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Unlike any other place in the world, Dubai is a land of contrasts. Culture & tradition clash with futuristic buildings, designer hotels, the world’s largest malls, dining inside an aquarium under a canopy of Swarovski crystal or on the sand in the desert. Where else can you buy gold out of an ATM machine? Yet the Arab women still wear burkas. Knees and shoulders must be covered when outside. The juxtaposition of modern vs old world traditions. Why Go? Warm weather, beaches, jeep safari’s, gold souks, Arabian markets, international dining, nightclubs and gold everywhere. A once in a lifetime must see.
Does being married or single influence Where2Stay? Location, cost, size & child friendly all play a part. Do you want your hotel, hip & modern with sexy dark lounges, a DJ spinning “singles” on the roof? Or do you prefer a quiet, elegant & romantic hotel? Sometimes you might want to “marry” the two which is the hardest to find. You will see an M (married), S (Single), or an MS (married/single) next to each hotel.
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Burj Al Arab – This “7 star” hotel will take your breathe away. Covered in Teflon the building is white by day and rainbow colors by night. All duplex suites come with private butlers & start at 1800 square feet. Have cocktails above the clouds where the bartender brings the bar to your table or dine subterranean with the fishes in their aquarium restaurant. If you have to ask the price… (M)
Park Hyatt Dubai – An oasis of calm next to the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. Book a Spa Room, splash in the pool nestled amidst palm trees or pamper yourself at the Amara Spa. (M)
The One & Only The Palms– Ironically there is more than one but we love The Palms located on Palm Dubai. Moorish in style ( think huge palace) it’s a mini city on the water with fountains, gardens and pools. The kids will be thilled w/their kid camp ( think camel rides & belly dancing lessons). Like nothing you have ever seen (MS)
Jumeirah Beach Hotel -Shaped like a hugh wave, 26 stories high, with 20 restaurants, private beach villas & a Sinbads Kid Club. Don’t miss the 360 Club, one of the hottest outdoor bars for a cool drink. Jutting out over the water you gain entrance by walking down a private broadwalk & climb upstairs for the awesome view.
Raffles Hotel Dubai – The hotel shaped like a pyramid offers enormous over sized luxury rooms all w/ private balconies. Splurge on a club room complete w/ butlers and espresso makers. The newest bar to hit Dubai is their Red Lounge Terrace. This sleek and contemporary Chinese bar (echos of the meat packing district) is the only bar to serve alcohol until 3 AM. Choose between an ” in house tea master” or their signature “Code Red” drink with “secret ingredients” (is there a choice?) A sleeper five star hotel (S)
Armani/Ristorante. The new Armani Hotel offers up their signature Italian restaurant. Just like Armani clothing, decor is sleek, understated and elegant. Everything is designed by Mr. Armani himself from the fork to the furniture. Dress up -the men and women are gorgeous. Located in the tallest building in Dubai, the Burj Khalifa with the iconic dancing fountains (five football fields long) right outside your door. . (MS) Reserve admission to the over the top Armani Prive Nightclub .
Traiteur – Most people work half day on Friday’s and then head out for brunch (what a great idea!) Traiteur, located in the Park Hyatt is an extravaganza of endless champagne, outside stations for fresh lobster, oysters, Middle Eastern delicacies w/additional food served inside their state of the art kitchen. Settle back, dance & watch the yachts. It is one big party that goes on into the night!
Cavalli Club – No one does it better marrying zebra, personalized vodka & dripping crystal than Roberto Cavalli. An absolute must!
Dubai Mall – The world largest w/over 1200 stores, an aquarium, Lego Land, an amusement theme park & Gold Souk. Not enough? Cab it over to the Mall of the Emirates with Ski Dubai, Magic Planet & every designer in the world represented there. Luckily, it’s too hot to be outside!
Arabian Adventures – Climb into a 4 wheel vehicle, fly up & down sand dunes ending w/an Arabian feast on the sand. Low couches, belly dancers, henna tattoos & a hookah complete the picture.
