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Water, Opulence, Architecture Make Dubai a Favorite of Affluent Travelers
By Pamela Wilson

Heralded as the newest luxury destination, Dubai is making international headlines for its world-class shopping, high-tech night clubs, gleaming white beaches, and luxury hotels - one of which is said to be the world’s only seven-star facility.

Dubai’s elite status evolved out of long-term planning of wealthy sheiks in the region who linked several neighboring nations, including Dubai, to create the United Arab Emirates. Dubai, aggressive in its development since the 1980s, has become the region’s crown jewel. Since 2000 it has attracted more than 3 million visitors a year – three times the nation’s population.

What lures so many visitors? First, the entertainment is spectacular. Hotels feature numerous bars, nightclubs, and concert halls which often attract internationally- acclaimed entertainers.

For the golf enthusiast, courses are numerous. Winter sports lovers will enjoy the Ski Dome, a 400-meter high indoor ski slope.

Then there’s the water. There are infinite water recreation activities -- from scuba diving along coral reefs and snorkeling off the pristine white beaches to water skiing, boating and swimming. The sand is reportedly the whitest in the world, and the ocean is a warm 72 degrees in winter and 80 in the summer.

Tourists who can’t get enough sand can take in the famous sand dunes. The powdery mounds provide an exciting area for sand-skiing, camel rides, and the like. Visitors can take in a desert Safari or a guided ride bounding over the dunes to view the sunset. Excursions conclude with a traditional dinner under a luxury desert tent complete with music and dancers.

With all the exciting offerings, there are still three more must-dos in Dubai - shopping, shopping, shopping! There are fine shops and bazaars everywhere, and most shops are open until 11 p.m. Clothing and apparel are high quality, and gold dealers sell 24-karat creations by the pound. The two-year-old Ibn Battuta Mall is famous for its architecture and its six enormous courts - each one the size of an average U.S. mall.

The final “must-see” is the architecture. Several key structures epitomize Dubai’s extravagance and success. The Burj al-Arab, reportedly the world’s only seven-star hotel, is so lavish that non-guests must have an appointment even to enter the lobby. Another notable building is Emirates Towers office building, which stands 350 meters high. It is said to be the tallest building in the Middle East.

© 2007 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.


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