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April 19, 2007

Arabian Nights

With your three wishes, you asked for: 1) More gold than was in Ali Baba’s caves 2) Eternal youth and 3) Jessica Alba’s body
Whatcha gonna do with all that money and all those good looks? Hitch a ride with your genie on his magic carpet to Dubai, the international playboy of the Middle East. In a land where understated is not understood, it’s opulence and excess at every turn.  It’s time to get chic with the
sheikhs. . .

Say “open sesame” as you make a grand entrance through the gates of Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah and find yourself at home in this Arabian pleasure palace. Designed as a recreation of an Arabian sheikh’s summer residence, this is the spot to relax and relish in the royal treatment. Start by getting pampered at the fabulous Talise spa—it’s worth indulging in a little pick me up before the decadent partying begins!

Looking for a magic lamp or a diamond in the rough? You need not leave the grounds of the Al Qasr. The all-encompassing resort boasts an adjoining Souk with 72 shops as well as 41 restaurants, cafes and bars. For a local shopping experience, hop on a dhow, sail across the creek and weave your way through the web of souks in the Old Deira district. For a mid-shopping stop, visit one of the area’s delectable cafes. Vivel Patisserie in Souk Madinat is particularly scrumptious with macaroons that will make you swoon and traditional shisha pipes with fresh mint tea.

Eat, Drink and Party
It may take forty thieves to find the hidden treasure within the colourfully garish theme park of the Burj Al Arab Hotel, but once you discover the Al Mahara seafood restaurant, with its floor to ceiling aquarium and arrival by “submarine,” it won’t fail to impress. Or, for a true Middle-Eastern delight, try Tagine at The Palace, Royal Mirage Hotel, with a divinely Moorish feel and tagines that melt in your mouth. For post-dinner drinks, head to the sultry, happening Buddha Bar (sister to the Paris hot-spot) or 360 at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, a perfect place to dance under the stars, with ocean views and an Ibiza vibe.  Step up the pace and put those diamond encrusted stilettos into action at Trilogy, or The Apartment, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, where you can groove to the sounds of international DJs and be dazzled by some serious Dubai bling.

Cast aside your magic carpet and head for the real rides at Wild Wadi amusement park, where thirty state-of-the-art thrillers including a speed slide that shoots you out from the clouds at 80km/h will leave you begging for one last wish. Leave the riches behind on a Desert Safari adventure, where you can four-wheel-drive through sand dunes, ride a camel, watch the sunset and have dinner in the Bedouin tents. Or, find your fortune while drifting across the desert in a hot air balloon.  It’s a story you’ll be telling over and over again.

Maybe even for a thousand and one nights!

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