Dubai – the second largest and most populated of the United Arab Emirates' seven emirates – is an opulent and exciting year-round getaway for travellers. It's one of the fastest growing cities on the planet, the result of the ruling sheikh's determination to make Dubai one of the world's essential destinations for the twenty-first century.
For many people Dubai is what the United Arab Emirates is all about - a heady hub of international glamour, extravagant hotels, wealthy sheikhs, themed shopping centres such as the Ibn Battatuh Mall and grand construction projects that never fail to amaze.
In this tax-free, sun-kissed playground the concepts of luxury and possibility are constantly being raised and exceeded. At 830 metres tall, the needle-like Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest manmade structure. The sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel is another impressive local landmark. Others are constantly spring up. Offshore, the Palm Jumeirah and The World - reclaimed land shaped to resemble a giant palm tree and a map of the earth - are reflective of Dubai's sky-high aspirations.