Yes, you can finally get away. The United Arab Emirates combines desert delights with some of the most luxurious hotels in Asia, and right now Americans can fly to the capital of commerce of Dubai for underwater restaurants and then head into the sands for adventure and dune bashing.
Stay in the Burj Khalifa
The tallest building in the world and a monument to the shining desert city, travelers will stay in the Armani Hotel Dubai, one of the finest hotels in all of the Middle East. The hotel has 160 beautifully designed rooms and suites, some designed by Giorgio Armani himself and many offering incredible views of the city, with personal Lifestyle Managers on hand to make sure your stay goes smoothly.
Of the many luxury rooms, the 1,022-square-foot Executives Suites are the most plush, including an entrance hall, living room, storage closet, bedroom, and more. Guests can fall into the comfortable cocoon of an oversized king bed, and enjoy the entertainment of a flat-screen TV to sing them to sleep.
For food, travelers can try one of six dining venues or hit the town for the Michelin delights of Dubai. Of particular interest, there are two underwater restaurants of note in Dubai, including Ossino at the Palm, Atlantis and Outlaw’s Al Mahara at the Burj al Arab.
Take a Chopper over Dubai
Dubai is a city of decadence and conspicuous consumption and there are few better ways to experience the largest and most populous city in the UAE than from the air. Hop from hotel to hotel in style or take a short 12-minute jaunt to see the Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab on a quick tour of the iconic cityscape.
This circuit commences from the Dubai Marina Helipad and journeys over The World Islands – an impressive collection of 300 man-made private islands roughly constructed in the shape of a world map. Continuing along this aerial passageway, riders will find a close-up of the iconic Burj Khalifa: the mega-skyscraper that is both the tallest free-standing structure in the world and the tallest building in the world overall. Soaring over this architectural masterpiece at 2,715 feet is certainly a highlight of the trip.
Other focal points include views of the Dubai Canal – one of the world’s greatest urban transformations that winds through Dubai’s main artery, Sheikh Zayed Road, and connects to the Arabian Gulf – along with the Godolphin and other monuments at the Business Bay. Passengers will also be flown over the Jumeirah coastline. It’s a quick, thoughtful buzz over Dubai.
Head into the Desert at Al Maha
Set in the 16-square-mile Conservation Wildlife Reserve of Dubai, Al Maha resort is named for the Arabian oryx, one of many wild visitors to the nearby dunes. The Al Maha resort provides a rare luxury oasis, providing remarkable Bedouin-style suites and featuring temperature-controlled private pools and desert views.
The finest rooms are had at the opulent Presidential Suite. At 5,705 square feet, the Presidential Suite features three large bedrooms and Arabian artefacts decorate the walls and water features in the majlis.According to legend, a curious wanderer stumbled upon a protruding twig after following his falcon and returned the next day to unearth a spring at Al Maha and brought life back to the barren desert. But there’s no need to go scrambling around the sand for twigs with Al Diwaan, which delivers dining from its alfresco veranda, where diners can savour exotic dishes and panoramic views over the desert.
Also, the desert is for adventure. Go dunebashing in a 4×4, learn falconry, or take a trek on the dunes of Dubai.
Conveniently located near Dubai, Sharjah is the “Arab Capital of Culture” and is a must see for lovers of art and history. Travelers can see the Sharjah Art Museum, Natural History Museum, and the 5,000 artifacts of the Sharjah Islamic Heritage Museum — all from the comfort of the opulent Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah.
This destination is often visited while staying in Dubai — which is a perfectly acceptable drive away, even for single-day travelers. However, as for accommodation, Sharjah offers the Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah. The resort lies among a 247-acre protected forest with lush, green mangroves and azure lagoons that border expansive, white sand beaches. Villas are even equipped with temperature controlled, private pools and spaces to host exclusive parties. All rooms and suites afford views of the sea and surrounding landscape through floor-to-ceiling windows or expansive, private balconies. This is also one of the few semi-urban retreats with notable natural surroundings that can be experienced on foot or by bike.