Top Travel News from Dubai


Dubai is hot (and we aren't talking about the weather). It's so hot that sometimes even we have trouble keeping up with it. But here we have rounded up the latest news coming out of this gem on the Arabian Gulf, so if you are off to Dubai anytime soon, you'll want to check here before you go. 

According to the Associated Press, the United Arab Emirates is planning to build a new tourism-retail center complete with luxury hotels and a major theme park that will surpass its own Dubai Mall of being the largest mall in the world. Dubai's ruler, prime minister and vice president, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, did not state when the "Mohammed bin Rashid City" will begin development or how much it will cost to construct. The New York Daily News reports that the shopping center, dubbed "Mall of the World," will accommodate 80 million visitors a year, as opposed to Dubai Mall with only 62 million. The mall will become the "largest in the world," while its theme park will be "30 percent bigger than Hyde Park of London." Development site is planned for the outskirts of the desert city. Plans for the project were put off in 2009 due to a debt crisis that hit the emirate. Since then, Dubai’s financial market conditions have improved.

Good news for foodies on the move, especially to the UAE: The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing is reportedly launching an initiative based around the development of Emirati cuisine in Dubai’s hotels, according to Hotelier Middle East. Andy Cuthbert, general manager, Madinat Jumeirah C&I andJumeirah Hospitality, spoke at the Caterer Middle East Chef’s & Ingredients Forum earlier this week, said that he and other hoteliers want to set up a training program with young chefs to teach them about local fare. “As you know, there’s not many Emirati chefs cooking in our kitchens in our establishments, but we need to be able to train our young guys how to cook it properly.” Cuthbert, who is also chairman of the Emirates Culinary Guild, is part of a committee at DTCM working to ensure the recognition and promotion of the national cuisine, along with two other top Dubai chefs, Uwe Micheel, director of culinary at Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek and president of the Emirates Culinary Guild andMichael Kitts, director of culinary arts at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management.

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Dubai has already soared to the top of the luxury hotel scene, and it has no indication of slowing down. We just received word of yet another luxury property that will be gracing the Arabian Gulf's shores. Anantara Hotel, Resorts & Spas will be opening its first hotel in Dubai - Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort & Spa, to open in September. The five-star resort will sit on the crescent of Dubai's iconic Palm Jumeirah. The new resort will offer 293 guest rooms and suites clustered in units of four to eight, with 130 guest rooms featuring direct access to a dizzying 120,000 square feet of lagoon pools. The 12 Beach Villas, 18 Over Water Villas and three (highly exclusive) Royal Beach Villas put this resort over the top. Facilities will include a private beach, three natural lagoons, water sports, a shoreline infinity pool, an Anantara Spa with 12 treatment rooms, a fitness studio and two tennis courts. True to Anantara design, there will be a wide selection of high-end dining options. Six themed restaurants and bars include an all-day dining restaurant serving Middle Eastern and international cuisine; an Australian inspired grill; an Asian themed specialty restaurant; a beachfront Mediterranean restaurant; a lobby lounge with a dedicated shish deck; and poolside refreshments. 

In keeping with Dubai's love of superlatives, it should be noted that the world's tallest hotel opened in November. Standing at a height of 355 meters (or 26 meters shorter than New York’s Empire State Building), the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is immense in size-- spread across two towers. As we reported back in May, the hotel will open in two phases. The first tower with 804 rooms is now in its soft opening phase, along with three restaurants. Eventually—after the Grand Opening celebration in February 2013-- the hotel will have a whopping 10 restaurants, four bars, two lounges, expansive conference facilities, and the Saray Spa and Health Club. All guest rooms promise sky-high views and the latest technology; Executive rooms come with free breakfast and wifi. Located in the city’s business district, the JW Marriott Marquis is courting the Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events market. General Manager Rupprecht Queitsch says the hotel is “working in tandem with the Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing and Dubai Convention Bureau to put Dubai on the global business destination map.” 

Mövenpick Hotel Apartments The Square debuted with 180 superior and deluxe rooms, as well as one- and two-bedroom hotel apartment suites. The hotel is close to the Al Mamzar Beach Park and other hot Dubai attractions. Each room has its own kitchenette, but if dining out is more your speed, we suggest The Spice, an all-day dining restaurant with Asian creations and international dishes. At the rooftop pool, cocktails and light snacks are served and guests can smoke traditional shish. On the sixth floor, a fully equipped fitness center is available.

We also hear that the destination is now home to Fairmont The Palm, locales on the iconic Palm Jumeirah. The hotel offers 381 guest rooms and suites. Want over-the-top? Book one of the two presidential suites. Most guest rooms offer sea views and balconies. The resort has four swimming pools, a private beach club, Children's Activity Center, dining facilities and a Willow Stream Spa. Seven restaurants have set up shop at the hotel. Frevo serves up Brazilian cuisine, while Ba offers a pan-Chinese menu. Flow Kitchen is an international restaurant serving family-style cuisine from the Middle East, India, the Med and Asia, while The Cigar Room has a menu of cigars. The Willow Stream Spa has 13 treatment rooms along with health and fitness facilities. 


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