Recently, a team of Nigerian journalists and an actress were taken to Dubai by Emirates Airlines to visit the exotic places that make the city unique. Chinedu Eze who was part of the team, reports
Dubai, one of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could be likened to Nostradamus, the man who saw tomorrow. With elevated vision, creativity, altruistic determination and discipline, the leaders of Dubai transformed a former oil dependent society to a great city that is synonymous with business and luxury and could be described as a paradise hub for tourists who visit from all parts of the world, from the rich land owners and entrepreneurs in United States to the IT gurus in India and the Royalty in the UK to the business moguls in Japan and Africa. Dubai beckons with its enchanting edifices and enticing skyscrapers.
The inspiration came when the oil reserves began to ebb; when the dreams for a new world gained traction and the Arab leaders articulated their dream and transformed it to reality. Today Dubai is one of the best cities in the world, ahead of those that existed over 4000 years ago.
Oil reserves in the United Arab Emirates are about 98.63 billion barrels and Abu Dhabi has most of the oil with 92 billion barrels while Dubai has only four billion barrels and Sharjah has just 1.5 billion barrels. But Dubai had since moved away from oil. The patches of oilrigs have been obliterated by sophisticated high-rise shimmering in the sky. Everyday Dubai shows a new stuff to the world. It is setting the agenda for architectural and infrastructural development in the advanced world.
This quintessential city emerged from a “barren” desert landscape and epitomised the grandeur of the human mind. When one looks at Dubai, one sees the acme of human intelligence.
There are architectural masterpieces, events places and tourism destinations that give defined signature to Dubai. They define the Middle East city as the Coliseum defines Rome.
Burj al Arab
The travel guide that took a team of Nigerian reporters to the magnificent structure said it is the only seven-star hotel on earth and it features a sky view bar, an underwater restaurant and an outdoor tennis court located at its top floor. As one of the most iconic symbols of UAE, it has become the most photographed building in the world.
It was designed to look like an Arab ship as it rises over the Arabian Gulf. The building reaches a height of 321 metres and during the night, it is usually illuminated with choreographed colour sculptures of fire and water.
Everyday thousands of people took photographs at the beach around the unique Burj al Arab incandescent towering image.
Today Burj Khalifa is the world most iconic structure, the tallest edifice towering into the sky. Its uniqueness attracts stream of visitors from all over the world who are bewildered and excited about the epitome of man’s ingenuity in civil engineering.
Burj Khalifa rises to an astonishing height of 828 metres and architecturally married to the Dubai Mall.
The Burj Khalifa currently holds the title of being the tallest building and manmade structure in the world. The building houses the highest mosque in the world at the 158 floor, it houses the world highest swimming pool at the 76th floor and the world’s highest viewing platform at the 124th floor. It is shaped like a pyramid and houses over 900 luxury apartments, office suites and the luxurious Armani Hotel.
The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall by size, it houses 1200 retail stores, department stores, 1600 food outlets and a large entertainment area. The mall attracts more than 750,000 visitors each week. A 250-room luxury hotel, a large aquarium, an underwater zoo with the largest viewing panel are found in the mall. Also attached to the Dubai Mall is the quintessential hotel, The Address located at the heart of trendy Downtown Dubai, overlooking the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa.
The Address Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai and Burj Khalifa are polygamy of irresistible must-see destinations in Dubai for tourists and other visitors to the world’s most modern city.
The Address has 244 signature rooms and suites offering three upbeat restaurants and lounges, a luxurious spa and wellness facilities and convenient business amenities, The Address Dubai Mall offers a quintessential luxurious experience.
Atlantis the Palm Hotel and Resort
This resort is the conglomeration of the best hospitality, entertainment from different parts of the world and fused into a masterpiece of irresistible destination in Dubai. The resort houses two underwater suites with floor to ceiling views into a lagoon that houses 65,000 marine animals. Other attractions include the aqua venture water park, the lost chambers, the ambassador lagoon and the dolphin bay. Other features include 1500 guest rooms and a 1.4 km white beach.
There is no dull moment in Dubai because there are irresistible destinations and the best of the culinary restaurants; some of them are rare elsewhere.
In Sea Fu, guest can be sure of enjoying a fresh menu featuring mouth-watering sushi and delicate fruits de la mar, all with a special Sea Fu twist. Sea Fu, the signature restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, invites guests to enjoy both lunch and dinner – indoors in air-conditioned elegance, or outdoors on the shaded terrace.
