Dubai’s mountainous Hatta region has been trending on social media recently thanks to its astonishing combination of intense natural beauty and outdoor activities.
Located in the beautiful Hajar Mountains, Hatta has long been a popular getaway for Emiratis, and thanks to efforts to preserve its unique scenery and culture, remains essentially untouched - a rugged landscape of date trees, baked-stone villages, hidden oases and cooling spring-water pools, all protected by an ancient fort and picturesque defensive towers.
One of Hatta’s biggest draw cards, however, has to be the range of outdoor activities on offer, including a near-endless list of hiking and mountain biking routes, as well as the nearby lake at Hatta dam – home to some of the best kayaking and paddleboarding in the region - and the perfect spot to cool off and relax.
Set 2,000 metres above sea level on Oman’s fabled Green Mountain, the Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort by Anantara – one of the world’s highest hotels - continues to live up to its incredible reputation, and this month we took a fresh look at this enduring legend.
Perched on the rim of a dramatic canyon, and made from locally quarried stone that blends perfectly with the rugged surroundings, this palace-like hotel offers 82 luxury rooms, each with a canyon-view balcony and a bathroom that feels closer to your own private spa, as well as 33 pool-side villas - all just two-hours from the nation’s capital, Muscat.
For food and drinks, there’s a selection of restaurants serving Italian, Asian, and of course classic Omani dishes, as well as a courtyard café and deli, poolside and all-day dining, and a gorgeous cocktail bar - perfect for an evening drink and shisha. For those looking to make a big impression, there’s also the canyon edge platform made famous by Princess Diana, where food is served by your own private butler.
And the celebrity treatment doesn’t stop there, as the resort also offers a luxurious spa, complete with a range of treatments using local rosewater and pomegranate, the gorgeous 120 guest Al Ain ballroom, and a banquet terrace that’s able to hold 60 people for drinks surrounded by the endless views.
Already one of the most romantic settings to eat in Dubai, Thai restaurant Thiptara has recently unveiled its upgraded terrace - transformed now into a floating event space for up to 75 guests.
Sitting on the cool waters of the 12 hectare Burj Khalifa lake, this new space offers front row seats for the famous Dubai fountains - the world’s largest man-made water show – as well as the globe’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa - perfect if you’re looking for dinner, drinks and a jaw dropping backdrop.
Less well known than its sister Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi (for now, at least), Sharjah is fast becoming a sought after destination thanks to its otherworldly landscape and beautiful coastline. Added to this allure is the latest offering from Mysk - the Sharjah collection, a group of three eco-friendly boutique hotels, each set in a very different landscape.
Located on Kalba Island, a globally important wetland, and surrounded by the Gulf of Oman, Kingfisher Lodge lets you get back to nature in the most glamorous way possible in one of its 27 luxury tents, each with outdoor deck and private plunge pool. There’s a beautifully designed spa and even a 20-guest event space, creating one of the most stylish locations from which to kayak the nearby mangroves or just stake your claim to a slice of picture-perfect beach.
In central Sharjah, meanwhile, set amidst a slice of lush green surrounded by sweeping dunes, lays the Al Badayer Oasis, with 21 rooms, 10 luxury tents and both all day dining and traditional Emirati restaurants. There’s also an indoor pool, health club and a central amphitheatre that hosts intimate live events in the evenings under the stars.
Rounding off the collection is the Al Faya Lodge, a five-room boutique hotel that’s also home to a one-of-a-kind saltwater spa. Built within three repurposed, local stone buildings, the Lodge offers a rooftop terrace, pool, and a restaurant that specialises in soul warming food, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows from which to enjoy the incredible desert views outside.
Perfectly located between old and new Dubai, Zabeel House, The Greens has now opened in Dubai’s popular Al Thanya district.
Inspired by funky New York loft living, yet filled with distinctly Middle Eastern touches, this latest addition to Jumeriah’s upscale yet casual Zabeel House group has 210 rooms and suites, each making maximum use of natural light and materials, as well as organic products and smart pad controls that help you set up your room exactly as you like it.
Elsewhere, you’ll find four smart meeting spaces that feature the latest technology suitable for groups of five to eight people, an adorable kids area, a fully equipped gym, energising treatment rooms and a Pop Art inspired outdoor pool area with private cabanas.
When it comes to food, meanwhile, there are two very different restaurants on offer; all-day dining with no compromises on quality at Social Company, and pan-Asian flavours with poolside views and a secluded shisha terrace at Lah Lah, both of which make extensive use of local herbs grown on site.
For those looking to explore this lovely neighbourhood, the hotel also provides complimentary bikes on which to enjoy the namesake parks and lakes, or the surrounding shops, restaurants - even an outdoor cinema.
With Expo 2020, the largest business and innovation event ever staged, fast approaching, our sister company Emirates Airlines have now unveiled the full design for their pavilion.
Bringing together the three themes of the Expo – Mobility, Opportunity and Sustainability, the 3,300 square metre pavilion explores the future of aviation - from cutting edge new materials, to engine technologies that reduce carbon emissions, and futuristic interiors that make previous luxuries available to all, as well as an interactive station that lets visitors design their own aircraft.
Predicted to welcome 56,000 visitors each month, the exterior of the Emirates Pavilion features 26 slanted fins and 800 metres of LED lights, whilst the building itself incorporates the latest green technologies and building techniques, including discreetly integrated solar panels, responsive shading and a beautiful use of natural light that reduces its overall energy consumption.
Created to make the UAE one of the most travel friendly nations in the world, testing has begun on the Dubai Sky Pods, with the city’s leader, Sheikh Mohammed, inspecting the prototypes.
Set to connect 21 stations and the city’s famous tourist and cultural landmarks in quiet, air conditioned comfort, the Sky Pod Project will eventually transport 8,400 people per hour at speeds of 150 kph, with the aim of representing 25% of all travel across the Emirate.
Best of all, the entire project has been designed to minimise the impact on the environment, using five times less power than an electric car and 100 times less land to operate than any existing public transport system.
Expo 2020 – As Seen from the Sky
After 60 million work hours, the Expo 2020 complex is fast taking shape outside Dubai, and the latest shots of this astonishing achievement have finally been released taken from the best place possible – the air.
Combining drone footage with CGI of the end result in order to capture the sheer magnitude of the endeavour, this latest video shows the city-like project coming to life, as it prepares to welcome the 25 million visitors, from 180 countries, who are predicted to attend the largest business and innovation event in history.
As well as national areas for the 153 counties attending so far, the drone footage also offers a glimpse of the thematic pavilions, each representing a different and vital concept in the world today: Mobility, an inspirational journey through mankind’s progress from ancient explorers to pioneers of artificial intelligence, Opportunity - made from organic materials and delving into how an individual’s choices can affect the world around them, and Sustainability, an exploration of how we can positively affect the world of tomorrow.