Drive, helicopter, or float to the new St. Regis Dubai.
Why Go: Comparisons between Las Vegas and Dubai come naturally. Both are major tourist destinations in the desert with dancing fountains and massive indoor malls. Dubai’s Al Habtoor City, the largest single-phase development in the region, is making comparisons even easier. The waterfront complex features three residential towers, three hotels, restaurants, and high-end boutiques, as well as a Las Vegas–style theater purpose-built for a water show by Cirque du Soleil director Franco Dragone. The first of the hotels, the St. Regis Dubai opened in November with 234 rooms (from about $325).
What to Expect: The St. Regis occupies a stand-alone building emulating New York’s ornate Gilded Age. A musical fountain dances off the porte cochere. And indoors, two marble staircases wrap around the marble-clad lobby. Among eight dining venues is a Bentley-themed café and brasserie. Guests can book the hotel’s one-bedroom Bentley Suite, which takes design cues from the marque’s legendary Mulsanne. Located on the banks of the Dubai Water Canal (to be completed in 2016), the new complex also boasts the palm-tree-lined Marina Promenade packed with luxury storefronts like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Soon boats will be available to explore other parts of the city or reach destinations along the Persian Gulf. But before venturing elsewhere, guests should make sure to order the hotel’s signature Bloody Mary they call the “Gold Mary”—an intriguing Middle Eastern twist on the classic cocktail that comprises date paste, rose-infused vodka, gherkin brine, pickled jalapeños, and a dash of edible gold flake.
How to Get There: Land at the development’s private helipad or drive from Dubai International Airport in about 20 minutes. (stregis.com)