Hotspots in Dubai Part 2
Dubai – the city of superlatives
As you have experienced by now (see my hotel portraits from the August and September blogs, as well as my report in the travel blog from last month), the desert metropolis and some hotels of this megacity (the most exclusive luxury hotel in the world – Burj Al Arab) stand for superlatives.
Thanks to the exclusive luxury hotel industry, Dubai offers vacations for luxury lovers and stands out from the crowd, because the former fishing settlement offers extraordinary hotspots and always scores with new world records: The world’s largest water fountain in terms of area (Dubai Fountain) with 14,000 square meters bubbles on the Palm Jumeirah, the world’s tallest building with 828 meters (Burj Khalifa) houses the highest observation deck in the world on the 148th floor. The largest mall is located right next to the Burj Khalifa: the Dubai Mall has over 1,200 stores and scores with the unique Dubai Aquarium. The man-made Bluewaters Island enjoys the largest Ferris wheel in the world (Ain Dubai).
The metropolis of millions truly sets itself apart from the competition and has long since made a name for itself in the art and culture scene. Jameel Arts Center, which opened in 2018 on the Jaddaf Waterfront in the Al Quoz district and specializes in contemporary art, is a must-see. By the way, this neighborhood is known for its young, creative and emerging artist scene. Not only modern Arabic art is created here, but also international art. The art fair, Art Dubai, founded in 2008, is firmly established in the calendar of both local and foreign collectors, connoisseurs, artists and buyers. A visit to the Dubai Opera in Downtown Dubai should also be on your sightseeing itinerary. The opera house, in the shape of a traditional wooden ship, is in fact a multifunctional cultural center, with, among other things, a theater and a concert and event hall for readings, exhibitions or conferences.
In September, I told you that Dubai is shifting into the future in tuned turbo gear while still preserving the traditions of yesterday. No other building than the golden picture frame – Dubai Frame – manages to impressively portray this symbiosis. Its strategic location between the old city core and the new neighborhoods exemplifies this fusion of tradition and modernity. The largest frame in the world (150 meters high / 93 meters wide) with gold-embellished stainless-steel facades as well as ornate decorations is truly an architectural masterpiece. Inside, a journey back in time to the glorious past and into the visionary future awaits you. I don’t want to reveal more, because this sight and the adventure that awaits you at a height of almost 150 meters are something you have to see and experience for yourself.
There are supposed to be over 150 million flowers in the Miracle Garden. In addition to blooming swans, ships and castles, not only is the garden a world record, but also the long-haul aircraft exhibited there with 500,000 flowers: Airbus A380 is the largest floral object in the world.
In the immediate vicinity of the Miracle Garden is the Butterfly Garden. I recommend you a visit to this garden as well. The butterflies flying around create a fairytale atmosphere.
Furthermore, Dubai is a real shopper’s paradise (“do buy!”) Neither the shopping lover nor the power shopper can decide in Dubai which air-conditioned mall to visit and rushes breathlessly from one to the next in a shopping frenzy. In order for you to have a relaxed shopping experience, I will introduce you to some of the magnificent, gleaming shopping malls.
The true shopping palaces are:
- The Dubai Mall in Downtown Dubai extends over four breathtaking floors and is currently still the largest shopping center in the United Arab Emirates. I am always impressed by the Arabic area “The Souk” with the traditional stores on the ground floor. Furthermore, the access to the Burj Khalifa always follows via the Dubai Mall. Finally, this mall is home to an ice- skating rink (Dubai Ice Rink), a 24-meter-high man-made waterfall, a flight simulator, and the highlight of the visit: the Dubai Aquarium with its spectacular underwater zoo. This incredible aquarium holds 10 million liters of water and can be explored in multi-faceted ways: on foot, in a snorkel cage or in a glass-bottom boat. However, do not confuse it with the aquarium in the Mall of the Emirates, which offers about seven and a half million liters of water. After an evening visit to this mall, you can admire the unique water fountains of the Dubai Fountain Show, up to 150 meters high, every 30 minutes. For more details, check out my September travel blog and my hotel portrait of the Palace Downtown.
- The Mall of the Emirates, the second largest shopping center in the United Arab Emirates is and remains my personal temple of luxury. It is located directly on Sheikh Zayed Road in the Al-Barsha district and opened in 2005. It is constantly being enlarged and therefore I always have to reorient myself on every visit. The main attraction is certainly, besides the gigantic acrylic panorama pane of the aquarium, where more than 33,000 sea creatures enjoy themselves, the Ski Dubai Hall with the world’s largest indoor snow park and the absolutely unique snow penguins. You will be lent winter-proof clothes, you will only have to bring your own gloves.
- The Dubai Marina Mall with an exit to the fantastic Dubai Marina Walk is also located on Sheikh Zayed Road. However, it takes 20 minutes by cab to get there from the Mall of the Emirates. This smaller mall scores points mainly because on level P is the meeting point for another Dubai adventure. If you want to rush through the canyons of Dubai Marina once in your life, then I recommend a unique zip line: “XLine”, a zip line ride of up to 80 kilometers per hour, one kilometer long and with a 16-degree incline. As expected, it is of course the world’s longest zip-line in a city, which starts from a height of 170 meters. Send me your bird’s eye view photos of your phenomenal flight over Dubai Marina!
- The Ibn Battuta Mall is also located on Sheikh Zayed Road (about 10 minutes by cab from the Mall of the Emirates) and is located in Jebel Ali Village. It is the world’s largest themed mall, with nearly 300 stores: visitors stroll in the footsteps of Ibn Battuta, the so-called Oriental Marco Polo, and can discover Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India and China in an impressive way in this mall.
- I have already introduced you to the Wafi Mall in my blog when I portrayed the Raffles Hotel. This Egyptian complex with shopping mall must definitely be on your bucket list.
And now I must unfortunately say goodbye to my Dubai. See you again as soon as possible!
Dubai is definitely the destination for a world traveler. The former desert oasis is both an artificially created fairytale world with glitter, glamour and glitz factor, including spectacular skyscrapers, unique shopping malls and breathtaking sights, as well as a vibrant metropolis in the arts and culture and a consolidated business destination. Ultimately, Dubai embodies the symbol of symbiosis between tradition and innovation in an exemplary manner.
Stay tuned for my upcoming blog: The Great Arabian Desert and its unique desert hotels: Al Maha and Qasr Al Sarab by Anantara.