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Dubai shopping festival: Amazing experience at global city


Aerial view of La Mer Beach in Dubai

Once a desert land, Dubai a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates has in less than 50 years become of the leading tourist destinations in the world, thanks mostly to the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the man responsible for the growth of Dubai into a global city. For a first time visitor there, either for business, pleasure or both, it is easy to be confused on where to stay and visit, and for sure, you will easily be spoiled for choices, as discovered the just concluded Dubai Shopping Festival. Here’s a guide on how best to maximise your stay in this incredible city.

Over the years, the city of Dubai has grown in stature to become one of the leading travel destinations in the world, with its ever-rising skyscrapers, ultramodern architecture, luxury shopping and a lively nightlife scene. One of its iconic structures, the Burj Khalifa, an 830m-tall tower, is the tallest structure in the world, and dominates the skyscraper-filled skyline. At its foot lies the famous Dubai ‘Dancing’ Fountain, with jets and lights choreographed to music. On artificial islands just offshore is Atlantis, The Palm, a resort with water and marine-animal parks.

Another amazing sight to behold is the Burj Al Arab, a sail-shaped hotel. If you are a shopaholic, then you need look no further than the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates. Below is a list of interesting and must see destinations. But first, where to stay.

JW Marriott Marquis
There are so many world-class five-star and three-star hotels, as well as resorts one can stay in while in Dubai, but none comes close in class and luxury like the JW Marriott Marquis. Reputed as the world’s tallest and largest hotel, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Dubai is a twin tower 70-storey five-star hotel with unmatched luxury located in a prime location in one of the region’s most desirable business and leisure destinations. The hotel offers exceptional amenities and an array of bars and restaurants, including Indian, Italian and Thai fare. Elegant accommodations boast deluxe bedding, marble bathrooms and 24-hour room service, some with stunning views of the Dubai skyline. Additional perks include a sparkling outdoor pool and the world-class Saray Spa. With a prime city centre location, just 20 minutes from the Dubai International Airport, it is capable of hosting groups, meetings and conventions of up to 1,000 people. It also offer easy access to the nearby Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Opera, ensuring you make the most of your stay.

La Mer…Beach like no other
A beautiful spot to enjoy a day at the beach with your family, La Mer is a world-class beachfront development, which opened its first phase to the public on October 15, 2017. Stretching out into the ocean in the Jumeirah 1 neighbourhood, the new destination promises to be an inspiring environment, while setting a new global benchmark for beachfront developments with its uninterrupted views of the Arabian Gulf and iconic city skyline. Located between Pearl Jumeira and Jumeira Bay, the 13.4 million square foot space is surrounded by almost 2.5 kilometres of relaxing sandy beaches and situated a stone’s throw away from points of interest such as the Etihad Museum and the Dubai Water Canal.

Areas you can check out right now are La Mer South and La Mer North, which has more than 130 shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as the Wharf, which has its own waterpark, surf park and cinema. There is also a natural playground where children can play beside the ocean, as well as a beach club called ‘Sea Spice’. There are also day beds and cabanas available for visitors.

Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU)
There is no better way or place to get a feel of the old Dubai, its people, cultures and traditions, as well as its plans for the future than at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU). Located in a beautifully restored wind tower house in the historic Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood in Bur Dubai, the centre offers a range of activities, from traditional cuisine to conversations with local Emiratis. With its motto Open Doors, Open Minds, here all questions, no matter how sensitive, are welcome and answered.

Here visitors sign up for a traditional Emirati breakfast, lunch, or dinner and you’ll start with a guided walking tour. Then take a seat on Bedouin-style carpets and pillows and enjoy a selection of traditional dishes while your local host answers questions about life in the emirate. But be sure to book early to guarantee a spot.

Desert Safari

Meal time at the SMCCU

The evening desert safari is considered a must-treat among visitors to Dubai. It provides the opportunity to experience the famous Red Dunes safari. The Red Dunes, standing 30 feet high make ‘dune bashing’ a thrilling experience. Explore the charming views of the Arabian Desert while riding the red dunes in the best desert safari that Dubai offers.

Organised by Dubai Travel Tourism, the fun starts with a pick-up by a staff in a 4×4 SUV from the hotel. After the desert safari ride, you are moved to a desert camp for a festive mood dinner on Arabian carpets and pillows (Bedouin style) with other groups. Other activities include: Camel Riding, Sand Boarding, Henna Painting and Arabic Dress Photography. Entertainment comprises of live fire show, lighting show, belly dancing and Tanura dance.

Eat. Drink. Socialise @ the Social House
Located within the Dubai Mall, the Social House Dubai is an exciting restaurant, juice & coffee bar and VIP Private Room. Surrounded by stunning views of The Dubai Fountain, the Burj khalifa and warm alluring design, guests can experience an enjoyable one of a kind dining experience. Here you will be spoilt with a wide variety of mostly all types of food, from pastas to seafood.

As the name and payoff line indicates, the Social House believes that eating should be a social activity. As such, backless benches close together and huge round tables seating up to eight people are the order of the day. Overall, it’s a good spot to have a quick, satisfying bite at a good price.

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