The laid back venue also offers sunken lounges with fire pits and boasts spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf. With a delicious a la carte bar menu available throughout the evening, guests can savour on small dishes whilst listening to a new DJ playing funk-themed music, ultimately carrying the evening on through the night.
Another exciting attraction to explore is the Desert Safari. The dune driving is one part that excites guests. Visitors will roar off into the desert on a four-wheeled drive jeep safari. The vehicle that visitors drive in is a fortified four-wheel drive luxury Toyota Land cruiser. Guests will be told to fasten their seatbelts as the convoy of 4×4’s heads off into the dunes. Wave after wave of rolling ochre, sand dunes will stretch to the horizon. The drive could be nerve-racking, exhilarating and sometimes frightful for a tyro. Guests will have wonderful opportunity of seeing camels traversing the deserts and can take a ride on camels.
Also in the Desert Safari, guests have opportunity to experience sand surfing, falconry, camel and horse rides at the Safari Camp, Henna followed by dinner and entertainment. Desert Safari is always a unique experience for Nigerian visitors who combine tourism as an adjunct to their business trips in Dubai. It remains a forward looking experience, so a visitor could stagger out of his businesses schedules and go to the desert to experience the inimitable sound dunes and the meandering SUV in anxious filled but exciting rides.
Luxury vacation in Dubai? Do not miss a dinner onboard Bateaux Dubai. The floating restaurant on Dubai creek leaves a bewildering and memorable experience, as the night-lights illuminate darkly, echoing on the water as the boat cruises leisurely, unhurriedly along the creek. The elegant Bateaux Dubai offers great experience to explore the waterways of Dubai creek while enjoying freshly prepared gourmet cuisine in the comfort of this glass enclosed, air-conditioned luxury vessel. You can get out and breathe the fresh sea air and enjoy the caress of the wind.
Dinner includes a four-course`a la Carte culinary journey including an extensive selection of fine beverages, contemporary live entertainment and its significant customized services.
There are also fresh sea food while relaxing at the beach side, a new spot in the city taking the al fresco dining experience to a whole new level. Known as Club Vista Mare, it’s only just opened next to Palm Jumeirah’s Tiara Residence and is unlike anything else in the city. The 120 metres of beachfront promenade houses seven licensed restaurants, each one very different to the other in terms of food and style, but with one super asset in common: amazing sea and cityscape views that can be enjoyed from the more than 1,000 outdoor seats, or if guests really want to let their hair down, take their food and drinks down to the beach.
This is the largest natural flower garden on earth; the Dubai miracle garden is located in the middle of the desert. It is 72,000 square metres and has more than 45 million flowers which have been designed into hearts, stars, igloos, pyramids, arc shaped walkways and vintage cars. The flowers usually change each season. The garden has entered into the Guinness book of records as the world’s biggest flower clock.
The butterflies at the garden have passionate relationship with visitors; hence they welcome you on arrival at the garden. The garden opens from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm daily. The floral patterns will change with the season, so any returning visitors will get a brand new experience. Dubai land intends to attract close to a million visitors every year with the majority of them coming to see the Dubai flower garden.
There is the IMG World, which offers the most amazing rides and adventure in largely adrenalin pumping games, which are favourites for children. IMG World is a great gift for both adults and children. There is no better way parents can give their children exciting experience than to take them to IMG. IMG World Adventure is the largest in-door theme park in the world. The park is made up of four main zones, which include the Marvel zone, Cartoon Network, the Lost Valley and IMG Boulevard. Each zone is literally packed full with excitement and enduring experience.
The park features menu restaurants, from America to Middle Eastern, Pan-Asian to Mexican, European to Indian and South African cuisine. The Haunted Hotel experience is etched in the minds of the Nigeria media team that visited the city on Emirates bankrolled trip. Haunted Hotel was a frightening but exciting experience solely designated for adults. The natural fear inspiring scenes ignite a pumping heart and at the end a longing to go and experience it again.
What is also good to know is that despite about a million people from all over the world that visit Dubai every year, the city’s businesses, the hospitality and tourism sectors recognise Nigerians regular visit to the world’s most beautiful city. Interview at the Dubai Mall confirm they really missed Nigerians. They long to see more Nigerian businessmen and women, tourists and all. Economic recession at home has curtailed the number of Nigerians that travel out of the country today. But economic pundits predict resurgence in the nearest future. With Emirates’ luxuriating flights, the number one destination for Nigerians is always Dubai.