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MYCO N C I ER G E.CO M

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F O R T H E V E RY B E S T O F D U BA I

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K E E PI NG T H E FA I T H Ramadan in the UAE

ISSUE 185

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SPRING 2021

C L O S E T O H OM E Dreamy escapes

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TREASURED TIME Discover Patek Philippe

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TA B L E TA L K Time to dine


TH E LA S T W OR D

Beyond Wellness Sophia Bakkal and Rachel Dowes, co-founders of Beyond Wellness, share the inspiration behind the amazing work they do in the region and beyond in the realm of holistic wellbeing

Living in Dubai for the last 11 years, we have fallen in love with the city and it has become home to our families. While we have travelled and worked all over the world, there are few places we would rather be. The UAE is such a diverse cultural melting pot, rich with opportunities, especially in the wellness arena. We’ve both worked in the UAE’s corporate world, experiencing six- to seven-day working weeks ourselves and we’ve seen expats doing the same to support their families while living away from them. But we are now witnessing a shift. It is wonderful to see both individuals and the businesses they work for beginning to make wellness a priority. And what better environment to do so than the UAE. Here, we’ve hosted wellness retreats beside the ocean and also under the desert stars. Unlike other places around the world, the concept of wellbeing retreats is relatively new here, so the impact and personal transformations we witness with our guests are often so much more dramatic. This makes our work very rewarding. Beyond Wellness is inspired by our personal transformation journeys over more than 15 years. Having explored close to a hundred renowned retreats around the world, it became clear that the majority of these focus on the physical being while forgetting that the spiritual, emotional and mental health aspects are equally important. Furthermore, while many retreats felt hugely transformative at the time, the crucial long-term support and community element beyond the retreat was missing and so it became easy to slip back into the old habits. Hence, Beyond Wellness was born. An entirely new concept, we offer a 360-degree mind, body and spirit experience encompassing physical, mental and spiritual wellness in its entirety. With a supportive global community and a team of wellness experts, we are always on hand to support our clients not only during but also after the retreat. Beyond the UAE, our retreats are set in some of the world’s most tranquil locations. We believe that being close to nature is important for self-healing, so all our experiences are held within natural beauty. Our Maldives retreat is the most popular simply because there’s nothing quite like seeing dolphins swimming by during a yoga session or meditating at night on the beach and witnessing bioluminescent plankton lighting up the ocean. In the UAE, our three-day programme is the most popular. Since the natural environment is so important for healing, our last retreats were hosted on the lush grounds of Park Hyatt Dubai and by the seaside at Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas. All our guests are treated to a three-day wellness programme, where they get to relax, unwind, connect with themselves and each other within a five-star environment and participate in a selection of transformational activities, such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, life coaching, hypnotherapy, integrative energy healing or crystal healing. The pandemic brought about a dramatic rise in the levels of stress, anxiety and depression. With the current climate and with personal health on everybody’s mind, wellness tourism is expected to be the biggest travel trend in 2021. Our retreats are also inspired by these trying times. For instance, with the increasing pressures, couple and family retreats are in great demand and soon, we will be offering our first men’s retreat in the UAE. With countries around the world preparing to open their borders once again, we are gearing up to cater to an unprecedented demand for wellness travel. This is very promising for us.

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S ophi aB Ra c h e l a k k a l Do & we s

  beyondwellness-group.com

Vilamendhoo Island Resort, Maldives Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas

Park Hyatt Dubai


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S AN D SH E R PA SP ECIAL R E SE RVE JO I N T H E F I R S T A N D ONLY S E LF - D R IV E CA MPING E X PE R IE NCE IN T HE D UBA I D E SERT C O N SE RVAT I ON R E S E RV E W I TH A N OVE R NIG HT S TAY IN O UR CUS T O M- BUILT MIL ITA RY TRAILERS

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Rob Nicholas

Publisher

—— EDITORIAL

Letisha Evita Pereira Editor

—— ART

Maria Al Daoudi Art Director Adham Sneeh Photographer

—— ADVERTISING

Rose D’Souza Relationship Manager Carol Milan Sales Support Egor Sharay Sales Support

—— MARKETING

Adam Echouafni Digital Marketing Manager Basil Alhajar Partnerships Manager

EDITOR’S NOTE Springtime in the UAE is usually one of the busiest and most eagerly anticipated seasons on the country’s social calendar. And even in the midst of a pandemic, this year is no different. Packed with cultural fairs, major sporting championships and food festivals, March will see an array of events taking place across the emirates, with all the necessary health protocols in place to guarantee the safety of those in attendance. We kick off with the 14th edition of Art Dubai. Returning to the city this month – at an all-new purpose-built venue in DIFC – the exhibition is one of the first international art fairs to go ahead with an in-person event in 2021. Discover more about this year’s fair on page 12. Moving on to the month’s biggest sporting fixture, the richest day in horse racing will see the international equestrian community out in full force as Meydan Racecourse hosts the 25th edition of the Dubai World Cup on March 27. Expected to begin on April 12 this year, Ramadan is a truly special time in the region. While daylight hours move slowly, the region comes to life after the sun goes down and the fast is broken with iftar in the company of friends and family, who then come back together late into the night to socialise before suhoor. To learn more about the significance of the holy month, turn to page 16. Turning our focus to luxury, we dive into the legacy of Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe on page 42, showcasing the brand’s 21st-century icons with timepieces that have caught the world’s attention. For foodies in the emirate, Taste of Dubai returns with an exciting programme of events. In keeping with the culinary revelry the city is set to witness, from page 52 onwards, we highlight our top picks of gourmet offerings, from unique tasting experiences to the dining scene’s latest news and reviews. And finally, if the magazine leaves you feeling inspired, book your next experience with us by visiting myconcierge.com.

Letisha Pereira

Image: Arabian horse by Tariq Dajani

For bespoke arrangements and special requests, please contact 800-CONCIERGE or visit myconcierge.com E XCLUSIVE M EDIA BY N PIM EDIA F Z LLC P.O. Box 500573, Office 704, Damac Executive Heights, Barsha Heights, Dubai, UAE  04 4243600  04 4327505  concierge@npimedia.com  npimedia.com

Concierge® magazine is published monthly and copies are distributed exclusively in five-star and select four-star hotels. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in Concierge® magazine, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies. Articles contained within Concierge® magazine are under copyright to the publisher and cannot be reproduced or transmitted in any form, without first obtaining written permission.

Concierge® magazine is also available in Russian, Arabic and Mandarin languages. Please request a copy from the concierge desk in the hotel lobby Журнал «Консьерж» также издается на русском, арабском и китайском языках. Вы можете попросить экземпляр журнала у консьерж-службы в вестибюле гостиницы Concierge® 杂志也以俄语﹑中文﹑阿拉伯语出版,请联系您所下榻的酒店 前台索取


Qasr Al Watan, page 14

CONTENTS

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26

30

——— Our top picks of local attractions, events and activities this season

——— Sand Sherpa Special Reserve is a camping experience with a warm welcome on chilly nights

——— Our edit of the best places for nature lovers – from desert reserves to mangrove forests

ESSENTIALS

OFF THE BEATEN PATH

NATURAL WONDERS


Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Sahel Villa Resort, page 36

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56

——— Discover Patek Philippe, one of the most traditional watchmakers in the world

——— Chef Jason Atherton discusses the impact of the pandemic on the restaurant scene

——— Our pick of the best places for a memorable meal in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

