Last month I took a trip to one of the world's newest tourism hotspots - Dubai. The perfect stopover between Australia and Europe or Africa (or a fantastic trip in itself) you can fly Qantas, Emirates or Etihad in their superior Business Class services to this fantastic destination.
Rising like a mirage from the boundless sands of the Arabian Desert, Dubai is a man-made marvel with no equal. The breathtaking collection of modern structures sparkle like a diamond in the Middle Eastern sun, and at a glance it is easy to see why this famous destination is the playground for the wealthy. Boasting the World's tallest building, custom designed islands, and the globe's only 7 star hotel; if it's luxury you are searching for then Dubai is the place for you.
The wealth of choices for activities in Dubai is often overwhelming for those who haven't been there before. The ancient fishing town has become an icon of excess and modern ingenuity, symbolised in the world's tallest building the Burj Khalifa. Soaring an astonishing eight hundred and thirty metres above the ground the needle shaped building is a breathtaking sight. Visiting the Khalifa is the best way to start your tour of Dubai as it affords incredible views from its observation deck on the 148th floor! On top of that the tower is located right in the heart of downtown Dubai and is surrounded by must-visit shopping destinations and a plethora of entertainment options.
Dubai Fountain by Night and the Dubai Mall Aquarium
Sharing a metro stop with the tower is the famous Dubai mall. With 1,200 speciality stores on offer and growing, the Dubai Mall has become so much more that a shopping stop and has become a destination in its own right. Expect to find every top end luxury label imaginable here as well as many you've never heard of but will never forget. On top of that you can indulge your senses at the mall's giant ice rink, aquarium, the stunning Dubai Fountain or marvel at the famous 155 million year old dinosaur skeleton!
The New and the Old: Ski Dubai and the Dubai Fort
In addition to the shopping, the heart of Dubai offers holiday experiences like no other, here you can go skiing in the desert. Ski Dubai is the world's largest indoor ski park and is a definite must visit for the pure novelty of trading forty plus degree desert heat for sub zero temperatures more at home to the top of the European winter slopes. After your skiing adventure you can warm up on a visit to the more historic parts of Dubai in Al Fahidi, home of an 18th century fort and the Dubai Museum.
Hot Air Ballooning - Sunset over the Desert
If you get tired of walking around to take in the sights then one of the best and most highly recommended tours is a hot air balloon voyage over the city and surrounding desert. From high in the ski you can truly appreciate the modern marvel that is Dubai, from the gleaming skyscrapers of brilliant steel and glass, to the intricate canals of manmade luxury islands.
Burj Al Arab Royal Suite and Swimming Pool
The playground for the wealthy has learnt to cater for truly discerning taste and Dubai has on offer some of the world's best luxury resorts. The jewel amongst them is the iconic Burj Al Arab, the world's only seven star hotel. The sail shaped hotel is a wonder to behold and a dream to stay inside. Every moment of your stay is fine tuned to give you the best experience possible from the discreet check in at a private reception on your floor to the host of personal butlers at your disposal and the optional chauffeur driven Rolls-Royce. With nine signature restaurants and bars, as well as the world famous Talise Spa, once you enter the Burj Al Arab you'll never want to leave.
Close to the Burj Al Arab is the incredible Madinat Jumeirah Resort, which offers four unique accommodation options in the one complex. Designed to resemble the modern interpretation of a traditional Arab village with the interior connected by close to four kilometres of meandering waterways and a complimentary Abra (traditional wooden boat) service, and offering a traditional Souk Madinat with seventy five specially selected boutiques stores.
Madinat Jumeirah Resort
Within the resort you will find four accommodation options, each more luxurious then the last. The Jumeirah Mina A’ Salam, a newly refurbished contemporary and elegant Arabian hotel with guaranteed inter-leading rooms at the time of booking. Jumeirah Al Qasr, a grand and opulent Arabian palace hotel that is truly the crowning glory of the Madinat Jumeirah. As well as the two hotels there is also the villa options, including 29 intimate and tranquil Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf Summerhouses with 24-hour butler service & free sunset happy hour. And finally 7 luxurious two and three bedroom Malakiya Villas with private swimming pool, personalized butler service and luxurious amenities. On top of these an exciting new property will open at Madinat Jumeirah in the second half of 2016, Jumeirah Al Naseem.
There is so much to see and do in Dubai that the city has become so much more than just a stopover base. You definitely need a few days to truly get the best out of your stay, which makes it the perfect stopover on your way to a larger holiday in Europe, Asia, the Middle East or Africa. But be warned, once you've been to Dubai once, you'll just keep wanting to go back.