When I arrived in Dubai almost 14 years ago, I marvelled at the beauty of the city skyline as I came into land, realising only the next morning that the ‘fairy lights’ I saw, where actually rather unromantic warning lights on cranes, peppered all over the city. Then, when my mum’s friend came to visit, armed with her camera, I found myself apologizing for the patchwork presence of the building sites, but instead of being disappointed, she embraced the cranes, finding unexplored potential in their beauty.

That optimistic lesson, in finding something beautiful in all that we see has stuck with me, and 14 years on, I’m grateful to those cranes for building, brick by brick, the incredible UAE that I call home today.

In this issue, we celebrate the seven Emirates, from its undocumented corners to all the hotels we know and love, and all the magical, cultural and eye-opening ways to explore the region.

We also dive into island life, discovering some of the most inaccessible isles in West Africa to the natural beauty of Indonesia’s Raja Ampat archipelago. And for those wanting to dust off the travel cobwebs in superior style, the John Jacob Aster Estate at The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli resort is what spring bucket list vacations are made of.