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The 10 biggest factors that make Dubai the city of luxury

DUBAI: Luxury in the middle of the desert.

There is no shortage of superlatives that describe Dubai’s opulance. I went in to some of these in my blog post earlier today. But now, I wanted to drill into what makes Dubai a city unmatched in amenities and indulgence. Here are 10 of the biggest, boldest luxuries that capture the quintessential Dubai.

1. Burj Khalifa — This building stands as the world’s tallest skyscraper. Opened in 2010, it is home to the fabulous Armani Hotel, as well as residential and corporate suites. An outdoor observation deck is available so travelers can gaze at the wonders of Dubai from the 124th floor and view the city from the third-highest observation deck in the world. Outside, the Dubai Fountain is illuminated by 6,600 lights and 50 colored projectors — a true sight to be seen.

GREAT HEIGHTS: Take in the city from the world’s tallest skyscraper.

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Dazzling Dubai: A city of superlatives

CITY OF LUXURY: Dubai, one of the world's most extravagant citiesFifty or so years ago, no one would have believed that the most lavish, luxurious, futuristic city in the world would be built, practically from scratch, surrounded by desert. Yet, that describes Dubai’s amazing metamorphosis into what is today the epitome of opulence among cities in the world.

There’s no shortage of amazing architecture, superb cuisine, hotels featuring every amenity imaginable, shopping galore, and creative diversions to amuse even the most bored billionaire.

The royal builders of Dubai have spared no expense in making sure this city is unmatched in extravagance. In short, it’s a city of superlatives. In Dubai, you’ll find the biggest, the tallest, the most expensive, the most daring, and so on. Don’t believe it? Here are seven fitting adjectives that provide a glimpse of what Dubai has to offer to lucky visitors.

Fastest. Dubai has been called the fastest-growing city in the world, and it’s no wonder why. Less than 50 years ago, Dubai was a sleepy trading port that sprang up out of the Middle East desert sands. Today, it is bigger, grander, and more lavish than any other city in the world. (more…)

Dubai: The desert destination dripping with decadence

When it comes to picking a destination, most travelers craving luxury don’t consider a city in the middle of the desert as their first choice — but they should!

That’s because Dubai, a city located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula, is one of the most opulent destinations in the world.

Dubai has it all — shopping, dining, and some of the world’s most breathtaking sights. This includes The World, a man-made archipelago of 300 islands constructed in the shape of the land masses of Earth, and Burj Al Arab, where you’ll find the world’s most expensive hotel room.

When JustLuxe asked me to write about the things that make Dubai a place that no self-respecting traveler with a developed wanderlust should miss, I was happy to oblige. A true mirage in the desert, the city is dotted with lush, green golf courses; fabulous restaurants and hotels; and high-end stores packed with designer wares, top-end electronics, and VIP treatment available around every corner. 
I talk about all these things and much more in my full article, “Dubai: The Ultimate VIP Experience.” If you’ve never been to Dubai, I hope my stamp of approval will convince you to give it a try. Thanks JustLuxe for running the piece!

Safari in Kenya: A roaring good deal at just $1,899

It might have taken me thirty years in tourism to do it, but I’m ecstatic to report that I’ve created my dream travel deal. I’m going to say it’s a miracle of tourism packaging. And that’s saying a lot considering I’ve been to the ends of the earth and back (yes, including Antarctica).

For the first time ever, Friendly Planet is offering the eight-day Kenya Safari Express for only $1,899. There has never been a safari tour with so many included excursions or such superior accommodations for a price like this.

Typically, an exotic African safari comes with a hefty price tag. We’re talking $3,000 to $5,000 and right on up. But this unbelievable deal opens the door for more travelers to see majestic Africa’s sweeping vistas, teeming cities, and magnificent wildlife. The experiences we’ve packed into this tour will leave your head spinning.

During a day in Nairobi, you’ll reach out and touch elephants at the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphans’ Nursery and feed giraffes from the palm of your hand.

At Lake Naivasha, home to over 400 species of birds, you’ll tour by boat while hippo, giraffe, buffulo, zebra, and waterbuck watch curiously from the shore.

The photogenic plains of the Masai Mara game reserve are like something out of a movie. During two action-packed days of game drives you’ll see Africa’s big five game: lions, African elephants, cape buffaloes, leopards, and black and white rhinoceroses. They’ll be so close you can leave the zoom lense at home.

And in true Friendly Planet tradition, you’ll have the chance to mingle with the locals. Spend an afternoon with the friendly, indigenous people in a Misaim village, and get a feel for life on the plain.

As always, the hotel and lodge accommodations are top notch, bringing a touch of luxury to the region’s natural beauty. I can say from experience that there’s no better way to relax after a day bumping over the landscape than lounging poolside with a cold drink.

Didn’t cross enough things off your bucket list during eight days in Kenya? An optional three-day extension to Dubai will take care of a few more. Experience the intersection of traditional Islamic culture and contemporary luxury in one of the world’s most talked about tourist destinations.

Stroll through the narrow lanes of the Bastakiya District marketplace, a relic of 900-year-old Dubai. Ride one of Burj Khalifa’s 57 elevators, the tallest building in the world, at 2,625 feet. Dine on an Arabian dhow cruise down Dubai Creek, once the hub of bustling pearling and fishing industries, and today, the best way to take in the twinkling city lights. At night, wine and dine at the luxurious Fairmont Hotel.

We couldn’t be more excited about this one. This tour is the perfect example of what Friendly Planet is here to do: offer incredible experiences at incredible value. If I’ve whet your appetite enough, find the full itinerary and all the details on our Kenya Safari Express, plus optional Dubai extension page on the Friendly Planet Travel website.

Friendly Planet Travel giving travelers what they want, according to Conde Nast Traveler’s 2009 Readers Choice Awards

As I was home catching up on some work-related e-mail this weekend, I spent some time browsing the latest Condé Nast Traveler: 2009 Readers’ Choice Awards. I couldn’t help smiling to myself as I read that once again, Friendly Planet has it pretty well covered in terms of what travelers want.

Take the Top Cities category. We offer trips to eight out of the top 10 Asian cities: Bangkok, Hong Kong, Chiang Mai, Kyuoto, Shanghai, Jaipur, Tokyo, and Hanoi. Singapore, also on the top 10 list, is coming in 2010, and that’s just Asia. We also cover four out of five of the best Africa and Middle East cities: Cape Town, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Dubai.

FP_Plane.jpgThe No. 1 and No. 2 airlines on the list of Ten Best Global Carriers – Singapore Airlines and Emirates – are prominently featured on some of our tours. And even some of the world’s best hotels, such as the Fairmont Hotel Dubai, are found on our programs.

So, you could be thinking, "big deal." A lot of companies feature these places, these airlines, and these hotels. And that’s the point. A lot do feature all of this and more, but at what price? That’s where we differ from almost everyone out there. The best for the least means something in my mind. It translates into a lot of work in creating the tours that result in great vacations in great destinations at great prices.
 

That’s the thought  I had after reading these lists, anyway. But more importantly, how do YOU think Friendly Planet Travel stacks up? Are there cities we don’t offer that you wish we did? Where do you want to go with us? Let me know in the comments section below! I would really love to hear from you.

Be dazzled in Dubai for only $1,499

Not too long ago, it was a quiet oasis in an expanse of desert. But over the last three decades, Dubai has become one of the hottest destinations for travelers. Known for having the biggest, best, and most lavish of everything, this coastal city has made a name for itself as one of the most expensive, over-the-top places in the world to vacation, reserved for an exclusive crowd of savvy, sophisticated travelers with plenty of money to spend. All that is about to change, as travelers get ready to pack their bags and join Friendly Planet Travel on its six-day Dazzling Dubai tour for just $1,499 including airfare.

 

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You won’t find Dubai’s degree of opulence anywhere else in the world. Dubai is the home of The Dynamic Tower, a rotating skyscraper that you’ll swear is a mirage; The World, a man-made archipelago of 300 islands constructed in the shape of the land masses of Earth; Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building; and Burj Al Arab, where you’ll find the world’s most expensive hotel room, just to name a few.

For the longest time, Dubai represented an unattainable ideal vacation for most. But we love a challenge, and putting together an affordable package to Dubai was a thrilling goal for us to attain.

Dubai has established itself as the gem of the United Arab Emirates, and this package lets travelers enjoy some of the best Dubai has to offer. Flights are via Emirates Airlines, one of the world’s top five carriers. Hotel accommodations are at the luxurious Fairmont Hotel Dubai, named one of the world’s best by ForbesTraveler.com.

Travelers experience quintessential Dubai on the included guided city tour: cosmopolitan, pulsing with vibrant nightlife, rich culture, eye-popping architecture, and shopping that ranges from elegant designer malls to street markets filled with spices and gold.

Travelers can spend the remainder of their time in Dubai exploring on their own, or they can take advantage of inexpensive optional tours. Among the most popular are a wild desert safari by 4 x 4 vehicles, ending with a delicious dinner under the stars, complete with belly dancers and a henna tattoo artist. 
 

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Another favorite is a visit to the Mall of the Emirates, where you can ski the world’s only indoor slopes (complete with ski lift). Of course, Dubai’s renowned Burj Dubai, Burj Al Arab, Palm Island, and The World can’t be missed, as well as the trendy Dubai Marina, Internet City, posh Emirates Hills, and the Gold and Diamond Park.

And for travelers with more time, Friendly Planet Travel also offers two extension packages to make the most of your already-included airfare. The Kenya Wildlife Safari extension, at $999, includes a mini-safari and takes vacationers to Nairobi’s Masai Mara National Game Reserve and Kigio Conservancy. The Cairo Flash extension, at $499, offers travelers a tour of Egyptian wonders to the Pyramids of Cheops and Chephren, the Sphinx, and more.

And don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about Dazzling Dubai and trip extension options, or if you have any questions about the trip.

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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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