A visit in Dubai easily turns into a magical travel, not just because it’s a big city full of lights and luxury places to discover. Dubai is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, represents the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and during the years has become a global city, a business center and a principal hub for finance, world economy and transports. It is also famous for its innovative constructions, skyscrapers with astonishing design, sport events and for its culture, mostly Arab and Islamic, something that everybody should get to know.
Five places in particular are worth a visit, if you happen to be there.
The amazing Burj Khalifa -also known as the Burj Dubai. It’s the tallest building in the world, with a total height of 829.8 m (2,722 ft) and its construction took almost five years -from 2004 to late 2009- and was design by the American architect Adrian D. Smith: the project was something incredible, as the Y-shaped tripartite floor geometry is designed to optimize residential and hotel space, while a buttressed central core and lateral wings are used to support the height of the building. The complete structure contains 57 elevators and 8 escalators! But what’s really amazing is what you can see there: if you dare to climb the whole building, on the 124th floor you’ll find an outdoor observation deck, named “At the Top” -opened in 2010- where you can admire the panorama, the skyline of the city and you have a fantastic view on the huge fountain system in the garden -which was designed by the WET Enterprises. It is illuminated by 6,600 lights and 50 coloured projectors, it is 270m (900 ft) long and shoots water 150 m (500 ft) into the air, accompanied by a range of classical to contemporary and Arabic music. You just have to enjoy the show from the top.
Burj Al Arab
Burj Al Arab is a luxury hotel located on an artificial island from Jumeirah beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge, which in the evening is illuminated with colored lights. Nowadays this is the third tallest hotel in the world. Burj Al Arab was designed by the multidisciplinary consultancy Atkins, led by the British architect Tom Wright and has a particular V-shape composed by two “wings” spread to form a vast “mast”, while the space between them is enclosed in a massive atrium: the project was so great that the building soon become one of the symbols which better represent the Dubai city worldwide. This hotel holds 28 double-storey floors, which accommodate 202 bedroom suites and -of course- among them there’s also The Royal Suite, billed at US$24,000 per night (if you like to know it has been listed at number 12 on the world’s 15 most expensive hotel suites). Anyway, if you are not going to stay in the hotel, you can have dinner there: you’ll find the Al Muntaha Restaurant, is located 200 m (660 ft) above the Persian Gulf, offering an incredible view of Dubai and the Al Mahara Restaurant as well, which is accessed via a simulated submarine voyage that features a large seawater round-shaped aquarium.
The Dubai Mall
Dubai offers great places where to go and buy everything you want, such as the Dubai Mall which, due to its total area, is the largest mall in the world. It is located in the Downtown complex and counts 1,200 luxury shops. Most of them are famous brands of fashion and jewellery, but there are also theme parks -such as the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo was designed by Peddle Thorp or the SEGA Republic, where you can enjoy over 150 amusement games mainly dedicated to SEGA’s video game icon Sonic the Hedgehog– and other kind of attractions in there. Actually, you can find a 250-room luxury hotel, 22 cinema screens plus 120 restaurants and cafes. This huge mall is also known as the home of the Dubai Shopping Festival, an annual month-long event, usually scheduled during the first quarter of the year, which attracts over 4 millions visitors from all over the world every year. You really won’t get bored in Dubai.
Mall of Emirates
If shopping is your passion, you have to go visit also the Mall of Emirates: this big multi-level shopping mall features more than 630 retail outlets, over 100 restaurants & cafes, 80 luxury stores and 250 flagship stores. It also hosts family leisure activities including “Ski Dubai” (yes, you’ve read it right, it’s the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park), Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre and Magic planet, which is one of the largest indoor family entertainment centres in town. Just in 2015, an ambitious redevelopment project brought to the construction of the new Fashion District, where you’ll find over 30 contemporary luxury brands.
One of the most characteristic places where to go in Dubai is the artificial archipelago of the Palm Islands. It’s composed by three artificial islands, Palm Jumeirah, Deira Island and Palm Jebel Ali, on the coast of city. The Palm Jumeirah consists of a tree trunk, a crown with 16 fronds, and a surrounding crescent island that forms an 11 kilometer-long breakwater and adds 78 kilometers to the Dubai coastline. To get to the island there’s a monorail, opened in 2009, which connected to station 9 of the Dubai Tram (Palm Jumeirah Station). The Palm Jebel Ali is for many aspects similar to Jumeirah, but its project is older and this island is 50% larger than the Palm Jumeirah: it includes six marinas, a water theme park called the “Sea Village”, homes built on stilts above the water and boardwalks that circle the fronds of the palm-shaped territory. Then there’s Deira Island, another group of artificial islands which project has to be part of the whole archipelago of the Palm Islands. For sure, on each one of these islands you can find luxury hotels and very expensive resorts like Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort, Atlantis The Palm, The Fairmont Palm Hotel & Resort, Kempinski Hotel & Residences, Sofitel Dubai, The Palm Resort & Spa, One & Only The Palm, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa or Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah and many others. You probably won’t be able to visit the entire archipelago, but it’s worth to visit even just one of the islands, just to taste the luxury life of their inhabitants.
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Dubai is a magic city, where Arabic culture and business meet in order to create a touristic empire based on a capitalistic lifestyle, which enables its citizens to transform each building in an incredible piece of art from an architectural point of view.