To see the world, to experience its greatness you need to let go, give up control, open yourself up to possibilities and see where the wind takes you.
Yes, sometimes life can surprise you. My unexpected journey to experience the luxurious world of Dubai came out of the blue. Wontra Travels, together with Dubai Tourism, organised a week long, all expenses paid trip to Dubai for top African event planners. This trip came at a perfect time, when towards the end of the year we can fall into a slump and sluggishly try to slog away towards the end of the year. This trip left me invigorated and inspired.
From being treated with highest level of hospitality in aviation on Emirates business flight, I stepped into the incredible hotel called Palazzo Versace. The grand entrance and distinct Versace fragrance took my breath away and intoxicated my senses. Looking around this unique hotel with its overt display of luxury and opulence I was mesmerised.
Once I had the chance to catch my breath and steady my heart beat, I started my explorations of the hotel. I encountered the original Versace sketches from famous collections hanging along the passage ways. I admired the majestic mosaics throughout the hotel. I soaked in every inch of the flamboyant styling of various hotel surfaces and then I found my favorite place – the pool.
On the first afternoon, as I was sitting and staring at a gorgeous Versace cup whilst savouring a delicious aroma of perfectly brewed coffee and I remember pondering about inspiration. What makes some of us transcend the layers of social norms and create something that was never there before? How are unimaginable ideas conceived in the depth of the human imagination take flight, becomes real and tangible and even inspirational?
Luxury is a man made concepts that came from imagination and our deep desire for beauty and fulfillment. Luxury feels awesome and it is designed to excite every sense in our body, soothe the mind and evoke tranquility. On Saturday afternoon, in the hotel lobby, an opera singer entertained the guests during afternoon tea and his voice layered another dimension of what it is like to bask in luxury.
What was incredible, everywhere we went, was attention to detail on most personal level – hospitality from the heart. Authenticity of desire to excite and engage a guest is something that Dubai got so right. Service is treasured, valued and prized. Every hotel we visited was warm, welcoming and proudly pointed out everything they are “BEST” at. Yes, they want to be the best and why not?
One day we visited IMG Worlds of Adventure and attending the world’s biggest park under the roof would not have been on my list of priorities and yet it was one of the best days of this year! The PowerPuff Girls ride made me laugh for hours. The Velociraptor rollercoaster is not for faint hearted, but we went on it twice and had a blast. All the rides made feel so ALIVE and once again I was reminded that giving up control can be one of the best things for the soul.
Dubai philosophy on hospitality and modernization is commendable. Looking around the city, especially at night when everything lights up, one can only marvel at how this transformation happened in mere 60 years! Dubai suffered economically after 1920s due to the collapse of the pearl industry, the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the loss of extensive trade networks during World War II. Until the surge of oil revenues in the late 1960s, but Dubai’s drive to position themselves as the most desirable destination of tourism and business growth is the main economic drive for the country.
We have a lot to learn from Dubai, where hospitality and making people feel special and welcome is the name of the game, where innovation, something bigger and something better is vital for survival. So, South Africa… It’s time to visit Dubai and experience life at it’s best and get inspired.
After all, it is up to dreamers to change the world, to challenge the norms and create something not yet seen. Wedding planners bring to life dreams. I encourage all weddings planners out there to push the boundaries, challenge your clients and seek new levels of heights in your work. Visit Dubai, draw inspiration from the oasis where there was sand and now stands a city of magnificence. Dream BIG and never hold back!