It's like a scene out of Princess Diaries. I enter my suite at Burj Al Arab and let out an exclamation. The large, plush living room in hues of blue and gold looks out on the pristine Persian Gulf. "This is my room?," I manage to squeak. "Yes," my personal butler says. "If you follow me, the bedroom is above." Above? The winding stairs lead up to more luxury, in the form of a walk-in dressing area, a bathroom that has my own private jacuzzi, and a bedroom that's a shame to be enjoying alone.
After the butler leaves, asking me to call him for anything my heart may desire, I decide to soak my weary, it's-December-and-I-need-a-break bones into a hot jacuzzi, as I listen to music and play with the foam. Ok, I know I have moved from Princess Diaries to Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, but bear with me. And so, I prance into the bedroom, 20 minutes later, suitably loosened up, I plonk myself on the bed in my soft, white bathrobe. And that's when I see it — a ceiling mirror. And that's when I forget about being a princess or a pretty woman — I morph into a Kardashian as I take my first selfie of the trip. Don't blame me, it's a ceiling mirror after all.
Pics/ department of tourism and commerce marketing
As I post the picture on my Instagram with appropriate Kardashian references, I look around and admit sheepishly — it's easy to get used to luxury. It's rumoured that Dubai got its name from an Arabic proverb "Daba Dubai" which means "They came with a lot of money". Well, you have to come with a lot of money so you can really enjoy all that the city has to offer. Dubai has never shied from flaunting what its sheikh rulers have given it — gravity-defying skyscrapers (Burj Khalifa at 829.8 metres), high-fashion malls, ultra luxurious hotels and a glittering nightlife, among many other attractions. Though you may have looked at it all from far and shook your head in disdain at the unnecessary opulence of it all, once you are here, it seems just natural to enjoy it.
Thanks to the fact that I am staying at the Burj Al Arab, the only certified seven-star in the world, my short two-day trip to Dubai has started on a lavish note. After my bathing and preening routine, I am informed that I will be watching a production of La Perle (The Pearl) created by Franco Dragone (the Italian-Belgium director who was once creator at Cirque du Soleil) as the first resident show of Dubai. After a drive that acquaints me with the buildings I have only seen in pictures (the Burj Al Khalifa, the Dubai Frame among others), I find myself seated in front-row seats at the theatre, I really don't know what to expect. But the next 90 minutes are a mind-boggling treat. Performed at a theatre that uses state-of-the-art technology, and houses an aqua-stage and a 12-metre deep pool filled with 2.7 million litres of water, 65 world-class performers, dancers, circus acrobats from 23 countries, perform breath-taking and extraordinary stunts, ranging from acrobatics and contortion to flying and diving. At the end of it, believe it or not, I am tired of gasping. But the show is once again about how Dubai doesn't do anything half-heartedly. If you are going to get a resident show, make it big. The next morning, after having barely slept (the large, quiet room sadly doesn't come with a hot sheikh to keep you company, wink wink), I head down to have breakfast as I look out on the gulf. Arabic delicacies share space with European and American food at the expansive buffet, and it all looks delicious. If I wasn't a fan of mezze (made up of babaghanoush, hummus, muhammara and much more), I am a convert now. My relaxed meal sets me up for a day full of, let's see, yes, more relaxing.
As I sink into the massage table, I am once again forced to see myself as another pop culture icon. I transform myself into Carrie Bradshaw in a glittering, starry outfit, and high heels (bought at a mall visit in the morning), for my dinner at the Burj's Scape restaurant that serves Californian cuisine. I don't know if the delicious pizza I ate was Californian, but it was worth it. It's just fitting to end the day with another picture, this time in full Carrie style, with my hand on my hip and my glitter in all it's Instagram-filter glory. As I stand by a gold ceiling prepping my smile, our hotel guide observes, "that ceiling is made up of real gold", and I just smile, "I didn't expect anything lesser."