March 20, 2014
Delighting in Dubai
Amazing! That is how I describe the current view from my hotel window. Dubai’s crowned jewel, the iconic Burj al Arab, is perched upon its man-made island just outside my window from our Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Surrounded by the inviting aqua blue waters of the beautiful Persian Gulf, and embellished by numerous, towering, swaying palm trees, next to a beach of ecru-colored sand, this is a vacationer’s delight. March 15, 2014
How did this one-time Iowa girl find herself in such an exotic location? Marriage. No, I did not marry into a family of untold monetary wealth. My husband was in Dubai (UAE) for a series of meetings and conferences due to work, while I, somewhat guiltily (Okay, I admit, not all that guiltily.) spent my time in a much more leisurely manner. It was a wonderful week.
In addition to continually gazing out of my hotel window, I enjoyed:
- Experiencing the Burj al Arab, including an incredible dinner at the top floor’s Al Muntaha Restaurant
- Dining at the numerous restaurants on the Jumeirah Beach Hotel site
- Shopping and eating at The Mall of the Emirates
- Lazing on the beach
- Trying on a million dollar diamond ring….
As someone once aptly put it, a picture is worth a thousand words, so with that sentiment, why not sit back, relax, and join me on a tour, complete with photos, of the delights of my very enjoyable week in Dubai.
Happily gazing at the Burj al Arab daily, often brought to mind the first photo that I ever saw of this architectural masterpiece. It was on a calendar, and Tiger Woods (in 2004) was swinging his golf club atop the hotel helipad, the Gulf’s water and Dubai’s coastline far beneath him. Being one of the tallest hotels in the world, The Burj al Arab has been the inspiration for several other sporting exhibitions since its 1999 existence. Rory McIlroy, also, took golf shots from this location in 2011, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer played tennis here in 2005, and David Coulthard did donuts in his Formula 1 race car in 2013 atop the infamous helipad. (No, the car DID NOT go up the elevator to get to the top.) I was, personally, lucky enough to witness the landing and take off of a pair of helicopters from this location during my stay, but unfortunately, saw no spectacular sporting feats.
Tiger Woods golfs over the Gulf (Yes, that was a lame attempt at a pun.)
I marveled as this helicopter landed on the helipad of the Burj al Arab.
The structure on the back right-hand side of the building is the Al Muntaha Restaurant and Skyview Bar.
Check out the YouTube video below of Agassi and Federer on the helipad! Click on the link.
Click on the link below for more photos of the Burj al Arab and of the tennis match.
Check out the YouTube video below of David Courtland and his Formula One Racecar doing donuts on the helipad.
Click on the link below.
For more information about the Burj al Arab and helipad stunts, click on the link below.
Like Paris’s Eiffel Tower, and London’s Big Ben, the immediately recognizable form of the Burj al Arab symbolically identifies Dubai, with its unique stature, shaped like the sail of a Dhow/Arabian sailing ship upon the gulf. Known for its opulence, the interior of the Burj al Arab is filled with fountains, aquariums, and architectural details at every turn, drenched in 24-karat gold leaf. There are no ordinary rooms to offer its guests here, only suites, the most expensive demanding upwards of $18,000 per night. Among the perks that guests enjoy, is a 24-karat gold leaf iPad “virtual concierge” in each suite, and a 24-hour per day butler service. Want a nightcap with a view? Skyview Bar patrons may sip on the most expensive cocktail in the world, at $9,000, or drink other offerings from an 18-karat gold souvenir glass.
To read more about, and view more of, the Burj al Arab hotel, please click on the links below.
The American heritage dictionary of the English language. (4th ed. ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1992.
