Dubai puts the glamour into petroleum; with wealth founded on the discovery of rich oil fields in the mid 60s, it’s been busy glitzing its way into the international consciousness as a city unlike any other. It’s ostentation at its most fabulous; from the moment you arrive you’ll be treated like a VIP, dazzled by postmodern skyscrapers and encouraged to enjoy yourself at every opportunity. Just try not to think about the bill.
Of course, there is a very good reason for all of this – Sheikh Mohammed knows that the oil will eventually run out and by recreating the city’s image he’s very successfully managed to grab large portions of the international financial, tourist and real estate markets. He’s also managed this without destroying the more traditional values of the old fishing village from which the city grew; head to Bastakia or Karama and you’ll see a very different Dubai, one where the people still take pride in their ancient way of life.
Where to stay
Dubai is overflowing with great hotels, each trying to outdo the other on futuristic facilities and in-your-face glamour. The Fairmont, Shangri-La, Raffles and Taj Palace are all high quality options located in the heart of the city.
Where to eat
Head to Nobu for a bold mix of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine that has the local pundits purring. There are a great number of Indian restaurants, of which Manvar is the stand-out option, while Sarai serves authentic Syrian food in a stylish and atmospheric setting.
What to see
You can’t go to Dubai without shopping; the mall here is the mother of all malls. When you’ve finally concluded your spree take afternoon tea at the stunning Burj Al Arab. Several companies organise aerial tours, with you can get superb views of the city’s stunning skyline.