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Characterized by its extravagance and popularized as a playground for the rich and famous, Dubai just got a little closer to home for South Floridians following the December 2016 launch of Emirates’ daily nonstop service out of Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

“Elite travelers planning a trip to Dubai for a stopover or as their final destination will find a plethora of activities to partake in,” says Hubert Frach, divisional senior v.p., commercial operations, West Americas, Europe & Russian Federation, at Emirates. “For the fashionistas, souks and malls offer local gems you won’t find anywhere else in the world, such as the Deira Gold Souk, home to hundreds of specialty jewelry stores, and the lavish architecture at Wafi City and Mercato Shopping Mall transports visitors to other worlds or time periods. Outdoor enthusiasts will revel in sailing opportunities in the [Arabian] Gulf, and the chance to visit exotic animals at the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.”

Up in the Air
Elevate your clients’ Emirates experience on board the Boeing-777 operated route by booking Business Class or First Class, where they’ll receive a 78-inch-long lie-flat seat and 20-inch HD LCD screen or a private suite equipped with a full-flat bed, electronically controlled mini-bar and 32-inch HD LCD screen with wireless touch screen seat controller, respectively. All passengers have access to more than 2,500 channels of on-demand entertainment through the airline’s award-winning in-flight entertainment system.

“Emirates offers a full-service, high-quality product, gourmet regionally inspired dishes, complimentary wines, dedicated children’s menus and activities,” says Frach. “Our fares are considered extremely competitive by travel agents and our customers, and we remain committed to providing our customers and trade partners with excellent service and a strong value-for-money proposition.”

Between the complimentary comforter, thoughtful decor and 5-course Business Class meals, featuring Arabic, Asian and American dishes complemented by a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, my 14-hour journey to the City of Gold felt less like a long-haul flight and more like a posh hotel stay. After a full seven hours of beauty rest, I popped into the restroom to freshen up using my Bvlgari amenity kit and was ready for my date with Dubai, beginning with a Peruvian feast at the five-star JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road, where rates start at $269.53 per night.

Visitors to Dubai will have the opportunity to ride camels.
Visitors to Dubai will have the opportunity to ride camels.

Star Power
Dubai’s variety of five-star accommodations means you can focus less on the service (quality is a given) and more on what your clients truly desire out of their stay. For a modern retreat with a convenient location near Downtown Dubai, book the new Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai, with 117 rooms and suites, 15 ultra-deluxe villas, five restaurants and lounges, four pools, and private cabanas with plunge pools and stunning views over the Arabian Gulf and Dubai skyline. Rates start at $300 per night.

Speaking from experience, I suggest booking, or at the very least visiting, The Palace at One&Only Royal Mirage Dubai. Not for the scant opportunity to meet George Clooney, who has made an appearance at the understatedly elegant beach resort overlooking Palm Island Bay, but because this oasis oozes luxury—from its abundant gardens and temperature-controlled pools down to its private beach and chic, outdoor Jetty Lounge. This kid-friendly, 231-guestroom property features room categories ranging from Superior Deluxe to Royal Suites, each boasting a private balcony or terrace. Rates start at
$400 per night.

Something Old, Something New
Visitors can take their trip to new heights by dining 1,450 ft. in the air inside the At.mosphere restaurant on the Burj Khalifa’s 123rd floor. The white tablecloth experience includes gastronomic delights made with ingredients sourced from around the world, spectacular panoramic views and a sizable price tag. When they’re ready to give their pocketbooks a break, send your clients to the desert for taste of old Dubai. Tour operator Arabian Adventures offers a Sundowner Dune Dinner Safari ($102.10 per adult; $81.68 per child) that includes a falcon viewing, exhilarating dune drive in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, sunset photo-op and Arabic-style buffet under the stars in a traditional Bedouin-style camp with the opportunity for a brief camel ride. I would recommend guests leave their cell phones behind, but who could pass up capturing that singular moment when the distant sun sets over the golden dunes.

Contact Information
Arabian Adventures:
Dubai Tourism:
JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai:
Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai:
One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai: