Guess how one of the world's wealthiest countries – perhaps the wealthiest – celebrated its birthday this year. By creating the world's most fantastic, jaw-dropping, eye-popping, heart-fluttering stage show, of course. Only this stage was Dubai's soaring Burj Al Arab Hotel (you know, the one built like a billowing sail). And the show was something out of The Arabian Nights done in laser-lights, 3D displays and fireworks surrounding the thousand-foot-high hotel.
You couldn't have missed seeing the show if you'd been down on the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula recently when they celebrated the 42nd anniversary of the founding of the United Arab Emirates (Dubai is one of the seven Emirates). The annual event, called National Day, got off to a particularly festive start this year with the announcement that Dubai was selected to host World Expo 2020, a world's fair-like exhibition held every five years.
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, noted: "Dubai is a destination known for creating events and initiatives that surprise and delight, and this show was sure to capture the imagination of residents, visitors and viewers from around the world...”
For the event the Burj Al Arab's atrium sported 92 flags (made of 12,000 roses) from various parts of the United Arab Emirates, and a 360-foot-long flag of the UAE.
Among features of the hotel are 202 luxury suites (each with a rain shower and a Jacuzzi), in-suite check-in and check-out, reception desks on every floor, round-the-clock private butlers, and use of the hotel's Rolls-Royce fleet and private beach.
Dubai's hotels hosted over 7.9 million guests in the first nine months of 2013, a 7.8 percent increase from the same period a year earlier.