Vividly colourful as a kaleidoscope, Dubai unfurls myriad experiences which are both excitingly diverse as well as intriguing. Indeed, the city embraces a wide variety of landscapes from the soft, undulating dunes of its deserts and rising gradually to the towering peak of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Over the last two decades in particular, Dubai has emerged to assert itself as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations hosting the world’s largest artificial archipelago – the Palm Island along with a fast developing skyline featuring world-class shopping malls, luxurious hotel chains and unique entertainment venues that defy imagination. We present 20 most impressive and must-see landmarks during your visit to the emirate.
Crowned the world's tallest building and a living wonder, in concept and execution, Burj Khalifa has no peer. More than just the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa is also tangible proof of Dubai's growing role as an assertive presence in a changing world. It symbolizes the triumph of its vision in attaining the seemingly impossible and setting new benchmarks. It is also part of the Dubai Government’s efforts to diversify from an oil based economy to one that is service and tourism based.
The Burj Khalifa is a world class destination and the magnificent centerpiece of a large-scale, mixed-use development that includes homes, luxury hotels, parkland, residential towers, the world’s largest shopping mall, The Dubai Mall, and the 12-hectare man-made Burj Khalifa Lake where the amazing Dubai Fountain dances. It is one of the most inspiring structures ever executed and can be viewed from almost anywhere in Dubai. Opened on 4 Jan 2010, it has fired the world’s imagination and draws millions from across the globe. Burj Khalifa’s interior is as beautiful as its exterior, offering visitors the experience of a lifetime where they can zoom up to dizzying heights and view unmatched vistas of Dubai.
The Dubai Mall
Boasting 1,200 retail outlets, two anchor department stores, and over 160 food and beverage outlets, and a 250-room luxury hotel, The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination. It is part of the gigantic Burj Khalifa complex and attracts more than 750,000 visitors every week.
The Dubai Mall’s amazing range of attractions are aimed at all age groups and visitors can easily spend an entire day in its vast, elegantly appointed interiors shopping for top fashion and luxury brands, indulging in a variety of delicious fare at its host of restaurants, viewing the famous Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo with the world's largest viewing panel, catch up on the latest block blusters at 22 cinema screens, ice skate at the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink with its climate-controlled environment, bring on those smiles by taking the little ones to KidZania® a safe and interactive, award-winning edutainment centre created especially for them where they can enact 80 different roles such as models, actors, doctors, engineers, firefighters etc. Call 04 4485222 or log on to www.kidzania.ae for more details.
Your children will also adore you if you head to SEGA Republic indoors theme park in the region where they can explore five zones of entertainment, thrill at nine exciting attractions and 250 amusement games over two levels. Call 04 4488484 or log on to www.segarepublic.com for more details.
Burj Al Arab
Discover the Dream says Burj Al Arab! Intrinsically associated world over with Dubai, the Burj Al Arab hotel is one of its closely associated symbols unveiled in 1999 to an astonished world. It celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2014. The iconic hotel proudly stands ‘fluttering’ it’s beautiful white sails on Dubai’s famous Jumeirah Beach and asserting the emirate’s uniqueness as a symbol of modern luxury. It is also the world’s fourth tallest hotel.
It beckons guests to have an exceptional experience at its 202 luxurious duplex suites, nine world class restaurants and bars, four swimming pools (two indoor and two outdoor), a private beach, the award-winning Talise Spa and Talise Fitness at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and the Sindbad Kids Club.
While each of Burj Al Arab’s restaurants is unique, each shares the ability to create flavour combinations that linger in your mind long after the meal is over. From authentic Arabic cuisine to Far East Asian and Modern European dishes, sourcing ingredients from around the globe to create a dining experience fit for the world's most luxurious hotel. One of its most popular is Al Mahara, (‘The Oyster Shell’ in Arabic) which presents rich, sumptuous flavours, unparalleled taste and texture, in a remarkable setting featuring a floor to ceiling aquarium.
Repeatedly voted the world's most luxurious hotel, this magnificent destination offers you the finest service and facilities throughout – right down to an optional chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce. Burj Al Arab Jumeirah’s suite-only accommodation offers discreet check-in within your rooms, a private reception on every floor and a host of personal butlers, each a warm messenger of its unparalleled hospitality. Do experience it for yourself.
Jumeirah Beach Hotel: With its striking wave-like design, the five-star Jumeirah Beach Hotel is one of Dubai’s most instantly recognizable structures. It is equally famed for its amazing value and sheer wealth of options enabling you to enjoy your stay. All the hotel’s 617 rooms, suites and villas are luxuriously furnished and provide spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf. And once you’ve finished taking in the view, you can choose from the widest array of leisure facilities around one of the best family hotels in Dubai, including a scuba diving centre, five swimming pools, Sinbad’s Kids Club, The Hub for teens and complimentary, unlimited access to the Wild Wadi Water Park.
