Ahlan! does Dallas

Ahlan! says howdy to the 'Big D'
Wednesday , 05 March 2008

Dubai may be a city whose maxim is ‘The bigger, the better', but anyone who's ever watched the stetsons take centre stage at the Oil Barons' Ball will admit that you have to take your hat off to the city of Dallas. Sizeable stetsons aside, anyone heading here will no doubt go with visions of Dolly Parton-sized blonde dos, beaming smiles, sturdy cowboy boots and, of course, the folks from Southfork in mind.

The eponymous TV series summed it all up perfectly back in the 80s, and today Dallas is still as jaw-dropping as ever - home to an impressive 12 billionaires - add the 8 more in the neighbouring cities and you have one of the greatest concentrations of billionaries in the world! Not to mention the long list of celebs who hail from here... Usher, Owen and Luke Wilson, Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, to name but a few.

And any visitor will realise that the city does nothing by half. With the Dallas Stars, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Diesels and the Dallas Cowboys - Jess's new man, Tony Romo (right) being one of them - it's a force to be reckoned with on the sports field, and off it, Dallas is renowned for its big business, even bigger barbeque-style food portions and luxurious living.

And while Southfork may be a historical icon unto its own, Dallas has a few cultural offerings other than the ranch. It has one of America's biggest urban arts districts, and for those who completely understand that shopping is also a cultural experience, you'll find your fair share of high-end designer stores... after all, this is the place to splash some serious big Ds.

While you're there...

What to eat
Wondering where Jessica Simpson eats out? Head to the Pancake House, where she was spotted enjoying some good old American pancakes with her family. Jess spent Valentine's Day at Nove Italiano restaurant in Dallas, and recently dined at the award-winning Dragonfly restaurant at Hotel ZaZa - which offers fabulous views of the Dallas skyline. Dallas is also, surprisingly, home to the frozen margarita - perfect for those steamy summers. Get yours at Medici Bar a fave of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.

Get your stars
You can hang your head in shame if you don't take a guided tour of the film location that is a star in itself, Southfork Ranch, where you can even see the gun that shot JR, and dine at a little deli called Miss Elie's Place, or tie the knot at the Lone Star Atrium! Who needs Vegas?

Where to shop
Just seven minutes from Hotel ZaZa, Highland Park Village is the place to go if you're after exclusive brands and haute couture.Jess Simpson is also a fan of Dillard's Stonebriar Centre. Currently slated for not promoting her fashion lines personally, she will, in fact, be there this week to sign autographs and meet up with anyone who spends $75 (Dhs275) or more on any item from the Jessica Simpson Collection.

Where to stay
The Dukes Of Hazzard actress met up with boyfriend Tony Romo, sister Ashlee and her boy Pete Wentz, recently in Dallas, and stayed in the Rock Star suite at the swanky Hotel ZaZa ( www.hotelzaza.com). Visit the nearby galleries and see the sight of Dallas by day, then live it up poolside at the hotel's Urban Oasis Nightclub at night. Michael Jordan and Lance Armstrong are two fans of the hip spot. Alternatively, stay at Gwyneth Paltrow and Steven Spielberg's fave, The Mansion on Turtle Creek ( www.mansiononturtlecreek.com) to experience true Texan-style grandeur.

Go Big this NYE

If you're a big planner, plan ahead for a huge New Year's Eve. Big D NYE, at Dallas's Victory Park, looks set to give the Big Apple a run for its money when it comes to crowd-pulling New Year's Eve bashes.

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