In under 7 hours from Heathrow you can find yourself landing in the money rich Emirate of Dubai.
From the moment you arrive it is very apparent how much money has been thrown into Dubai for the tourist trade. There is still quite a lot of building work going on and every month the skyline is changing slightly – I would imagine that just 10 years ago this place looked very different but the current building work does not detract from the overall cleanliness and splendour of this place.
The first taste of Dubai you are likely to experience (apart from the heat which hits you like a brick wall) is your hotel and there are certainly no shortages of hotels in Dubai and most of these are at least 5 star.
I was lucky enough to stay a week in the Ritz Carlton on Jumeirah Beach and this 5 star hotel certainly did not disappoint. It is perfectly situated at the base of the Palm and near the Dubai Marina and The Walk (an area of restaurants and hotels).
I was expecting a high level of service from my first experience of a 5 star hotel but I was surprised when this level of service was also found in almost every restaurant and shop in Dubai – I found the whole experience to be extremely friendly and courteous.
From the beach you can see the Iconic Atlantis hotel in the distance and almost every hour you can see sky divers descend from the clear blue sky.
Although the skyline is not as Iconic as say New York, Dubai does have some interesting buildings (the one above certainly caught my eye). You can definitely see the influences from other countries when looking at the buildings.
Of course one building you will certainly come across in Dubai is the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the World). You can see this monster from anywhere in Dubai and it’s definitely worth a visit although I was disappointed that the observation deck is only on the 124th floor yet it stands at over 200 floors. At the base of this goliath you will find the Dubai Mall. Now the Dubai Mall is a monster as well, with over 1200 stores, you will also find a huge indoor aquarium, an Olympic size ice rink, a Sega park, fountains, water falls and The Village with Dubai’s only retractable roof.
Once you are shopped out and the feet are blistered one of the most popular activities to undertake is a 4×4 desert safari. You’ll be picked up from your hotel and taken by 4×4 into the desert where you will be driven amongst the sand dunes (included in the safari is a visit to a camel farm, belly dancing, a desert BBQ under the stars etc).
Once back in the population most people will try to catch a glimpse of the worlds only 7 star hotel – The Burj Al Arab down on Jumeirah Beach. The only way to actually enter this extravagant creation if you’re not a guest is to book a table for food (I believe the cheapest option is breakfast at about £45.00). I found the best view is to enter the Madinat complex with its Souk and waterway system – this is a fantastic hotel complex with over 40 restaurants and if you pay for a water tour (not very expensive) then you will see the Burj Al Arab on your way round.
If your lucky when your down by the beach you may even see a few camels amongst the white sand.
Overall I was impressed with the level of service that Dubai offers and the cleanliness. There is still a lot of building work going on but it’s not drastic enough to ruin any photo ops. They have strict laws in the Emirates but these are not as strict as you are led to believe and you can get away with most things in the more Westernised areas and hotels. Alcohol is illegal in all public areas except for hotels and restaurants where it is widely available. The weather is hot with it being 20 degrees on its coldest winter day and rising to 53 degrees in the middle of summer but there are great deals to be had if you can handle the heat as this is their off-season.
Plenty to see and do but now I have experienced Dubai I am not sure if I would return any when soon … there are just too many places I would love to visit before returning.
Its our time down here – Latino 777