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Luxury Travel in Dubai: The Burj Khalifa and Palm Island

OVERVIEW

Dubai - known to most as the land of superlatives - the world's tallest building, largest mall, only indoor ski facility and surely the only city to reclaim land from the sea to build massive islands in the shape of palm trees. Dubai is also a land of contradictions - an uber modern city built by the visionary Sheik Mohammed within the context of a relatively conservative country. Most interesting to us here at Epic Road, with only 30% of Dubai's residents of UAE decent, the remaining 70% are from a staggering 180 countries (that is more countries than there are member nations of the United Nations) making Dubai the most diverse city in the world. Spending time in Dubai is to experience a unique modern melting pot with little enclaves each dominated by people claiming 180 different nationalities. In one day, you can sip mojitos on the beach while watching megayachts cruise the Persian Gulf, enjoy a cheap and cheerful traditional Arab lunch with local workers, indulge in a sumptuous massage with a breathtaking view from 450 feet above ground in the iconic Burj Al Arab, catch an alfresco sunset on the 148th floor of the world's tallest building, enjoy a 12 course gourmet dinner, dance the night away watching travelers and Emirates in traditional white dishdash groove among a panoply of ladies donning couture fashions and then lay your head to rest in the amazing Armani Hotel - at least that's what we did. 

WHAT WE LOVE 

  • Burj Khalifa: "At The Top" - Dubai's urban masterpiece and the tallest building in the world. Home to the luxury Armani Hotel, over 1000 private residences, an 11 hectares park with 6 grand water features that light up beautifully at night and fine dining on the 122nd floor, just two floors below the highest observation deck known to mankind.
  • Spas: While there are so many amazing spas, one worth nothing is the spa at Burj Al Arab - the view alone will simply leave you breathless. Perched 500 feet above the Arabian Gulf and with panoramic saunas and steam lounges looking out over Downtown Dubai, organic body wraps and Chakra balancing hot stone massages, the award-winning Talise Spa is truly the ultimate luxury aqua retreat.  
  • Fine Dining: Al Mahara - experiential underwater dining with a stunning floor-to-ceiling aquarium; La Petite Maison - a harmonious blend of French Mediterranean and Italian cuisine where oil obtained from olive groves on the hills of the Alpes Maritimes is used throughout; Nusret - calling all meat lovers for Nusret Gokce's personal selection and unrelentless attention to detail as both the founder and master butcher for over 20 years; Q-Bara - a modern twist on quintessentially arabesque cuisine with a distinctly high-energy and fashionable ambiance; Zuma - informal yet sophisticated Japanese Izakaya style dining...dining isn't just dining in Dubai, it's an experience in and of itself. 
  • Desert: A beautiful desert just a stone's throw away can have you feeling like you are in the middle of the Sahara in a matter of minutes...cruise the dunes in a 4 x 4 and then stop for a tea and shisha as the sun sets over the desert. 
  • Sheikh Zayed Mosque: The largest mosque in the Middle East and one of the most prominent and beautiful architectural monuments in the world, with massive chandeliers, grand domes and gorgeous inlaid marble. More than 400,000 devout worshippers make their pilgrimage here every year. Located in Abu Dhabi, a neighboring city easily accessible by car (just under 1.5 hours). 
  • Shopping at Dubai Mall: While malls aren't exactly our thing, this is the largest shopping mall in the world so if there is something you want and can't seem to find it (that sun cream only found in Spain, that perfume you can only get in Paris, that handbag everyone does not have in stock), trust us, its here.  
  • Nightlife: Indoor/outdoor hot spots and many with amazing views. For clubs, we love White as well as the newly built Provacateur from NYC. For lounges, we love Iris, Mercury Lounge, GQ's, Address' Hotel Lounge, and of course, 40 Kong. 
  • Skydiving over Palm Island: Perhaps the most stunning drop spot to skydive in the world. 
  • Family Friendly: As one would expect in Arabia, Dubai is one of the most family friendly destinations in the world: water parks, game parks, indoor ski facilities, aquariums... the list is endless. 

REST & REJUVENATE

  • The Address Downtown: A modern property in the happening heart of downtown facing the Burj Khalifa and overlooking the city skyline. Hosting a great late night scene, a five-tiered infinity pool, fabulous brunches and impressive suites with expected breathtaking views and unexpected thoughtful luxuries.
  • Vida: A contemporary boutique hotel for the young and cool, situated in the middle of it all and at an excellent price.
  • Armani: Stunning, minimal and modern design by Giorgio Armani and located at the most prestigious address in town, the Burj Khalifa. Retreat into a world of understated elegance and try to grasp the fact that you're living temporarily (or not, private residences are available for purchase) in Dubai's iconic skyscraper and the tallest building in the world.
  • Mina Salam: A boutique hotel of exquisite style on the shores of the Arabian Gulf. A relaxing sanctuary to retreat to and the perfect location from which to explore Madinat Jumeirah - a lively area with world-class restaurants, bars, cafes, and a traditional souk. 
  • Al Qasr Hotel: Arrive at the entrance, drive along a picturesque tree-lined avenue, notice the beautifully sculpted Arabian horses as you approach your home for the next week - and wow, is it phenomenal. Designed to mimic the Sheik's summer residence, we wouldn't expect anything less.
  • Zabeel Saray: Inspired by the imperial palaces of the Ottoman era and situated on the beach and west crescent of the iconic Palm Jumeirah - Zabeel Saray will take your breath away. This property features lavish suites, royal residences, an outdoor infinity pool overlooking the Gulf and get ready...42 individual spa treatment rooms, 8 hydrotherapy rooms, steam rooms, saunas, snow rooms, 2 thalassotherapy pools and 3 authentic Turkish hammams. So spa hop until your heart is content. 

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Unlike most cities, the Financial District and Downtown Dubai are the cool places to be, filled with art galleries, chic shops, and countless restaurants and cafés.
  • Hot year round, the summer heat is stifling and can reach average highs of 37⁰C/99⁰F, so best to avoid it. 
  • Dubai is both modern and conservative. You can basically wear anything you want and consume alcohol when in hotels, nightclubs and of course in private residences but in malls and on the street, overly exposed skin and public intoxication is not considered polite or culturally appropriate. 

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