Duty-free status, thousands of souks (markets) and eye-popping luxurious, megaplex shopping, Dubai has become the mall of the Middle East for fashion, jewelry, equipment, cars…and thanks to low import duties and open port policy, many prices are actually lower than elsewhere.
Second largest of the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf, and Emirates Air will whisk you there from New York on a 12-1/2 hour non-stop flight. Gold is front and center in Dubai’s famous super souk. Wear sunglasses to inspect floor-to-ceiling, tons and tons of gold jewelry that is sold by its weight (not its artistry) and in a marvelous variety of gold colors – pink to yellow to green and on. And although it may not work well in the Dubai branch of Yves St. Laurent, bargaining is basic and expected in the gold souk.
Second biggest market, the carpet souk, offers a treacherous, endless array of Persian and other carpet treasures.
Every type and price of hotel abounds. The sail-shaped Burj Al Arab Hotel, sleepover center to the wildly rich and architecturally-obsessed, has become the iconic image of this desert metropolis. Click: www.burj-al-arab.com
The Al Maha Desert experience, almost as expensive, houses guests in elegant tents with private swimming pools (we’re in the desert, remember…), with exotic activities such as camel treks and jeep rides into the dunes, archery and falconry. www.al-maha.com.
If you can’t stand the heat, you don’t have to get out of the kitchen. Just check in to the opulent Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, which houses the biggest surprise in the Middle East – not only the most mega of all malls, but an actual, extraordinary indoor ski resort. Honest! Click on: www.kempinski-dubai.com/en.