The Heart and Souk of Dubai

Shahin Paroo and Zeenat Mitha at Dubai Creek.

Shahin Paroo and Zeenat Mitha at Dubai Creek.

By Zeenat Kassam Mitha –

The most glamorous place in the world is not just a tourist haven; it is a city rich with heritage and multi-cultural offerings due to the diverse population living there. Everything from the airport, hotels, food, events and nightlife have a touch of class, beauty and elegance in Dubai. The people, many who have moved here just for work, try hard to please the guests, and hence, the service is spectacular. There is a melting pot of gourmet cuisines to enjoy without putting a dent in your pocket. Some of my favorite casual dining places included Al Safadi (Arabic), Lemongrass (Thai), Ashiana (Indian) and Chandeliar (Lebanese).

  Downtown Dubai at dusk.

Downtown Dubai at dusk.

The Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, The Address, Al Qasr and Chelsea Tower are a few of the hotels that I visited and found each to be one-of-a-kind that offered a rewarding, holistic cultural experience. The Burj Al Arab is repeatedly voted as the world’s most luxurious hotel. It has the tallest atrium in the world, and its style is grand and uniquely colorful. “There are 220 luxurious duplex suites, and each floor comes with its own butler,” said Public Relations Manager Kim Perks.

The Burj Khalifa is statuesque and has a simple, modern design as it stands as the tallest building in the world. There is an observation deck at the top, which provides a breathtaking view of the city and towers over the financial district. If tickets are purchased online and a few days prior, they are reasonable, and it is easier to find the time you want.

The Address is modern elegance close to The Dubai Mall.  It is one of the newer properties that offers residential living.  Al Qasr offers elegance in a very tasteful Arabic style – a must see if you enjoy traditional history and culture of Dubai. The Chelsea Tower Hotel and Residences offer amazing views, simplicity in design, exceptional service and convenience as it is located in the financial district. “We are fortunate to have the Dubai Tram Station right outside the Chelsea Tower making it accessible to go almost anywhere in Dubai,” said General Manager Shahzad Butt.

Some of the many places and activities to visit or experience are the Desert Safari, Dubai Dhow (boat) Cruises,  Dubai Marina Dining, Dubai Mall Aquarium, Atlantis at the Palm, Wild Wadi and The Gold Souk (market). When entering the Gold Souk, guests will experience a large village where trading or purchasing of gold, silver, precious and semi-precious stones are found as though you are in a traditional bazaar. Tourists will also find an assortment of the world’s best spices and goods.

During this trip to Dubai, I took special notice of the transportation system. Taxis are reasonable for those traveling from the United Station, but the fairly new metro system is one of the biggest perks to those vacationing or moving to Dubai due to work or in-transit to another destination. Overseas travelers are now opting more and more to make Dubai their international stop before reaching their final destination. It has become a shopping paradise as the Dubai Mall and Emirates Mall offer some of the finest stores found around the world. The Gold Souk is another reason travelers flee to Dubai.

Whatever your budget, there are opportunities to thoroughly enjoy your visit to Dubai. It has become one of my top 10 favorite destinations to visit or stop over simply because of its class, culture, food, security and service!

To share your ideas for upcoming cultural stories and events, contact Cultural Correspondent Zeenat Kassam Mitha at