My first visit to Dubai was a very short one. I was quick to declare my dislike for the artificial city. It was too superficial for my senses, I had thought. During my second visit, however, I got to know Dubai better. I understood it better (since this time I had exorbitant glasses on!). I experienced Dubai the way it should be: the indulgent way.
The thing I hated during my first holiday is what I loved during this visit. Not blessed with miracles of nature or richness of history, Dubai celebrates human achievement. The dizzying shopping malls, manmade archipelagos hyperbolic buildings – all define heights and depths of possibilities. Turning sand into gold, the city tells you everything is possible, provided you have the will, determination, vision…and of course lots of money!
Throw in some (no lots) of Dirhams and you are sure to love Dubai. Though there are several other ways to enjoy uber cool holiday in Dubai (like chartering a yacht and spending an afternoon sailing around the World Islands), I am sharing here my top five luxury experiences in Dubai.
1. Friday Brunch: Friday is Dubai’s Sunday. Friday Brunch has become a popular trend of late with several hotels and restaurants offering lavish spreads with free flowing champagne on offer (making you forget that you’re in a Muslim state). Fairmont Dubai claims to be the first one to start the concept of Friday brunch in Dubai. The restaurant, Spectrum on One, goes extravagant in offering over 200 cuisines from all around the world. Disappointingly, the website tells me the restaurant is going to close soon to reopen later with a new identity. I hope they continue to serve the same quality and quantity of food. I am told Yalumba at Le Meridien and Al Qasr at the Madinat Jumeriah are superlative too.
2. Party at Cavalli Club: Visit Cavalli Club (located in Fairmont Dubai) if you really want to live it up in Dubai. Truth be told, I had fun here because I did not have to pay! The drinks are quite expensive [say 1.5 ltr Cavali vodka bottle could burn a hole worth 3500 Dhms in your pocket]. But it is the place for you if you appreciate finer things in life like an uber ambience with breathtaking chandeliers and crystal ceilings shining against jet black ceiling and walls. It would be foolish to expect anything less at the club – where the who’s who of Emirates love partying – owned by the unapologetically flamboyant designer, Roberto Cavalli.
Do try Baby Squid Salad here. Delicious.
3. Eat at At.mosphere: What’s the height of luxury? Go to the 122nd floor of Burj Khalifa and find out. The world’s largest choreographed fountain system looks tiny from the window and the extravagance just grows multifold. The lounge offers that kind of ‘atmosphere’.
At.mosphere offers top of the experience in everything from ambience, quality of food, grandiosity, and prices too (approx. AED 500). I still have the taste of beef burger I relished here.
4. Luxury spa massage: Spread over 40,000 square feet with steam rooms inspired by Turkish hammam, the Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Palm (resort) offered me one of the luxurious spa experiences. I went for Desert-sand scrub – a 60-minute treatment for pampering my skin. Price: AED 455
5. Retail Therapy: Malls in Dubai are just what the doctor ordered for those looking for indulgent retail therapy. I – a hater of malls in my own city – enjoyed (window) shopping at malls with brands like Prada, Ellie Saab, Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs etc. The malls are your best bets to escape the merciless Dubai heat. I enjoyed observing Emiratis and expats splurge in luxury at these malls while I also had a super fun time at Ski Dubai at the Mall of Emirates.
Save budget trip experiences for Europe; in Dubai, simply live it up!