A recent destination for my luxury travels has been Dubai. Dubai is the most progressive emirate in the United Arab Emirates and only a short five-hour trip from Europe. With the largest population of foreigners in the world, the location provides a perfect meeting point for interacting with and learning about all cultures. In 2003, Condé Nast Traveler’s readers’ poll, Dubai was also voted the world’s safest locale. I had a pretty good idea that there were sandy beaches, blue water and palm trees here, which is why I wanted to indulge myself in an experience where clear skies were the norm. I decided to stay in Dubai for one week in January, which is the busiest period in Dubai. My first destination was the Dubai Oberoi Hotel. I asked for a room facing the pool and was upgraded to a suite from the luxury room courtesy of The Oberoi. To my surprise, the suite came with butler service which was very helpful since I entertained a few friends and business associates.
The room was really splendid. Anything which was missing in the room like a docking station, shaving foam, etc. was attended to promptly. The poolside was lovely; the restaurants like Umai, Ananta and the all-day dining, NINE7ONE were all excellent. I have stayed at many hotels all around Southeast Asia but cannot compare Oberoi’s hospitality. I would also like to add that although the hotel is a business hotel it still is a very good choice for families and couples. Its proximity to Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) is great.Dubai Oberoi Hotel
On my second day, I explored The Dubai Mall, just 7 minutes away by car and home to just about every major fashion brand in the world. There was a hotel shuttle which took me to the mall. The hotel shuttle is a 12-seat, air-conditioned van which leaves at set times and is complimentary. The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping mall in the world with both high street and haute couture fashion, aquarium inside, musical fountain outside and The Mall of Emirates nearby. The Dubai Mall is adorned with a 40,877m² Fashion Avenue, which is recognised as the largest collection of fashion brands under one roof anywhere in the world; The Dubai Mall is set to become the next fashion capital of the world.
The Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue is comprised of high and mid-fashion retail outlets that pay homage to haute couture and some of the finest designer brands in Dubai. The Fashion Avenue’s grand decor complements endless rows of elite fashion names, and aficionados that have the potential to spoil shoppers with choices, as they mix and match clothes and accessories to their heart’s content. Once my craving to shop had been remedied, I returned to Oberoi Dubai. The concierge, by the way, also arranged yellow cabs or Lexus, hotel taxis for me at any time of day.
After a tiring day of shopping, it was nice to return to my room where all that I might need was at hand: refreshments and mini-bar, desk and Wi-Fi, and television that could be viewed from my bed or sofa. Space is luxurious both within the rooms and more-so in the all-glass-divided bath/dressing room, shower and toilet. As if this was not enough, a flick of a switch raises the floor-to-ceiling blinds that separate guests from the Dubai sky-scape. On this particular evening, I sipped a glass of Perrier with lime in the bathtub overlooking the world!
Later, I enjoyed dinner at an Indian restaurant which was obviously appreciated by all nationalities. Staff are willing and very capable in providing advice on what to eat, and with what. The basement 24-hour eatery is great for breakfast while the lobby lounge serves a variety of coffees, including Turkish and Arabic. Overall, this is a great place to stay for those wanting a haven to retreat to from the hectic pace of the city and for those seeking elegance, quality service, and the good things of life in a relaxing environment.
Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers was next on my agenda of luxury hotels to explore in Dubai. Immediately upon entering the Bonnington Hotel, I felt like a valued guest. Nothing was too much trouble, and the emphasis was on courtesy and helpfulness. Although the room rate did not include breakfast, the purchase of discounted breakfast vouchers proved an excellent choice. The breakfast included every type and style, from continental with a wonderful choice of fresh and dried fruit and yoghurts to every kind of cooked breakfast available.
The swimming pool and surrounding area was comfortable and probably one of the coolest places in Dubai on a hot day. The Bonnington was very close to a nearby Metro Station, with the added advantage of a free shuttle service to Jumeirah Beach. The concierge arranged trips for guests, such as desert safaris and trips to the Burg Al Arab. I hired a bike one morning and had a lot of fun riding along the Marina front, where there were plenty of places to stop along the way. The Dubai Marina had some nice places to eat (2 courses with soft drinks for £30). Urbano Italian is also delicious, with tables overlooking the fountains and no need to book, just over the bridge from the Mall to the Souk Al Babar.
I met a group of friends at The Observatory located on the 52nd floor of The Marriott Dubai Marina. I arrived in time for a spectacular sunset and night views of The Palm. I was told that there are several choice locations for viewing the night sky, beach and The Palm in this area. Pure Sky Lounge is located at the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Residence on The Walk. This lounge has an outdoor terrace and is found on the 35th floor of the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Residence. Healey’s Terrace Bar and Megetiggans Irish Bar at the Bonnington Hotel are also relaxing places to observe the skyline and to take a break.
The marina came alive at night with breath-taking views of the surrounding skyscrapers. There were plenty of restaurants to choose from here. Water taxis and buses let guests cruise on the marina for less than £1. The Walk is the place to watch the world go by from plenty of restaurants, most with outdoor seating. Indian Palace is a delicious Indian restaurant on the marina. On my last, and most romantic of afternoons and evenings in Dubai, I took advantage of one of the many boats offering comfortable tours, in a boat designed to resemble a dhow. I enjoyed a wonderful dinner cruise with on-board entertainment, complete with Arabian dances, a musical entourage and the lights and sounds of Dubai. What a wonderful experience in Dubai! Only by visiting for yourself can you enjoy the luxury, hospitality, pampering and scenery that are found in this exotic, moonlit and truly global city.
By Mr. Jones