There’s no place on earth quite like Dubai. Once a sleepy fishing settlement, the discovery of oil in the 1960s set off a chain of events that led Dubai to become the futuristic metropolis that you see today. The largest of seven Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, modern Dubai puts forth a distinctive fusion of its Bedouin heritage and ultramodern glamour all its own. Through its high ambitions, the result may very well be the pinnacle of human achievement. After all, what other cities can boast leisurely palm-shaped islands built entirely from scratch? Sci-fi concepts such as flying taxis and Robocops? At its core, this is a society that craves innovation and welcomes the future with open arms.
Although steeped in Islamic tradition, Dubai is truly a multicultural city with residents that have come from all corners of the globe–something that can be felt in the choice of entertainment, restaurants, fashion trends, music and international events. That being said, there’s certainly no shortage of opportunity to experience authentic Emirati culture. Dubai is breaking down preconceived notions and cultural barriers of the Middle East with its extraordinary rise to the top. Between the glistening architecture, sweeping sand dunes and international clientele, Dubai very much feels like the epicenter of the universe and a place that’s pulsating with excitement and raw energy.
Where to Stay
The One&Only The Palm is the secluded and intimate beachside resort situated on the westernmost tip of the Palm Island crescent. Not only does this private peninsula location make for sensational views of the Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence waterfront, but it also ensures an oasis of peace and quiet that’s hard to come by. The 90 rooms and suites all feature individual balconies or terraces, while the spacious bathrooms are decked out in marble and offer a freestanding bath and separate rain shower, as well as Acqua di Parma amenities. The cream and bronze palette is complemented nicely by teal accents and wooden furnishings for a sumptuous and cozy feel.
The sandstone resort buildings are modeled after Moorish and Andalusian architecture, while the luxuriant gardens and cascading fountains really bring the Arabian fantasy to life. The property has an especially magical feel to it by night when it’s lit up by lanterns. Relish in the tranquility of a personal cabana in front of the palm tree-lined central pool or soak in the spectacular Dubai skyline from the private strip of beach. Elsewhere, there are three restaurants by Michelin-starred French chef Yannick Alléno and relaxing treatments from the UAE’s only Guerlain Spa. Just a 30-minute drive from downtown Dubai, the One&Only is the perfect place to find respite and tranquility in the heart of it all.
Our Dubai Destination Guide also includes a Luxury Hotel Guide with all our top picks around the city.
Where to Dine
Fresh from a recent makeover, Pierchic is one of Dubai’s standout eateries. The restaurant is housed in a charming building at the end of a private pier that overlooks the Arabian Gulf for one of the most romantic over-water settings in the entire city. The views of the “seven-star” Burj Al-Arab Jumeirah and The Palm only add to the seductive atmosphere. Headed up by British chef Rosalind Parsk, the elaborate seafood menu consists of large portions of oysters, caviar, or lobster topped with truffle and foie grass.
Pierchic brings a modern European flair to their Mediterranean dishes, which are beautifully prepared and made using only the freshest of ingredients. The regular Chic Brunch on Fridays features an exquisite four-course menu, whereas the standalone bar and stylish lounge area are perfect for sunset refreshments or pre-dinner drinks. If you’re craving a memorable culinary experience with your loved one, look no further than Pierchic.
Our Dubai Destination Guide also includes a Restaurant Guide with a complete list of dining recommendations.
What to Do
Between sightseeing in the thriving metropolis, exploring the ancient desert and enjoying the cultural activities, Dubai provides visitors with a truly unique adventure. This is a place that’s constantly in motion, where soaring skyscrapers and man-made wonders can be found in abundance. Perhaps the most prolific example is the Burj Khalifa, now the world’s tallest building that pierces the sky at 828 meters and includes a heart-stopping outdoor observation platform. If diving into old-world treasures sounds more your style, the Dubai Museum now occupies the 1787 Al Fahidi Fort, while the surrounding district is among the oldest traditional Emirati neighborhoods in Bur Dubai.
Of course, the “City of Gold” is internationally revered for its shopping scene, offering everything from haute couture to traditional bazaars. However, the star of the show is undoubtedly the world-famous Dubai Mall, which not only boasts the most glamorous designer shops, but it also includes an indoor ski slope, giant aquarium, ice rink and open-air garden. Decked out with the grandest of finishes, the world’s largest retail and entertainment destination also provides local Emiratis with respite from the killer heat in the summer, making this an authentic look into daily life. Come night, Dubai is a retreat of entertainment with its share of sleek rooftop terraces, live music venues and pulsating beach clubs to satisfy just about every taste and ambiance desired.
What to Wear
The ultramodern fashion, cosmopolitan culture and international clientele all cater to the glitz and glam of the Gold City. Although modern Dubai is a multicultural metropolis, it’s important to remember that it’s still steeped in Islamic tradition and visitors should be sensitive to the local traditions and social codes of the Emirates. This Bondi Born Margot Swimsuit is ideal when blowing off steam by the pool. With its quick-dry fabric and flattering effect, it’s a stylish and simple one-piece that gives off a beachy look.
You’ll want to carry around a shawl or scarf just in case you decide to stop at a place like a mall, religious site or lunch spot. When attending any events by night, opt for this Matteau Sleeveless Knit Dress. The timeless maxi silhouette is designed with a lovely open back and its effortless flair will let your accessories really shine.