TREASURED TIME

BACK TO BUSINESS

TABLE TALK


ESSENTIALS R AC I N G A H E A D

—— Held annually in the UAE since 1996, Dubai World Cup has put the emirate on the map as the richest day in equestrian sports worldwide. Now in its 25th year, the current season will draw to a close on Saturday, March 27. A total of nine races will run on the day, featuring world-renowned jockeys and thoroughbreds. With a total of AED128 million up for grabs, the competition is sure to be fierce.  dubairacingclub.com

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R I D E W I T H T H E WAV ES

—— Traditional sporting events have always been a highlight on the UAE’s winter calendar, but for a dose of modern athleticism, the annual Dubai Kitesurf Competition never fails to deliver. Mark your calendars for March 12 and 13 as Nessnass Beach becomes the heart of the growing kitesurfing community in the region. The competition will see pro surfers go head-tohead at Dubai International Marine Club. Participants are sure to wow spectators as they take on the waves and wind with their parachute-like kites, designed to help them gain speed and agility on the water.   dimc.ae

N E W VOYAG E

—— An all-new experience awaits at this year’s Dubai International Boat Show. Taking place for the first time at its new home – Dubai Harbour – from March 10 to 13, the show highlights the UAE’s love affair with all things maritime. Visitors can expect a spectacular display of luxury vessels, superyachts estimated at AED2.6 billion and the slickest sea toys. Programmes around the show will see talks and panel discussions hosted by renowned divers, sailors, fishing champions and entertainers.   boatshowdubai.com

During the holy month, the faithful fast from sunrise to sunset, in keeping with one of the five pillars of Islam S U N R IS E TO S U NS E T

—— Ramadan, expected to begin on April 12 this year, is a special time for Muslims when the devout turn their gaze inwards to enhance their spirituality. During the holy month, the faithful fast from sunrise to sunset, in keeping with one of the five pillars of Islam. Visitors to the country at this time can benefit from several events designed to help them understand Ramadan better, such as the educational programmes and activities held at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. While daylight hours move more slowly, the region comes to life after sunset, when the fast is broken with iftar. To learn more about the significance of the holy month, turn to page 16.

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FI RS T LO O K

—— As the countdown to “the greatest show on Earth” gains momentum, Expo 2020 Dubai has launched its “Pavilions Premier”. This means that residents and visitors in the UAE can get a first look at the site’s thematic pavilions. Currently on showcase until April 10 is the immersive experience presented by Terra - The Sustainability Pavilion, which is a prime example of sustainable building design. Within the pavilion, visitors will be able to walk under the shade of manmade trees that harness solar power, wander through lush forests and dive into the depths of the ocean. The experience is designed to inspire visitors to rediscover their relationship with nature and reduce their carbon footprint.   expo2020dubai.com

T H E WO R L D AWA I T S

—— If your travel plans are stalled by the pandemic, Global Village brings the opportunity to safely explore the world in one place. The popular Dubai attraction will continue to welcome visitors until April 18, promising a fun outing for the family, thanks to its diverse entertainment and culinary offering. Countries from the Middle East and beyond are in attendance, showcasing their cultural heritage. Take the opportunity to browse the market stalls for kitschy bargains and sample dishes from around the world.   globalvillage.ae

FU N FA R E

—— A favourite among the city’s food-loving crowd, Dubai Food Festival will run from March 25 to April 17. The annual celebration of all things culinary brings together talented chefs and homegrown concepts for a range of family-friendly events around the city. It is a chance for Dubai’s gourmands to travel the world through food, sampling treats from an array of global cultures. Expect limitededition menus at the city’s best-loved restaurants, curated dining experiences, guided food tours and cooking masterclasses conducted by top chefs.   dubaifoodfestival.com

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ES S EN T I A L S

S E T T I N G SA I L

—— The finale of Dubai’s dhow sailing season is all set for March 20. Drawing a thrilling edition of traditional water sports at Dubai International Marine Club to a close, the event pays tribute to the emirate’s past by keeping its pearl fishing and dhow sailing traditions alive. Spectators can catch the race from the coastline or take one of the specially-chartered ferries to view the action up close. It’s a spectacular sight to take in as hundreds of vessels with billowing white sails make their way through the calm Arabian Gulf waters to the finish line.   dimc.ae

H I T T I N G T H E R I G H T N OT E

—— For the first time ever, Abu Dhabi Music Festival is presenting a hybrid programme with a mix of digital events and live performances in the UAE capital. Across the 2021 edition, audiences will be able to enjoy 16 world premiers and 12 productions presented by more than 500 artists from over 50 countries around the globe.   abudhabifestival.ae

Art Dubai, one of the most prestigious international art fairs, returns to the emirate for its 14th edition

ART IN THE CIT Y

—— Art lovers in the UAE are spoilt for choice this season with an array of exhibitions and events taking place in the emirates. Art Dubai, one of the most prestigious international art fairs, returns to the emirate for its 14th edition on March 29. Discover more about this year’s fair on page 12. Then, from April 7, World Art Dubai returns to Dubai World Trade Centre for its sixth edition. The region’s largest affordable retail art fair, visitors can expect a showcase of more than 3,000 pieces of art, starting from just AED367, including paintings, prints, sculptures and photography.   artdubai.ae   worldartdubai.com

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Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais, Philippe Migeat


CANVAS LOUVRE ABU DHABI In its inaugural exhibition of 2021, Louvre Abu Dhabi is offering visitors a rare chance to experience inspiring works by renowned abstract and calligraffiti artists first hand. Several creations are presented for the first time, highlighting an intriguing blend of western abstract art and eastern script on the same canvas. Discover evocative pieces by the likes of Henri Matisse, Paul Klee, Joan Miró, Lee Ufan, André Masson and Jackson Pollock with the museum’s latest exhibition titled Abstraction and Calligraphy - Towards a Universal Language, running until June 12.  louvreabudhabi.ae


Elisabeth Deane, Stars of Mount Noor, 2019, Grosvenor Gallery

Creative hub ——

Art Dubai, the region’s premier event for the creative community, returns to the emirate for its 14th edition from March 29 to April 3 When it comes to sparking connections and conversation in the art world, no other medium is as influential as the art fair. One of the driving forces powering the creative community, art-themed events provide up-and-comers in the industry as well as established artists with the ideal platform to inspire and engage with their audiences. Last spring, the pandemic brought in-person art exhibitions to a halt, leaving galleries scrambling for alternatives. While many turned to digital means – from hosting live art workshops to online auctions – others hoped for a speedier return to normalcy, given that there is nothing like the traditional art fair when it comes to honouring the creative community. Hopes are high that some bigger players in the art world will make a comeback this year, but these events will be far from normal. With the safety of exhibitors and attendees front of mind, organisers will be looking for unique ways to provide an immersive experience to visitors.

Bedri Rahmi Eyuboglu, Pomfred Kemenche Player, 1970

One of the first international art fairs to go ahead with an in-person event in 2021, Art Dubai returns to the city The new normal for the art world

Art Dubai 2019

Bernhard Buhmann, Der Populist, 2019, Carbon 12

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One of the first international art fairs to go ahead with an in-person event in 2021, Art Dubai returns to the city this month. Serving as the opening act for this year’s season of art events in the UAE, the 14th edition of the fair will run from March 29 to April 3. Taking place at an all-new venue, the exhibition will be hosted under the iconic Gate Building at Dubai International Financial Centre. In spite of international border closures and tighter restrictions, the event will still see a majority of its regular participants returning for this year’s show. Its success is sure to set an example for international art events to operate safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. At this year’s fair, visitors will be able to discover an incredible line-up of museum-quality creations displayed by around 50 local, regional and international galleries from 31 countries. The inspiring showcase will shine a light on an array of themes, especially the rich cultural heritage and contemporary art practices of the region and extending to territories across Southeast and Central Asia, the African continent and Latin America.


