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Places and things you might like to see

ARCHITECTURE

Burj Khalifa Building – this is the tallest building in the world at 828 Metres high. It contains two observation decks – one on the 124th floor and another on the 148th floor – the Skydeck. There are 900 private residences in the Burj Khalifa, the 160 room Armani Hotel, At.Mosphere Restaurant and offices and shops. To get an idea at the height of the building, the Empire State Building is 443 metres high, just over half the height, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris is just 301 metres high! The New World Trade Center in new York is 546 metres to the tip of its tower, and has just 104 floors.

The building built between 2004 and 2009 is located on Sheikh Zahed Road in Downtown Dubai and is a marvel from a design, architectural, engineering and construction viewpoint. There were many challenges that were faced in its development. The Architects who designed the building were Skidmore, Owings and Merrill from Chicago, USA who also designed the Willis Tower in Chicago with the chief architect being Adrian Smith and Structural Engineer Bill Baker. When you think about the extreme heat of Dubai, wind and sand storms, the differential forces and stresses involved at different heights and on concrete, 26,000 glass panels and steel, and then of all the functional issues such as water, heating, cooling, lighting, access, fire safety, 57 lifts, stairways, communication, weight loads, furnishing, security, maintenance you start to get a feel for the complexity of the development, let along the cost and financing! It is certainly one of the world's marvels.

The Palm Jumeirah – this is a land development on newly created land islands in the Arabian Gulf off the Dubai coastline at Jumeirah Beach. What makes this development so different is that it is designed in the shape of a Palm frond (leaf), with the stem forming the means to get to each of the 8 fronds that fan out in each side, with an outer perimeter crescent ring around the whole of the palm leaf. A Monorail runs along the main stem.

To really see the shape and cleverness of the design you need to get up high above it, which may mean just seeing it from the air, or from the Atlantis The Palm Hotel furthest from the shoreline. The Atlantis The Palm Hotel is a luxury hotel with lots of restaurants, big name guest performers and night action. Also here is a large Aquaventure Water Park and Lost Chambers Aquarium, with a pristine white sand beach in front of the hotel, and Arabian Tents to shield you from direct sun. The hotel, theme park and aquarium are all modelled on the 'Lost City of Atlantis', and on the other fronds there is lots of residential and commercial building development, as well as other Hotels. On the mainland next to the Dubai Marina you will also find ten or more big hotels too.

Two other Palms have been planned – the Palm Jebel Ali and the Palm Deira, but both have stalled in terms of development. There have also been concerns over environmental issues too, relative to disturbing the natural flows of water along the Gulf coastline. Palms Jebel Ali was started in 2002, and is planned to be 7 to 8 times bigger than The Palms Jumeirah.

Also off the Jumeirah Beach there is also 'The World' – an ambitious plan to create artificial islands based on the shapes of the land masses that make up a map of the world. Big ideas like this take Billions to develop, and 'The World' project has been an on-off project for many years. There are also environmental issues too in relation to such a development. The first Island that has opened is Lebanon Island – see www.theisland.ae and you can get to the island and its beaches by boat from the Jumeirah One Fishing Harbour wharf.

Burj Al Arab Hotel – is a hotel on a manmade island about 15 kilometres south of the main Dubai City centre. The Hotel looks like a billowing sail on a Dhow or yacht and stands 321 metres high with the sail made from a double-skin Teflon coated woven glass fibre, which in the day looks white, but seems to glow in the night in a golden sheen of colour. It is a stunning hotel building and in front of it there is the Ellipse Fountain which at night also comes alive with fireballs bursting in the air next to the shooting sprays of water. Inside is just as spectacular with a Cascade of water, colour, fog and sound effects in the Atrium foyer, marble floors, stunning carpets, aquariums, Restaurants, cocktail bars, health club, private beach, swim-in bar, and other luxuries. There are just 2 Royal Suites with their own private elevator, but 202 other suites at different levels of comfort are available too, and of course there is the fleet of Roll Royce cars for guest transfers and excursions, or if preferred there is the Helicopter to take you from the Helipad on top of the Hotel to see more of Dubai.

There are many other luxury Hotels in Dubai that have great architecture too with views over the City, Dubai Creek waterfront, Arabian Gulf, Jumeirah Beach and downtown areas. Many people come here on business, but also many come just as tourists, so choosing the right hotel really depends on whether you are wanting to be close to the Convention Centre and Deira Financial District or want to have a more beachside and poolside holiday time. Here in Dubai you will be spoiled by the many choices of hotel accommodation available to you.

SHOPPING

Gold Souk (Market) – Dubai is a trading centre for Gold, and gold has been traded by Arabs and made into jewellery for thousands of years, so it is part of the Arab Culture. The Gold Souk is located in Deira, the main business centre of Dubai and here you will find around 300 gold merchants selling rings, bracelets, necklaces and other jewellery.

Spice Souk – this is close to the Al Ras Station and not far from the Gold Souk. Here you will see and smell big bags of all sorts of different spices in this traditional market. While the traders know that Tourists won't be buying big bags of spices, they might just be able to sell you a scarf.

Antique Market – this is a hidden gem and is located off the 3rd Interchange on Sheikh Zahed Road (Menora Street). Tel: 971 (4) 347 9934. See www.fakihonline.com here you can see and buy some great Arabian style lamps and other items.

Malls – there are a number of Malls in Dubai, with all the big name fashion brands all with shops here as well as the fast food chains too – some will be closer to your hotel than others, so just ask at your hotel lobby for the best and closest Mall to where you are staying – These are just some of them.

  • The Dubai Mall – see www.thedubaimall.com claims to be the biggest Mall in the world, with 1200 shops and 200 different food outlets. It is located almost next to the Burj Kharlifa and Burj Park.
  • Mall of the Emirates – Interchange 4, Sheikh Zayed Road. This mall even has a ski field inside (Ski Dubai) with zipline, downhill slopes and ski lessons if you need them. Also here are 65 restaurants, 500 seat theatre, Cinemas and of course lots of shops with 400 retailers. See www.malloftheemirates.com
  • The Village – Jumeriah Beach Road. This is a stylish mall selling some exclusive branded fashion in more of a village atmosphere.
  • Twin Towers – Beniyas Raod, next to Intercontinental Hotel and next to the Creek, so a nice location with the wharf and open air terraces.
  • Deira City Centre – Opposite the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. Here you will find 280 different shops, two food courts, cinemas and even a bowling alley and McDonalds, Starbucks and other coffee places.
  • Dubai Outlet Mall – Al Ain Road (Route 66). See www.dubaioutletmall.com Here you will find 240 stores selling 1200 high end brands of fashion clothing, sportswear and shoes, with restaurants and cafes all here too.

As stated above, these are not the only Malls, and no doubt there will be ones that are near to your Hotel.

CONVENTION CENTRE

The Convention Centre has over a million square feet of convention, meeting rooms, exhibition space – and 2.2 million visitors from 160 different countries come here each year to attend around 500 different events. The Convention Centre also has its own apartments and the nearest hotels to it are the Ibis and Novotel. The Trade Center Metro Station is also right here too, so it is easy to get here from other parts of the City. See www.dwtc.com Tel: 971 (4) 332 1000.

Happy Travelling!

I hope you have a great time in DUBAI and the UAE.

Geoff Stuart

Happy Traveller

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