A visit to Dubai is like no other in the world. Although part of a desert kingdom located in the United Arab Emirates, activities are diverse and surprising: you can ski down snowy mountains, swim with sharks in a shopping mall, choose stunning gold jewelry in a historic souk as well as relax on beaches and enjoy a variety of sports.
Dubai describes itself as unique, and it is easy to see why. This is a place where nothing is impossible. It is home to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building standing at 2,722 feet to the tip of the skyscraper. A mind-blowing journey in a high-speed elevator takes you 1,476 feet to the observation deck offering stunning views across the city, desert and ocean. On the terrace, telescopes allow you to combine virtual time travel with real-time views. Back on the ground, the spectacular Dubai Fountain provides a fascinating son-et-lumière with massive jets of colorful water.
For shopping aficionados, it is pure heaven. Thousands of shops in Dubai offer the latest luxury goods and top international brands, plus countless independent boutiques containing bespoke items. Then there are the traditional souks where irresistible spices, fabrics and, most of all, gold can be found. Dazzling window displays offer beautiful necklaces, rings and bangles, many of which are totally unique.
Take a camel or jeep ride into the desert, or explore the Wild Wadi with its gravity-defying thrills, water slides and surfing. Relax with a round of golf on one of the many championship-level courses, watch horse racing, go scuba diving or sailing.
Atlantis The Palm is undoubtedly the premier resort in Dubai. Located on the incredible Palm Jumeriah, a gigantic artificial archipelago in the shape of a palm tree, Altantis The Palm is an imposing Arabian Nights fantasy with its iconic archway and towers. This is a place where legends come to life. Incredible sculptured columns with lace-like tracery adorn the entrance hall, while spectacular mosaics catch the eye. Ornate, carved furniture, elaborate, soft furnishings and fiery ceiling paintings make this a fantasy world. The Signature Underwater Suite offers views of fish swimming past amid atmospheric ruins of the lost city of Atlantis.
Outside, there is much to enjoy. The Lost Chambers Aquarium is home to 65,000 marine animals, while elsewhere on site visitors can encounter dolphins and meet up with sea lions or learn to scuba dive and swim with sharks. For thrills and spills, the Aquaventure Waterpark is irresistible. It has been described as one of the top five waterworks worldwide with its Neptune slide, river rides and the unusual opportunity to feed cownose ray fish.
Palazzo Versace offers a very different experience. This is elegance personified. Echoing the style of a sixteenth-century Italian Palace with Moorish influences, it embodies the Versace lifestyle. Glamorous, sophisticated, spectacular, Palazzo Versace is situated within the Culture Village section of Dubai. All furnishings are tailor-made by the House of Versace specifically for the hotel. Pure luxury consists throughout – pastel-colored silk furnishings and parquet flooring make this a romantic, hedonistic place to visit.
Relax with a visit to the spa, where carefully crafted treatments are provided. Dining at Palazzo Versace is an experience in itself. Here you can try “ephemeral dining” in an avant-garde restaurant where unexpected gourmet stories await. Enjoy al fresco views across Dubai creek within the seafood restaurant or relax in the ornate Mosaic, where food is available all day.
Kempinksi’s Mall of the Emirates is perfectly placed for shopping sprees, as it is attached to an extensive mall with 520 luxury shops, as well as being close to the free trade zone. The contemporary décor is modern and bright, with spacious rooms offering views across the city. Full of the latest technology, there are in-room iPads and over 87 TV channels. Concierge services smooth out every aspect of your stay, and exclusive limousine services are available to transport guests anywhere within the city.
Choosing how to relax is difficult, as options abound. Quite apart from the wonderful lounges encouraging you to sit and stay, an infinity pool beckons swimmers on the terrace. A spa and health club provides facilities to get fit, while the unique ski chalets allow you to spend the day skiing on snowy slopes. For families, the Magic Planet has countless fun-filled rides, or enjoy live entertainment in the adjacent theater and Arts Center.
Setting a new standard for luxury hospitality, the Ritz-Carlton is an iconic beachfront retreat in the heart of the vibrant Dubai Marina district. The retreat is an intimate oasis of calm, combining luxury hospitality with the age-old traditions of the Middle East.
The low-rise, elegant, Mediterranean-style buildings facing the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf possess echoes of the French Riviera. All the rooms enjoy sea-facing views from private balconies or terraces across the beautiful gardens and private beach. The Mediterranean theme continues throughout the interior décor, with blues, white creams and cane furniture found everywhere, evoking an aura of calm tranquility. Choosing where to dine is not easy as there is a tempting range of multi-cuisine casual dining restaurants, al fresco cafes, global cuisine and local souk-inspired offerings.
Kids are not forgotten: there is a special evening program as well as Ritz Kids, where specialty courses allow children to take part in various craft and origami activities, or learn to be a junior lifeguard.
The Ritz-Carlton Spa is a positive delight to visit, radiating the traditions and warmth of an Arabian hammam with innovative touches such as the ultra-luxury Rejuvenate and Repair Diamond Rose ritual. The treatments begin with a luminous blend of oils containing damask roses and exclusive diamond dust, followed by a massage and a Diamond Life Infusion facial.