City on the move: 10 all-new and must-visit attractions in dubai in 2017

City on the move: 10 all-new and must-visit attractions in dubai in 2017

City on the move: 10 all-new and must-visit attractions in dubai in 2017

The shape-shifting tourism landscape of Dubai has long held a magnet-like appeal for travellers from the Gulf, which keeps them coming back to the city to discover it anew. So much so, the GCC is today Dubai’s largest feeder region, delivering nearly a quarter of all overnight visitations to the city. And Dubai responds to this love by surprising visitors with a new box of tricks every year: from the iconic Dubai Opera to the impressive Dubai Canal, to the fun-filled Dubai Parks and Resorts and IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai’s new openings in 2016 have added art, culture, entertainment and family fun to the city’s already packed offering. In addition, annual events such as Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Food Festival, Emirates Airline International Festival of Literature, Art Dubai, Middle East Film and Comic Con, Dubai Summer Surprises and Dubai World Cup have continued to evolve, attracting more and more visitors from around the globe. And there’s just as much to look forward to in 2017, with a host of new attractions coming on line in the new year, spotlighting the city’s forward-thinking attitude and celebrating its diversity and heritage. Read on for some of the highlights. 1.  Etihad Museum Having opened on 7 January 2017, the sweeping 2.5 hectare Etihad Museum tells the story of the founding of the United Arab Emirates. Fittingly located next to Union House, where the signing of the treaty establishing the UAE took place in 1971, the museum’s design emulates the waves and folds of a manuscript, with seven columns built to resemble the pens used to sign the original declaration. For visitors looking to take a deep dive into the history of the nation, Etihad Museum offers a plethora of resources. Composed of eight permanent pavilions covering the Union’s key moments, a walk through the museum complex brings the nation’s historic narrative to life: from a documentary film about the history of the UAE, to an interactive map and timeline illustrating the area before the formation, to the complexities of the unification process and the creation of the Constitution. 2.  La Perle by Dragone The region’s first permanent stage show, which goes live in the second half of 2017, is going to be nothing short of epic, featuring a custom-built 1,300-seat aqua theatre with a pool filled with 2.5 million litres of water serving as the focal point. The performance will feature 65 artists from 23 countries staging stunts including 35-metre dives and flights around the auditorium on high-powered winches. The high-octane production will be specially-scripted for the city and is a one-of-a-kind draw for families as well as leisure visitors to the city. Move over Vegas and Macau, there’s a new show in town! 3. Dubai Safari Park Located near Dragonmart, Dubai Safari will be a 119-hectare, 10,000 animal-strong animal park in Al Warqa. The first phase, which will open later this year, will introduce lions, antelopes, elephants and creatures from Australasia into the park’s environs, while phase two will feature animals from the Americas. The park will offer the wildlife a safe habitat, with enclosures featuring air-conditioned rocks, chilled pools and misting machines to keep the animals cool over the summer months. The attraction’s vast expanse will comprise an Arabian village, Asian village, African village, Americas village and Australia village, and the scale and assortment of the park is sure to appeal to animal lovers of all ages. Plans are also in place for an on-site hotel, giving visitors the opportunity to truly make the most of the incredible safari experience. Phase two will involve animals from the Americas. The facility will also be home to 119-hectare phase one of the park include lions, antelopes, elephants and creatures from Australasia. Phase two will involve animals from the Americas. The facility will also be home to rescue animals that cannot be returned to the wild. 119-hectare phase one of the park include lions, antelopes, elephants and creatures from Australasia. Phase two will involve animals from the Americas. The facility will also be home to rescue animals that cannot be returned to the wild. 4. Holy Quran Park Holy Quran Park has been designed from an Islamic perspective, with the aim of educating Muslim and non-Muslim visitors about the Quran and elaborate on the stories it recounts. More than just a calm and green sanctuary, the park will feature numerous facilities including an Islamic garden, children’s play areas, Umrah corner, outdoor theatre, miracle show area, recitations of stories from the Quran, fountains, glasshouse, desert garden, lake, palm oasis, and running and cycling tracks. The Islamic Garden will feature an impressive 51 of the 54 varieties of plants and trees mentioned in the Quran. In addition, a special air-conditioned tunnel named ‘The Miracles of Quran’, will recount stories from the Holy Book. 5. Bulgari Resort and Residences Dubai A symbol of opulence and exquisite craftsmanship, Bulgari’s inaugural property in Dubai will add a new dimension to the city’s hospitality sector. Set to be the world’s fifth Bulgari Hotels and Resorts property, the luxury landmark will be designed by Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners and will be located on the sea-horse shaped Jumeirah Bay Island. The expansive 1.7 million square foot complex will be framed by lush landscaped gardens and comprise 101 rooms and suites in the main hotel buildings, as well as 20 hotel villas and a full range of luxury hotel facilities. It is also set to be hot property among prospective homeowners, featuring 165 apartments, eight penthouses and 15 mansions, all offering magnificent views. 6. Madame Tussauds Dubai Home to the waxy doppelgängers of Barack Obama, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Shah Rukh Khan, Kim Kardashian, Neymar Jr. and Lionel Messi, to name a few, Madame Tussauds will be making its way to Dubai to open its Middle Eastern outpost following galleries in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, New York, and Las Vegas. Set to be located on Bluewaters Island, next to what will be the world’s biggest observation wheel, Ain Dubai, Madame Tussauds Dubai will be a must-visit once it opens, and while the exact celebrity line-up to be immortalized in wax is still under wraps, visitors are sure to recognise some famous faces from around the world and the Middle East. 7. R Hotels Resort & Spa Dubai is building its reputation for affordable luxury with the announcement of the first four-star resort and spa on Palm Jumeirah, to be developed by R Hotels. Located on the East Crescent of the man-made island, the new property will feature 259 rooms and modern recreational facilities including a spa, gym, swimming pool, sauna and steam bath. It is also focusing on holistic treatments, offering guests a refreshing wellness platform, plus fitness and nutrition programmes. Amenities and activities exclusively for children will include a fully-supervised indoor and outdoor play area, and special kids’ entertainment. 8. Dubai Crocodile Park A haven for reptiles, Dubai Crocodile Park will be home to a group of impressive Nile Crocs, which are the largest fresh water crocodiles in the world. The 20,000 squaremetre park will be built as a natural habitat with the animals grouped so that they can reproduce as they would in the wild. The setting also allows the park to double up as a research institute for schools, universities and scientists. 9. Gate Avenue in DIFC Retail therapy is part and parcel of the Dubai experience, and the upcoming Gate Avenue at DIFC, a premium lifestyle, cultural and entertainment boulevard, is geared to take the city’s retail and lifestyle offerings to the next level. The project will include indoor and outdoor themed walkways, over 200 dining, boutique, retail and entertainment options and an iconic new mosque. In addition to a retail district, the avenue is also being planned as a showcase of arts and cultural events, live music performances and festivals. 10.  Hot Air Ballooning and Falconry Combining the thrill of hot air ballooning with the centuries-old sport of falconry, this new experience promises plenty of altitudinal thrills. A partnership between Balloon Adventures Dubai and Land Rover, the AED1,100 per person experience is a dawn ride across the desert in a hot air balloon along with a falconry display followed by a drive in a vintage Land Rover and a gourmet breakfast. The falcons are bred in the Highlands of Scotland and trained in Italy, and observing them soar between balloons to return to their minders offers insights into their famed hunting prowess as well as an important, cherished aspect of the region’s culture and heritage.