DUBAI & ABU DHABI: Land of camels and Ferraris
If you’re looking for the true meaning of opulence, ostentatiousness and just basically anything over the top, you’ll find it in Dubai. The largest mall in the world with over 1,000 stores, Dubai Mall (you might need a few days to get through this one!), and the largest building in the world, Burj Khalifa are both here. The seven star Burj Al-Arab hotel complete with helipad and gold columns in the lobby is also here.Birkin bags and Ferraris abound. This may not be your cup of tea though, and since the glitz isn’t for everyone, here are a few tips for those who are just looking for a memorable few days in the U.A.E.
DINE AT TAGINE, ONE & ONLY ROYAL MIRAGE
This is probably the most classy and luxurious hotel in Dubai. Tagine is a charming Moroccan restaurant, tastefully decorated, with good service and delicious food. Drink mint tea and smoke sheesha in the outdoor courtyard and take a romantic walk around the hotel grounds to end your evening.
Go for dune bashing with a private driver, which you can organize through your hotel. Watch the sun set in the desert.
Stop by the gold souk for a slightly more authentic Arabian experience and all the sparkly jewelry you forgot you needed. They have a higher carat gold than in the West and 7 carat diamonds in window displays – in short, something for everyone. Shopping is tax free, so some men even get engagement rings for their girlfriends here.
STAY: At The Address Dubai Marina
Relax and get some sun at the infinity pool with views over the city.
Have a burger or mango and prawn salad from Shade, the poolside cafe. The staff here is very helpful, particularly David and Tarek from the concierge: they can put together a great last minute program for even the most unorganized travelers. The hotel is located right next to Dubai Marina Mall. This low-key mall has most of the essential shops from Karen Millen to Kurt Geiger and is much less crowded than others. Take a walk on the Marina and smoke another sheesha by the water, while taking in the view.
ABU DHABI – Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
This impressive architectural structure is the eighth largest mosque in the world, and holds over 40,000 worshippers. Women can borrow an abaya at the entrance to wear in the mosque.
I’d recommend a maximum of four days here, as the conspicuous consumption can get a bit overwhelming otherwise. It’s the perfect destination for a little sun, sand and a taste of the Middle East for the days you are here though. As always, have a great trip!
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Tags: abaya, Abu Dhabi, Burj Al-Arab, Burj Khalifa, diamonds, Dubai, Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, dune bashing, gold souk, One & Only Royal Mirage, sheesha, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Tagine, The Address Dubai Marina, United Arab Emirates