Dubai has become the city that is a must-see location. Known as the unstoppable tourist industry that attracts the curiosity of people worldwide, the city of Dubai creates far more headlines than Jordan which has the most incredible desert landscapes, Dead Sea, Red Sea and the glories of Petra. This is truly a city that never sleeps and if you find yourself spending twenty four hours there, you will have lots to do. In the city of Dubai the divide between the super rich and super poor is probably more apparent than anywhere else.
The best way to experience Dubai is through your stomach. Here you can find top end five-star cuisine of the highest order, while Al Dhiyafah Road remains the cheap-eats street of Dubai. Although Dubai is officially a Muslim state, alcohol seems to flow liberally. According to the law, alcohol is only allowed to be served within the confines of a hotel. With so many Dubai bars and restaurants located in 450 hotels, no-one is going thirsty in this desert town.
This city has a rather strange relationship with the bottle. On Friday, the Muslim holiest day of the week is when many of the Dubai bars and restaurants are open for ‘champagne brunch’. This culinary experience can hardly be compared to any other. With heaped buffets, an experience in gluttony and free flowing alcohol, this is Dubai’s exercise in excess.
Le Meridien’s Yalumba and Fairmont’s Spectrum on One, each offer unlimited champagne and tables which are taking strain under layers of prawns, oysters and prime steak. While Yalumba is the venue where people usually overdo it with dancing-on-the tables and the occasional bubble trouble, Spectrum remains the more civilized.
Mina A’Salam Brunch offers an excellent alfresco outdoor seating which includes a kids’ club and live cooking stations. However, if you prefer an evening drink you should head to the open-air 360 Degrees. This is a rooftop bar located out-to-sea, right next to the famous Burj Al Arab. The city’s only real beach bar is Bar 44 at the Grosvenor House. This venue offers views of Le Meridien Mina Seyahi’s Barasti and the New Dubai.
The Burj Al Arab is a seven-star establishment, if such a rating ever existed. Everyone knows you don’t get higher than a five-star rating. This venue dominates the imagination and the Dubai skyline like nothing else. It is probably the least subtle of hotels, but certainly the tallest in the world. Gold leaf undercoats, forecourt filled with a fleet of white Rolls Royces, fountains in the foyer and a fireworks launch that announces the arrival of VVIPs.
You can only enter this establishment by booking a table in the hotel’s eateries or by paying for a room. The baffling bright interior of Al Muntaha on the top floor prevents you from viewing the outside. Sahn Eddar is famous for serving afternoon tea while Al Mahara is an expensive restaurant that serves fish, with an aquarium that is larger than the apartments of most people. From the beach-based Majlis Al Bahar you can admire the Burj’s very impressive exterior. The hotel’s beauty is on the outside and you get to view it from the best in Dubai bars and restaurants. You may end your evening by enjoying a nightcap at the cocktail bar on the top floor, where you can relax and gaze out over the night lights of Dubai.
The cheap-eats end of Al Dhiyafah Road, sports restaurants that cater for the less affluent. While feasting on food from Iran, Lebanon and the Indian subcontinent you will find this the ideal place to people watch. For spicy mixed grills and zesty salads, visit Sidra on the northern side. You’ll find Pars Iranian Kitchen dishing out fresh seafood and succulent lamb from their outdoor grill on the other end. One of least presentable, but widely known as the best of the curry houses is the Ravi Restaurant, a Pakistani spice-peddler. This venue is located across from Pars Iranian Kitchen, but is separated by enormous traffic.
The Blue Banana offers expeditions to the desert by four wheel-drive safari. However, incredibly popular these tours may be, you will need a tolerance for being thrown around in a sand Jeep. These may include henna painting, belly dancing and touristy BBQs. And last but not least, visit Bab Al Shams, the plush desert escape for a rooftop cocktail while you watch the sun dip below the desert dunes.
IMAGE CREDIT : Morguefile