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Zibrant LIVE! Our World | November 20, 2017

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A Turkish beach in Dubai – Tom Cruise thinks it’s India!

A Turkish beach in Dubai – Tom Cruise thinks it’s India!

Our World | On 05, Apr 2012

I recently paid a visit to Dubai to watch the magnificent spectacle of the Dubai World Cup, the richest horse race in the world with a top prize of $10m. Choose your trio, “sun, sea and sand”, “hats, heels and hem lines”, “champagne, caviar and chocolates” or use all nine in a nonet. The sights and sounds of the Dubai World Cup can just about go through the entire alphabet of descriptive and emotive words more times than anywhere else – including the good, the bad and the ugly!

A truly unique experience with a one kilometre long grandstand rising out of the desert like a science fiction space station and what felt like the entire population being entertained for ten hours. All culminating in a spectacular closing ceremony, a Toni Braxton concert, and yes, just a few fireworks to light up the desert sky.

I had the pleasure of staying at one of Dubai’s newer hotels – I say newer cognisant of the fact that half the city didn’t exist 10 years ago and as I’m writing this there are thousands of people digging, banging, drilling, painting and creating another plethora of new properties further down the beach or more likely a few thousand feet up in the sky or even more likely in the middle of the ocean somewhere.

Jumeirah’s latest addition is the Zabeel Saray, a beautiful Ottoman palace set on the western crescent of the Palm. When I say Ottoman palace, I do mean Ottoman and palace. Let me tell you just one tiny detail behind this construction: There are 30,000 square metres of natural marble from the Turkish cities of Afyon and Kutahya, shipped to Dubai and hand crafted by Turkish masons. Impressive from the outside, as soon as you enter you are greeted by a 200m long atrium and surrounded by hand painted finishings, Turkish artworks and lavish murals recreating the grand and magnificent era of the Ottoman Empire. The imperial hospitality experience is in further evidence in the design and size of even the smallest room and enhanced by the attentiveness and thoughtfulness of the service. You really are a guest in an imperial Ottoman palace.

Inside there are 400 rooms and 7 restaurants, outside there is of course the obligatory Olympic sized pool, private beach, gardens, restaurants, cool bars and views over the Palm and Dubai including the world’s tallest building the Burj Khalifa. This brings me on to an interesting little anecdote – in the latest Mission Impossible film, the story moves from the scenes at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai to the magnificent palace of a Maharajah in Mumbai, India – of course actually the film crew moved 15 minutes along Jumeirah beach to the Palm and filmed at the Zabeel Saray – not just imperial Ottoman but also a Maharaja’s palace too.

Nigel Cooper