The Intrigue That Is Dubai

Dubai, in recent years, has become an even more popular tourist favourite. It is no surprise when their national airline, Emirates, have extended the number of US cities they fly to, thereby making it easier for many to connect, including us from the Caribbean.

So many have been intrigued by the riches of the Middle East and the Emirate of Dubai tops the list. So why is there intrigue?

Well simply put - Dubai has a little of everything; combining the old and the new to offer your own personal Arabian adventure.

I have to admit that after three visits Dubai remains my favourite, so on this last trip I surprised Mom with tickets to accompany me on a little luxurious getaway to Dubai. Apart from shopping, her main goal was just to put her feet in the Arabian Sea and then go tell all her

friends back home. Typical right?

Oil may have helped transform this once fishing village into a fast paced world class city on the Persian Gulf but Dubai easily captures one's fascination. Everything in Dubai is so grand and over the top, it is like open sesame into this great Arabian wonderland from the minute you arrive.

Many know the Emirate to be a fantastic resort filled with modern and futuristic attractions, but Dubai has also done well in preserving its authentic Bedouin heritage, Arabian Nights bazaars and wild life in both their desert parks and bird sanctuaries.

There is no denying the extravagance that is Dubai too. The buildings are simply either big or bigger. Afterall, they pride themselves in constructing the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa. Dubai is an architecture junkie haven. Between the amazing skyscrapers, extravagant hotels and the manmade islands that are cities in themselves, the architecture will simply wow you.

The old port which was once filled with small Arab dhow boats has eclipsed into the world’s largest artificial harbour. They have also created the well known manmade Palm Islands and boast of six and seven star hotels including the Burj Al Arab. The Dubai Mall is also one of the biggest in the world with the largest aquarium in the world and the Mall of the Emirates houses the only indoor ski slope. Yes, Dubai is in a class by itself and continues to expand attracting visitors across the globe for their modern Arabian adventure.

So what makes Dubai such a hot destination and what would Mom and I recommend for a luxury getaway to Dubai?

Entry to the Gold Souks

The Gold Souks

Mom’s always drilled into me that the best souvenir I could ever invest in is jewellery. So naturally we headed to the famous gold souks, not just to ogle at some elaborate 22 karat gold pieces but to buy a few pieces…as souvenirs for ourselves off course! It is definitely worth a visit and has to be the most gold I have seen in one place. If for nothing else, it is on par with a museum, walking through miles of stores with exquisite gold displays that are photo worthy.

One of the many displays of gold jewelry

The Spice Markets

The spice souks give you a taste of old Dubai – the way people shopped, what they bought and how. We love to cook and from the minute you walk in, the air is filled with scents of spices, perfumes and herbs; all mesmerizing and enticing you into buying some to take home. They

make great souvenirs too!

The Dubai Mall

Well if you haven’t noticed I love to shop and what better place than Dubai Mall, the biggest,mall in the world which, again, is like a museum in itself. It is definitely a unique experience shopping with a view of fishes in the Dubai Aquarium. The Emiratis know what they are doing; staring at fishes is a form of therapy and relaxation, just what you need in between shopping to extend your time in the mall. Smart people! I equated the feeling to one of the casinos in Las Vegas where they pump oxygen in so you’re always fully alert and stay longer!

The Burj Khalifa

Ok maybe this should of been number one on my list but shopping clearly was on our agenda first! Dubai prides itself in constructing the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Many call it the jewel of Dubai and it really is an amazing structure to ogle at even if you’re not an architecture junkie. The Armani Lounge at the Armani Hotel in the Burj Khalifa is also note worth for lunch with a view.

The Burj Al Arab

This iconic and opulent luxury 7-star hotel is situated on an artificial island 270m off Dubai’s coast and has been designed in the shape of a billowing sail of a boat. The shipping geek in me has been fascinated with it for years. The Burj Al Arab also houses some unique dining

experiences, Dubai has afterall become a culinary haven over recent years. In treating Mom, we dined at the Burj Al Arab twice. I chose the luxury al fresco dining at the Majlis Al Bahar only for some stunning views under the stars of the Burj al Arab as it changed colours at night. On the next day, traditional afternoon tea on the first floor at the Sahn Eddar Lounge with the symphony of classical sounds including the harp for entertainment, making the experience extra special. They really give you the royal treatment, no matter what dining choice you

choose.

Day trips to the other Emirates

Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the UAE, is only a 45 minute drive away and while it is just as extravagant as Dubai, there are many attractions to spend more than a day in this other famous Emirate. One most significant and must visit is the grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque, which is

considered to be the key for worship in the country. Stick around for some stunning sunset views too.

View from Palm Deira with Atlantic in the distance

The Palms Islands

If I were to spend one night (or more) all over again it would definitely be a tough choice which of the Palm Islands to choose from. Palm Jumeirah may be the first and most popular, it was afterall named a must see architectural wonder by Expedia but the newest on the block Deira Islands enticed us to visit. With spectacular sunset views over the city and with Atlantis in the distance, it was a good decision on our part. The shopping malls being built on these islands are nothing short of massive. Now if only I could buy my own island in “The World", which is another extravagant manmade project built on the Arabian Gulf. Unfortunately Trinidad and Tobago is not one of the Caribbean islands included in this map. Bummer.

View from Palm Deira with Atlantic in the distance

The Activities

When one thinks of Dubai it is natural to think desert too. But there is no time for boredom when there is no shortage of activities (other than shopping and eating off course!) in Dubai.

4x4 desert safari

From 4×4 sand safaris to scuba diving and snorkeling amongst corals, skydiving, seeing Dubai by helicopter or boat on the Dubai Creek and relaxing on the clean golden beaches on the Arabian Sea, Dubai certainly has a way to making you forget the hot temperatures while giving you a memorable experience. 4×4 sand safaris are a must, it is definitely a unique experience you will never forget!

And after feeling on cloud nine experiencing the over indulgence that is Dubai, it was time to fly home on Emirates. I have flown them many times before and raved even more about their world class service, but this trip was extra special since I finally took Mom along with me.

Emirates is now her favourite airline too with the best luxury service she has ever experienced to enhance her little taste of Arabia.

Dubai…a city that keeps you forever intrigued and wanting to return for more.

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Marissa Dookeran - CONTRIBUTOR

Marissa has been traveling since she was four years old. After leaving an international corporate career and 62 countries later, she has chosen to settle back into islandlife in Trinidad keeping up with her travel blogging and business. She continues to travel using Trinidad as her base. Follow her on:

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