The first of Jumeirah’s properties, Jumeirah Beach Hotel officially opened in November 1997. The history of the hotel goes back to the Chicago Beach Hotel which was located at the same spot at the end of the Jumeirah Beach Road. Considered ‘out of town’ it was popular with tourists in the 1980s and 1990s offering resort style accommodation and guaranteed sunshine and is credited with having paved the way for the tourist industry in Dubai.
From the romantic beachside setting of Villa Beach, to a fun time with the family at Latitude, to a legendary night at top nightclub 360°, and an exciting time at Mahiki the Polynesian restaurant offering tropical grilled food, there’s something for every taste, mood and budget at Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s restaurants in Dubai.
Let time stand still for a moment as you treat yourself to the most revitalising spa experience you could wish for at the Talise Spa at Jumeirah Beach Hotel. It has everything you need to truly unwind; including two saunas, two massage rooms, three hot tubs, jacuzzi, steam room and plunge pool.
Atlantis, The Palm Dubai the majestic 5 star hotel opened in 2008 on The Palm Islands archipelago and is modeled on its namesake in the Bahamas with the same underwater theme. An aquatic wonderland by the sea, the Atlantis beach resort offers relaxation and thrills for couples and families alike, right from the hotel architecture accommodating more 1,500 rooms across 23 floors to the 21 restaurants including four award-winning restaurants Nobu, Ronda Locatelli, Seafire Steakhouse and Bar as well as Ossian and must-visit aquatic attractions. It’s Signature Underwater Suite – a 3-story suite features walls offering a fish-eye view into the aquarium.
Atlantis is also home to 65,000 marine animals, which you’ll find in unique marina habitats at The Lost Chambers Aquarium. You can also get up close and personal with the dolphins at Dolphin Bay, learn to scuba dive and swim with sharks at the Atlantis Dive Centre, or experience the number one water park in the Middle East and Europe, Aquaventure Waterpark spread over 42 acres.
If you prefer to relax in style Atlantis has three private pristine white beaches, Aquaventure Beach which runs for 700-metres, the Royal Beach which stretches over a 1.5 kilometres as well the Nasimi Beach Club, a hot spot for soaking in the sun, come sundown, it turns into one of the coolest clubs in Dubai hosting international music acts over the cooler months of the year. All year around though, Dubai’s social-set dance the night away at the hotel’s nightclub, N’Dulge.
Relax and rejuvenate at its indulgent spa, ShuiQi with 27 treatment rooms and a range of deluxe treatments on offer. What’s more is there is a range of cosmopolitan boutiques to shop until your heart is content.
Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR): Jumeirah Beach Residence or JBR) is a 1.7 kilometres long, 2 square kilometres gross floor area waterfront community located against the Persian Gulf in Dubai Marina. It is the largest single phase residential development in the world and contains 40 towers (35 are residential and 5 are hotels). JBR can accommodate about 15,000 people, living in its apartments and hotel rooms. This 6 billion dirham project was completed in 2007. It is also one of the most iconic and panoramic areas in Dubai to reside in. You will also find many world renowned brands at its retail stores and fashion boutiques, apart from department stores, cafes and gyms, and recreational areas for children here.
The Beach at Jumeirah Beach Residence is a retail complex being constructed on the actual beach in front of JBR by Meraas Holding. The development, comprising four distinct plazas, will occupy the bulk of the beach between the Hilton and Sheraton hotels. It houses a number of levels of parking as well as seventy retail and food and beverage outlets, together with entertainment facilities. Construction of the project began in the second half of 2012 and was completed by the end of 2013.
Bluewaters Island is a man-made island being constructed opposite Jumeirah Beach Residence. It will comprise hotels, apartments, villas, dining and entertainment facilities, and the Dubai Eye, a 210 m (689 ft) tall Ferris wheel, which would be the tallest in the world when completed. It will be linked by a highway to Sheikh Zayed Road, and a pedestrian bridge and cable car to Jumeirah Beach Residence. A monorail system will link the island to the Dubai Metro.
