DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – March 25 & 26



(Written by Steve) - received April 2

Dubai is not one, but two cities. Deira is on the Dubai Creeks North side and Dubai itself sits on the South bank. The first thing you will see from the Gulf is the Jumeira Beach Hotel’s Arabian “sail” and several other iconic high rises. The most spectacular thing in Dubai is the Burg al Arab Hotel, the worlds only 7-star resort. This place sits all on its own along the ocean and has a very unique design, but from the outside does not look too fantastic. The rooms start at $1500 us and go up to $35,000 us for a one night stay. For 35k you get the penthouse suite with a complimentary helicopter service and a dozen or so butlers. We usually form some kind of plan before we head into a city, so we decided to head to see this hotel first thing and maybe get in to see it. We were all told that there is a fee to walk through the lobby, but it was too busy this weekend to let anyone in. The drive from the dock to the hotel is through a residential area and then a business section, quite far from the downtown core. The houses were very huge with lots of windows and large entry gates. The drive towards this fantastic landmark was going great and then Nikolas decided he was going to be sick, just as we pulled up to the hotel. Can you imagine us walking into the nicest hotel in the world and Nikolas shooting his breakfast onto the lobby floor?  So we got out and took some pictures from the entrance, and then we walked for a few blocks until the poor kid started to feel better. We stumbled upon this beautiful mall about 4 blocks away and decided to see what kind of Arabic treasures were waiting for us to purchase. The prices were out of this world so we sat at Starbucks and had a few drinks and admired our first taste of Arabic architecture. Everything you see in this city is perfect and clean and made with the finest of materials. The other thing that is very different is the dress code, long white khandora’s are worn by the men and women wear a abaya. The women are sometimes so covered up you can only see their eyes. We decided that the best thing to do would be to go to a hotel so the kids could maybe swim and we could get a bite to eat. We have a membership at the Fairmont and I thought it would be our best chance to get into a pool. You see, a lot of hotels won’t let you use the pool, and if they do they have a nominal fee. We walked into the Fairmont and were blown away by its size, beauty and view of Dubai. They had a Formula one racing car right at the front door as you walked in, and Nikolas was very excited to see it. We saw they had a restaurant on the 9th floor so we headed up and grabbed a table. It was a very nice place to eat and it looked out over the pool and the city. As we were eating we noticed everyone leaving the pool and we thought it was a good time to go for a swim. So we paid our bill and headed over to reception to find out if they would let us swim. The nice lady at the counter said she would honor our membership and give us the special day rate of 600 Dirham, or about 170 us dollars. At first I thought she was joking, and there was no way I was interested and walked out to tell the kids. I told Helen and she was questioning me on how it could be so expensive, and was I sure it wasn’t a mistake. It was not, and that was our first taste of U.A.E., one of the most expensive countries in the world. When I told the kids we were not going they did that thing that kids do when they don’t get what they want. They collapsed on the seat and said, “Please!, Please let us go swimming”. Well just as that little circus act was going on, a man from the pool asked if he could help, and I told him the story and said it sounded outrageous. He went back to the nice lady and came back with the super deal of $65 us and Helen could use the spa and the kids could swim. The kids were now begging to go, right in front of this gent and I thought at least Helen could use the Spa. We trucked the kids to the changing room and then I got them in the pool. It was also on the 9th floor over looking the city and Persian Gulf, very beautiful. After all that, both of my little kids came back with that really sad face and the comment that could ignite the space shuttle. “dad it’s too cold, we don’t want to swim” I felt my left eye start to twitch and I smiled and then growled “Oh you are going to go swimming whether you like it or not”. I can’t believe that after all that they didn’t want to go. It took about half an hour and then Dani made a friend and forgot all about the temperature. Nikolas also made a friend and was talking to a little guy from Britain and the day just evaporated and all of a sudden we had to go.


More pics


We had been told as we were heading into the pool that there was a huge concert the night before and all 4 bands were staying at the Hotel. I try to never judge a book by its cover but the fully tattooed dude’s walking around the pool looked to me like rock and rollers. It was not till I was walking down the hall did I chat with one of them, Justin from The Darkness, a British band we had never heard of. Justin was the lead singer and I think his daughter and Danika were playing up a storm. He was a really nice guy and came over to Helen and Nikolas and was asking about how we were traveling and what it was like on the ship. Anyways we left the Hotel and drove through downtown Dubai in what I guess would be their rush hour. Everything in Dubai is done right, from the roads to the gardens to the way they do construction. Any direction you look in the city would give you a glimpse of the many cranes that cover the city. Right now they are building over a million condos and two islands that are attached to the shore. One island is shaped like a palm tree and the other is shaped like the world, the lots are going for 2.5 to 5.5 million. Construction in Dubai is like no other, the trades here work 24 hours a day on one of 3 shifts a day. Everything here is over the top.  Seeing it after coming from a place like India just makes it all very hard to digest. Have you ever been to Vegas and thought that if you saw any more marble or waterfalls you were going to explode? Well multiply that by 10 and you have Dubai.  The grass here is the perfect colour and the perfect height even though it is in the dessert. We were told that this was one of the busiest weekends of the year with the big horse race, concerts and Easter weekend.

We did not have enough time to see anything really and would have liked to see Abu Dhabi and the new hotel they just fished there. Each room has up to 16 butlers and it is now the most expensive hotel ever built at a cost of just over 3 billion us dollars. Geez, I wonder what it would cost to swim in that pool? So that was little day in Dubai, not spectacular, but enough for us to get an ideas of this very expensive culture.



Retrieved from

Dubai is the quintessential home of sand, sun and shopping. A century ago, it was a tranquil town whose coral-and-gypsum huts housed Bedouin traders and pearl divers. Today the merchants have gone international and science-fiction skyscrapers stand alongside the mosques and wind towers of Old Dubai.

The audacity of the city's rulers is breathtaking. Running out of coastline to build hotels? Build vast artificial islands with 120km (74.5mi) of new beachfront. Need better connections with the world? Build up an award-winning international airline in 15 years.

Need some publicity? Stage the world's richest horse race, million-dollar lotteries, international tennis and golf tournaments, and a month-long shopping festival. Need a few landmarks for people to recognise? Up goes the world's tallest and most lavish hotel, perched on an artificial platform, and a city skyline to boggle the eye.

Area: 35 sq km
Population: 997,000
Country: United Arab Emirates
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +4 (Standard Time)
Telephone Area Code: 4