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Touchdown Dubai

May 15, 2008 By: David Eisen

Day two since I left New York, and I can, happily, say that I've gotten a bit of rest now. Though I am inclined to stave off sleep now that I have touched down in Dubai, which, undoubtedly, is one of the hottest and, still, up-and-coming world destinations.

Jumeirah, the Dubai-based hotel group, is our host and, from the airport to property, they give their guests luxury service.

But let me first back up to how we got to Dubai. After a day's worth of activity in London, we, again, climbed aboard Silverjet. My favorite aspect about Silverjet is the seamlessness. Chaos and frustration at the airport is my all-time pet peeve, as I'm sure it is for many of you. With Silverjet, you are escorted directly into their lounge where an attendant takes your passport, checks you in, and you are free to relax over an espresso or sandwich while you wait for your flight. That's the true beauty and service excellence of Silverjet; the plane's amenities are then just the topping on the cake.

Back to Jumeirah. We were whisked away by our private driver in a spruced up Audi, and given bottled water and a cold towel. These are the small touches that travelers remember.

Our destination was the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and on the drive there we were taken aback by Dubai's development. I had heard stories before of the Emirate's buildup, but until you see it in person, you find you had no clue. Literally, there are cranes everywhere. There were only slivers of barren land, but our driver reminded us that these areas were just being prepped for building.

I quickly thought of Las Vegas and its buildout years ago: a vast city being built out of the desert. Only difference, no casinos.

The Jumeirah Beach Hotel, one of five Jumeirah properties in Dubai, sits adjacent to the famed Burj Al Arab, the striking Jumeirah property shaped like a sail of a boat that is often presented in Dubai tourism ads.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel, itself shaped like a breaking wave, was the first Jumeirah property to begin operations back in 1997. With 598 rooms and suites, 22 restaurants and bars, and five swimming pools, it's the perfect hotel/resort for families. Kids will love it; especially Wild Wadi Water Park, a 12-acre waterpark, situated between Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach.

We didn't get off the property on Thursday, which was fine since we were all still struggling a bit with fatigue. The hotel itself is striking from the interior to the exterior and its grounds. For families, room 1705, a three-bedroom suite, is ideal. The room has its own kitchen, two large bathrooms (bathrooms at Jumeirah Beach are expansive, even in a standard room, where I am; they have large showers as well as soaking tubs), and a room's-length balcony with a striking view.

For dinner we ate in La Parrilla, an Argentinian steakhouse, which besides the tasty cuts of meat, entertains diners with traditional dancing and entertainment. I am excited to try out the rest of the property's dining options.

The rest of the way out, we will visit more Jumeirah properties and get a better introduction to the city of Dubai and its multitude of activities from bartering in the souks to skiing, on real snow, inside the Emirates Mall.

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