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Miracle in the Desert

Good day to all of my friends. I hope you are enjoying a sunny life today!

When I think of sun and fun, Dubai comes to mind almost instantly. Dubai is a fantastic destination for a holiday, for business or for combining both into a ‘bleisure’ trip.

qatar dubai

Skyscraper city – left or right there is one in sight!

Dubai -Burj Kalifa

The Tallest Building in the WORLD!

Dubai is nothing short of a miracle of growth fuelled by trade and commerce. It was founded in 1833 as a fishing village with about 800 inhabitants. Today, it has 3.4 Million residents and it is still growing! Each year, it welcomes about 4.75 Million visitors – more visitors than its entire population. I first started visiting Dubai in 1995 when it was “up and coming”. Then, the city had 575,000 residents. I was impressed by Dubai’s plans for the future. Well, the future has arrived, and it is taller, bigger and better than anyone could have dreamed twenty-five years ago!

Dubai is all about trade, commerce and shopping. Because it has very little oil, unlike its sister Emirate of Abu Dhabi, it had to survive by trade. To attract people from all over the world, it has built infrastructure like airports and highways, signature architecture like the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building) and the iconic Burj al Arabi, trading facilities like the Jebel Ali Port and world class hotels and leisure facilities.

Dubai has built itself into a world-class destination where you are spoiled for choice. First and foremost, Dubai is about shopping. It has the world’s most elaborate shopping malls. The Dubai Mall is the largest in the world with more than 1,200 stores. It also has an enormous aquarium as its feature. The aquarium is so large and packed with swimming creatures of all sorts that you can dive inside it during guided excursions! The Mall of the Emirates is another shopping landmark with more than 700 stores. It has an indoor ski slope where you can practice skiing and snow-boarding – even when it is 45C (115F) outside! Dubai even has its own shopping theme park, Global Village, where the signature goods of more than 75 countries are for sale!

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The Wall of Swimmers at the Dubai Mall

Here’s a pro-tip: It is undeniably hot in Dubai – especially during its long summer. That means that the city really comes alive at night. Shops, malls and restaurants are all open late. So, relax by the pool during the day and take a long nap before having a great time at night!

When you are tired of shopping, you can take in theme parks instead. There are more than thirty theme parks and some are extraordinary. In a place as warm as Dubai, you would expect water parks to be big, but in Dubai ‘big’ means ENORMOUS.  Atlantis has the best known and most elaborate water park but there are many from which to choose. I like the Wild Wadi which is locally themed and fun for the entire family.

Dubai - Atlantis Hotel

Located on the apex of the Palm Dubai – The Atlantis

There are large air-conditioned indoor theme parks like Motion gate and Bollywood Parks where you are free of the oppressive heat. Dubai intentionally set out to be a family destination and its investment in theme parks was part of that strategy.

Visiting Dubai is easy because Emirates Airlines was developed specifically to take guests to and through the city. Emirates has changed the way the world flies. Migrating birds find it easier to take Emirates – even though they invariably have to change planes! While Dubai is served by many of the world’s finest airlines, Emirates Airlines dominates. The airport is one of the most fun but least convenient in the world. The distance between connecting gates can be daunting enough to require a train, which is wildly inconvenient, but the shopping along the way is fun and exciting. The Airport is packed with shops, restaurants and lounges. It’s the first feature destination airport in the world!

Here’s a pro-tip: most airports in the world allow ninety minutes for connecting from one international flight to another. Dubai allows two hours because the distances are so vast. Arrive at the airport at least three hours in advance for departure or you’ll be rushing to the gate and you’ll miss all of those last minute bargains for sale!

Burj Al Arab

One of the most iconic structures in the Middle East – The Burj Al Arab

Taxis are plentiful, inexpensive and efficient. There is no reason to take an unlicensed taxi in Dubai. Ridesharing is becoming popular as well. There is even Uber Helicopter if you’re in a particular hurry. There is an efficient monorail system that is a fun way to travel quickly across the city’s various districts. Dubai is trying to become more eco-friendly so please consider taking public transport when you visit.

Hotels are plentiful and cater to all tastes and budgets from the low-cost to the ultra-luxurious and mega-expensive. The first hotel in Dubai was built in 1959 and the second and third were only constructed in 1968. When I first visited Dubai in 1995, there were 167 hotels with 9,400 rooms in total and it seemed like they were everywhere. As of early in 2019, there are 719 hotels with 118,000 rooms. That’s incredible growth!

