Love the layover: dizzy in Dubai

The email telling me that Emirates Airlines is knocking $1,000 off business class fares between Dubai and San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Dallas (DFW), Seattle (SEA) and Washington, D.C. (IAD) this summer (a great deal, but still way out of my budget) reminds me that I still have some photos to share from my Emirates-hosted trip to Dubai in April.

I was, of course, most interested in exploring Dubai International Airport. But that had to wait until the very early morning of my flight back home.

First there were a few whirlwind days in a surprising city where a lot of attractions were charming and, in many cases, charmingly over the top.

Charming: markets selling everything from spices and shawls to geegaws and, of course, gold.

Charmingly over the top:

The world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, which you may recognize from the most recent Mission Impossible film.

Here’s a view from the top:

The building is a dizzying 2,716.5 feet high and more than 160 stories tall and has a vending machine up on the observation deck that dispenses souvenirs made of gold.

Back on the ground, Ski Dubai – a ski resort inside the Mall of the Emirates, complete with skiing, snowboarding and a resident waddle of penguins was definitely charming and definitely over the top.

Also over-the-top: the Burj Al Arab hotel.

Referred to as “the world’s only seven-star hotel,” (it’s actually a deluxe 5-star property, but let’s not quibble) it looks like a billowing sail from the outside and inside has two-story suites with knock-out views and amenities that include butlers on call. Here’s a peek inside one of the swankier bathrooms.

Dizzy? Tomorrow…Stuck at Dubai International Airport.

Greetings from Dubai

14 hours – give or take an hour or so if the winds are with you – is all it takes to fly from Seattle to Dubai on the new Emirates route that started on March 1, 2012.

First-Class passengers have private suites, Business Class passengers like me (thank-you Emirates) get seats that turn into lie-flat beds and everyone gets to use ice – the in-flight entertainment system that has information channels (including an external camera), phone, text and email service (at a cost) that also allows you to call other passengers on the flight (free), and more than 600 channels of movies and other entertainment.

I haven’t yet had a good tour of the Dubai International Airport but here are a few quick takes from arrival:

For families getting off the flight, Emirates thoughtfully provides strollers right there at the gate.

There are palm trees in baggage claim.

And the location of the prayer rooms are clearly marked.

Stay tuned for more..