Head up to the Sky Bar at the Burj (reservations required) & Shyan, their master mixologist will create a cocktail from his movable cart of endless ingredients. Barb’s “Thai Twist” involved passion fruit, pineapple, lime juice,leaves, vodka and flaming rosemary sprigs. We’ll drink to that!
Coming up for air!
I’m exhausted by this trip and I’m not on it. Too much adventure, nature, and history for me. I’ll take the big city with superficial shopping all day. Barbara’s historical advenure continues: How to pack for a two night side trip to Egypt.Should be an easy pack? No! Need a Valley of the Kings outfit, need King Tuts Tomb Couture: prepare for seriously hot & dusty. (Sweaty & Still Seductive)
- Big hat, lots of sunscreen, Easy Spirit Shoes which work all over the world. We love Easy Spirit Macy’s SF (we need stock in this company)
- Need nothing more than t- shirts and baggy cotton pants. Comfort is the fashion. Pity the poor local women and men who wear full length gowns.
- Black is the color for married ladies showing respect and protection. Tip for you Sandy, hot pink means you’re available!!! Oh Yea, it’s my favorite color how perfect!
- Travel Tips: From the Temples of Luxor and Karnak, to the Valley of the Kings & Tut’s Tomb once in a lifetime experience.
- Don’t miss this but consider passing the nightime light and sound show at Karnak Temple. (Sounds like twilight at Disneyland)
- Valley of the Kings: Hidden underground tombs of the Pharaohs Karnak Temple: Most important sanctuary of Ancient Egypt with ten temples, built over hundreds of years by a succession of ancient kings each attempting to outdo the other. (Does claustrophobia enhance the experience?)
Felt like Laura Croft in Tomb Raiders boarding the Petroleum Transport Service “private” plane to Cairo. Turned out to be a low speed, low altitude 4 prop plane older than RW! Expected caviar and champagne! ANKH- SCIOUS in Cairo. A 747 is too small for me would have needed a valium drip on that plane.
Cross your Chest
Checked into the Cairo Four Seasons, 28th floor with sweeping sunset views of the city and the Nile. The Ankh, the ancient key to life also symbolizes Egypt’s new awakening and revolution. People seem optimistic for the future. Expected long drive to the Pyramids but can see them from the highway. An easy walk from Pizza Hut (didn’t realize that Pizza Hut had such a world presence.)
The Sphinx stands guard over the Great Pyramids of Giza. Nothing prepares you for the reality. Beware: Nothing can protect you from the aggressive vendors selling everything from scarves, alabaster, baseball caps, shirts, & trinkets. Saying no is only an invitation for them to show you something else. Finally came up with “Bought that,”(which you probably already did.) Best advice look invisible & keep walking. It sounds like Market Street in SF.
Wear2where Fashion in SF
It may not be as exotic as Egypt. But our favorite city has unique shopping opportunities as a result of its cultural diversity. Think Chinatown, North Beach, the Mission…
Do you need a wig, hair exptensions, 0r hair products? Beauty Supply Warehouse 1440 Fillmore has the most comprehensive hair products imaginable – and trust me it’s a cultural experience in that location.
Need beaded clutches – they look like Judith Leiber – not knock offs – SF designer. “Canton Bazaar” located on Grant Street in Chinatown.
Egyptian Headgear to SF Headgear
Carlos Shoe Service 343 3rd Street SF endures all my shoe challeneges. View Michael Kors Shoes I re-designed, purchased at Jeremy’s 2nd Street SF. Removed platform & lowered heel to a mere 4 inch. Also wearing Row Leggings, long sleeved white turtleneck (Loehman’s) lightweight cashmere sweater (my uniform.) Clearly not as fashion chic as Barbara is looking these days!!!
Barb, don’t tell me you’re living in the Middle East otherwise this will be us. No plunging V necklines, No backless tops, No mini skirts, No Heels – I’m out!!!