When I arrived in Dubai during the winter it was cooler, around 20-25 C. I haven’t been there for hot summer yet, but at 50 C I can imagine that summer means staying inside- kind of like the opposite to Britain! Nevertheless, there is air conditioning almost everywhere. One thing that took me back about the climate was the sandstorms. Be careful when the wind picks up and sand blows around the streets and the sky.
The most glaring thing you’ll notice about the city is that it’s a place that is constantly and rapidly growing, with cranes and construction dotting the cityscape. The tallest building in the world, Burj Duba, is almost done and the Dubai Mall with its 1200+ stores, fish tanks, ice rinks, Mall of Emirates with skiing shows the boomtown aspect too. To me there are 2 Dubai. Firstly, there’s the “Old Dubai” with its souks and market that show the traditional city. Secondly, there’s the flashy and newer Dubai with malls, luxury hotels, restaurants. Sometime it might seem a bit overwhelming, but both are authentic and truly Dubai, just very different. UAE is a new country, and most development has been made since the discovery of oil in 50s and the unification of the Emirates in the early 70s. That’s how the government of the country have decided to proceed in its development, and it works: from the skyscrapers to the boutique hotels, there is something for everyone.
Abu Dhabi has a huge development plan and will build The Louvre Museum (Affiliated to the Paris one), a Guggenheim, and a theaterâ€¦ They want to differentiate themselves by becoming the cultural capital of the region. The Emirates Palace Hotel is worth seeing and non-Muslims can visit the grand mosque which holds tours most days at 10 (not on Fridays, however). The Souk in Shangri-La has lots of great restaurants and bars, with views of water, mosque (& construction, of course!).
For more information on Dubai’s hotels visit http://www.splendia.com/
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