DUBAI: An ambition that scrapes the skies

As a symbol of what humans can achieve when they put their minds to it -and when money is virtually no object - Dubai takes some beating.

The skyline that greeted us as we arrived on an oven-baked summer night was simply jaw-dropping.

It looks like Walt Disney’s take on New York. There’s even a version of the Chrysler Building.

In fact there are two of them - side-by-side.

And the most amazing thing about this Bladerunner-like landscape of concrete, glass and multi-coloured lights is that it has virtually all sprung up during the last ten years.

But if the architecture is impressive, the level of luxury within some of those buildings is easily its equal.

Not least at the five-star Fairmont, The Palm, in which we enjoyed a fabulous stay.

Built on the Palm Jumeirah, the man-made island shaped in the form of a palm tree, this oceanfront hotel has wonderful views of the Arabian Gulf .

This sumptuous hotel features 381 guest rooms and suites, including two Presidential Suites and a Fairmont Gold Lounge and rooms.

Other facilities include a 450 metre private beach, four pools and butler service.

Yes, Dubai is a fair trek from Sheffield - but it’s much more accessible than you might think if you follow in my footsteps and fly with British Airways.

For Yorkshire travellers the service now available that takes you from Leeds Bradford Airport via Heathrow Terminal 5 and on to Dubai is an excellent choice.

Parking easily in the car park at Leeds Bradford, it’s a very short walk into the airport building where you can check your hold baggage all the way through to your final destination and then...relax.

And as we were indulging in the luxury of BA’s Club World long haul flights from London, relax is exactly what I did.

Even before embarking on the business class flights, the short hop from Leeds to London was a smooth and enjoyable experience and having arrived at T5 the Club Class lounge catered for our every need.

Once on board the Jumbo and cocooned within my exclusive ‘pod’ it was fine dining, complimentary drinks and snoozing on the flat bed all the way to this jewel of the United Arab Emirates.

The luxury theme we’d become used to during the flight continued with dinner at Frevo, the Fairmont’s Brazilian restaurant, at which we were served succulent cuts of countless meats carved at the table.

We also sampled ‘old’ Dubai, which is chronicled in the Dubai Museum. This was opened by the ruler in the early 1970s to present the traditional way of life in Dubai.

It still does this today, but it also gives you a fascinating insight into how the place has been utterly transformed in the last decade or so.

And a trip around the old markets, where haggling is still very much the only way to do business, is perhaps a living example of the way things used to be.

Snapping straight back to the future, we journeyed to the Dubai Mall - the largest shopping mall in the world.

Here you can peruse more designer shops than you will ever need, visit the amazing aquarium and check out the astounding Sega Republic indoor theme park, where there are some truly remarkable rides.

The modern sky-scraping beauty of Dubai, the all year round sunshine and the fantastic standard of the Fairmont hotel mean this is a heck of a holiday.

And the flat beds on the Jumbo came into their own on the flight back.

Seven hours blissful sleep and we were back in London, ready to board the short hop back up to Yorkshire.

1 Take a ride up the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. The views are simply astounding and give you a real perspective on how this incredible man-made environment is placed in the middle of a huge desert. Something that certainly isn’t apparent from ground level.

2 Experience the decadence of a Dubai ‘tradition’, the Friday brunch at the Fairmont Dubai’s Spectrum On One. Diners dress up to the nines in the daytime for this most extraordinary combination of luxurious gastronomy and social 
hobnobbery.

3 Journey out into the desert for a barbeque at dusk. And what better way to get there than via a white-knuckle 4x4 sand safari, during which you can spot wildlife while you hold on for dear life? Rounding the night off are belly dancers and plenty more eating and drinking.

Holiday facts: British Airways offer three nights at the 5* Fairmont The Palm, Dubai from £929 per person or £799 at the 5* Fairmont Dubai.

Based on September travel.

Includes return flights from Leeds Bradford via Heathrow to Dubai and accommodation only. For reservations visit British Airways - Dubai or call

0844 493 0758

For more on Fairmont The Palm, Dubai, Fairmont Dubai or any other property in the Fairmont collection please visit Fairmont

Desert safari and barbeques organised by Arabian Adventure ‘At The Top’ (the Burj Khalifa observation deck) Burj Khalifa £18 entry

The Aquarium, KidZania and Sega Republic at Dubai Mall www.thedubaimall.com/en/section/entertainment-section Aquarium from £8, KidZania £24 for all day access, Sega Republic £27 for all day access to the rides

Further information from Definitely Dubai