Thursday 22 March 2018


What is it: Emirate (small kingdom, basically).

Where is it: United Arab Emirates, in the Persian Gulf.

Population: 2.3 million.

First became popular with the jet-set: Oil was discovered in 1966, making Dubai, along with several other emirates, stinking rich. And money attracts money, so the rich and shameless were soon flocking here. The place is chockful of expensive shops, golf courses and incredibly swanky hotels.

Famous visitors: Westlife, Michael Jordan, Naomi Campbell, Kylie Minogue (right).

High point: The completion of the Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building in the world. A beautiful piece of work and a real draw for visitors.

Low point: The absolute flop of Dubai's ambitious (and ridiculous) "The World" project, a real blow to the place's image.

Did you know: Ashley Cole proposed to Cheryl Tweedy (inset) in Dubai. After his various transgressions sent their marriage down the tubes, he tried to persuade her to return there in the hope of rekindling their romance. Well, that worked. . .

What to say: "Of course I only ever stay at the Burj al-Arab, the most expensive hotel in the world."

What not to say: "Any luck on getting those human rights issues sorted out?"

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