Friday, March 7, 2014

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

                 I traveled to Dubai from Florida twice; 2005 and 2006. I remember there being “more cars than road”,lots of people scurrying around town ….fabulous architecture and the best shopping! Eight years later, Dubai is more cosmopolitan, has more fabulous architectures, a metro system and who would have believed that I am now living and working a little more than an hour flight from Dubai (“City of Gold”)! 

            Dubai, along with Abu Dhabi, the capital city, and five other emirates make up the United Arab Emirates. The other emirates are Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm. The UAE colors are red (sacrifice), green (prosperity), black (dignity) and white (purity).  

          Dubai, which sits on the Arabian Desert, bordering nearby Oman to the east and Saud Arabia  to the South, is known for the world’s largest dancing fountain, the Burj al-Arab, Burj Khalifa, the tallest building and the Palm Islands which is the largest artificial islands. 


            Dubai is the perfect weekend getaway to break from the “ordinary” with its fine dining, night clubs, and for those of us living in a “dry” region such as Riyadh and would like to partake in a bit of libation, this is the place!   Dubai, synonymous with shopping, can please any purse or wallet holder, especially during shopping season (January-February and July-August) where the sales are absolutely the best! 

            The Fairmont Dubai hotel was my choice to stay. I did not want to be too far from what was going on but also didn’t want the “party” to be so close to “home”. The Fairmont Dubai is a 5-star property that is very well maintained and located minutes from the Metro stations, airport and Dubai Mall. The rooms and bathrooms are modern, clean and spacious and there is a spectacular scenic view of the city.

            Within minutes after the flight and arriving at the hotel in about fifteen minute by cab (by a woman driver!), the first stop was the The Spa @ Fairmount Dubai. The spa was very luxurious with curved ceilings, sculptured walls, and large pillars….kind of like the Roman emperor era. The men and woman facilities are segregated but each offering similar spa treatments and ambiance.  I opted for the treatment called the “Time Zone” which is a 90 minute invigorating massage followed by a 30 minute facial. Now I was rejuvenated for whatever the evening would offer!

            The Fairmount had several restaurants that offered an assortment of yummy entrées. The choice for the evening was a place called Spectrum on One. But on Thursdays it is called Dupper, which means dinner and supper combined. The restaurant’s concept has eight cooking stations with cuisines from Japan, Middle East, China, Europe, Thailand and India, endless cocktails and a DJ. 350 AED (Emirati Dirham) seems like a lot, but truly worth the money!  

            The Dubai Mall, the largest in the area, was the selection for the day. There are over 1200 shops (mid and high end), an indoor aquarium and an ice skating rink. I had my sights set on the Louis Vuitton store!

           Before departing the mall after five hours of shopping and carousing each level…..yes, you heard right, five hours!, we came upon an event that was sponsored by Beauty Connection Spa.   The Beauty Connection, a day spa located in Dubai, had over 100 manicurists at the mall to try and set a new Guinness World Record for the most nails filed and polished in eight hours. The manicurists were to file and polish 50,000 nails to beat the previous record (previous record was 2572 mini-manicures) that was set by Priceline and Sally Hansen in 2011. All proceeds went to Rashid Centre for Disabled. Although the shopping wreaked havoc on the purse, it made my trip to Dubai worthwhile!

            Most cities have some type of touring agenda. Well in Dubai, there is the Big Bus Tour. The tour uses the hop-on, hop-off approach. When you see some structure or venue that is interesting, you hop off and can take the next bus when you are finished exploring. The tour has earphones with recorded commentary about sites along the route. The Big Bus is, I believe, the best way to see most of Dubai in a short period of time. We embarked the bus at the Wafi mall. The Wafi Mall is a mall influenced by Egyptian architecture, mosaic carvings, sculptures and multiple pillars….very nice!

            On  the tour, we passed by the Dubai World Trade Center, a business complex that houses various events and exhibitions and the Jumeirah Mosque which is considered the most attractive in Dubai with its interior that is decorated in  Arabic calligraphy.

             Next on the route was the Burj Al Arab, considered to be the only 7-star hotel in the world, is structured on a man-made island.  Each suite come with its own private butler and the hotel has an underwater seafood restaurant!   

              The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest structure (828 meters and 160 floors), was completed in 2010 and was next on the route. This construction that dominates the Dubai skyline has nine hotels and towers over the entrance of the Dubai Mall. For a spectacular view of the city, Burj Khalifa’s has viewing decks. 

            A familiar structure, if you have ever been to the Bahamas is the Atlantis on the Palm. This construction stretches almost a mile into the Arabian Gulf and is located on the Palms. The Palms is the three largest artificial islands in the world. When I visited Dubai in 2005, these islands were well under construction. Each island is shaped like a palm leaf. To see is to believe, that these are man-made!

          There is way too much to see and do in Dubai in just three days. If I had more time, I would have went and checked out the Global Village. The Global Village is open late November to late February.  Each country set up a small village and has replicas, food and such so that you can experience those regions as though you have travelled there. 

             Dubai definitely met all of my expectations; quick getaway, fun, relaxing and as, you see…..I did not have to wear an ABAYA!!!

All the best,



  1. G'velli, thanks for sharing! You are my shero! Stay thirsty my good friend and favorite G! Raveillie

    1. Hello Raveillie! I hope all is well with you and yours. Thanks for reading! G.