Ever evolving and growing, Dubai continues to surprise and amaze with stunning new attractions and world-class developments opening almost every week.
2017 saw a host of exciting new additions to the city’s must-visit list, and looking ahead there’s plenty more to come in 2018.
Read on for our picks of the top sites and attractions that rounded off last year in style and those are set to capture travellers’ imagination in the coming year.
Bulgari Resort, Dubai
The newest five-star hotel to join Dubai’s luxury hotel scene is the world’s fifth Bulgari Hotels and Resorts property, and it’s now open at the exclusive seahorse-shaped Jumeirah Bay Island, just off the coast of Jumeirah Beach Road. Bringing elegant Italian style to the Middle East, this private island retreat is the perfect contrast to the city’s skyscraper hotels, boasting a Mediterranean-style design that welcomes guests through the world’s first Bulgari Marina and Yacht Club. The luxury 1.7 million square foot marine complex is framed by lush landscaped gardens and features 100 rooms and suites, 20 residential villas and a marina, all accompanied by a full range of luxury amenities. The resort celebrated its launch with a star-studded affair that welcomed Bulgari brand ambassadors and VIPs, model Bella Hadid, Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander, model and actor Jon Kortajarena, and model Jasmine Sanders.
Renaissance Downtown Hotel
With 298 guest rooms, including 65 sprawling suites, along with a thoughtful design that incorporates elements from local artists, there’s plenty for the stylish traveller to explore at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel. Restaurants include David Myers’ Bleu Blanc, which resembles a Southern French farmhouse, BASTA!, an urban interpretation of a Roman trattoria, and BHAR, a Middle Eastern-style brasserie whose name means ‘spice’. Chef Masaharu Morimoto also opened the first UAE branch of his eponymous restaurant, mixing traditional Japanese techniques with Western twists. In addition, the hotel boasts a first-of-its-kind, all-suite spa concept from the renowned Six Senses brand.
XLine Dubai Marina
Currently standing as the world’s longest urban zip line, extending a full kilometre from a height of 170 metres to ground level, the XLine Dubai Marina is now open to the public. The line features an incline of 16 degrees and reaches an average top speed of 80 kilometres per hour. Building on the original XLine over The Dubai Fountain launched in 2015, this new edition is twice the length of its forerunner and features two zip lines running adjacent to one another. Also new is the Superman-style harness, suspending daredevils horizontally as they zip from one of the Amwaj towers in JBR down to the terrace of Dubai Marina Mall.
Dubai Safari Park
Dubai Safari Park is a massive wildlife project that spans over 119 hectares just a short drive from downtown. The park is divided into different sections – Asian Village, African Village and Open Safari Village – and recreates the different habitats suitable for its varied and unique wildlife, including 2,000 animals of 250 different species from around the world. It’s also home to a 1,000-seat theatre, a garden for children, a botanical garden, a butterfly garden and an amateur golf course, in addition to restaurants and a food court in the park’s Valley and Children’s Park. It features the world’s first drive-through crocodile park, the UAE’s largest aviary and the country’s only drive-through hippo and tiger exhibit. The park is also set to offer a zoo-keeping course, which will make it the first place in the UAE to offer such training.
Rising 150 metres high and 93 metres wide, Dubai Frame is an impressive and imposing architectural landmark that unites the city’s past, present and future. Its two vertical towers are connected by a 100-square-metre bridge that features a 25-square-metre glass panel in the centre, offering a great 360-degree view of the city. The bridge serves as an observation deck providing uninterrupted views of Old Dubai to the north and New Dubai to the south. Visitors begin their journey by learning about the history of Dubai in the Past Gallery, with picturesque projections depicting Bedouin life, camels and the infinite sands of the desert. Visitors then move on to augmented reality-activated screens on the Sky Deck level that showcase present-day Dubai, before walking through a specially designed ‘vortex tunnel’ to a virtual metropolis representing the future of Dubai.
The Opus by Zaha Hadid
Designed by the late renowned Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, The Opus consists of two glass towers linked by a ground-floor podium and a steel and glass bridge towards the top. The architectural wonder, developed by Omniyat Properties, artfully integrates futuristically stylish interiors with exquisite detail, and features 56,000 square feet of office space, a club, restaurants and ME Dubai, a boutique hotel.
The property, which is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018, will have 528 rooms spread right up to the 75th floor. At 356 metres high, it will be the world’s new tallest hotel. To put its huge stature in perspective, Gevora Hotel will be more than three times taller than London’s Big Ben, 56 metres taller than Paris’ Eiffel Tower, and around equal to the length of three football pitches. Located on Sheikh Zayed Road in the Trade Centre area, the hotel will feature four restaurants, swimming pools for adults and children, a Jacuzzi facility, a health club, a luxury spa and gymnasiums.
W Hotel, The Palm
A second W Hotel will open in Dubai in March, located on the beautiful shores of the western crescent of Palm Jumeirah. Built to resemble the letter W, the world-class hotel resort and residential complex will feature a spa, pool areas, water features and other amenities, as well as approximately 100,000 square metres of accommodation including 350 guest rooms and 45 super luxury duplex, triplex apartments and penthouses. Restaurants, retail outlets and function facilities will mostly be located on the ground floor of the hotel wing, with a destination bar and restaurant at a high level to take full advantage of the dual aspect views.
Mohammed Bin Rashid Library
The world’s largest library, overlooking Dubai Creek, will open to the public in the first quarter of 2018, spread over 66,000 square metres. Designed in the shape of an open book on a Rahle (the Arabic lectern), the larger-than-life, seven-storey library will be home to 4.5 million print, audio and electronic books and will include several areas for interaction, events, activities and educational and cultural festivals.
A concept like no other is coming to Downtown Dubai’s Address Boulevard Hotel. Located in Downtown Dubai, the hotel boasts a breath-taking panorama of nearby icons; from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, to the award-winning Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain and the Dubai Opera District. Dolce Sky is located on the 70th and 71st floors of the hotel; a five-star hospitality location that will boast a glass stage housing a grand piano above diners, and aerial performers – welcoming global visitors to a delectable variety of cuisines, while promising unique experiences with every visit. The two floors will bring together a chic lounge and rooftop terrace, as well as two first-rate restaurants: the French cuisine of ‘La Vie’ served from a floating kitchen; and the Japanese-inspired ‘Takumi’, led by acclaimed chef Hide Yamamoto, featuring a sushi bar and a lounge specialising in Japanese beverages. It will also include the private, members-only Ellecti Lounge.