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Dubai, often described as gold-dipped glamour location in a desert metropolis, is renowned for its epic sense of scale. Supersized hotels, malls, amusement parks, aquariums, designer cars and luxury yachts are all commonplace. The city long ago positioned itself as a global hub and does everything to retain that title.

New hotspots include the Latin rainforest-themed Amazonico and Indochine, a timeless classic French-Vietnamese restaurant popular with New Yorkers. Joining them from this September in Dubai’s International Finance Centre will be the members-only The Arts Club.

Aside from world-class hotels and an eclectic food scene, Dubai offers memorable lifestyle activities—how does taking a hot air balloon for majestic views of a desert sunrise catch you? Afterwards, enjoy an authentic breakfast of caviar and smoked salmon sitting tent-side, and fuel up for a camel ride.

As for local culture, in a land made up mostly of ex-pats, the authentic flavour can be elusive. Amid the quiet of the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, a camp is pitched with the aroma of frying luqaimat (sweet dumplings). Here visitors can listen to locals trading stories, pause to watch hunting falcons swoop with such speed there’s a slick whistle as they pass a metre from their heads.

Top 5 - Destinations
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