By Ernesto Francisco
The word is out: Dubai is the world’s playground, and the gays are flocking to take part in the fun.
The sheer opulence and pure ambition of Dubai is astounding. Skyscrapers shoot up into the clouds and the beaches stretch for miles upon miles amidst the warmest, bluest water in the world.
The signature Burj Khalifa (Dubai Tower) surpassed Taiwan’s Taipei 101 to become the world’s tallest building at an astounding 160 stories….with more still to be constructed. The final height and number of stories is a secret, which just adds to the mystique.
Landing at Dubai International Airport is simply breathtaking. Make sure you get a window seat on your Delta flight over so you can take it all in (Delta Air Lines flies non-stop, Atlanta to Dubai, U.A.E, five times weekly, www.delta.com).
The airport is a snap to get around and you’ll be in the car on the way to your hotel in no time. For those of you who like to go green, there’s a gleaming new metro system which you can take from the airport to numerous points all over the city.
Hotel accommodations are numerous, but for the ultimate luxury getaway, head straight to the five-star Mövenpick Hotel Bur Dubai (19th Street, Oud Metha, Dubai, U.A.E., tel. +971 4 336 60 00, www.moevenpick-burdubai.com). The rooms are splendidly appointed and the staff at the hotel is nothing less than exceptional. After checking in, have an early afternoon cocktail at the hotel’s English pub (Somerset’s, ext. 330) or Lebanese bar (Fakhreldine ext. 353). Dubai is meant to be seen, so it’s time to step out and check the scene. Jumeira Beach is the playground for the masses in Dubai. And with some careful searching, you’ll find two relatively gay beaches: Jumeira Open Beach 1 and Jumeira Beach Park.. The pale-blue water is crystal clear and is a refreshing break from the 109 degree summer sun. Be sure to also visit the lovely gardens right next door.
Fashion in Dubai is all over the place. You’ll see everything from women in full burqa outfits to men and women alike in nothing but a thong. Just be aware that open homosexual acts are forbidden in Dubai, but in a society where men kissing men is a common greeting, take notice of the men whose glances linger a bit long.
To complete your Arabian adventure, check out Jules, a quasi-Mexican cantina in the Le Meridien Hotel Dubai (Airport Road, +971 4 282 40 40, open 1100-0300). Don’t be surprised to run into some of the same guys from the beach here at night. Be mindful that Friday and Saturday is the Arabian weekend, so Thursday night is a big night in Dubai. The beats rock all night at IBO (Millennium Airport Hotel, Airport Road, +971 4 282 18 44 open 1100-0300) where you’ll find sizzling hot locals dancing the night away.
So get up, get out and get moving. There’s a desert oasis waiting to give you the break you deserve. Dubai is your adventure waiting to happen.