I must admit that I am a foodie. My husband sweetly bowed to my foodie inclinations, and indulged me, by treating me to a very special dinner at the Burj al Arab. Ascending the glass elevator to the 27th floor, we were enveloped in a dining fantasy at the world famous Al Muntaha (Arabic meaning ‘The Ultimate’ or ‘The Top’). The views were breathtaking, the food phenomenal, and the service impeccable. It was a memorable evening. The “icing on the cake”, literally, came in the form of a delicious birthday cake and two-dozen beautiful roses delightfully presented to me by the restaurant wait staff. I was completely taken by surprise, and of course, jubilant! (The concierge had asked upon reserving our dinner time, if we were celebrating any event. I jokingly replied, “My birthday was last week, does that count?” I guess that it does!!! :o) )
Dining with Dale at the Burj al Arab’s Al Muntaha
Although, not as extravagant as our meal atop Dubai, we found dining on site at the hotel both delicious, and very enjoyable. Through that experience, I have become a big fan of British chef, Jamie Oliver, and his restaurant, Jamie’s Italian, eating there several times. I am especially in love with his Epic Brownies, which are just that -EPIC! (I found a recipe for them online, and am anxious to try it.) I also obtained a new recipe (I share it below, with my notes in parentheses.) thanks to another restaurant’s chef, for a delicious avocado bruschetta that we had our first night in Dubai.
Another dining experience afforded me the pleasure of happily scoring my favorite Avocado Egg Rolls from The Cheesecake Factory at The Mall of the Emirates. What fun to enjoy lunch and to be entertained out the restaurant window by the, mostly youngster, indoor skiers bundled up in their winter gear. After my meal, it was an enjoyable time spent shopping at the mall, methodically checking off the items from the shopping list that I had brought along.
To read more about, and view more about The Mall of the Emirates, please click on the link below.
Most days, while Dale worked, I happily planted myself under a beach umbrella on the sand. The temperature was perfect, the atmosphere, relaxing, and the view amazing.
In addition to the restaurants, pools, and beach, the hotel property offers several shops with high-end merchandise. One day, while window-shopping in the hotel, I spied the most beautiful ring. I just had to ask how large the diamond was! The staff was extremely nice, informing me that the center stone was 14 karats! They asked if I would like to see it. I told them that I would love to, informing them that I was not in any position to purchase the stunning piece. The salesman took the sparkler out for me to admire and informed me that the price was, gulp, over one million dollars! (Hey, no one can say that I that I do not have a discerning eye when it comes to jewelry!) They did say that they could reduce it to around $700,000, if I was interested. :o) An emerald-cut diamond of movie star quality, it is similar to Grace Kelly’s engagement ring from Prince Rainier (as seen in the movie “High Society”).
In the film, Bing Crosby sees the ring and jokes, “Some stone, did you mine it yourself?”
To read more about Grace Kelly’s diamond ring, click below.
I loved Dubai, but it was time say good-bye. Happily, I had one more (happy birthday) moment awaiting my return. My birthday necklace from my hubby was finished being crafted and ready for pick-up. I was/am dazzled by the finished product. I LOVE it!
To read my earlier post about choosing the stone, click on the link below.
Goat Cheese Bruschetta and Avocado (My notes in parentheses)
What to buy and Prep…
50 Gm (1/4 cup) Goat Cheese (thinly sliced)
1 ea. Mini baguette bread
40 ml (scant 2 +3/4 Tbsp.) extra virgin olive oil
50 Gm/ (¼ cup) avocados
60 Gm (2 oz.) mixed lettuce
20 Gm(1.4 Tbsp.) Sundried tomatoes
20 Gm (1.4 Tbsp) fresh tomatoes
20 Gm (1.4 Tbsp) Gm Red onions
10 Gm (scant ¾ Tbsp) Coriander leaves (cilantro)
40 (2+generous 3/4 Tbsp) Gm Lemons
Salt and ground black pepper to taste.
How to Make It…
- Cut the breads into half
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F [actually 356])
- Brush the olive oil on both sides of bread pieces,
- then toast for 5 minutes (in oven)
- Cut tomato, sundried tomato, red onion into small dices (pieces)
- Add chop (chopped) coriander (cilantro) leaves
- Combine all the ingredients together, season with salt, pepper, oil and lemon juice
- Cut the avocado and goat cheese into slices
- Top baguette slices with tomato salsa (4th step), avocado and goat cheese
- Heat up under salamander (this is a professional broiler oven, use regular oven to broil)
- Arrange the bruschetta in (on) the plate (pan)
- (watch closely and remove when browned)
- Toss well-mixed lettuce with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper
- Serve the bruschetta with above mixed salad
I used Diana’s Desserts Conversion Calculator to convert the measurements of the original recipe, above.
Thanks for reading! :o)
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