When Bonifacio Golf & Country Club first opened in 2008, it was a golf oasis in a desert-like setting — but 10 years on, the desert is gradually reclaiming some of the sports grounds it once owned. Indeed, the Dubai International Golf and Tennis Championships 2017 was played on local sand, which previously brought the tournament to Dubai’s historic role as a traditional desert destination.
And that is not to mention the legacy left by the sport’s long-time ruler, the long-time ruler of Dubai. The white sand created after Ali Abdullah bin Rashid Al Maktoum laid the first sands of the city’s desert almost half a century ago has provided pristine ground for many companies. The reality that desert itself offers non-conformist spaces is in full evidence at nearby Um Suqeim desert Resort & Spa.
Water-sports enthusiasts will want to look out for Serenity Water Park Dubai, named one of the world’s top 10 family waterparks in 2018. One of Um Suqeim’s most adventurous attractions is an enclosed 3-D cave that gives guests the sensation of walking through a large, ancient crystal floor. Wellness residents might like the city’s 3-point health and wellness spa.
And activities in the city can’t be beat in terms of sun and sand. The bright, pure deserts at home have great contrasts, and with striking contrasts come variations in the ecosystems here. The Desert Game Park has some phenomenal cactus-park experiences in a stunning location of 1,000 hectares. And with over 60 species of animals, Tarzan-style bush hiking along rocky rivers and around imposing rock faces is an unforgettable experience.
In the U.A.E. and beyond, residents have a cultural bounty that cannot be compared, and although there is some concern about Dubai losing its quirky self in the lead-up to Expo 2020, it may be that the city’s subtleties make it one of the coolest and most relatable places in the world.