F E AT U R E / C A N VA S

Art Dubai 2018

Art Dubai 2018

Art Dubai 2018

Tonia Nneji, Night Series (2), 2019, Rele Gallery

Lasting impact

Art Dubai’s first incarnation was the DIFC Gulf Art Fair in 2007 before being rebranded the following year to take on the now renowned title. From the outset, the fair was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, who was keen to promote arts and culture in the city. The past 14 years have seen Art Dubai cement its position as one of the most prestigious art fairs in the region. A local initiative with global reach, it has served as a platform for upcoming and established creatives from the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Australasia. While rising up the ranks on the international art scene, the event has been instrumental in broadening conversations about art among diverse geographies, often not exposed to the global art fair landscape. In its role as a talent incubator, Art Dubai has been a launchpad and development platform for several artists, curators and art professionals. And its significance extends beyond the fair. The initiative continues to celebrate excellence in art through programmes such as the Global Art Forum, Gulf Now, Ithra Art Prize, Art Dubai Commissions, Campus Art Dubai, International Curators Programme and Performance Arts. The mission extends to cultivating an ecosystem of not only art but also education, mentorship and thought leadership, fostering cross-continental dialogue and exchange as well as enhancing the international curatorial landscape.  artdubai.com

Art Dubai 2019

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Creative streak ——— Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej shares the inspiration behind his Arabic calligraphy sculptures on display at Abu Dhabi’s Presidential Palace – Qasr Al Watan

Creative expression in the Middle East has always followed a different form of hierarchy compared to the west. A stark contrast to western ideals, where painting and sculpture are hailed as the two most important art forms, calligraphy has remained one of the most revered artistic mediums in the Islamic world. This can be attributed to its use in the pages of the Qur’an as well as other significant religious texts. In the Middle Ages, calligraphers in the region were handsomely rewarded for their craft. They were commissioned with penning fine manuscripts, creating inscriptions for street murals and adorning the walls of mosques. Even today, examples of Arabic calligraphy can be found in abundance throughout the region, etched into traditional ornaments, inscribed on the walls of important cultural landmarks and intertwined in modern architecture. It appears often, woven into the very fabric of the country, visible everywhere once you start to look for it. In the UAE capital, one such masterful example of Arabic calligraphy can be found within the premises of the stunning Qasr Al Watan, which is the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi. The structure itself is a phenomenal tribute to Arabian artistry, with its architecture echoing the aesthetic principles of Middle Eastern art. Inside, visitors will find a splendid curation of installations and objects that nod to local design heritage. Walking through the Palace Gardens to the main entryway of Qasr Al Watan, guests will notice two stunning Arabic calligraphy sculptures come into full view. Rendered in silver, the sunlight reflecting off its shiny surfaces and the rays that filter through the installations together create a mesmerising effect, bathing these structures in a mystical glow. Titled Power of Words, these two masterpieces are smaller replicas of the original gold sculpture, bearing the same name, housed within the Great Hall of the Presidential Palace. Taking pride of place beneath one of the largest domes in the world, the Power of Words sculpture was conceived by Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej. The interlaced inscription is inspired by the words of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE. It reads: “Wealth is not money or oil, wealth lies in people and it is worthless if not dedicated to serve the people.”

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Qasr Al Watan

The Power of Words sculptures at Qasr Al Watan were conceived by Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej Power of Words sculpture on display at the Palace Gardens


F E AT U R E / C A N VA S

The Great Hall at Qasr Al Watan

Mattar Bin Lahej

When discussing its conception, Lahej said: “I’ve always been inspired by the wise words of the UAE’s founding father. Their depth, meaning and what they represent have always had a profound impact on me, my work and also on society. Through this sculpture, I wanted to commemorate his voice as a physical piece with which the public could engage.” Weighing six tonnes, the bigger sculpture in the Great Hall was designed using marine-grade stainless steel, chosen for its corrosion-resistant properties. The material was then dipped in gold water, resulting in its glimmering sheen. The smaller silver replicas on display in the Palace Gardens weigh four tonnes each and are also crafted from stainless steel but finished with silver. These consist of letters that are shaped inwards within the sculpture itself and embody two more inspiring quotes by the founding father. The first sculpture reads: “Science and history walk side by side. By using science, man can record his history and preserve it for generations to come, so others may learn from it and come to know what their ancestors achieved.” The second translates to: “The education of our people is a great wealth. We are proud of our educated nation because through knowledge and science we will open the horizon to a glorious future.”

Calligraphy has remained one of the most revered art forms in the Islamic world

Power of Words sculpture on display in the Great Hall

The three sculptures commissioned exclusively for the palace took Lahej roughly three and a half months to complete. “I started the process by digitally mapping out the designs. Once the designs were finalised, I began working on the threedimensional pieces using a science-based approach, bringing the masterpieces to life in my art studio. “My biggest challenge when sculpting these masterpieces was creating the Arabic calligraphy and reflecting its aesthetic with the large letters and curves. After a complex and rewarding journey, my ideas came to life.” The final result, a symbol of pride for Lahej, can now be viewed within the Great Hall and in the Palace Gardens at Qasr Al Watan. “It is an honour to have my work on display at Qasr Al Watan, which is considered one of the most important architectural and cultural edifices in the world. “These sculptures truly are symbolic of the late Sheikh Zayed and his inspirational legacy. I am proud to have been able to bring his words to life in three masterpieces of this magnitude. I consider myself very lucky to leave my mark at Qasr Al Watan and be part of something so extraordinary.”   qasralwatan.ae

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Keeping the faith ——— Expected to begin on April 12 this year, discover what makes Ramadan a truly special time for the faithful

For many, Ramadan is primarily characterised by fasting – the practice of abstaining from all food and drink between the hours of sunrise and sunset. While this is certainly an important part of the Ramadan experience, it is just one of the many elements that come together during the holy month as Muslims turn their gaze inwards and reflect on their faith. This special time of year is also a unique opportunity for visitors to learn more about the local culture and customs while joining in some cherished traditions.

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F E AT U R E/ C A N VA S

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque 17


Jumeirah Mosque

Dubai Creek

Known as the holy month, Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and always starts two weeks earlier than the previous year. The exact date of the beginning of Ramadan is determined by the sighting of the new moon or ‘hilal’. When the slight crescent makes its appearance in the evening sky, the start of the holy month is announced. The following morning, at the first light of dawn, fasting commences. This year, Ramadan is due to fall on April 12 or as soon as the official Moon Sighting Committee spots the hilal. At the end of the month, when the hilal is once again observed, the three-day Eid Al Fitr festival to break the fast begins. The occasion marks a special time for families and friends to come together and enjoy the spirit of the season.

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Prayer hall

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Nasif Kayed, general manager of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU), explains the different elements of practising Islam, especially during the holy month. “Part of the faith involves fasting during Ramadan. The idea is to teach discipline, perseverance and patience. It also makes you watch yourself very closely. “During daylight hours, between sunrise and sunset, Muslims must abstain from all food, drink, smoking, gossiping and cursing. While outsiders might think this a daunting prospect, many followers look forward to the holy month each year. “The whole community does it together. It would be more difficult if you were the only one,” he added.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The prayers just before sunrise and after sunset take on extra significance as daylight fasting begins or ends

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque 20


F E AT U R E / C A N VA S

“Of course, there are some Muslims who don’t anticipate the arrival of Ramadan as eagerly, but those who dive into it are rewarded by enhanced spirituality. Many of us really look forward to it because it makes us feel great to practise being good.” The early part of the holy month is often the most challenging. “The first three days are very difficult for almost everyone, but as the month goes on, it gets better. By the time you’re used to it, it ends. You feel so purified that you could continue to live like it past the end of the month,” Kayed explained. When the sun sets, the fast ends for the day and followers can enjoy the iftar meal. It marks an opportunity for friends and family to come together over a delicious feast each night during Ramadan. As well as gatherings at home, hotels across the region serve luxurious iftar buffets incorporating authentic Middle Eastern specialities like dates, hot and cold mezze, pickles, olives, roasted meats, tagines and juices. Later in the evening, a second round of food is served in a meal called ‘suhoor’, which is the last meal before sunrise. Some eat it as an early breakfast before the first prayer.

