The most commonly accepted meaning of the word “Dubai” is money. In ancient Arabic, Dubai meant money and since the city was associated with rich traders, it became synonymous with wealth. The city has since then maintained that reputation. Dubai is rich enough to not just grow green grass but decorate it with different flowers without any of these wilting round the year in a place which has a desert for a border.
There are roundabouts and flyovers that provide a scenic view of pink and purple flowers neatly growing in grass that looks greener than the grass in Delhi. But the grass is not Dubai’s biggest achievement. If the local government is to be asked, Dubai’s exclusivity lies in not just being a popular tourist destination but an ideal city for a family vacation. Their claim is not completely unfounded. On a four-day trip to Dubai, organised by the Tourism Ministry, there was a lot the city had to offer this journalist who was exploring ideal venues for a family vacation sans the family.
It is difficult to move on from a brief relationship with the Madinat Jumeriah Beach Resorts, sprawled across a coastline that welcomes the Arabian Gulf in which stands Burj Al-Arab, Dubai’s iconic ship-shape building. It is even more difficult to forget the scenic views of the ocean over a breakfast that serves more than a hundered delicacies and makes you eager for a weekday morning. The property houses over 50 restaurants and bars, including the award-winning Pai Thai, Al Fayrooz Lounge for afternoon tea and the oceanfront Bhari Bar. While there is sea on the other end of the resort, a water canal snakes through the three different hotels that constitute the Jumeirah resort. A boat ride in the canal after sunset leaves you with a refreshing outlook of what an ancient Arab village would look like if it were to be decorated with mood lighting. The resort also has the Sinbad’s Kids Club to keep the young guests entertained, and the popular Wild Wadi Water Park, which is known worldwide for its design and water rides. Madinat Jumeirah is a vacation in itself, a perfect reflection of Dubai.
If it were possible to get over the Madinat Jumeirah, Ski Dubai would leave you craving to acquire the super power to bear subzero temperatures. Home to penguins, Ski Dubai is an indoor ski facility with multiple snow rides around a huge snow mountain—all man-made. It is Dubai, a predominantly arid city that has grass, flowers, snow and canals all spanned within a 20 minute drive.
Dubai Parks and Resorts, is a theme park that brings Hollywood’s most loved animation characters to real life. Complete sets of Hulk, Shrek and Smurfs at Dubai Parks and Resorts provide ample opportunity to click memorable photos along with surprise rollercoaster rides, while Columbia Pictures, DreamWorks and Lionsgate takes care of the visual delight of stepping into Hunger Games, sets of How To Train Your Dragon, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda.
The other popular family attraction is the IMG Worlds of Adventure, a place that is home to some of the scariest rollercoasters in Dubai. An indoor amusement park, IMG Worlds of Adventure has a zone dedicated to Cartoon Network, Marvel and Jurassic Park. The Jurassic Park zone has four major rollercoasters that leave you weak in the legs and dry in the throat.
Dubai is adamant in selling itself as a tourist destination that has attractions to offer for every member of the family. The ride on an elevator becomes an adventure when you are ascending to the top of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. A safari in the desert, skiing in the snow or a walking through a Hollywood set, Dubai, the city of sea, seasons and rollercoasters, has it all on offer.