The rise of Dubai as a top winter sun destination.
Dubai is now a top winter sun destination for us sun starved UK residents. It is the time of year again when the clocks go back to GMT and it gets darker and colder here. If we are looking for sunshine, where can we go that won’t give us serious jet lag, and is guaranteed warmth and amusement? One destination now at the top of the list these days is Dubai.
Facts about Dubai
Dubai as the world’s air travel hub
Dubai has big ideas. It is ruled by one royal family and this means that decisions are made quickly without endless prevarication. The enormous Dubai airport is one of those big ideas. It has undergone an extraordinary expansion, rapidly becoming one of the world’s busiest hubs. It is even on course to becoming the world’s busiest airport, knocking Heathrow of the top spot, with 50% of all flights being from their own Emirates airline. The business class lounge at Dubai is definitely an experience, although you must be flying business class to get into it! You can have everything from a delicious running buffet to a personalised cocktail, to an omelette made for you at any time of the day or night, and that’s just for starters.
Dubai’s big attractions
I travel frequently on Emirates airlines, mainly to and from Australia where my friends live. Breaking the journey from Australia back home at the Emirates airline hub in Dubai, is a good way of making you feel you’re not really going home yet. The country almost went bust some years ago from continuous borrowing and expansion, but Dubai pulled itself up by its Shopping Malls and is back in the volume visitor game. In financial difficulties, Dubai had its debts underwritten to the tune of 10 billion dollars by the UAE president, Khalifa Bin Zayed. One of the reasons that Dubai has become a top winter sun destination, is that it has invested in some very big attractions. Very much worth a visit if you are in Dubai, is the tallest building in the world, which opened here in 2010. It was to be called the Burj Dubai but was hastily renamed the Burj Khalifa after Dubai borrowed that equivalent of the world’s biggest cup of sugar from its oil rich next door neighbour.
Dubai is all about excess and confidence. As well as the rather spectacular Burj Kalifa (which incidentally features in the Tom Cruise Mission Impossible film to excellent effect) Dubai has at least another two ‘biggest in the world’ attractions.
The Dubai Fountains
The Dubai Fountains are the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. It is set on the 30-acre man made Burj Khalifa Lake, at the center of the Downtown Dubai development. Designed by WET Design, the California-based company responsible for the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel Lake in Las Vegas it is illuminated by 6,600 lights and 50 colored projectors. It is 275 m long and shoots water up to 500 ft into the air accompanied by a range of classical, contemporary Arabic, and world music. Built at a cost of 800 million AED these fountains these fountains were very very expensive but are indeed quite breathtaking.
The fountains perform for about 10 minutes every half hour or so. The thud of the great jets shooting up into the inky Arabian night at each crescendo is heart stopping. Another ‘biggest in the world’ attraction is the gigantic Dubai Mall. It is very up scale and has lots and lots of very lovely shops, plus the impressive addition of a giant aquarium where you travel through a huge shark tunnel, featuring some sharp toothed residents actually inside the Mall itself.
One of the main selling points of Dubai as a top winter sun destination is of course the fabulous winter sun! Dubai has a tropical desert climate, and summers are extremely hot and humid, with an average high of around 41 degrees but in our winter its more likely to be in the 30 degree range – just ideal for warming up chilled bones and it’s pretty much sunny every day.
Dubai a city to marvel at
The Burj Khalifa proudly boasts:“I am the heart of city and its people, the marker that defines Emaar’s ambition and Dubai’s shining dream’ That grand statement may be true, and advanced as the country seems to be in many ways, Dubai does not have equality for half of its population – women still walk around covered in black Hijabs, even though apparently they are all wearing stuff from Top Shop underneath. There couldn’t be a worse garment to wear in this dry, often punishing heat.
Dubai – the acceptable face of the Middle East?
Dubai as a country country seems to be a contradiction of promoting Western consumerism while practicing Middle Eastern religious tradition. While I agree that Dubai is a destination to marvel at, if not one to steal your heart, it is undeniable that Dubai is now a top winter sun destination. It is pretty accessible, has plenty of luxury hotels, lots to do, beaches and desert, and plenty of shopping. Check out more information about Dubai here at Visit Dubai