7 Over-The-Top Luxury Experiences To Have In Dubai

The Royal Atlantis Residences

Photo Credit: Royal Atlantis

As one of the wealthiest cities in the world, Dubai is, both literally and figuratively, a hotbed for travel. And come 2020, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates will be on fire thanks to the highly anticipated opening of the Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences, a $1.4 billion effort that’s been five years in the making. The 43-story resort will deliver a new generation of luxury with its world-renowned designers, architects, and innovators (who include New York City’s Kohn Pedersen Fox and Parisian interior designer Sybille de Margerie), with commissioned artwork in the form of architectural embroidery, hand-sculpted leather, and delicate porcelain pieces. The 795 lavish guest rooms and suites as well as 231 residences are already being projected as the place to stay. That there will be a whopping 17 restaurants—including projects from celebrity chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, José Andrés, Gastón Acurio, Costa Spiliadis and Ariana Bundy—making her restaurant debut with Ariana’s Persian Kitchen—as well as 90 on-site swimming pools only helps stir up interest in the massive new hotel. But until this behemoth opens its doors in Q2 or Q3 of 2020, you can still stay at the Royal’s sister property, Atlantis, The Palm, which, when combined, will create a super-property spanning 63 hectares of land (about 155 football fields); over a mile of beachfront, creating the largest stretch of continuous, accessible privately-owned beach front in Dubai; one international beach club and nightclub; over 45 restaurants, including eight celebrity chef eateries, such as Bread Street Kitchen from Gordon Ramsay and Nobu Matsuhisa’s Nobu; one of the world’s largest aquariums, The Ambassador Lagoon, which is home to 65,000 marine animals; over 92 swimming pools, and two spa and fitness facilities, plus two gyms and a yoga lawn. Now, as you wait with bated breath for the arrival of the Royal, here are the seven things every luxury lover must see or experience during a stay in the ‘City of Gold.’

1. Stay At A Hotel With 24K Gold SoapDubai Photo Credit: Atlantis

From soap made with 24K gold flakes to custom-designed French linen bathrobes, Atlantis, The Palm Dubai offers a variety of luxurious in-suite amenities to keep guests relaxed and pampered throughout their stay. The rich and famous should book The Royal Bridge Suite—which, at over $20K per night, is one of the world’s most expensive stays—3,000 square feet of ultra-lux offerings including sweeping views of the Palm, the largest man-made island in the world, a private guarded entrance and elevator, dedicated chefs and butlers, a private library and a media and game room. Guests of the luxury suite can also enjoy custom-made sheets and specially designed robes by French luxury brand D. Porthault. That this suite has Kim Kardashian‘s endorsement, that should say it all.

2. Namaste With The Fishes

DubaiPhoto Credit: AtlantisAtlantis offers a unique underwater yoga class to rejuvenate the body and soul with a dynamic Hatha practice amidst 65,000 marine animals in The Lost Chambers Aquarium. Guests can then indulge in one of ShuiQi Spa’s wellness offerings, including a 2-hour ESPA Energy Balancing Treatment that ostensibly heals and restores balance for inner calm.

3. Indulge In Opulent Culinary Experiences, Including A $820 Sundae Dubai

Photo Credit: Atlantis

There are some pretty unique dining experiences to be had in Dubai. Within Atlantis, discover the underwater eatery Ossiano, a unique venue that sees more marriage proposals than any other spot in the resort. This is largely due to the enchanting 32-foot panes looking into the Lost Chambers Aquarium’s 65,000+ marine animals, including including sharks, stingrays, snapper, hammour, lionfish and anemone. Try the foie gras berries, paired with hibiscus for an unusual dish you’ll be loathe to find anywhere else, or the Iranian caviar, which costs over $1000 for 50 grams. At Seafire Steakhouse & Bar, you’ll be able to order up 350g of Kobe tenderloin for $270. Meanwhile, at The Palm’s Nobu, guests will find Nobu Matsuhisa’s extraordinary Japanese fare with an environmental twist: this location offers the restaurant group’s first garden terrace, as well as the only Mondays Ladies’ Night (women drink for free). As a fun fact, the resort’s most expensive meal was a record-breaking $49,000 for a table of 4 at Nobu. At the hotel’s Hakkasan, guests will find dishes exclusive to Dubai, including wok-seared tiger prawns with white asparagus, shimeji and chili, and a sautéed scallop with salted olive and porcini. Meanwhile, off-property, try a sweet spider king crab at Peppercrab for $785; and a $820 gourmet sundae made with vanilla bean ice cream from Madagascar infused with Iranian saffron and Italian black truffle sprinkled with edible 23K gold-leaf flakes at Scoopi Café.

4. Find Some Of The World’s Best Art… In A Lobby Dubai

Photo Credit: Atlantis

Back at Atlantis, The Palm, guests have the distinct pleasure of walking by a 32-foot Dale Chihuly sculpture every time they enter the Grand Lobby. This stunning creation was made from 3,000 hand-blown pieces, each of which was individually placed by hand (no doubt part of the reason the sculpture in its entirety took almost two years to create).

5. Have High Tea In The World’s Tallest Building

Burj Khalifa

Photo Credit: yu-jas / Shutterstock.com

At 2,700 square feet, the Burj Khalifa is the world’s highest building. And although Tom Cruise gave the the skyscraper street cred by scaling it in “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” we advise you NOT to try his antics at home. What to do instead: Sit back in the lush couches and enjoy njoy an assortment of fresh bakes and delicate desserts, alongside a selection of the finest tea and coffee. Inclusive of a tour of the outdoor terrace.

6. Channel Your Inner Lewis Hamilton At The Dubai Autodrome

Dubai Photo Credit: Autodrome/Instagram

Completed in 2004, the Dubai Autodrome was the UAE’s first fully-integrated multipurpose motorsport and entertainment facility. This FIA sanctioned 3.35-mile circuit has six different configurations, a race school, indoor and outdoor karting tracks, the Grandstand Retail Plaza, the Motorsport Business Park, a VIP Paddock Hospitality area and entertainment facilities ideal for events and corporate entertainment. It’s hosted the FIA GT Championship, European Touring Car Championship, A1 GP, GP2 Asia, Lamborghini Super Trofeo ME, MRF Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge ME, the Radical Middle East Cup and the renowned Hankook 24H Dubai Endurance Race. Some of the world’s most famous racers have driven competitively here or visited the circuit, including Formula One champions Michael Schumacher, Kimi Räikkönen, and Jenson Button. And you can follow in their hot wheels, by driving some of the fastest vehicles in the world, including the McLaren Sprint, Ferrari GT and F1 Jaguar2000.

7. Literally Shop Until You Drop—1200 Stores!—At The Dubai Mall

Dubai Photo Credit: Greta Gabaglio / Shutterstock.com

Seriously, if you thought you’ve shopped until you dropped before, you’ve obviously never encountered the Dubai Mall. This luxury mecca has more than 1200 retail outlets, including Hublot, Christian Louboutin, Giuseppe Zanotti, Harry Winston, Tiffany & Co., and more, as well as a 22-theater multiplex cinema, the UAE’s largest virtual reality park, an underwater zoo and aquarium, an ice rink, go-karting and every dining option under the sun… and then some.