Should I Dubai Before I Die?

Here is my variation on a well known, eighteenth century children’s prayer . . . with humble apologies to the original author:

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

Should I Dubai before I die?  To make that choice, I must know why!

The world contains innumerable grand and glorious places to experience yet each of us has been allotted a finite amount of time to explore its mysteries.  This quandary is madeShould Dubai be my next destination? considerably trickier by the fact none of us knows exactly how much time we have before we shuffle off this mortal coil.   The nearer we draw to that inevitability, the more acute the decision-making process becomes.  I am certainly closer than many of my readers.  About the only consolation I have found so far in growing old is I no longer have to worry about dying young!  Granted, it’s not much but can you say that?

The question I would like to posit in this post is this:  Should you add Dubai  to your “farm list” (as in “before you buy the farm”)?  Sorry, I just couldn’t bring myself to use that other overtaxed, ubiquitous phrase (you know, the one that involves a lower appendage striking a milk pail).  Since I am not a fan of authors who raise questions but offer no answers, here is my never humble opinion:  YES, you should!  I can think of several compelling reasons but in the interest of brevity, here is one of the best.

In Dubai You Can Experience Arab Culture In A Secure Place

I must tread lightly here so as neither to offend nor be misunderstood.  The mention of the religion of Islam and the Arab world in general sparks a plethora of emotions here in America.  Because of the tragic yet undeniable reality of radical Islamic terrorism, many in this country are left in a quandary. They are caught between curiosity and even admiration for one of the world’s oldest and most erudite cultures and a totally understandable apprehension about sating that curiosity in a safe fashion.  For you folks, I have wonderful news.  Dubai is the perfect place to visit to learn more about this culture in a safe and secure environment.

Experiencing Arab hospitality

One of absolute highlights of my brief trip to Dubai . . . I think I have spent more time writing about Dubai that visiting it . .  was a stop in the old section of the city called Bastakiya.  My intrepid guide Susan with Desert Adventures (more about both below) led me to the extremely ??? structuremodest structure you see in the picture to your left called the Bastakiya Majlis.  Before entering she explained that you never knew who might be relaxing within from a humble tradesman to a member of the royal family.

As we entered, we were greeted with what can only be described as effusive hospitality of the sort you identify with the legendary Bedouin custom of Diyafi where even an enemy must be given shelter and fed for a few days.  I was warmly greeted by a handful of men and immediately asked by the man in the picture above, I believe his name was Ahmed, to join him on the mat where he was seated.  I was quickly brought some tea, a little afternoon treat and invited to hold the Hookah pipe which I believe they call Shesha.  The gentleman then began to tell me how he had served in the military and how richly God had blessed him and his two devoted wives.  I used to quip that I had a child and two wonderful wives at home but Ahmed was serious!  I have no doubt, had we had the time, he would have gladly passed the afternoon sharing conversation and extending hospitality.

Gold Souk MarketI wish time permitted me to share many more compelling reasons for making Dubai your next destination.  Since it does not, I point you to the Desert Adventures website which describes just a few of the many available options with this paragraph.

You could be discovering wrecks in the ocean, seeing the world’s tallest tower, attending a diva’s concert, trying your skills at belly and salsa dancing, or going to the theater, feasting on an mouth-watering Arabic buffet in the desert, swimming with the dolphins, dinner cruise on an Arabian dhow, dune bashing, exploring heritage sites, shopping, setting up a business, or even skiing – yes, in the desert! – are just some of the things you can do. The list is endless.

Dubai's Gold Souk marketBoth of the pictures directly above were taken in the market called the Gold Souk.  When we send our clients to Dubai, we use the gold standard of middle east inbound tour companies, Desert Adventures.  Susan Jorehri, whose impeccable knowledge of the destination was earned through more than a decade of local residence, could not have been more kind or informative.  When you get ready to plan you next trip to Dubai, contact our Travel Leaders offices.  Working with Desert Adventures, we will make sure your “farm list” experience is golden!

The One&Only Time A Royal Mirage Is A Real Oasis

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a mirage this way. “Something (such as a pool of water in the middle of a desert) that is seen and appears to be real but that is not actually there; something that you hope for or want but that is not possible or real.”  With apologies to the famous lexicographer, quite obviously Mr. Webster has never vacationed in Dubai.  (Being dead for some 170 years, Noah, is hardly an excuse.)  It may be the One&Only example of this phenomenon but I am about to tell you about a mirage that really is an oasis.

One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai

One&Only Royal Mirage lobbyOne of the first things you need to understand about this sprawling 65 acre resort is that it is very much three experiences in one setting.  The three very distinct environments are named The Palace, Arabian Court and Residence & Spa.  The overview page on their website does a masterful job of describing the unique characteristics of each section.

There are few hotel lobbies that literally stop you in your tracks when you enter.  This, however, is Lobby of the One&Only Royal Miragecertainly one of them.  I am thinking seriously of reworking the entry way to my tract home with a similar skylight.

Speaking of my own humble domicile, I may have to get my attorneys involved with the architects of this property who shamelessly stole the landscape plans to my own back yard even down to the bullseye fountain in the foreground.  Surely they realized the first reaction people were going to have is “Wow, just like Terry’s yard”?Royal MIrage viewTo say the accommodations are stunning doesn’t even begin to do them justice.  I was shown this room just before the guest arrivedRoyal Mirage accommodations.  Let’s be honest.  How would you like to arrive from a long journey to this?

I would love to tell you whether this is a picture of a Prestige room in the Residence, a Prince suite in the Arabian Court or a Superior Gold in the Palace but to be perfectly honest, after seeing so many spectacular rooms in all three sections and with hunger pains beginning to nip, my little gray cells had started taking an early Qaylulah, the Arabic version of a siesta.

Perhaps detecting the famished look in my eyes, my delightful guide Vanessa Thodda, Senior Sales Manager at the resort, suggested we pause for a brief repast.  A twist of the arm being wholly superfluous at this point, Vanessa (who reminds me of Cheryl Lobo, one of our top agents), Susan Joehri from Desert Adventures (more about this great company in the next post) and I found our way to the Eauzone in the Arabian Court section shown below.  The sumptuous fare and elegant surroundings were only surpassed by the convivial company.

Eauzone Restaurant at One&Only Royal MirageThe formula for a world-class property is not that complicated even if it is not easily duplicated.  You take a stunning setting, add elegant accommodations, include delicious cuisine served in a variety of stellar venues, throw in a world-renowned spa and add a pinch of gracious service and warm hospitality. Voilà!  You have the oasis in the desert you have always dreamed about.  And, despite its name, it is no mirage!

Check back in soon to learn why Dubai is must see destination.  After that final Dubai post, we will board Emirates for the next leg of our journey.  Next stop, Rome.  Actually, Ladispoli but more about that later.