Dubai Fountains and Burj Park: One of Dubai’s most captivating tourist attractions is The Dubai Fountain which delights thousands of visitors every day. Located in the new urban masterpiece Downtown Dubai, it is the world’s tallest performing fountain. At over 900 ft in length – equivalent to over two football pitches – it is situated on the 30-acre manmade Burj Lake and performs to a selection of different melodies. It has a unique design comprising five circles of varying sizes and two arcs, and features powerful water nozzles that shoot water up to impressive heights. It is designed by California-based WET, the creators of the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Over 6,600 WET Superlights – the most advanced incandescent large fountain lights available today - and 25 colour projectors create a visual spectrum of over 1,000 different water expressions while 50 colour projectors provide a full spectrum of colour with a total output of 1.5 million lumens. The Dubai Fountain performs to a range of different songs from classical to contemporary Arabic and world music. When operational, the fountain has over 22,000 gallons of water in the air at any given moment.
Afternoon Shows: Daily except Friday: 1:00pm & 1:30pm; Friday: 1:30pm & 2:00pm. Evening Shows: Daily: 6:00pm to 11:00pm (Every 30 Minutes). *Please note that Fountain show timings can change by a couple of minutes depending on the specific day's prayer times. All shows can be viewed for free. For more info call the Dubai Mall: 800-DUBAI-MALL (800 38224 6255).
The Burj Park is a private manicured island offering panoramic views of the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountains. Spanning 29,000 sqm it is located at the base of Burj Khalifa Tower, along the Burj Lake or the Dubai Fountain Lake. It is also known by the names 'Burj Dubai Park', 'Dubai Tower Park', 'Burj island Park', etc., and is a great spot to catch a glimpse of The Dubai Fountains, particularly at night, when the park is beautifully lit by specially designed light cubes.
It has well landscaped greenery, has ample seating areas and is easily accessible to the rest of Downtown Dubai through two footbridges and is the perfect place for a relaxing stroll amidst amazing scenery.
Downtown Dubai and Shaikh Mohammed Boulevard: The most prestigious square kilometre on the earth, the 500-acre Downtown Dubai, is an integrated lifestyle community that offers a refreshing ‘live, work and play’ environment. With a development value of $20 billion, it was launched in 2004, and is today a full-fledged and thriving community marked by the opening of The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination, in 2008, and the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in 2010 and The Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest performing fountain. With an estimated 60 million visitors, it is fast becoming the world’s most famous tourism and lifestyle destination living up to its title as ‘The Centre of Now’.
Other unprecedented attractions here include At The Top; the Burj Khalifa, the world’s highest observatory deck with an outdoor terrace; Atmosphere, the world’s highest restaurant; and a total of six world-class hotels, including the Armani Hotel Dubai.
Besides the much-awaited New Year’s Eve celebration, Downtown Dubai plays host to several popular events, including the Emirates Classic Car Festival and the Downtown Dubai National Day Parade.
The world’s most-visited boulevard that serves as the heart of lifestyle and entertainment activities in Downtown Dubai, the 3.5km high street Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard is a tribute to the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in establishing Dubai as a global city that serves as a hub for tourism, retail and hospitality.
It is already home to several acclaimed works of art, such as Xavier Corbero’s Gathering, and Horse 2007 by the Colombian figurative artist Fernando Botero. Downtown Dubai also hosts one of the city’s most popular galleries, The Pavilion, in addition to 1,000 artworks on display within the Burj Khalifa. It is an iconic attraction that is today the world’s most vibrant lifestyle destination, on par with other boulevards in the world.
Dubai Marina: Being one of the world’s largest manmade marinas in the world, the Dubai Marina is located close to the heart of ‘New Dubai’ and is connected to the Jebel Ali Port, Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City.
Offering Riviera-style living in a modern aesthetic setting the canal city on completion has the capacity to accommodate a population of 120,000 in its residential towers and villas. It is home to the Princess Tower opened in 2012 which is the world’s tallest residential building and has 101 floors to accommodate both locals and expats. Located in the popular Marina District, it has a six-floor car park and eight retail outlets. With a total development area of 50 million sq ft, the path-breaking waterfront project has a large canal spanning 3.5 km offering access to the sea from both ends.
Dubai Marina features several high-rises with luxury apartments as well as villas set against the backdrop of the Marina. With yachts moored along the Marina and some of the city’s best dining, entertainment and leisure facilities, Dubai Marina is the first choice for the stylish and sophisticated. It comprises ten districts each developed as a distinct community. The Dubai Marina Walk, which lines the waterfront, has a selection of cosmopolitan restaurants.
A key component of Dubai Marina is the 150,000 sq m Dubai Marina Mall complex which comprises the Dubai Marina Mall, a shopping and entertainment destination; The Address Dubai Marina, a 5-star premium hotel with serviced residences; and Marina Plaza – an exclusive commercial tower; and the adjacent Pier 7 Dubai Marina, a multi-storey tower dedicated to diverse cuisines. Dubai Marina Yacht Club is the authority for all operations and berthing in the Dubai Marina canal.