You guys, Dubai. Wow. I recently returned from a whirlwind 72 hours in Dubai (and nearby Ajman) on behalf of Travel Mindset and Fairmont, and simply put, my mind was blown. This U.A.E. trip was my first proper visit to a Middle East country, and I don’t know if I’ve visited a destination where my senses were so heightened and I experienced such a melting pot of cultures. Of the 30-plus people I met, for example, only two were from the same country. TWO!

Dubai truly is one-of-a-kind. In a given day, you could sky dive above Dubai’s urban landscape, wake surf, paddleboard, snowboard (yes, seriously), and go to the top of the highest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. Where else can you do that in just one day?

For any urban, architecture, and adventure lover, Dubai is a dream. And for no longer than I was in Dubai, I was immediately smitten. From the melting pot of cultures to the first-class food and drink scene to the adventure sports to the innovative architecture, it’s unlike any place I’ve ever visited. And while I’ll be sharing some of my experiences in Dubai over the coming days and weeks, today I come to you with a Dubai photo essay from last weekend.

Dubai Photo Essay

Dubai Photo Essay: Dubai at sunrise

First light in Dubai.

Sunrise in Dubai from Fairmont the Palm

Well there are worse views to wake up to. Sunrise my first morning from Fairmont the Palm.

Dubai at night near Dubai Marina

And that same view by night. Gotham or Tron City?

Boating Dubai Marina

80-degree days in January? Cue music, I’m on a Boat.”

Paddleboarding in Dubai at Fairmont the Palm

Beach days at Fairmont the Palm.

Fairmont the Palm whiskey and cigar bar in Dubai

Naturally, I had to find a whiskey bar. This, the Dubai Cigar Lounge at the Fairmont the Palm, is first a cigar lounge, but doubles as a great whiskey bar. These three whiskies, an Indian whiskey, Aussie whiskey, and Scotch whiskey, aren’t whiskies you can find together just anywhere.

Cocktails at Fairmont the Palm in Dubai

And they make damn good cocktails too.

Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai

In all its glory, the tallest structure in the world, Burj Khalifa, standing at 2,722 feet.

Fairmont Ajman hotel in Dubai, U.A.E.

Stop num. 2, the Fairmont Ajman, just outside of Dubai in Ajman.

Drinks at Fairmont Ajman near Dubai

This would seem to count as “Drinks with a View.”

Beach drinks at Fairmont Ajman

That same view, but looking out from the balcony over the Persian Gulf.

Wake surfing in Dubai at Fairmont the Palm

Parting shot from Dubai, following my first time wake surfing.