Dubai Travel Guide
Love it or hate it for its excess, Dubai is on a mission to redefine the modern city. You'll find historical sites such as the Dubai Museum (housed in the 18th-century Al Fahidi Fort), ambitious, cloud-scraping architecture, and endless entertainment (think shopping, amusement parks, indoor skiing, and more).
Many travelers make a beeline for the Dubai Mall, which can feel overwhelming in its vastness. Inside, there's a 22-screen theater; an indoor theme park, called Sega World; an enormous play space dubbed Kidzania; a giant Aquarium with an underwater zoo; and a full-sized ice-skating rink. (Tip: You'll be walking for hours so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.) Don't miss the Dubai Fountain, which stages a daily 6 p.m. show that easily rivals anything that the Bellagio in Las Vegas has to offer.
Not for the faint of heart, the Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest skyscraper at 2,625 feet with the world's highest observation deck on the 124th floor. Also worth visiting is the Walk, the biggest residential construction in the world. It's a great place for watching people—and their cars. Recent spottings include a gold-plated Porsche Cayenne or a two-tone Ferrari. Rev your engines.
Regardless of the airline or class you’re flying, you can gain admission to one of these lounges (open 24/7) for about $42, no reservation required.
As in the various gold souks in the Middle East, gold is sold by the gram in the Dubai Airport, at constantly fluctuating prices. You can also buy gold chains by the meter—the most popular here are the heavy yellow-gold variety.
The 26 tropical treatment rooms sit on small islands.
Currently under construction, Business Bay, when completed, will be a multipurpose, commercial and residential center. Located between Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road, Business Bay will rest on land dredged from Dubai Creek.
Behold Dubailand, a three-billion-square-foot outdoor oasis from Tatweer (a government-owned real-estate investment firm) that improbably marries animatronic dinosaurs with a Tiger Woods–branded golf resort and the world's largest water park (with man-made beach and reef, of course).
There’s free Wi-Fi everywhere in the Dubai International Airport, which is not to say that it works perfectly in every part of the terminals.
Dubai International Airport is the primary airport for the city of Dubai and has become a major air traffic hub for the Middle East. The airport has a total of three terminals and services 130 airlines offering flights to destinations on every continent but Antarctica.
Part of the Mall of the Emirates, this internal complex houses a good selection of designer labels—and the new Almaz restaurant, by Mourad "Momo" Mazouz.
First- and business-class passengers on Emirates have access to separate, lavish lounges in T3, with mini-spa treatments from Timeless Spas, the signature spa of Emirates Hotel and Resort. Treatments are free for first-class passengers.
An ever-changing selection of cars and motorbikes gets raffled off to passengers willing to shell out $139 for a ticket in the Finest Surprise raffle, which has been going on here since 1988.
Located inside the Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is the world’s largest indoor ski slope. This unique attraction allows tourists and snow-deprived Dubai natives to ski on five runs of varying levels of difficulty, ensuring that even novice skiers can get in on the fun.
The Burj Khalifa, also referred to as the Burj Dubai, is one of the city’s most recognizable structures and the tallest building in the world. The 160-story skyscraper rises 2,716.5 feet and has the world’s highest outdoor observation deck, located on level 124.
Because Terminal 1 is so crowded, finding a place to sit can be difficult unless you gain access to a lounge (or stake out a seat in McDonald’s, Starbucks, or one of the other dime-a-dozen food-court outposts). The new Zen Gardens is a good, free place to sit unmolested and read.
Right across from the hotel’s reception area, Wing’s bar is one of the lesser-known oases in the airport (i.e., it is often quiet and seating is easier to find).