The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the few places in the world where you can say without exaggeration that luxury truly gushes. The lavishness that you witness is what dreams are made of, and unlike other Arab states, it encourages and courts tourists who want to make a stop in their private charter jets. Offering cosmopolitan elegance mixed with the historic Bedouin heritage, taking a private jet to the UAE will never leave you feeling cheated of opulence.
Places to Stay
With marble imported from 13 countries, gold leaf-adorned guest rooms, a 1.3-kilometer private beach, 1,002 chandeliers and $1 million suites, the Emirates Palace makes most of the five-star hotels in the U.S. look like Motel 6. Take a private jet to the UAE and stay in one of the Emirates Palace suites and enjoy luxury limousine services, a personal butler, ATM gold dispenser, 167-berth marina and 24/7 concierge services.
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort, Abu Dhabi
Set in the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter, the UAE’s ruling family developed the Qasr Al Sarab in the legendary Liwa Desert. Offering guest rooms, suites and villas, you can enjoy guided desert walks where you can traverse the dunes by camel and hone in your archery skills. As one of the top luxury retreats in the UAE, the accommodations boast jewel-toned accents, traditional design, lush fabrics, chandeliers and palatial luxury.
Famous for its 321-meter sail-shaped architecture on top a manmade island, the Burj Al Arab is one of the most expensive hotels in the world. A stay at this hotel is more than a place to rest your head, it’s an incomparable event. When you land at a nearby hotel in your private jet, have the hotel staff greet you at the FBO with a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce or its helicopter service. All of the hotel suites offer opulence in every detail, right down to the full-sized Hermès amenities.
Places to Eat
One of the favorites among the UAE elite, QD’s (Quarterdeck’s) is where you go to be seen. It’s also the place to go if you want a taste of home, as QD’s offers barbeque, pizza, nachos and your favorite snacks. As you enjoy your meal, shisha waiters keep bubbling pipes smoky and aromatic.
Pars Palace, Abu Dhabi
Offering some of the best Persian food in the UAE, Pars Palace is tucked away near the marina, behind the Corniche Towers. This hidden gem offers some of the city’s best flat bread with sheep’s-milk cheese, spicy kebabs and the local favorite, zereshk polo-ba-morgh (saffron chicken with pomegranate seeds).
Located in the Hyatt Regency, Al Dawaar is the only revolving restaurant in Dubai. This eatery offers international cuisine in buffet form—perfect for families or business meals when palates differ.
Where to Play
The UAE’s souks (markets), malls and duty-free shops are among the most popular in the world for finding the finest electronic gadgets, designer clothes, cosmetics, spices, carpets, antique and gold jewelry, traditional coffee pots and antique chests. Abu Dhabi has more than 18 shopping centers, and the best souks include the Sheikh Khalifa, Al Meena, Al Nasr Street Sheikh Hamdan and Iranian markets. Dubai features low import duties and no sales tax. The best shopping centers include the Mall of the Emirates and the Dubai Mall, but you can find some of the most unique items at the shopping areas by the Bar Dubai area of the Creek and the Gold Souk bazaar on Sikkat al-Khali Street.
Offering a lighthearted experience, the Dubai Dolphinarium gives you the opportunity to swim with friendly bottle-nose dolphins. Trainers show you how to communicate and understand the gentle sea mammals, and professional photographers are around during every minute of your session to capture the memories. If you prefer to stay dry, head to the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, home to over 30,000 kinds of marine life.
Because of local customs, some UAE beaches are difficult for the whole family to enjoy. Skip the fuss and head to the Hiltonia Beach Club at the Hilton Abu Dhabi, which allows entry to non-guests for a fee. Enjoy white sandy beaches under an umbrella on a private beach, pools with water slides and water sports like snorkeling and kayaking.