Forget the Emerald City. Oz had nothing on the towering opulence shimmering on the Persian Gulf’s southern shores. Walt Disney’s wildest fever dreams couldn’t come up with this place, and Howard Hughes couldn’t afford to build it. If you’re traveling to Dubai because you suspect it’s the most ridiculously decadent city in the world, here are five reasons to look forward to an outrageously good time.
1. Seven-Star Service Is Heavenly
Don’t bother checking in at the seven-star Burj Al Arab. Instead, enjoy a concierge escort to your Royal Suite where a personal butler discreetly handles everything. Soak away your stress in one of three servant-drawn marble baths featuring sides of caviar and champagne. Yes, all of those gilded leaves are 22-karat gold. And of course the mirrored bed rotates. You’re 25 stories above the rest of the world, and the stars shooting past the windows are yours for the taking. Sleep well knowing your chauffeured Rolls-Royce remains on call 24/7.
2. The Best Islands Aren’t Real
You surely didn’t think your stay at the Burj Al Arab was an illusion of architectural levitation. The sail-boat silhouetted structure stays afloat on a man-made island, and it’s just one of three that grace Dubai’s shoreline. Granted, one is still under construction, but Palm Jumeirah beckons with luxury villas, world-class marinas, and the fantasy-themed Hotel Atlantis. When you stroll the pristine beaches, be sure to look up and wave. The island’s unique palm tree configuration is visible from outer space, so smile for the astronauts.
3. The Police Roll on Luxury Wheels
How does a dedicated police force handle citizens speeding through the richest city on earth? It can’t be easy for officers to pull over a local whose net worth probably tops $17 million, so in Dubai, ticketing is done with style. The police force prowls the streets with a fleet that includes an Aston Martin One-77, a Ferrari FF, and a tricked-out Bentley. Official police decals on the doors of a Lamborghini Aventador may stop you in your tracks, but resist the temptation to jaywalk just for a ride downtown.
4. You Really Can Drop While You Shop
What’s an afternoon at the mall without a run down the slopes? Ski slaloms or snowboard black diamonds on your way down the world’s third largest ski slope in the Dubai Mall. (Yes, it’s indoors.) If you must shop, you’re still in the right place. The legendary mall has everything from Dolce & Gabbana decadence to Hermès haute couture. If you’re looking for unusual things to do in Dubai at night and love Vegas-style shows, catch the extravagant acts that light up the mall’s incredible outdoor fountains.
5. Stuffed Camels Taste Delicious
The local cuisine turns travel in Dubai into a delicious culinary adventure, but there’s one very large delicacy you won’t find on restaurant menus. Stuffed camel belongs in the stratosphere of dining experiences reserved for lavish weddings and very special events. It makes sense when you consider the size of this centerpiece dish. To prepare, simply stuff one dromedary with eggs, chickens, fish, and one sheep. Slow roast for 24 hours, or snag the right invitation, and you too can dine like Arabian royalty.
How can life ever be the same after you’ve paid a visit to Dubai? Will you miss reaching for falling stars from a luxury suite? Can you adjust to shopping in a mall that doesn’t have a ski slope? Stop worrying, wave as the neighborhood patrol car cruises by, and enjoy a cheeseburger. You’ve seen, shopped, and tasted the best Dubai has to offer. Those ridiculously decadent memories will get you through anything.