By Adam Sommers www.nydailynews.com
Dubai is a wonderful city, particularly if you have money or are hoping to make some. Money flows through this desert city the way grains whirl around a sandstorm.
Money to build the most incredible buildings, including the world’s tallest tower. Money to build one of the biggest malls in the world — complete with an aquarium that surrounds visitors with sharks and 10-foot-wide rays.
Money to build a second monster mall complete with a ski slope — with snowboarding and tubing available.
The sheikhs who run Dubai have no shortage of cash, even if they recently had to borrow a big chunk from neighboring Abu Dhabi to help meet expenses.
But before you can enjoy all that Dubai has to offer — and you can write a book on the amazing restaurants and food all by themselves — you have to get there.
Let’s face it, 12 hours on a plane is 12 hours on a plane, but Emirates Airlines made the experience more than bearable, they made it a pleasure.
The crew was so attentive that my companion dared me to ask them to sing a lullaby to help us fall asleep on the overnight flight. I didn’t, but only because I was afraid they’d say yes and then I’d have died of embarrassment.
Each seat has its own entertainment system. Video games, first-run movies, TV shows and music are all available at the touch of a button. The seats conform to your body.
After a couple of good meals, a long nap and a screening of “Avatar,” there I was in Dubai.
Once in the emirates itself, there is no shortage of fine hotels to choose from. This new, modern city caters to a blizzard of businessmen from across the globe.
We stayed at the magnificent Address Downtown Dubai. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, the staff attentive. The business lounge has free computers and offers a selection of drinks and delicacies 24 hours a day.
One of the best things about the Address is the view from the balconies. Most of the rooms look out on the centerpiece of downtown Dubai, the world’s tallest building called the Burj Khalifa. And it is something to see. At nearly 2,000 feet, the Burj Khalifa is almost twice the height of the Empire State Building.
The observation deck is on the 124th floor — and above that are 40 more stories!
When you’re done shopping at the malls or shopping at the gold market or shopping at the spice market, there are myriad fine restaurants to choose from.
Two of the biggest standouts included Hukama, a Chinese restaurant where crispy duck and five-spice pork ribs were a spicy treat on an intriguing menu.
The other was the Dubai Marina Yacht Club, which served a lobster in crispy phyllo that was flavorful and succulent.
Dubai is a young city, with most of the explosive growth beginning only about 40 years ago.
It’s a place that caters to visitors from throughout the world, with only about 15% of the population made up of natives.
If this is what Dubai looks like as a newcomer on the world stage, there’s a lot to look forward to as its footprint continues to grow.