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A luxury travel guide to Dubai: The best hotels, restaurants, shops & places to visit

By Rebecca Underwood on 2nd June 2018

For those seeking an escape from the pressures of life in the fast lane, consider the delights of Dubai located in the United Arab Emirates on the glittering azure waters of the Arabian Gulf.

In the early 1900’s, Dubai was a central port of call for foreign trade and known for its thriving pearling industry, which collapsed due to the Great Depression in 1929, and was finally made redundant by the emergence of cultured pearls. In 1958, Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, allocated trade revenue for infrastructural development including Dubai airport, which was built in 1965. The following year oil was discovered in Dubai’s territorial waters, which hastened the early development of the city. Oil reserves were limited and revenue was assigned for the construction of Port Rashid, which, by 1975, provided 35 lucrative berths. With continued expansion over the coming years and an unwavering focus on trade and tourism, Dubai continued to thrive.

Burj Khalifa
Mastercard’s 2017 Global Destination Cities Index has reported that Dubai was the 4th most visited city in the world. Image courtesy of the Government of Dubai, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing

To learn more, visit the Dubai Museum, which is housed in the Al Fahidi Fort, located on the southern side of Dubai Creek. This fort is the oldest building in the city, which dates back to 1787, and was once a depot for ammunition and weaponry and also a prison. Wander leisurely around the galleries, which feature re constructions of historic local housing, mosques and souqs, and other exhibits provide a fascinating insight into Bedouin life in the harsh desert.

Today, Dubai offers visitors a tantalising glimpse into Arabia’s kaleidoscope of colours; the golden hues of the shifting desert sands, the dazzling displays at Deira’s gold souk, glitzy marinas crammed with sleek white yachts moored alongside colourful dhows, long stretches of soft white sandy beaches and towering silver sky scrapers, including the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, which dominates the skyline. For those without a fear of heights, head for observation decks on floors 124 or 148!

Movenpick Bur Dubai accommodation
Dubai offers a wide range of accommodation, but for those seeking the highest levels of comfort and service, the Mövenpick Hotel and Apartments, located in Bur Dubai, only ten minutes from the airport, is just the ticket

Mastercard’s 2017 Global Destination Cities Index has reported that Dubai was the 4th most visited city in the world, which reflects all that this fascinating destination has to offer; a beach lover’s dream and a shopper’s paradise, with a choice of over 70 malls including the fabulous Mall of the Emirates with its indoor ski resort and sub- zero zip line ‘Snow Bullet’ ride. Wander around the Fashion Dome and Luxury Wing with your credit card at the ready and with more than 80 international designer shops eager to tempt every visitor with the very latest attire you are sure to part with more than a few dirhams. Should you need to recover from your splurge, stop off for a scrumptious lunch at Dean and Deluca, located on level two. The new ‘taste of Asia’ menu is very impressive and I sampled the succulent five spice hoisin ribeye steak, topped with daikon and served with Thai red curry flavoured mash, it is a first class dish and the service is excellent.

Be sure to visit Dubai Marina and hop aboard the ferry sailing by the enormous cruisers and dhows and soak up the atmosphere. Visit the gold souk, located in the Deira district, and as you wander around the narrow lanes crammed with more than 300 retailers, you’ll be overwhelmed by the most breath taking displays of gold jewellery, trinkets and treasures in every kind of design. Practice your bartering skills and you’re sure to secure a bargain or two.

Rove Trade Centre Hotel
The Rove Trade Centre Hotel. Image copyright Katarina Premfors 2017

For weary travellers, Dubai offers a wide range of accommodation, but for those seeking the highest levels of comfort and service, the Mövenpick Hotel and Apartments, located in Bur Dubai, only ten minutes from the airport, is just the ticket. The property features a gorgeous roof top swimming pool with ultra comfortable sun loungers and parasols galore; the perfect spot for an afternoon snooze in the sunshine.

Our sumptuous executive suite, located on the 5th floor, measured 100 square metres and featured stylish furnishings, including a comfortable king size bed swathed in crisp, white linens. We took advantage of the pre dining complimentary tipples and snacks, served between 18.00 and 20.00 hrs in the executive lounge, and with 7 restaurants and bars, there’s no shortage of in-house dining options. The international breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet extravaganzas displayed in the Fountain restaurant, on the ground floor, are first rate, and Chutney’s, on the first floor, presents outstanding Indian cuisine, with the emphasis on the Nawabi flavours of the northern and frontier regions of India. The extensive sharing menu includes a superb Tadka Baigan Dahi; aubergine cooked in roasted tomato masala and tossed with hung yoghurt. Altogether, it was an outstanding dining experience.

Mall of Emirates
The Dubai Mall, also known as the home of the Dubai shopping festival, is one of the world’s largest shopping malls in UAE. Image courtesy of the Government of Dubai, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing

Or, if your budget is less generous and you prefer to reside in Dubai’s World Trade Centre area, the funky Rove Trade Centre Hotel offers a large outdoor swimming pool and sundeck, a 24-hour gymnasium, a self-service Laundromat and a complimentary shuttle bus to Dubai Mall and to Kite Beach, a popular stretch of white sand near to Jumeirah Road. Our accommodation offered 26 square metres of floor space, a 49“ inter-active TV, coffee and tea making facilities, a convenient mini fridge and a spacious bathroom with a power rain shower. The property also features the Daily, which is an excellent restaurant and presents an elaborate breakfast buffet. The lunch and dinner menus feature Arabic, Indian, Southeast Asian and Western cuisine and I sampled the 12oz rib eye, served with a delicious mushroom sauce and accompanied by a glass of Colombelle Rouge, it was an exceptional dish.

Dubai offers all this and much more. Treat yourself and prepare to be dazzled.

Dubai, Dubai Film, Food Festival, DTCM
Dubai offers visitors a very warm welcome. Image courtesy of the Government of Dubai, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing

‘Top tip’- accommodation

For more information on the Mövenpick Hotel and Apartments Bur Dubai visit mövenpick.com or call +971 4 336 6000 and for the Rove Trade Centre visit rovehotels.com or call +971 4 241 9300.

‘Top tip’ – LHR and Dubai airport transfers.

Book private transfers to LHR or LGW and also in Dubai with Blacklane and take advantage of a reliable and punctual, first class service. Prices are all-inclusive and guaranteed in advance, so you can sit back and relax upon arrival. Visit blacklane.com for more information.