BurJuman Centre (Trade Centre Road, Dubai) — BurJuman has more than 300 prestigious stores including designer fashions such as Donna Karan, DKNY, Calvin Klein, Cartier, Rodeo Drive, Stuart Weitzman Polo Ralph Lauren, Escada, Christian Lacroix, Louis Vuitton, Aigner, MaxMara, as well as popular ready-to-wear apparel from NEXT & Guess. You can also choose from a wide selection of restaurants, a food court and cafes.
Atlantis Beach Dubai – a.k.a. Nasimi Beach (Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis Hotel, Dubai) – this mega hotel occasionally makes an effort to book mega dance music events within its grounds (in this case, at a place called Nasimi Beach), often with interesting results. House music acts such as Avicii, ATB and David Guetta have performed there. It also hosts weekly satellite club nights for mega club brands such as Hed Kandi and Defected In The House. For the expat Indian crowd, the Atlantis also books various Bollywood events for them.
Even when there’s no special event booked at Nasimi Beach, hanging out to the soulful sounds of resident DJ Smokin’ Groove while taking in the night time cityscape of Dubai is worth the trip to this man-made Palm Jumeirah island in the shape of a palm tree.
Al Badia Golf Club (Dubai Festival City, Dubai) – formerly known as the “Four Seasons Golf Club” and located five minutes from Dubai International Airport, this golf course was designed by Robert Trent Jones II for its 7,303 yard, par 72 courses and numerous water features. The Golf Club offers delectable dining options, a luxurious spa and an exclusive bar.
Abshar Sweet Shop (Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai) – with Iran located on the other side of the Persian Gulf, this restaurant, first launched in 2000, is best-known for its Iranian sweets such as Baklava, Zulbia and others that are readily found here.
Atlantis Hotel at Palm Jumeirah (Crescent Road, The Palm, Dubai) — this hotel is located at a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree. In the lobby you will find a magnificent glass sculpture by the famed glass artist Dale Chihuly. Keep going and you’ll find the 11-million liter aquarium. This aquarium trumps the one at Dubai Mall, although the Dubai Mall Aquarium holds a unique world record for “world’s largest acrylic panel”. Indulge in mouthwatering sushi at the well-regarded Nobu Restaurant.
Al Fahidi Fort and Dubai Museum (Al Fahidi Street, Dubai) — The fort dates back to the 18th century (acting as the oldest existing building in Dubai). It houses interesting archeological finds as spears, khanjar knives and cannons along with various artifacts from African and Asian countries that traded with Dubai traders. Open daily from 8.30 am to 8.30 pm.
Even though the area now known as Dubai bore archeological evidence suggesting that settlements there went back to the Bronze Age, this trading hub as it’s known today got its humble beginning in the early 19th century. In 1833, some 800 members of the Bani Yas tribe, led by the Maktoum Family, settled at the mouth of Dubai creek.
In 1894, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Hasher Al-Maktoum, then-ruler of Dubai, exempted foreign traders from taxes, paving the way for that area’s modern development – starting with local merchants selling items like pearls, fish, spices and dates. Dubai also drew in traders from India and Persia because of the liberal attitudes of its rulers, and soon began to settle in the growing town, which gained a reputation as the region’s leading commercial center. Trade was based around the safe, natural anchorage of Dubai Creek, which was and still is the visual and commercial heart of the city, with numerous dhows still sailing to other countries.
By the turn of the 20th century Dubai was a successful port. The souk (Arabic for market) on the Deira side of the creek was the largest on the coast with 350 shops and a steady throng of visitors and businessmen. By the 1930s Dubai’s population was nearly 20,000 — a quarter of whom were expatriates.
In the 1950s the creek began to silt, a result perhaps of the increasing number of ships that used it. The late Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, decided to have the waterway dredged — an ambitious, costly, and visionary project. The move resulted in increased volumes of cargo handling in Dubai, ultimately strengthening its position as a major trading and re-export hub.
When oil was discovered in 1966, Sheikh Rashid allocated the oil revenues toward infrastructure development in Dubai. Schools, hospitals, roads, a modern telecommunications network … the pace of development was frenetic. A new port and terminal building were built at Dubai International Airport. A runway extension that could accommodate any type of aircraft was later built. The largest man-made harbor in the world was constructed at Jebel Ali, and a free zone was created around the port.
Dubai’s formula for development was becoming evident to everyone – visionary leadership, high-quality infrastructure, an expatriate-friendly environment, zero tax on personal and corporate income and low import duties. The result was that Dubai quickly became a business and tourism hub for a region that stretches from Egypt to the Indian sub-continent and from South Africa to the former Russian Republics.
Since the 1960s, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, then ruler of Abu Dhabi, and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum had dreamed of creating a federation of the Emirates in the region. Their dreams were realized in 1971 when Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and (in 1972) Ras Al Khaimah, joined to create the United Arab Emirates.
Under the late Sheikh Zayed, the first President of UAE, the UAE has developed into one of the richest countries in the world with a per capita GDP in excess of US$17,000 per annum.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Dubai took a strategic decision to emerge as a major international-quality tourism destination. Investments in tourism infrastructure have paid off handsomely over the years. One of the reasons why Dubai was smart in converting itself into a tourist enclave is because its has become, in effect, a midway point for travelers jetting to and from Europe and the Far East. A sizable number of visitors make Dubai a popular stop-over.
Dubai, one of seven emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates, is now a city that boasts unmatchable hotels, remarkable architecture and world-class entertainment and sporting events. The beautiful Burj Al Arab hotel presiding over the coastline of Jumeirah beach is the world’s only hotel with a seven star rating. The Emirates Towers are one of the many structures that remind us of the commercial confidence in a city that expands at a remarkable rate. Standing 350 meters high, the office tower is the tallest building in the Middle East and Europe.
Dubai also hosts major international sporting events. The Dubai Desert Classic is a major stop on the Professional Golf Association tour. The Dubai Open, an ATP tennis tournament, and the Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race, draw thousands every year.