Pillow Talk It’s over the top and not to everyone’s taste due to the heavy use of gold decoration and bedroom ceiling mirrors but it does boast a menu of seventeen different pillows and each suite has use of a butler. – See
The only seven star hotel in the world and the most expensive in Dubai is the Burj Al Arab.For a truly superior desert experience there is Bab Al Shams a hotel nestled in the sloping sand dunes forty minutes out of town and completely given over to luxury, with four pools surrounded by dunes, the award winning Satori Spa and seven restaurants on site. XVA is a charming boutique hotel (just seven rooms) in the historic Bastakiya district, which also has a Gordon Ramsay-approved cafe.
Dubai is a foodies’ mecca with some of the best international names and Michelin-starred chefs opening up eateries including La Petite Maison, Zuma, Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire, The Ivy and the list goes on. All the top end hotels have three or four restaurants so it’s best to do your research before heading out. For those who don’t want to break the bank there is a great selection of homegrown restaurants that reflect the multinational feel of the city. For Iranian try Iran Zamin with branches in Deira and the Marina. Ravi’s famous for its Indian and Pakistani dishes, has branches everywhere and is a favourite with taxi drivers for tasty cheap eats. Of course all the malls have food courts with reasonably priced quality food.
Dubai has more than its fair share of swanky clubs with the super elite spending money on champagne that’s delivered with sparklers blazing and a vast number of servers. Receipts are kept as trophies and published online, the most ridiculous being $182,000 in one night. If that’s your style then your new favourite haunts might include Armani, Crystal, Cavalli and Boudoir to name a few. One of the nicer chic clubs is 360 as it’s an open deck pavilion in the water with 360 degree views of the sea and nightscape. Barasti Beach Bar calls itself an icon of the Dubai social scene, has five bars, live music every night and beach access all day. Most locals refer to it as “Bar Nasty” as it’s a favourite haunt for drunken expats… and yet somehow we always find ourselves going back again and again. (For more suggestions, plus a bit of Gangnam style, find out what happened when Urban Travel Blog set out to explore Dubai’s nightlife!).
Dubai is a global travel hub and most carriers stop here for trips onward to South East Asia and Australasia. The local airline Emirates is excellent, flies from most destinations and has it’s own terminal – so luxury all the way. Fly Dubai is the budget airline and sometime has great deals. Otherwise to get here it’s a long walk across the dunes.
One of the best sites for local info and reviews is Time Out Dubai with current daily and weekly listings. The Government of Dubai has useful portal answering all questions tourists may be concerned about, and you can even email in and they’ll reply with a day.
The Explorer is a UAE publishing company and does the best guidebook to the city which can be purchased at the airport, every bookstore and many newsagents. It’s more in depth than the Lonely Planet and in my view easier to use. Camels Love Dubai, by Stephen Wilkins, is the story of Mohan Adikaram from Sri Lanka who loses his family in the 2004 Tsunami, and then moves to Dubai and goes to university there after being fostered by a rich local resident. Desperate in Dubai, by Ameera Al Hakawati, tells the tale of Lady Luxe and several other women living in Dubai, on the hunt for husbands, or, failing that, nocturnal diversions…
Famous/credible films set or shot in Dubai are few and far between. Probably the best is City of Life, which offers an interesting look at the diverse lives that meet here in UAE, whilst Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Code 46 and Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies all feature scenes from the city. They say a TOWIE movie could be in the making