
Once operated by Cunard as both a transatlantic liner and a cruise ship from 1969 to 2008, it is now a floating hotel docked permanently at Dubai’s Mina Rashid.
Take a trip to the spice and gold souks of Dubai to soak in Arabic architecture and trade. The spice market, dominated by traders from Pakistan and other Gulf nations, offers an array of flavourings while the gold market with its variety in jewelry designs and vast collection will leave one in awe.
Atlantis The Palm also figures in the must-visit list. This property is no less than a city in itself. Built in 2008 and spread over a massive 46 hectares, with 17 hectares of water park alone, it’s a dazzling world of imagination, pleasure and luxury.
With more than 25 restaurants, an adventure water park, Dolphin Bay, The Lost Chambers Aquarium, Sea Lion Point, Atlantis makes an ideal destination for a family on a day out.
Dubai, being a cosmopolitan city, has also evolved as a hub of some of the world’s finest restaurants. From traditional Arabic dishes to lip-smacking sea-food delicacies, Dubai is a gastronomical delight.
So this festive season, head to Dubai for a glitzy Christmas and New Year with family and loved ones.