If you are looking for a little wander around picturesque streets, Dubai is not your place.

If you are looking for a vibrant, consumer-oriented haven of contrasting cultures, a 21st century caravanserai, where the camel has been replaced by the Beamer, the Hummer or the Merc, and the travellers’ inn has been superceded by the 7-star hotel, for a place where global travellers meet and cross paths, accommodating one another side by side - with a lot of glitz and fun…’re there!

Surreal, soaring skyscrapers, shopping, sun, sand, sea and spectacular!

Photo by Azlin Ahmad

Life in Dubai revolves around air conditioning for the most part of the year. This means cars, malls, hotels – and the latter particularly because they are allowed to serve alcohol and tend to therefore house the best restaurants. Part of Dubai’s appeal is in its contrasts. West meets East, contemporary meets traditional. And construction is very much the name of the game. (For some great shots of the miracle that is under-construction Dubai, take a look at the photo gallery in Dubai Under Construction.)

But what unites all who live there is the unending quest for “success” and the possibility that the Emirate represents for bettering one’s life – however that is defined.

ChI Stays At….. 

Recommended hotels

Dubai hotels are exorbitantly expensive, and always over-booked. There are many packages on offer for those travelling out of Europe in particular, usually via Emirates, but if you are travelling solo or from another direction, try the Oasis at the Royal Mirage, the Kempinski in the Mall of the Emirates, the Park Hyatt, or the Radisson (in the former city centre near the Creek, and used to be the Intercontinental).

If you are a golf buff,
The Montgomerie ( tel +971 4 390 5600) is a delightful boutique hotel with about 20 minimalist but extremely comfortable rooms, in Emirates Hills. In fact, even if you are not a golf buff, it’s a super place to stay, though only really convenient if you are planning to spend time in that side of town (the Hills, Greens etc, the new Burj Dubai, the Mall of the Emirates, the Dubai Marina….).

Another different experience is the (very) small boutique hotel in the centre of town with only 6 rooms is the
XVA, which is in Bur Dubai near the Museum.

A chic, sleek minimalist experience with a touch of arabesque architecture, and soothing, spa-like lobby muzak, is
Al Manzil hotel. Excellent, friendly service. Located in Burj Dubai in the old town. Tel +971 4 428 5888.

Alternatively, the Francophones among you might like
La Maison des Hotes, a French-atmosphere (and language) hotel in the heart of Jumeirah.


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