10 things that go bling in the UAE

A look at all glittery attractions that put the flash back into the Emirates

You know the saying here: if it glitters, then it most certainly is gold, platinum or a women’s best friend, a diamond. 

In a year that saw even the mightiest come crashing down in a state of financial misery world over, the UAE not only persevered, but also managed to up its bling quotient in the bargain; and how.

So forget about those diamond-studded Versace glasses that were so last season. If you are in the Emirates, then even the rising price of precious commodities won’t stop you from snazzing things up to keep up with the neighbourhood Jameels and the Janes.

If you don’t believe us, then here are 10 things that left us reaching for our reflectors as they shot through the Emirates 24|7 bling rating and scaled to the top.

Gold Vending Machine

Cha-ching is the only way to describe this man-made wonder at Emirates Palace hotel, Abu Dhabi, which allows you to grab gold-to-go, albeit minus a doggy bag.

The first ever gold ATM Vending Machine allows customers to withdraw 10gm and 1oz gold bars engraved with the Emirates Palace in a project launched by Hans Olbertz, General Manager of Emirates Palace, and Thomas Geissler, Chief Executive of Ex Oriente Lux AG, the inventor of the Gold to Go machine.

At time of launch, Olbetz said: “We seized upon this idea and, as one of the most exclusive hotels in the world, we wanted the Emirates Palace to play a pioneering role and be the first hotel in the world to offer its guests this golden service.”

The machine, which monitors the price of gold minute-by minute, offers bars, as well as a variety of coins. 
Gold Tattoos

Tattoo designs inked in gold and platinum are perfect for that precious metal makeover your neighbourhood Jumeirah Janes would envy.

Created by Japanese jewellery designer, Nobuhiko Akatsuka, the idea would one day naturally find its way to our sunny shores and French jeweller Arnaud Flambeau did just that.

He brought Precious Skin, the world’s first “body-direct” jewellery, which is made of 99.99 per cent pure gold and platinum foil that is set on bare skin.

Flambeau opened a Precious Skin service at the Burj Al Arab (naturally) and The Westin.

The gold tattoos can cost as little as Dh200 depending on the designs, which are handmade. For those who like a bit of exclusivity then fork over a little more than Dh22,000 for a full back tattoo that mixes platinum with gold; small change for many here we reckon.

Diamond facials

What will they think of next, we wonder?

Diamonds now not only belong on your body as part of your jewellery, but also blended into your skin to get the glow in its true sense – or that’s what we reckon at least.

There are, not surprisingly, quite a few places in Dubai that offer this bling-a-ling treat, but the most notable ones for the staff at Emirates 24|7 was the Dh1,150 priced Natura Bisse Diamond Facial at the Intercontinental Dubai Festival City and the Placenta Diamond Facial at Biolite Skin Clinic, Dubai Healthcare City.

The latter is the very same controversial treatment that was made famous by Jennifer Lopez and Madonna.

As the name reads, pure human placenta found in babies provides the pure protein collagen needed to instantly lift, brighten and glorify your skin. 

Diamond-encrusted credit card

If you’re flashing a diamond facial, then it’s only fair to pay for all that hard work by your therapist with your diamond-encrusted credit card.

Of course, the bling is not just in the precious stones, but also the unrestricted credit limit for the multi-millionaires.

The Royale Mastercard is being offered by Dubai First to customers with a monthly salary of at least Dh100,000.  The credit card is available by invitation only to the qualified, self-employed, recession-proof (ok, so this is our addition) individual whose assets amount to at least Dh3.67 million.

Gold and diamond pacifiers

Being born with a silver spoon in your mouth is so passé ever since Baby Bling has zipped into town.

Forget silver, when gold and diamonds make a great substitue.

The exclusive boutique in The Village Mall offers a gold one, studded with pink stones for just Dh6,500. Those who miss the silver can also grab one for just Dh2,500.

And while we didn’t find it, urban legend states that once upon a time, an 18-carat-gold and diamond baby pacifier was also snapped up, which sold for Dh20,000.

Talk about a baby’s day out.

Most expensive cocktail

Before all you bling-a-licious people fire up your Ferraris to head to the Skyview Bar, Burj Al Arab to sip away at the world’s most expensive cocktail, tune into the bad news first: it’s sold out.

The 27.321 drink was sold in Skyview Bar between April 16 and December 16, 2008 to 10 exclusive buyers for, you guessed it, Dh27,321. Legend has it, it was presented in a Baccarat 18-carat-gold glass, which you took home as souvenir. 

However, there is a drop of good news here: although the cocktail is sold out, you can still savour the very last drops of this exclusive limited MaCallan 55-year-old single malt, aged in two different casks, for just Dh14,500.

And for those of you wondering, the drink allegedly got its name because Skyview was located on the floor ‘27’ at the height of ‘321’ metres.

Bling H20 – The Dubai Series

With a name like that, the price tag is bound to be hefty; however, we can’t vouch for the taste.

Launched by Harvey Nichols, this is pop culture in a bottle, providing a limited edition collection of bottled spring water in 750ml and 375ml frosted, corked reusable bottles with hand-applied, genuine Swarovski crystals.

Aimed at the super-luxury consumer who wants to do more than just quench their thirst, Bling H2O is the first bottled water to be endorsed by Swarovski in the company’s 100+ year history.

Prices can range up to Dh15,000 so you had better finish every last drop.

Gold-plated Dune Buggies

Clearly, gold is hardly a scarce commodity these days considering even its rising price still hasn’t deterred the designer of these dune buggies – meant to rough it out in the harsh desert heat – to do it up with all that glitters.

Unveiled earlier this year at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition, the Gold Edition Royal Beast dune buggies come with remote-controlled scissor Lambo-style doors, which open to reveal fully ostrich-leather interior ensconcing two plasma screen televisions, an eight-speaker surround sound system, and a high-intensity light bar above the windscreen.

The price you ask? While we are still tickled by the ostrich feathers, the price is over a quarter of a million dirhams.

Bling my ride

While we are on modes of transportation, how can cars be left behind in the things that go bling in the UAE? 

Car Lovers and now bling up their rides with luxury crystals courtesy German designer, Sarah Asfur.

With more than 10 years of experience in sprucing up luxury rides, she provides a six-month warranty to lend sparkle to your sports cars via Swarovski’s aid.

Where, you ask? Think the emblem of your cars, the steering wheel, mirrors, license plate frames, seat covers, tire covers, the list is endless.

The ‘Dubai’ tiara

Not quite what we would refer to as a feather in your cap; quite frankly, we aren’t sure how to describe Michelle Roberts’ ¬– the designer behind the Dubai jewellery label Jake & Gigi –Dubai skyline tiara.

One thing is for sure, a keen sense of style and sheer guts are required to wear this adornment, made from silver and studded with hundreds of tiny Swarovski crystals.

While the price is on request, what you get for a whopper of price (of that we are sure) is a design that features all the Dubai landmarks, including Emirates Towers and the Burj Al Arab and the Burj Khalifa as the central peak.

If this isn’t bling, we don’t know what is.


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