I just got back from a trip to Dubai and the Maldives! I'm so lucky to have the best travel gigs with Sisterhood Travels capturing video footage of all the highlights with a fun group of ladies. The desert in Dubai was awesome and Arabic Coffee is delicious. There were not super cars everywhere, but you could definitely feel the opulent wealth of the place. They have to desalinate ocean water to drink and our guide said that at one point water was as expensive as gas.
The Maldives are a tropical paradise, but honestly you could go to the Caribbean for a similar experience and skip the 26 hours of travel time it takes to get all the way over there! Still the natural beauty is something to see and I loved the giant fruit bats that would glide around the tree tops every evening. I snorkeled a bunch and every time it felt like I was swimming in a tropical fish tank!