When I planned a business trip to the Mideast and the fabulous Cityscape Global Conference I had no idea of the astounding architecture I would see. Starting the very moment I arrived Sunday evening at the Burj Khalifa (named after the founder of United Arab Emirates Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan). It is reportedly the tallest building in the world at 163 stories. I couldn’t take enough photographs of it and I was so happy that I chose the Armani hotel which occupies the lower floor of the tower.
I had a smart hotel room, everything was operated from an Ipad! Above, are beautiful apartment condominiums and offices for the beloved Sheik Mohammad Maktoum who is the ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates.
Armani lives up to its reputation with an awe inspiring yet understated interior with clean lines, soaring ceilings, and beautiful detail. There is a view of dancing fountains which plays to a number of songs every evening. Just beyond the fountains is the other exclusive location in downtown Dubai, “The Address”, where I dined at Em Sherif with unbelievable home cooked Lebanese food.
I never took so many selfies! I traveled with my friends Mary Ta and Sherine El Gazzar who founded the Minotti showroom and the Mass. They managed to find time to go on a desert safari and sand boarded which sounded a little dangerous to me, but they made it!
Cityscape Global was like no property exhibition you have ever seen. Millions of dollars were spent on each presentation and it appeared that the entire Mideast was under construction. I spent some time with my friends at Emaar, one of the leading developers in the area and the builder of the Burj Khalifa, as well as the new Opera House under construction by Zaha Hadid.
It was very interesting to learn that they have an issue with affordable housing, which clearly is a global problem. The realtors are just beginning to organize a Multiple Listing Service there. Their real estate market has been quite volatile and prices are down approximately 20% this year.
Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to enjoy all the fabulous restaurants so I will just have to plan another trip! The few I tried were sensational! Could you believe I never made it inside the amazing shopping malls or the traditional souk? Next time.