Read on for our picks of the top sites and attractions that rounded off last year in style and those are set to capture travellers’ imagination in the coming year.
Ever evolving and growing, Dubai continues to surprise and amaze with stunning new attractions and world-class developments opening almost every week. 2017 saw a host of exciting new additions to the city’s must-visit list, and looking ahead there’s plenty more to come in 2018.
1. XLine Dubai Marina
Currently standing as the world’s longest urban zip line, extending a full kilometre from a height of 170 metres to ground level, the XLine Dubai Marina is now open to the public. The line features an incline of 16 degrees and reaches an average top speed of 80 kilometres per hour. Building on the original XLine over The Dubai Fountain launched in 2015, this new edition is twice the length of its forerunner and features two zip lines running adjacent to one another. Also new is the Superman-style harness, suspending daredevils horizontally as they zip from one of the Amwaj towers in JBR down to the terrace of Dubai Marina Mall.
2. Dubai Safari Park
Dubai Safari Park is a massive wildlife project that spans over 119 hectares just a short drive from downtown. The park is divided into different sections – Asian Village, African Village and Open Safari Village – and recreates the different habitats suitable for its varied and unique wildlife, including 2,000 animals of 250 different species from around the world. It’s also home to a 1,000-seat theatre, a garden for children, a botanical garden, a butterfly garden and an amateur golf course, in addition to restaurants and a food court in the park’s Valley and Children’s Park. It features the world’s first drive-through crocodile park, the UAE’s largest aviary and the country’s only drive-through hippo and tiger exhibit. The park is also set to offer a zoo-keeping course, which will make it the first place in the UAE to offer such training.
3. Dubai Frame
Rising 150 metres high and 93 metres wide, Dubai Frame is an impressive and imposing architectural landmark that unites the city’s past, present and future. Its two vertical towers are connected by a 100- square-metre bridge that features a 25-square-metre glass panel in the centre, offering a great 360- degree view of the city. The bridge serves as an observation deck providing uninterrupted views of Old Dubai to the north and New Dubai to the south. Visitors begin their journey by learning about the history of Dubai in the Past Gallery, with picturesque projections depicting Bedouin life, camels and the infinite sands of the desert. Visitors then move on to augmented reality-activated screens on the Sky Deck level that showcase present-day Dubai, before walking through a specially designed ‘vortex tunnel’ to a virtual metropolis representing the future of Dubai.
4. Bulgari Resort Dubai
The newest five-star hotel to join Dubai’s luxury hotel scene is the world’s fifth Bulgari Hotels and Resorts property, and it’s now open at the exclusive seahorse-shaped Jumeirah Bay Island, just off the coast of Jumeirah Beach Road. Bringing elegant Italian style to the Middle East, this private island retreat is the perfect contrast to the city’s skyscraper hotels, boasting a Mediterranean-style design that welcomes guests through the world’s first Bulgari Marina and Yacht Club. The luxury 1.7 million square foot marine complex is framed by lush landscaped gardens and features 100 rooms and suites, 20 residential villas and a marina, all accompanied by a full range of luxury amenities. The resort celebrated its launch with a star- studded affair that welcomed Bulgari brand ambassadors and VIPs, model Bella Hadid, Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander, model and actor Jon Kortajarena, and model Jasmine Sanders.
5. Renaissance Downtown Hotel
With 298 guestrooms including 65 sprawling suites, along with a thoughtful design that incorporates elements from local artists, there’s plenty for the stylish traveller to explore at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel. Restaurants include David Myers’ Bleu Blanc, which resembles a Southern French farmhouse, BASTA!, an urban interpretation of a Roman trattoria, and BHAR, a Middle Eastern-style brasserie whose name means ‘spice’. Chef Masaharu Morimoto also opened the first UAE branch of his eponymous restaurant, mixing traditional Japanese techniques with Western twists. In addition, the hotel boasts a first-of-its-kind, all-suite spa concept from the renowned Six Senses brand.
Text and photos courtesy of Dubai Tourism