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Traditional dress for men

All through the year, Muslims pray five times a day, but the prayers just before sunrise and just after sunset during the holy month take on extra significance as daylight fasting begins or ends. Performing ritual prayers five times a day is another pillar of Islam and is called ‘salat’. Many read the Qur’an more frequently and intently during this time, memorising parts of the text and reciting the Muslim profession of faith, called ‘shahada’, more often. Ahead of prayer time, worshippers perform ‘wudu’ or ablution to cleanse the face, hands and feet before presenting themselves to God. “Ablution is the physical and mental preparation before you step into conversation with your lord,” explained Kayed. “The prayer is identical every time. All over the world, Muslims say the same words reflecting the same principle: to be good and recognise blessings.” Another major part of the holy month is ‘zakat’, one of the five pillars of Islam that requires Muslims to give to the poor and needy during Ramadan. Feeling hunger from fasting is also a fitting reminder of the suffering of others and the need to be charitable towards those in need. Al Barsha Mosque

Ramadan tent

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Arabic sweets


F E AT U R E / C A N VA S

Jumeirah Mosque

“During Ramadan, charity counts in every way. You can feed, clothe or give money. You give from what God has given you,” said Kayed. Delving into the significance of the joyous three-day Eid Al Fitr celebration, Kayed said: “After breakfast and prayers, everyone dresses in new clothes to meet each other, starting with the oldest in the family and then visiting extended family. All three days are about spending time with loved ones and having fun together. “It’s also common, though not obligatory, for families to give gifts especially to children during this special time as Muslims around the world come together to mark the end of Ramadan for another year.”

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EXPERIENCE TALISE SPA Designed as a secret sanctuary for indulgent spa experiences, Talise Spa’s dreamy setting is inspired by its backdrop – the waterways of Madinat Jumeirah and the tropical gardens of Jumeirah Al Qasr. Guests arrive on an abra, which evokes the sense of an escape. Amidst these lush surrounds, choose from award-winning therapies, including facials, massages, body treatments, yoga and meditation sessions.  jumeirah.com


Off the beaten path ——

Sand Sherpa Special Reserve is a genuine camping experience with a warm welcome on chilly desert nights Words by Leanne O’Rourkes

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Sand Sherpa Special Reserve


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Sand Sherpa Special Reserve campsite

Just beyond Dubai’s winter fog and dust-covered skyscrapers, a herd of Arabian oryx feeds on desert grasses. Among the orange-tinged sea of sand dunes, their pristine white coats are easily identified by onlookers in a 4WD convoy. Along with gazelles and countless other native species, the oryx is part of the success story of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) – a spectacular restored natural environment, which has welcomed many a curious visitor. But for the first time in its 20-year history, visitors can drive their own vehicles through the unique area, under the expert guidance of the Sand Sherpa team. Abandoning the destructive mentality of carving up sand dunes, the guides help drivers minimise environmental damage, while still enjoying the rugged adventure that is synonymous with this region. Following a briefing in the shade of a palm tree oasis, Sand Sherpa leads the group along a private track. Voices issue noteworthy facts via handheld radios, as kids stare wide-eyed through open windows in a race to spot the first animal. It doesn’t take long. Thanks to government efforts to exclude camels and remove weeds, wildlife has thrived here. Vegetation is abundant and species, like the majestic oryx, have been brought back from the brink of local extinction. The picturesque location of Sand Sherpa’s exclusive overnight campsite contrasts with the open exposure of the desert landscape. Sand is still between your toes but ancient ghaf trees surround and tower up to 20 metres above your head. Each group has its own private camping trailer with everything you need, from chairs to cooking pots and even the kitchen sink (well, a tub with washing liquid, because after

The picturesque location of Sand Sherpa’s exclusive overnight campsite contrasts with the open exposure of the desert Sand Sherpa Special Reserve campsite

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Falconry demonstratio


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on

Camping trailer

all, this is camping). Custom-designed with a ‘go anywhere’ attitude, the converted military trailers can also be arranged together to cater for larger groups. They’re a tough piece of kit, but they’re stylish, with spacious rooftop tents, fridges and built-in showers for those who prefer privacy to the onsite facilities. While kids climb steep dunes and explore, you can cook your favourite food on your personal grill or throw something on the bespoke asado grill that glows among the ambient lanterns. Like every good campsite, there are good campfires. Here, they don’t touch the sand, fitting with the ‘leave no trace’ policy. Each unit has an upcycled washing machine fire, or you can grab a couch and gather around the cosy firepit that forms the hub of the camp community. After a comfy sleep under the stars, you have the option of lying in or rising with the sun, which is highly recommended. When you emerge on top of this expansive world in the serene, cool morning, you can really feel the dust settle and the city far behind you. Plus, you don’t want to miss the indisputable highlight: the hawk walk. In the hands of one of Royal Shaheen’s knowledgeable falcontrainers and Sally the hawk, this is where the desert comes alive. Tracks galore reveal the multitude of wildlife that visited overnight and the reasons why this place is worth conserving. Sally steals the show, putting on a captivating interactive aerial display, with a side serving of environmental education. As the sun rises along with the temperature, the bitterness of having to leave is sweetened by the fact that you don’t need to repack and unpack the camping gear. Instead, you’ll be home in a flash and relaxing just a little more.  sandsherpa.com

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Natural wonders ——— Discover the best places for nature lovers in the UAE – from desert reserves to lush mangrove forests

Sir Bani Yas Island

S I R B A N I YA S I S L A N D While every island along Abu Dhabi’s coast has something unique to offer, few can rival the experiences found on Sir Bani Yas Island. Fringed by the Arabian Gulf in the country’s remote western region, this 87-square-kilometre island sees nature come alive in a variety of forms – craggy dunes, acacia-studded plains and mangrove forests. In these idyllic surrounds, more than 13,000 free-roaming animals thrive in abundance, rendering the island as one of nature’s greatest showpieces in the emirates.  visitabudhabi.ae ___  Best way to explore: Fly in on a seaplane for stunning aerial views, take a 4x4 safari drive through the Arabian Wildlife Park or kayak through the mangrove forests.  anantara.com

Sir Bani Yas Island

Sir Bani Yas Island

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Dubai Desert Con


P H O T O E S S AY / EX P ER I EN C E

nservation Reserve

Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

Every visit is a rare chance to get up close to the indigenous fauna D U B A I D E S E RT C O N S E R VAT I O N R E S E R V E The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) was created to preserve the last remnants of the pristine desert in the emirate. A stark contrast to the futuristic city it is nestled within, these lands were once the home of the desert Bedouins, who flourished despite the unforgiving terrain. The reserve now takes up about five percent of the entire emirate and is home to indigenous wildlife, including sand gazelles and the once-endangered Arabian oryx. Access to the reserve is available only through a handful of tour operators but every visit is a rare chance to get up close to these fascinating creatures and learn about their natural habitat.  ddcr.org ___  Best way to explore: Homegrown company Sand Sherpa is the first and only operator in Dubai that organises overnight camping safaris in the DDCR.  sandsherpa.com

