A city of grand proportions, Dubai pulsates with visual and emotional excess. Soaring ceilings pair with chrome columns in airport arrival halls; glass, crystallized brick, and glossy black concrete are the materials of choice throughout the city; even the roads gleam with polished asphalt or stamped concrete.

The emirate’s fabled wealth is the result of oil exploration and trade through its port, with other industries including real estate and financial services. Its location on the Persian Gulf coast puts it in a prime spot for international flights, with Emirates Airlines offering a number of routes across Europe and Southeast Asia.

From the desert majesty of Palm Jumeirah to the man-made wonders of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, this cosmopolitan city offers a whirlwind experience that’s uniquely its own.

Dressing for the weather is essential in Dubai – heat and humidity can wreak havoc on some wardrobes, so you’ll want to pack long-sleeved shirts and pants of lightweight fabric; shawls and scarves are also easy additions for extra warmth. If you’re headed to the beach, opt for a sundress or swimsuit with an SPF of at least 30.

Dubai’s beaches are a delight, with plenty of options for fun in the water and on the sand. One of the best is Kite Beach, a large stretch of soft sand and turquoise water that’s often dotted with volleyball players, windsurfers, and swimmers. During the cooler months, the sheltered lagoon is perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

At the center of it all is the glitzy shopping and dining area known as Downtown Dubai, home to the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, and Dubai Mall. The mall is massive, with a vast collection of family-friendly attractions, upscale retailers, and restaurants, and features an indoor Olympic-sized skating rink and Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo onsite.

The Downtown Dubai district is also home to many of the city’s most stylish hotels. The swanky Waldorf Astoria brings a splash of midcentury Manhattan to the city with a design Don Draper would approve of; rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and a stocked drinks cabinet, while the hotel’s restaurant, Bull & Bear, serves up American and international classics. The hotel also has a smart gym, rooftop pool, and a spa with a flotation tank.

The Dubai EDITION is another big-name property that’s bringing some New York style to the city. The hotel’s cheeky Euro-cool concept shines through – expect the first mixed-gender sauna in the Middle East, and ‘let’s spend the night together’ emblazoned on pillows. The hotel’s ‘analogue circus’ of nostalgic tech, pottery and podcast studios, and the city’s only rooftop bar are other draws, while in-hotel eateries include German Ernst Biergarten and modern Indian Tandoor Tina.

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