Flourishing as the Middle East’s major commercial hub, vibrant Dubai – a mere fishing village 60 years ago – has blossomed over the past decade into the world’s hottest new tourist destination. A hot but dry desert climate tempered by cooling Arabian Gulf breezes, the allure of the mystical desert, great beaches and a chance to sample Arabic culture while enjoying thoroughly modern Western-style amenities are all part of the irresistible appeal.
Nothing in Dubai is really old but if you like cutting-edge modern architecture then nowhere else on earth can offer such a massive wow factor as does the United Arab Emirates’ largest metropolis. Dubai is growing – fast. On the way is the 700 metre tall Dubai Tower, set to be the world’s highest building, along with the world’s largest shopping mall, the world’s first underwater hotel – Hydropolis – and The World, an amazing man-made series
of 250 islands shaped to represent a map of the globe.
Already on hand are the iconic sail-shaped Burg Al Arab Hotel – currently the world’s tallest – and the new Ski Dubai indoor winter sports centre at Mall of the Emirates where you can snow ski a stone’s throw from desert sand dunes. It’s a large city and, given the climate, you will be taking lots of cabs and buses but a surprising amount of it is walkable, especially around the Creek, an attractive stretch of water that bisects the city.
Around 80 per cent of the residents are ex-pats, not only from Europe and North America but from all over the Middle and Far East too, making this the world’s most vibrantly cosmopolitan city.