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Jubail Mangrove Park

Jubail Mangrove Park

J U B A I L M A N G R O V E PA R K

Wadi Shawka

Newly opened in the UAE capital, Jubail Mangrove Park extends over one million square metres on Al Jubail Island. A meandering boardwalk through the park stretches over 2.3 kilometres, allowing visitors the opportunity to take in its lush setting. For a peek at the abundant marine life that inhabits the crystal waters, viewing platforms are dotted throughout the sanctuary. This gives visitors the chance to get closer to nature for a true sense of escape, where the bustle of the city is completely drowned out by the sounds of migratory birds. ___  Best way to explore: Tour the park with a ranger for in-depth information about this delicate ecosystem or canoe through the mangroves for a closer look.  park.jubailisland.ae Jubail Mangrove Park

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P H O T O E S S AY / EX P ER I EN C E

Wadi Shawka

WA D I S H AW K A A little over a year ago, Wadi Shawka was a well-kept secret among the UAE’s backpacking community, entirely off the grid with no pin on Google Maps. But the pandemic and pent-up desire to explore the world has given this hidden gem a popularity boost. A great spot for hiking, those who take on this eight-kilometre loop are rewarded with glorious views of rugged hills, palm trees, verdant slopes and natural pools while navigating the rocky path. ___  Best way to explore: A 4x4 can only take you so far. Explore on foot to get closer to the natural pools hidden within the wadi.

Wadi Shawka

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T H E E M P T Y Q U A RT E R Evoking the mystery and magic of the Arabian Nights, the Rub’ Al Khali is the largest uninterrupted sand mass in the world. Explorer Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger, who is credited with mapping several zones within the Empty Quarter from 1946 to 1950, described it as, “very still, with the silence which we have driven from our world”. More than half a century later, it offers the same serenity by day, when the winds alter the shape of the dunes, and by night, when it transforms into a stargazer’s paradise.  visitabudhabi.ae ___  Best way to explore: Sharpen your off-road skills and venture into the dunes with a 4x4 drive.  anantara.com

The Empty Quarter

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P H O T O E S S AY/ EX P ER I EN C E

Hatta Dam

Hatta Dam

Hatta is a popular spot among weekend warriors in the UAE H AT TA D A M Against the backdrop of dramatic mountainside scenery, Dubai’s exclave of Hatta is popular among weekend warriors in the UAE. The entire neighbourhood is rife with activities fit for adrenaline enthusiasts and nature lovers seeking serenity in the pristine environment. Hatta Dam, in particular, is a picture-perfect site offering hikes through the wadis surrounding the dam and kayaking excursions through the tranquil reservoir waters. ___  Best way to explore: Take in the views from the waters by renting out a kayak.  visithatta.com


Aquario, The O

Arabian journeys ——

If your travel plans for 2021 have yet to take flight, turn your focus to these stunning retreats that are close to home yet have all the makings of a secluded escape

Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Sahel Villa Resort

/ Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Resorts

Wake up to the sight of gazelles and view the once-endangered Arabian oryx up close with a stay at one of the three gorgeous Anantara properties on Abu Dhabi’s Sir Bani Yas Island. Nestled in the heart of the Arabian Wildlife Park, this trio of resorts is one of the Thai hospitality group’s most enthralling properties. Nature walks and safari drives are the highlights of every trip to the island but the resort’s rustic-meets-luxurious setting demands that you split your time equally between the outdoors and indoors. Visitors looking to get rooted in the natural world will find Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort the ideal base. The property boasts African-lodge-style villas, surrounded by a lush landscape of desert grasslands. On the island’s eastern shore, Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort offers palatial beachfront villas in the heart of an ancient pearl fishing village. Finally, Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara offers the best of both worlds with modern amenities sure to delight even the most discerning traveller and gorgeous natural views in the backdrop.  anantara.com

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Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara


Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah

F E AT U R E / EX P ER I EN C E

Kohinoor Suite, The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah

The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah

/ The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah

As you drive past Ajman’s lush mangroves towards The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah, you’re immediately filled with a sense of escape. Yet, this stunning resort is just 45 minutes away from Dubai. Designed to give every guest a sense of secluded luxury, the property is flanked by the clear waters of the Arabian Gulf on one side and one million square metres of mangroves on the other. What sets this retreat apart from others of its ilk is that it boasts only 89 rooms, all in an attempt to make visitors feel like they have this picturesque resort all to themselves. A true boon for stays in these times of social distancing. For those looking to make the most of their stay, book the deluxe suite with a private terrace for an experience unlike any other. Spanning 109 square metres, this magnificent oasis offers both Arabian Gulf and mangrove views, which means guests can catch both the sunrise and sunset from the comfort of this not-so-humble abode.  oberoihotels.com

The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah is flanked by the clear waters of the Arabian Gulf on one side and one million square metres of mangroves on the other 37


/ Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach

A dining destination in its own right, the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach lends its idyllic surrounds to some of the city’s most loved restaurants. The likes of Coya, Nusret, Shai Salon and Sea Fu have been drawing the city’s gourmands to this sprawling resort since its opening. But the property is so much more than a culinary haven. For a serene urban escape, the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach seems miles away from the city. Set on a sandy stretch along Jumeirah Beach Road, this palm-fringed resort offers unparalleled luxury with warm hospitality. The regal façade gives the resort an Arabian palace-like feel, complete with latticework, wind towers and traditional lamps. Its charming surrounds are complemented by a range of experiences – think luxurious spa treatments and beachfront leisure – which allows guests to make the most of their downtime. Spend the afternoon relaxing in a private poolside cabana, pamper yourself with a bespoke spa treatment and settle for dinner and drinks by the seaside, ticking all the boxes for the perfect escape.  fourseasons.com/dubaijb

For a serene urban escape in the emirate, the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach seems miles away from the city

/ Zaya Nurai Island

Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach

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Imagine blue waters so clear, you see f ish swimming alongside while taking a leisurely dip along the shores of Zaya Nurai Island. Designed to offer a true sense of escape, a visit to the UAE capital’s favourite private island resort begins with a speedboat ride from Saadiyat Island. Upon arrival, the landscape instantly transforms – think aquamarine waters, giant hammocks and swings in the middle of the sea, lush palm trees and gleaming white sands. Retreat to a villa on the shore, with the ocean for your backyard and soak up the sun on the private sundeck, complete with your very own pool.  zayanuraiisland.com


F E AT U R E / EX P ER I EN C E The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert

/ The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert

At this desert-inspired retreat, begin your day enjoying a sumptuous private breakfast on the pool deck of your tented villa with the soundtrack of birdsong. As you dine, the little feathered singers will even help themselves to a quick drink of water from your private pool to cool off as the sun begins to rise in the desert sky. That’s the essence of every stay at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert – becoming one with nature. The hotel is situated within the Al Wadi Nature Reserve, so don’t be surprised even if an Arabian oryx or a lithe gazelle stops by your villa just to say hello. Here, it’s all about celebrating and experiencing the natural environment in the desert, while ensconced in true luxury. This is definitely desert glamping at its finest.  ritzcarlton.com

