Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Cosmopolitan and futuristic, the city of Dubai sparkles on the edge of the Arabian Desert to the
southeast and the beautiful Persian Gulf northwest. Shopping at the world's largest mall, or cruising the dunes in a four wheeler, this clash of centuries old cultures and sophisticated new high rise, seven star hotels is dramatic and impressive. Time invested visiting the Burj Al Arab, the Dubai Mall, the gold and spice souk, and the Jumierah Mosque presents visual, cultural, and material rewards.

Recommended Hotels

Armani Hotel Dubai
This high-end hotel, set in an ornate, high-rise glass tower, lies a 10-minute walk from the Dubai Mall, 5 km from the Dubai World Trade Centre and 14 km from the Dubai Gold Souk traditional market. Modern, city-view rooms offer free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, plus minifridges, and Nespresso machines; upgraded rooms add living areas. Posh suites feature dining areas, bars and studies, as well as gyms, and views of Dubai Fountain or the Arabian Gulf. Room service is available. There's an outdoor terrace with city views, plus 8 chic restaurants, including Italian and Japanese eateries. Other amenities include a luxe spa, a gym, and an indoor pool.

One&Only The Palm
On a beachfront peninsula on the iconic Palm Jumeirah, this opulent luxury resort on the Gulf is set in gardens and comprises a manor, mansions, and villas. Plush rooms and suites offer free Wi-Fi, entertainment systems, and living areas, plus grand bathrooms with free-standing tubs. All have verandas with garden or gulf views. Some add butlers. Bi-level, 2-bedroom villas on the beach feature bars and private pools. Breakfast and parking are free. Dining options include a swanky overwater lounge with city views and 2 restaurants by Yannick Alléno. There's a spa, a gym, a private beach, a marina and a kids' club, as well as 2 pools and tennis.

One&Only Royal Mirage
On a kilometre of private beachfront overlooking the amazing landscape of The Palm Island Bay, One&Only Royal Mirage commands a regal presence amidst 65 acres oasis of lavishly landscaped gardens, just minutes away from Dubai Marina. Dining at One&Only Royal Mirage is a unique journey within eight different restaurants between The Palace, Arabian Court and Residence & Spa. Each venue presents an authentic culinary experience in a distinctive environment. The Palace offers four different restaurants, including Mediterranean flavours at Olives, exceptional Moroccan fare at Tagine, an elegant dining on European cuisine at Celebrities, and fresh grilled seafood and bright salads at The Beach Bar & Grill. Within Arabian Court, guests may discover seductive Indo-European flavours at Nina, savour all-day dining on traditional recipes from the Middle East and northern Europe at The Rotisserie, or experience the floating majlis overlooking the Arabian Gulf at Eauzone featuring international cuisine with an Asian twist. Exclusive to guests at Residence & Spa, The Dining Room showcases inspired menus of fresh creativity.

Burj Al Arab
Set on an island in a striking sail-shaped building, this luxury hotel is a 5-minute walk from Wild Wadi Water Park and 4 km from Mall of the Emirates. Opulent suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows with gulf or city views. All have 24-carat gold iPads, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and iPod doc. They offer Egyptian linens, designer toiletries, whirlpool baths and butler service. Upgraded suites include snooker tables, libraries, cinemas and private elevators. A breakfast buffet, parking, and water park passes are free. Amenities also include 9 restaurants and bars, 4 pools and a private beach. There are a spa, a fitness center, and a kids' club.