Along with world-class hotels, Dubai is a foodie paradise. Every type of food, served in any manner is available virtually 24-hours per day. Almost all celebrity chefs have a signature restaurant in a Dubai hotel because only hotels and a few other designated zones are licensed to serve alcohol.

Here’s a final pro-tip: for a truly incredible view, book a table at the Atmosphere Bar on the 121 floor of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. A visit to Atmosphere is more exclusive than the viewing platform, provides incredible views and it’s a treat that you should enjoy with someone you love!

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Afternoon Tea 121 floors up in the Sky!

If you visit Dubai, you’ll marvel at this miracle in the desert!

 

Love,

 

Isabella

Isabella’s Checklist

What to see:  Burj Khalifa, Iconic Burj Al Arab, The Dubai Mall, Indoor Skiing at the Mall of Emirates, The many Water Parks and the Dubai Fountain Display (https://www.visitdubai.com/en, https://www.burjkhalifa.ae/en, https://thedubaimall.com/, https://www.skidxb.com/, https://www.atlantis.com/dubai/atlantis-aquaventure, https://www.emaar.com/en/our-communities/downtown-dubai/the-dubai-fountain)

Where to stay: The list is long with a choice of 719 hotels to choose from. High end luxury through to budget apartments and small city hotels.  There is something for everyone in Dubai.  Try the Burj Al Arab for opulence and magnificence, the Atlantis is great for families with water babies, and the Palm has beautiful new hotels with beach access and calm warm waters (https://www.jumeirah.com/en)

Where to eat: Foodies will be in heaven as there are all kinds of international cuisines available, from upscale chef’s signature restaurants and Arabic food haunts to hotel buffets of the grandest scale you will ever see!!!!  Sunday Brunch has become really popular as well (https://www.likealocalguide.com/dubai/eating)

Where to party: Some amazing nightclubs and club nights in Dubai are happening.  Lots of partying into the early hours.  Take a look at Culture Trips list of recommendations (https://theculturetrip.com/middle-east/united-arab-emirates/articles/7-must-visit-nightclubs-in-dubai/)

What to buy: Famous for its duty-free shopping there is lots to buy in Dubai. Some of my favourites include: Gold jewellery, Arabic perfumes, Emirati Chocolate and Shisha Pipes of course!

The Amazement will Amaze you!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see:  Burj Khalifa, Iconic Burj Al Arab, The Dubai Mall, Indoor Skiing at the Mall of Emirates, The many Water Parks and the Dubai Fountain Display (https://www.visitdubai.com/en, https://www.burjkhalifa.ae/en, https://thedubaimall.com/, https://www.skidxb.com/, https://www.atlantis.com/dubai/atlantis-aquaventure, https://www.emaar.com/en/our-communities/downtown-dubai/the-dubai-fountain)

Where to stay: The list is long with a choice of 719 hotels to choose from. High end luxury through to budget apartments and small city hotels.  There is something for everyone in Dubai.  Try the Burj Al Arab for opulence and magnificence, the Atlantis is great for families with water babies, and the Palm has beautiful new hotels with beach access and calm warm waters (https://www.jumeirah.com/en)

Where to eat: Foodies will be in heaven as there are all kinds of international cuisines available, from upscale chef’s signature restaurants and Arabic food haunts to hotel buffets of the grandest scale you will ever see!!!!  Sunday Brunch has become really popular as well (https://www.likealocalguide.com/dubai/eating)

Where to party: Some amazing nightclubs and club nights in Dubai are happening.  Lots of partying into the early hours.  Take a look at Culture Trips list of recommendations (https://theculturetrip.com/middle-east/united-arab-emirates/articles/7-must-visit-nightclubs-in-dubai/)

What to buy: Famous for its duty-free shopping there is lots to buy in Dubai. Some of my favourites include: Gold jewellery, Arabic perfumes, Emirati Chocolate and Shisha Pipes of course!

The Amazement will Amaze you!

3 Comments to “Miracle in the Desert”

  1. Thank you so much for the encouragement! We want to create a blog that will be interesting and also useful to our readers. Thus, comments like yours are very important to us. Let us know if you have any additional questions we might answer.
    Warm regards,
    Isabella and Bart

    Bart Bybee at 2:28 pm
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