New in town Zaya Nurai Island

Umm Al Quwain recently welcomed a brand-new addition to its hospitality scene with the opening of Vida Beach Resort Umm Al Quwain last month. Nestled on the sleepy emirate’s golden shores, this idyllic beachfront resort is designed to encourage guests to disconnect from city life and rediscover luxury living by the beach. Visitors can check into one of 135 rooms and suites offering sea or city-facing views. For a unique staycation experience, a collection of beach chalets dot the shore, each promising uninterrupted Arabian Gulf panoramas and breathtaking sunsets.  vidahotels.com

MyConcierge members can book through  myconcierge.com  800 CONCIERGE or  concierge@myconcierge.com 39


SHOP VAN CLEEF & ARPELS The legacy of the Alhambra motif dates back to 1986, when Van Cleef & Arpels unveiled its first long necklace featuring the iconic four-leaf clover. Representing luck, it is said to bring good fortune to its owner. And rightly so, the house has successfully introduced several iterations of the original piece year after year, combining colours, sizes and materials to create unique designs. Widely regarded by royals and Hollywood’s elite, the coveted clover remains, to this day, one of the maison’s fiercely guarded and most celebrated emblems. Discover the magic of Alhambra at the brand’s boutique at Mall of the Emirates. 04 3472487  vancleefarpels.com


Minute Repeater

Treasured time ——

Few luxury brands have crossed the generations with the same finesse as Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe. Though worn by the likes of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, Queen Elizabeth II, John F. Kennedy and Albert Einstein, the millennials are now following suit. With a new generation of fans added to the list, including Jay Z, Swizz Beatz and Conor McGregor, the Genevan manufacture has undoubtedly captured the world’s attention. Proving that the brand is equally popular with the new age of watch connoisseurs, in November 2019, the diamond-encrusted Patek Philippe Nautilus 5719/10G made headlines when Canadian rapper Drake sported the extremely rare timepiece on his wrist at an NBA game. Rendered in rose gold with a sapphire crystal case back, the collector’s piece boasts an astounding 1,343 diamonds on the case, bracelet and dial. The watch originally retailed for AED1 million, but the singer’s custom edition is believed to have a market value of about AED2.2 million. By the looks of it, Drake definitely has a soft spot for the watchmaker and its iconic Nautilus model. A little over a year ago, the singer revealed another custom made version of the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726 on his Instagram handle. Encrusted with emeralds, the timepiece was created for the singer by Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh. Though deemed ‘heretic’ by collectors to customise a classic, the music genius pulled it off, much to the brand’s benefit.

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Calatrava Weekly Calendar

Discover the legacy of Patek Philippe, a watchmaker that has remained true to its historic traditions in the modern world of haute horology


World Time

World Time

I N S I D E S T O RY/ RY / S H O P

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Patek Philippe ad campaign

History in the making

While the new wave of modern admirers is just one aspect of the brand’s legacy, the Patek Philippe story begins in 1839. Antoine Norbert de Patek, a lieutenant of the Polish Army, forged a partnership with a local watchmaker, François Czapek, to form Patek, Czapek & Cie. Together they laid the foundation for the brand’s horological heritage with their early creations, but they went their separate ways in 1844. In the same year, Patek met renowned French watchmaker Jean Adrien Philippe. A name to be reckoned with in the 1840s, Philippe invented the keyless winding and hand-setting system earlier in the decade and won a bronze medal for his mechanism at the Industrial Exposition in Paris. Patek and Philippe joined forces in 1845 and six years later, the brand was renamed Patek Philippe & Cie. While the former took over the sales division, the latter created new products, and together they drummed up a successful business. Such was their popularity that even England’s Queen Victoria turned admirer in 1851 when she witnessed the world’s first keyless watch in operation at The Great Exhibition in London. Clearly not keen to rest on their laurels, the brand achieved yet another milestone in 1868, when the duo created the first Swiss ladies’ wristwatch, crafted for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary. One of the first watches of its kind to be ever made, the brand is only preceded by French maison Breguet, who revealed the historic Queen of Naples timepiece in 1810. In the decades that followed, the house continued to shape horological history. As one of the most advanced manufacturers of its time, the brand acquired patents for its precision regulator, perpetual calendar mechanism for pocket watches and first double chronograph, among several others.

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NC UAE OCT19__AD____.indd 11

Minute Repeater Tourbillon Calatrava Pilot Travel Time


I N S I D E S T O RY/ S H O P

Patek Philippe Rare Handcrafts pocket watches collection

The maison is the last independent, family-owned manufacture in Geneva, with the Stern family at the helm since 1932

21 -century Patek Philippe icons st

GRANDMASTER CHIME 5175 The brand’s first double-face reversible wristwatch, this piece has the time and sonnerie on one side and a perpetual calendar on the other. Only seven pieces of this iconic model were created – with six pieces up for sale and the seventh piece reserved for the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. ADVANCED RESEARCH 5550 With just 300 pieces, this limited edition perpetual calendar timepiece is where Patek Philippe premiered the Oscillomax – a complete oscillating system with the Pulsomax escapement, Spiromax balance spring and GyromaxSi balance in Silinvar and gold. It is also fitted with the self-winding Caliber 240 Q Si. LADIES FIRST CHRONOGRAPH 7071 With a new focus on women’s complications, this was one of the first timepieces of its kind. The watch is equipped with the Caliber CH 29-535 PS, which is also the brand’s first-ever in-house crafted, manually wound chronograph movement. NAUTILUS CHRONOGRAPH 5980/1A Launched to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the line, this timepiece was a new, subtly reworked and refined Nautilus powered by the Caliber CH 28-250 C. SPLIT SECONDS MONOPUSHER CHRONOGRAPH 5959 Still the world’s thinnest column wheel-controlled split seconds chronograph, the timepiece’s CHR 27-525 PS movement was entirely developed and manufactured in-house.

All in the family

It has been repeated numerous times and ubiquitous on every new campaign the house rolls out. “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.” A concept so intriguing, it has been the brand’s slogan for more than two decades since it was first unveiled in 1996. In fact, with every new collection, renewed attention is drawn to this on-point statement. The message is highlighted with photographs of fathers and sons or mothers and daughters sharing special moments with a Patek Philippe watch gracing their wrists. But the idea doesn’t stop at timepieces being passed to the next generation. The meaning goes deeper, nodding to the fact that the maison is the last independent, family-owned manufacture in Geneva, with the Stern family at the helm of the company since 1932.

The legacy lives on

Patek Philippe has remained one of the most traditional watchmakers in the world of haute horology. It was only at the turn of the millennium that the Genevan maison moved away from the exclusive use of metal and synthetic ruby in its movements. When the first watch was released under the new remit in 2005, it was like a revolution for the Swiss brand. After the momentous turning point, developers began using silicon technology in a bid to improve the accuracy and stability of mechanical timepieces. In 2006, it also saw the first silicon escape wheel made for a Swiss lever escapement and the Spiromax balance spring made of a silicon-based material called Silinvar, used in conjunction with the Pulsomax escapement. Not only did this move mark the turning of the century, but it was the dawn of a new era with new technology and a unique new calendar function, too. Although Patek Philippe is known for its aesthetics, its technical craftsmanship, quality and reliability have kept its pieces amongst collectors’ favourites. A Sotheby’s sale in 2014 saw a Patek Philippe pocket watch achieve AED88 million, a price hard to beat in auction history. Its exclusivity lies in its production capacities, limited to just 62,000 watches a year, compared to at least a million a year at the brand’s rivals. Discover the brand at The Dubai Mall  04 3398972

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In full bloom

1

2

——— From the colour of the season to key items to covet, this is our exclusive edit of the trendiest pieces for Spring/Summer 2021

