Like a shimmering, otherworldly oasis emerging from the desert sands, Dubai is the electrifying heartbeat of the Middle East. Imagine, only decades ago – before a wealth of glittering skyscrapers lined its horizon – Dubai was a modest fishing harbor renowned for its pearls, surrounded by an arid desert inhabited by Bedouins. When oil flowed in abundance in the late 1960s, the cosmopolitan Dubai of today was born.
Over the past twenty years, the world’s leading designers and architects have unleashed their creative talents in Dubai to conceive some of the most daring and luxurious developments humanity has ever seen. Ascend to the breathtaking summit of the world’s tallest skyscraper, the majestic Burj Khalifa, and the city’s endless modern high-rises will unfold before you in a glittering splendor of sapphire, indigo and onyx. The building’s ground floor reveals the world’s largest shopping mall, The Dubai Mall, a dazzling entertainment and retail complex boasting 1200 boutiques, an ice skating arena and an aquarium; the site is also home to the Dubai Fountain attraction which propels jets of water 150 meters into the air with spectacular choreographed precision. You’ll discover breathtaking archipelagos of man-made islands shaped like the Earth and its continents known as The World, and those sculpted into the shape of a giant palm tree called the Palm Islands. Dubai is also home to the world’s largest natural flower garden, Dubai Miracle Garden – an extraordinary feat in light of the region’s parched desert landscape.
A thrilling way to experience Dubai’s dramatic aerial views is to soar high above the city in a helicopter, a seaplane or a hot air balloon, from which the turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf set a dramatic backdrop against the city’s modern urban design. Make sure to enjoy a refreshing swim at one of Dubai’s pristine beaches, which offer a welcome respite from the sweltering temperatures which can soar to over 45 degrees Celsius during the summer months from May to September.
Despite its modern facade, this global capital of consumption exudes the Arabic mysticism of “One Thousand and One Nights,” attracting a multi-cultural mix of ethnicities from all corners of the globe. Dubai’s world-class gastronomy scene offers a spectrum of international restaurants ranging from chic fine dining to delightful local eateries, while its cutting-edge nightlife scene rivals those of cities such as New York and London. Dubai is also known for its local souks, or traditional markets, where you’ll be intoxicated by the hustle and bustle as you negotiate with stall vendors over the prices of diamonds, precious stones, gold and other handcrafted wares while sipping fragrant mint tea. For a more serene experience, float along the Dubai Creek natural inlet in a charming local wooden ferry, called an abra, before wandering around the historic districts of Bur Dubai and Deira. Immerse yourself in the city’s up-and-coming cultural scene by visiting the leading Dubai art galleries, which are rising to international acclaim.
With a wealth of new developments under construction and the upcoming World Expo 2020 on the horizon, Dubai is a perennially evolving city that is one of the most exciting destinations in the world to discover. Experiencing our hand-picked selection of the quintessential things to do and places to visit in Dubai will ensure that you have an unforgettable stay when travelling with Sofitel.