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Wednesday, 13 March 2013 11:22

Dubai Stronger Than Ever

Written by  Lisa Loverro

Having survived their financial crisis a few years ago, Dubai is once again on everyone’s radar for business and leisure travel. Whether your clients have a layover in this vertical city while on their way to other distant destinations or are visiting Dubai for business or pleasure, this city continues to enchant
and mesmerize.

Along with the growth of Dubai’s economy comes a substantial growth in their international airport. As the world’s fourth busiest international aviation hub, Dubai International Airport (DXB) recorded double-digit growth in passenger numbers this past September, according to the monthly traffic report issued by airport operator Dubai Airports. Passenger traffic in September surged 12.8 per cent to reach 4,780,394, compared to 4,236,587 recorded during the same month in 2011. The strong performance during the first nine months has boosted the year-to-date traffic by 13.4 percent. 

 

A Glimpse Into History

This Persian Gulf region once consisted of nothing more than small fishing communities and Bedouin camps. Today, Dubai has morphed into a golden metropolis with artificial islands and mega malls, providing a virtual touring paradise for visitors. Local Emiratis live harmoniously among a large expat population, while the city itself melds together new and old world charm; an intriguing combination of traditional souks nestled alongside gleaming commercial skyscrapers and opulent hotels. The saltwater Dubai Creek - known as “The Creek” was once the center of Dubai’s main source of income - pearling and fishing. It divided Dubai’s two distinct neighborhoods: Diera (Dubai’s most traditional neighborhood) to the east, lined with gold and textile souks and Burj Dubai (Dubai’s oldest neighborhood) to the west, with the Jumeriah Mosque and local artisan shops. The Creek still serves as the epicenter for all trading in the Gulf region, with wooden Dhow boats and barges from Iran and Pakistan sailing in and out of its port, unloading their goods amidst a bustling scene of haggling and trading. While most hotels are located on the west side of the Creek, there are a few, like the Park Hyatt and Intercontinental Festival City that have rejuvenated the eastern side.

 

Take to the Sky

There’s no question about it, Dubai should be seen from the sky! If your clients are architecture enthusiasts, Dubai is a never ending, awe-inspiring wonderland. Book a helicopter tour for a bird’s eye view of this metropolis. For a more extensive understanding of the city’s architectural development, have your clients schedule a tour with Ticket DXB (www.ticket-dxb.com), partner of worldwide Guiding Architects, for a private, customized half or full-day excursion by limousine or helicopter led by professional architects. They’ll provide valuable insights into the impressive architectural and social facets of the UAE’s urban centers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

If architecture is not their thing, send them on a hot air balloon ride over the Arabian Desert (www.bal
looning.ae
) and view the expansive sands dunes or gently cruise over the city limits admiring the iconic Burj
Al Arab.

After a busy day outdoors, suggest they take it indoors for some air-conditioned retail therapy. Beyond the Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates (both always a crowd pleaser) Dubai’s recently opened “West LA Boutique” located in the Sunset Mall on Jumeirah Beach Road brings the best of underground designers to the Middle East with sophisticated new fashion labels. For more classic shopping, the “Etoile Boutique” in the Wafi neighborhood houses the most recent collections from Dior, Galliano and Valentino, just to name a few. 

 

Evening Bliss

There are some new and some existing restaurants/lounges your clients should be sure to check out while in Dubai. For the carnivore lover, Gaucho, an Argentine Eatery in Dubai’s International Financial Center, offers a hefty dose of Angus Beef. For a special occasion, a dinner at La Petite Mason serving exquisite Mediterranean cuisine in a high-end, French bistro-type atmosphere more than fits the bill. For after-dinner drinks, the long-standing Skyview Bar at the iconic Burj Al Arab is perfect for cocktails with a view of Dubai’s twinkling skyline. For one of the most extensive Champagne menus, have them visit Cigar Bar 44 at the top of Grosvenor House; they’ve got 44 different labels on their menu. If they’re looking to mingle with Dubai’s beautiful scene, Armani Hotel’s Prive Club, a bi-level dance club with international DJs, will have them out until the wee hours of the morning. The newly opened Tomo lounge and restaurant at the top of Raffles Hotel (www.raffles.com/dubai) serves upscale Chinese dishes and sophisticated cocktails, along with those awe-inspiring
city views. 

 

Hotel & Airline Happenings

The newest member of the JW Marriot collection is set to open this month along Sheikh Zayed Road. The hotel will add to Dubai’s already iconic skyline, claiming itself as the tallest hotel in the world. 

Set to open the end of 2013, The Intercontinental Dubai Marina will offer 132 hotel rooms and 196 InterContinental Residential Suites for longer staying guests. The hotel will be located within walking distance of the popular Jumeirah Beach Residences and offer spectacular views overlooking the Marina.

Emirates has added another gateway city in the US with non-stop service from Washington DC to Dubai. Washington DC is Emirates’ 11th new route to launch in 2012. Emirates will operate the American-manufactured Boeing 777-300 ED on its Washington DC tour, providing suites in First Class, 42 lie-flat beds in Business Class and 304 seats in Coach. 

Abu Dhabi is Etihad Airways’ hub. Their fleet of 66 aircraft operates more than 1,000 flights per week, serving  an international network of 84 passenger destinations. Etihad has recently expanded their BusinessConnect program  in seven new markets.

U.S. visitors can obtain visas on arrival at the Dubai airport.

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