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1 / DOLCE & GABBANA Spring/Summer 2021 collection  The Dubai Mall, 04 3308566  The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, 02 6743711 2 / BALENCIAGA Sunglasses, Price on request  Mall of the Emirates, 04 3951769  The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, 02 6767370 3 / K R I S T I N A F I D E L S K AYA Fringe suede sleeveless jacket, AED8,460  The Dubai Mall, 04 2526088 4 / E L I S A B E T TA F R A N C H I Micro box shoulder bag, AED985  Mall of the Emirates, 04 3430959  Yas Mall, 02 5650512 5 / WEEKEND MAX MARA Flutterflies sneakers, Price on request  ounass.ae 6 / ETRO Paisley print multicolour shirt, Price on request  The Dubai Mall, 04 3308774  Avenue at Etihad Towers, 02 5650633 7 / S A LVAT O R E F E R R A G A M O Adjustable Gancini belt, AED2,387  Level Shoes, The Dubai Mall, 800 5383573  Tryano, Yas Mall, 800 879266 8 / BRUNELLO CUCINELLI Suede and techno raffia bucket bag, AED8,000  The Dubai Mall, 04 3941728 9 / BRUNELLO CUCINELLI Hemp and cotton hat with shiny leather band, AED4,400  The Dubai Mall, 04 3941728 10 / S A LVAT O R E F E R R A G A M O Vara Bow keyring, AED716  Level Shoes, The Dubai Mall, 800 5383573  Tryano, Yas Mall, 800 879266 11 / T O D ’ S Spring/Summer 2021 collection  The Dubai Mall, 04 3239805  Marina Mall, 02 6816562

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7 Our star buy

DOLCE & GABBANA Patent leather sandals with DG heel, AED3,900 Flaunting modern style and an ultra-feminine shape, these patent leather sandals feature the new DG logo heel in lacquered metal.  The Dubai Mall, 04 3308566  The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, 02 6743711

11 8 9

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Spring fling

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2

——— The notion that spring brings forth new life and hope translates into bright colours, an explosion of prints and quirky patterns 1 / B A L LY Spring/Summer 2021 collection  Mall of the Emirates, 04 3470135  Avenue at Etihad Towers, 02 6814521 2 / MONTBLANC MB 01 headphones, AED 2,405  Mall of the Emirates, 04 3414451  Marina Mall, 02 6812529

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3 / B U R B E R RY Blake Shield sunglasses, AED1,080  The Dubai Mall, 04 5687960  The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, 02 5864588 4 / S A LVAT O R E F E R R A G A M O Gancini sneakers, AED2,657  Level Shoes, The Dubai Mall, 800 5383573  Tryano, Yas Mall, 800 879266 5 / ETRO Suede moccasins with Pegaso, AED2,634  The Dubai Mall, 04 3308774  Avenue at Etihad Towers, 02 5650633

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6 / BERLUTI Globe-Trotter mini canvas and leather messenger bag, AED12,500  The Dubai Mall, 04 5016965 7 / DUNHILL Abrasion short sleeve shirt, Price on request   The Dubai Mall, 04 4340403 8 / TOMMY HILFIGER Scarf, AED800  ounass.ae

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9 / ETRO Paisley print Panama hat, AED1,360  The Dubai Mall, 04 3308774  Avenue at Etihad Towers, 02 5650633 10 / M O N T B L A N C Montblanc High Artistry: A Tribute to the Great Wall Limited Edition 1 Imperial fountain pen, AED7,267,070  Mall of the Emirates, 04 3414451  Marina Mall, 02 6812529 11 / D O L C E & G A B B A N A Spring/Summer 2021 collection  The Dubai Mall, 04 3308566  The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, 02 6743711

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H IS L O O H KB EO R S/ O KL / OSOHKOBO P OK

7 Our star buy

S A LVAT O R E F E R R A G A M O Waist bag, AED2,750 Versatile, functional and sustainable, this sleek waist bag makes for a cool spring accessory. It is crafted from econyl, which is regenerated fibre from fishnets and nylon waste.  Level Shoes, The Dubai Mall, 800 5383573

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C A RT I E R Clash de Cartier collection A collection rooted in duality, this new line from the house of Cartier embraces the modern woman’s fierce spirit through its inherent paradoxes. Studs and beads merge into a singular ribbed mesh, allowing metal to show off its bold fluidity. Discover the collection, complete with rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings.  The Dubai Mall  04 4340434  The Galleria on Al Maryah Island  02 4919716

AUDEMARS PIGUET Code 11.59 Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Chronograph Audemars Piguet combined two classical complications – a flyback chronograph and flying tourbillon – in this contemporary and sporty timepiece.  Mall of the Emirates  04 3411121  The Galleria on Al Maryah Island  02 6743444

Pure luxury ——— Feast your eyes on the latest watches and jewellery pieces to add to your wish list. We’ve rounded up some of the best items from our all-time favourite timepiece and jewellery brands

CHAUMET Jeux de Liens collection Symbols of the eternal links that connect us to those we adore, Chaumet’s new collection is a tribute to love with a mix of bold and dainty pieces that are ideal for everyday wear.  The Dubai Mall  04 3398758  The Galleria on Al Maryah Island  02 4124080 BREITLING Endurance Pro timepiece Designed to be both a lightweight watch for athletes and a casual, everyday sports chronograph, this model perfectly blends high precision and innovative technology with a vibrant and colourful aesthetic.  The Dubai Mall  04 3231129  The Galleria on Al Maryah Island  02 6743444


TIME TO SHINE/ SHOP

A. LANGE & SOHNE Saxonia Outsize Date Discover simplicity done well with

AKILLIS

the new Saxonia from the German

Bang Bang rose gold pendant

watchmaker. Bearing all the hallmarks

Making a fresh new statement, the new

of the brand, the timepiece is a clean,

collection is spot on for women who like

classic wristwatch with a high level of

their jewellery on the audacious side.

finish, packaged in a 38.5mm case.

Defined by a rebellious and playful

 The Dubai Mall  04 3253923

aesthetic, this pendant is set in rose gold

 Mall of the Emirates

and embedded with diamonds.

 04 5471860

 Mall of the Emirates  04 3413050

BOUCHERON Chevron Emeraude necklace The French maison draws upon its archives to unveil a new series of pieces inspired by the distinctive styles and motifs that dominated the world of jewellery in the early 20th century, much like this stunning piece with its soft white gold chain paved with diamonds and ending with a 61.35-carat emerald drop.  The Dubai Mall  04 3253029  The Galleria on Al Maryah Island  02 6784567

BVLGARI Serpenti Tubogas timpiece Evoking both the female form and the fluid shape of the serpent, this timepiece features two of the most iconic symbols from the house of Bvlgari – the serpent and the tubogas.  WatchBox, DIFC  800 0180024

BREGUET Marine High Jewellery wristwatch Focusing on the beauty of the high seas for its Marine series of timepieces, the French brand reinterprets the fluid forms of the Mediterranean Posidonia Oceanica plant on the dial in a rich rainbow of coloured gemstones and diamonds.  The Dubai Mall  04 3627500

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TASTE TIMO Timo’s extravagant setting nods to Dubai’s penchant for luxury but its rustic Italian fare will transport you to sunnier shores in the Med. Meaning “thyme” in Italian, the venue serves up the full range of classics – handmade pasta, wood-fired pizzas, salads and cured meats – with generous portions that are ideal for sharing. Although ever y detail in the décor evokes modern grandeur and refinement, the authentic tastes go back to the very roots of Italian cuisine, inspired by traditional flavours and time-tested methods. 04 5962222  rotana.com


