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Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Dubai: A Dazzling Oasis of Luxury and Adventure

This was one of my favorite trips and one I consider a trip of a lifetime. We landed in the U.A.E. in November and it was the perfect month to visit. The weather was sunny and hot during the day but cooler at night and the crowds had yet to arrive. If you're searching for a destination that blends over-the-top opulence with exhilarating adventures, Dubai is your place. This flashy city in the United Arab Emirates was made for the luxury traveler. From the moment you arrive at their massive immaculate airport, you'll be swept up in Dubai's world of unparalleled hospitality and extravagance. I stayed at the exceptional St. Regis Dubai The Palm, located right on the iconic Palm Jumeirah. The service here was beyond five-star. I have traveled all over the world and the spa treatments here were by far the best I've ever experienced and I'm not saying one of the best - this was officially the best ever. I'm still dreaming about returning so I am able to experience the massages at the spa again (which you can experience with a masseuse of any gender). The St. Regis is known for two traditions: private butler service and the sabering of a champagne bottle every night in the hotel bar. We experienced both. Our butler greeted us upon arrival to the room and offered to press two garments per day, per person for free. This is a perk that is needed after traveling all the way from Los Angeles. The standard room is large and has a stunning bathroom that has a glass wall to the bedroom. Our butler surprised me and had our room decorated and filled with treats for my birthday. The restaurants on property were an experience unto themselves. Plus, you can't beat waking up to views of the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab, the world's only 7-star hotel.

Dubai is a city of superlatives that seems to outdo itself at every turn. A must-do is visiting the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest structure. Splurge for the VIP experience which gets you to the highest indoor and outdoor observation decks via an expedited entrance. The 360-degree views were beautiful to see at sunset. Our concierge helped us secure these as sunset books up quickly.  I highly recommend going at this time of day since you get to see Dubai by sunlight and at night. Both are worth experiencing. 

Another highlight was the incredible Aura Skypool, which I can't recommend enough. This is the world's highest 360-degree infinity pool suspended in the air, with prime vantage points overlooking the city's futuristic skyline. The food, drinks and endless views from these heights were so incredible that I never wanted to leave. Just be sure to book well in advance, as it also sells out quickly.

For a taste of old Dubai, spend a morning exploring the bustling gold and spice souks. It's a fun flurry of aggressive bargaining - be prepared to walk away with jewelry and aromatic spices. If you can't make it to the souks try to at least get to the picture frame. This is the largest frame in the world with an observation deck that shows you old Dubai from one side and new Dubai from the other. We didn't make it to the top but people enjoyed the experience. The Museum of the Future is also worth a visit for its striking modern architecture and innovative exhibits.

However, no trip to Dubai is complete without venturing into its vast desert landscapes. I took an epic day tour with Arabian Adventures that included riding camels across the desert (such a wildly different experience from horseback riding), picnicking in the middle of nowhere, and thrilling dune bashing in a 4x4 vehicle (I skipped the dune bashing part). We even spotted animals scampering through the sand and bones from those who didn't survive the harsh climate or maybe the other predators. One Note: Closed toed shoes are a must as the fire ants were HUGE! 

In just two and a half days, I got just a tantalizing glimpse of everything this over-the-top destination has to offer. With more world's tallest, biggest and best records then you can count, Dubai is a true playground of unlimited luxury experiences and untamed adventures just waiting to be had. It may have all the glitz of Vegas combined with Miami's beachside vibe, but Dubai is uniquely itself - an oasis of opulence and adrenaline in the heart of the desert. There were a lot of people skydiving over the palm and partaking in other extreme sports. I wanted to do the hot air balloon ride over the desert but we rant out of time. Next trip for certain. Just be sure to follow local customs and laws during your stay.

Mark my words, after one taste of this dazzling city, you'll be eager to go back for more. Dubai delivers an exhilarating experience that will ignite your sense of adventure like nowhere else on Earth.

Spice Market Dubai
Camel Tour
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