Dubai is not familiar with mediocrity — not when extravagant, glamorous, and opulent are a few of the adjectives that best describe this global city on the Persian Gulf. Needless to say, when it comes to top travel lists, Dubai is no stranger, and with good reason. Nowhere else in the world can you find a police department that has a fleet of luxury supercars or see a group of artificial islands in the shape of the world. Dubai is truly a place where the sky is the limit.
Leave it to Dubai to build hotel rooms underwater, allowing guests to sleep next to seahorses. This is just one of the many outlandish options the city has to offer. Prefer the land to the sea? You can opt to sleep al fresco under the stars in the middle of the desert, Bedouin-style. Of course, there are more traditional lodgings if neither of these works for you. Dubai has a wealth of hotels to suit every taste and budget.
Dubai is home to nearly 10 million inhabitants, with foreigners making up a whopping 8 million of them. With such diversity, you can expect a rich culinary scene. From Chinese to French to South African, Dubai has it all. If elite dining is your style, you’ll want to consider booking a reservation at Indego. The waterfront restaurant is proudly in the charge of two-star Michelin chef Vineet Bhatia, who prepares fine Indian dishes. For a more lax atmosphere, try Tom & Serg for an insane choice of international fusion fare inside an uber-chic warehouse.
Buddha Bar regularly tops lists for the best place to get cocktails in Dubai. This Asian fusion hotspot, in the palatial Grosvenor House, serves up some spectacular drinks. Order the “Little One,” a house signature cocktail shaken up with tequila, passion fruit, kaffir lime leaves, and almond syrup. Buddha Bar is worth a visit even if only to admire the ultra-swanky interior. If coffee is more your choice of libation, head to Mokha 1450. Single-origin coffee reigns supreme at this little boutique café. Have a coffee delivered through one of the café’s several techniques, then sit, sip, and enjoy.
You can’t visit Dubai without seeing the Burj Khalifa spearing into the sky. The impressive structure is, after all, the tallest building in the world and is difficult to miss. Observation decks are on the 124th and 148th floors. If you have a head for heights, a restaurant is open on the 122nd floor of the Burj.
Another experience worth your time is a visit to the Al Fahidi Historic District. This restored heritage area offers thrills of a different kind. Stroll through the winding streets cradled by sand-colored houses, museums, cafes, and shops. The unique architecture and ambiance make this neighborhood a pleasant respite from the bustling city.
Cover photo via Flickr by Sam Valadi