Middle East

Middle East

A voyage of futurism and spirituality

Dubai, the Al Fahidi Historic District, Abu Dhabi, Breakwater, and more

A living testament to the limits of glamorous, future-age excess, the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates promises a unique standard of luxury sure to make you feel like royalty.

The city’s boldness is best exemplified by the hulking Burj Khalifa - the world's tallest building, by no small margin - and the sparkling Dubai Marina. Its shopping malls are palatial wonderlands and their attractions rival those of the world’s biggest theme parks: take the Mall of the Emirates in Jumeirah, which houses Ski Dubai, a full-size indoor artificial ski slope.

In the heart of the city, high-end shopping boutiques and fine restaurants abound, entangled with luxury hotels. For history, head to Al Fahidi Historic District. There, the bustle of Dubai fades, leaving you to explore the area’s old-style sand-coloured buildings free from distraction. The district has museums, craft shops, cafes, galleries and hotels.

You must also experience Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. There you can ride the world’s fastest roller coaster and see the tower with the world’s most precarious lean. Of course, the grandness of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, with its marble domes and gilded buttresses, begs exploration, too. There - and in few other places in the world - can you see dazzling installations of jewels like lapis lazuli and amethyst. It truly is an old-world spiritual wonder with a uniquely regal presence in the modern age.

Beautifully grand, too, is the Emirates Palace in Breakwater, which features 114 domes and 1.3 kilometres of private beach. It’s a luxury hotel with 400 rooms, but you don’t have to be a paying guest to walk its halls and sample its splendour. Among its other extreme luxuries, the hotel has the multi-million dollar Barakat Gallery and an ATM that dispenses gold bars.