Home to award-winning hotels topped with helipads, malls filled with designer boutiques and marinas lined with super yachts, Dubai is a beacon for high earners looking for the height of luxury. In turn, the affluent traveller fuels luxury markets from fashion to fine dining. Designer collections of world-famous fashion brands can be delivered direct to hotel suites and chefs gleefully wrap their creations in edible gold. Where better to get a taste of opulence than in a destination that’s renowned for it?
Arriving in Style in Dubai
VIPs arrive in Dubai by private jet, helicopter and even superyacht. Bulgari’s first-ever Yacht Club features a 46-berth marina and the Adastra, a trimaran costing a cool 8.5 million Euros, is berthed here. This yacht is currently for sale, and Anastazja Kociolkowska, the Business Development Manager for brokerage firm Burgess, invited Euronews on board to take a look around.
“She’s got incredible living space,” says Anastazja, spreading her arms wide as she shows off the airy interiors. “There’s a main salon, a dining area and three cabins with en suite shower rooms.”
The Adastra (which means ‘to the stars’) is able to accommodate a total of nine guests and six crew, who sail and maintain the yacht and prepare meals in the galley kitchen.
“By night, you can enjoy family dinners and movies,” says Anastazja, as she taps a button and a wide-screen TV rises from a fitted cabinet. “By day, the ocean is your playground. You can jump in the water and use the boat’s paddle boards, kayaks and snorkelling gear to explore your surroundings, or just chill out on one of the decks and enjoy the view.”
Designed by McConaghy Boats, which specialise in performance yachts, the Adastra is capable of sailing from as far away as the Caribbean to Dubai before it needs to refuel.
Dubai’s Most Expensive Hotels
VIPs are accommodated in some of the world’s most opulent hotel suites in Dubai. The Burj Al Arab, comprising entirely of duplexes, was dubbed a “seven-star” property by one journalist who felt it ascended the traditional five-star hotel ranking.
Its most recent addition is The Terrace, a spectacular fan-shaped deck that was built in Finland and shipped across the water to be united with the iconic sail-shaped structure. It adds a freshwater pool with a swim-up bar, a curved saltwater infinity pool spilling into Arabian Sea views and 32 air-conditioned cabanas, the largest of which has a lounge, private balcony and bathroom.
Another landmark hotel, Atlantis, The Palm, has made headlines with its signature suites; the most expensive, the Royal Bridge Suite, is 22 storeys up in the sky, spanning the hotel’s famous arch. Accessible by private lift, it offers a spacious lounge and dining room, a billiards room, a spa therapy room, two balconies and three bedrooms. The master bedroom comes with twin bathrooms and amenities made with 22-karat gold. All this luxury costs 20,000 Euros a night and attracts international celebrities.
“We’ve had an amazing array of guests over the years,” says Resort Operations Director Daniel Worsley. “We’ve had Mike Tyson in here, Kim Kardashian… we’ve had presidents… celebrities of all types stay here.”
Designer Shopping in Dubai
With hotel butlers tending to every whim, one of the most common requests from VIP guests is for shopping excursions. The Dubai Mall is one of the UAE’s most popular designer shopping destinations and personal shopper Nicole Majdalany took us on a tour.
“I hunt down hard-to-find pieces and save my clients a lot of time,” explains Nicole as she shows us the latest collection at Alexander McQueen. “Here at McQueen, you can arrange to have your shopping delivered to your hotel, or the team can bring collections to your suite to look through. They’ll even send a tailor.”
Nicole sights Dubai as her favourite city for shopping not only for the exemplary service, but also for the safety it affords high-end consumers. “You can wear whatever you want without fear of being targeted by undesirables – the security here is among the best in the world.”
Dubai Mall is also home to one of the world’s most impressive footwear emporiums, Level Shoes, where customers can shop brands from Chanel to Dior, visit a foot spa and have purchases personalised with same-day laser-cutting services.
The Gold Standard in Food
Dubai is as well known for haute cuisine as it is for haute couture. An outpost of New York’s Michelin-starred Marea, its Dubai restaurant is just one establishment in Dubai that serves dishes laced with caviar and gold. Wrapped in 24 karat gold leaf, the handmade Sicilian burrata has been a big hit with diners in the moneyed district of DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre), which also happens to be the heart of fine dining in Dubai. Of course, not everything in Dubai is made of gold, but if you have an appetite for the finer things in life, you’ll certainly find them here.