Back to business ——— British celebrity chef Jason Atherton discusses the impact of the pandemic on the global restaurant scene

Much like everyone else, at the dawn of the new decade, Jason Atherton had big plans for the year 2020. From opening his first Mykonos outpost to moving into his brand-new London home after welcoming his third child, the Michelinstar-winning chef was gearing up to finally enjoy the fruits of his labour. We caught up with him at his Dubai venue – Marina Social – in December after the first phase of lockdowns in the United Kingdom and he revealed just how much of those plans truly panned out. What was the beginning of 2020 like for Jason Atherton? “We purchased a new home in London. I felt truly successful only when we could afford to buy that house and so we said to ourselves, let’s just breathe a little before we go again. We wanted 2020 to be the year we could take a break. I felt like I was in a good place and then boom, the carpet got pulled from underneath me.” So how did it unfold? “It’s been horrific. We lost millions but we also dodged a bullet. We had plans to expand in the UK and then, the coronavirus started to show its face in Asia. So I put the deal on hold. I’m grateful that we didn’t borrow a large amount of money to open up those restaurants. We would have been in a lot of trouble. Clearly, COVID-19 had other plans for us. Around the same time, we were opening our Mykonos outpost in April. The restaurant was built, the furniture was at the airport and all of a sudden, the virus showed up in Italy. Within a few weeks, the world came to a standstill.” How did you come to terms with the lockdown? “The hardest thing for me was seeing my restaurants temporarily shutting down. I know that this is coming from a very selfish place but I got home one night thinking it’s not fair. I’ve spent 34 years working so hard. I’m talking 19-hour shifts a day, six days a week devoted to learning my trade. I never worried about missing out on just about everything to focus on my career and build the business. But COVID left me wondering whether I would even have a business after this.” What was it like when the first lockdown lifted? “We had to reinvest a lot of money. Having a restaurant shut for that length of time is not just a case of switching the lights on and mopping the f loor. There’s retraining, restocking and fixing equipment that had broken just because it hadn’t been switched on for months. It was tough and emotionally draining. Every day I woke up, there was Jason Atherton at Marina Social, InterContinental Dubai Marina

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I N T E RV I E W / TA S T E

another problem. But the most heartwarming part was when the customers came f looding back after the first lockdown. That proved the power of the brand.” What strategies did you adopt to keep the business afloat? “The one thing I feel we got right is that we acted very quickly. You’ve got to be non-emotional. If you don’t save your business then how can you create jobs to help the economy and help the next generation of people coming through. You’ve got to focus on the bigger picture. We had 1,500 people working at our restaurants worldwide and we had to bring that down to 650. I’ve had sleepless nights wondering how they were going to feed themselves. But if you’ve got to save the business, you’ve got to cut costs. I’ve never been this ruthless, I’m not that guy but I’ve had to be. If you are as committed to that as you are to producing amazing food and service, you will survive.” What lessons will you take away from this experience? “I think the silver line is that we are more efficient. We’ve been able to hold on to the company and rebuild it. Hopefully, we can soon get back to 1,500 people. I also feel that our customers will be more thankful for the services that hospitality has given them. There are so many people who could afford to go out all the time without thinking twice but have now come to realise how important bars and restaurants are to their social life. Hopefully, they will appreciate our contribution even more.”

in different parts of the world. It’s exciting to see these buds popping up again. On the personal front, we have a new baby. Athena is one year old now and she’s been totally spoilt during the lockdown. Every afternoon she’s been sleeping on my chest. With the first two children, it was very difficult for me to bond with them when they were young because I was always at work or travelling. Of course, we are close now but with Athena, the minute she was born, we went into lockdown and I got to spend every day with her for four months.” Do you think the dining scene will ever go back to normal? “I don’t think it ever well. I think this pandemic has changed the world forever and that’s something we have to accept. Diners will want to feel that a restaurant is prioritising their health and safety above all else. They will no longer want to go to brasseries where they squeeze you into tiny little tables. I don’t see that two-metre gap going anywhere anytime soon.”

Linguini of king crab

Marina Social, InterContinental Dubai Marina

How did you manage to keep sane through it all? “You have days when you go into a bit of a hole, and then you have days when you’re happy. Professionally, we are seeing a revival in the brand. We’ve got a couple of offers to open

“We are just looking to get back to normal as normal is – the new normal as they are calling it these days” Selection of starters

What do you miss the most about pre-pandemic life? “Freedom! You could wake up one day and say I want to go to San Francisco for a week. All you had to do is book a plane ticket and go. Now, everything is going to take a lot more planning.” And what do you not miss? “The dirty planes and chaotic airports.” What’s next for Jason Atherton? “Mykonos, that’s the only restaurant we’ve got planned at the moment. Everywhere else, we are just rebooting. We are also remodelling Pollen Street Social as we are certainly looking for that to be higher up in the guide books. Besides that, we are just looking to get back to normal as normal is – the new normal as they are calling it these days.” For bookings or more information   04 4466664  or    marinasocialdubai.com Tea and toast

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T H A I TA S T E Dubai's favourite Thai restaurant is back after a stunning makeover. Perched on the 24th floor of Dusit Thani Dubai, Benjarong offers glorious skyline views, which serves as the perfect backdrop to a memorable meal featuring royal Thai dishes. In keeping with its name, which means “five colours” in Siamese, Benjarong’s chefs strive to create the perfect balance of five flavours with every dish – sweet, spicy, sour, salty and creamy. Hitting all the right notes are specials such as the chicken satay, tom kha gai and khao soi. For dessert, the sticky rice pudding with fresh mango and coconut ice cream is not to be missed.  04 3174515

Table talk ——

Pull up a chair as we present the latest news, reviews and must-try menu highlights from Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s most talked about restaurants, bars and cafés

M E LT I N G P O T The Pointe on Palm Jumeirah is quickly becoming a dining destination in its own right, thanks to the launch of several new venues, bringing flavours from around the world to Dubai. Zor is the latest concept to get on the bandwagon with its delectable mix of home-style dishes from Uzbekistan. Specials on the extensive menu include traditional Uzbek beef and lamb soup, braised lamb chops, shashlik and more.  04 5669612

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D I N I N G N E W S & R E V I E W S/ TA S T E

New in town Aka

This Japanese lounge has opened its doors on Palm Jumeirah and is poised to take Dubai’s sophisticated nightlife scene to another level this season with immersive live performances and an Asian-inspired menu.  04 5780555

Foxglove

E L E VAT E D TA S T E S

A brand-new gastropub in Downtown

Giving Indian cuisine a modern twist, Farzi Café in City Walk takes traditional favourites

Dubai, Foxglove blends traditional

from the subcontinent and elevates them to new heights by infusing the principles of

décor with contemporary touches,

molecular gastronomy into its dishes. Culinary art takes centre stage at the venue,

offering guests an entertaining

presenting diners with unique treats and daring combinations, such as tomato soup with

atmosphere with a selection of British

basil air, pulled beef and carrot salad with coriander pesto, chilli paneer bao, paneer

pub staples, including burgers, fish and

ratatouille and shrimp biryani.  04 3359539

chips and steak.  052 3888849

CYCLADIC MAGIC

Li’ Brasil

The Pointe’s newest Greek dining

Brazilian flavours, Li’ Brasil has

A unique fusion of Lebanese and

destination, Aiza brings the hearty

opened at Address Beach Resort

flavours of the Cyclades to a

in JBR. Try the hummus loaded with

stunning location on Palm Jumeirah.

feta, lamb or sweet potato as well

Here, it’s not just about the

as a selection of grills, mezze and

sumptuous fare – think homemade

Brazilian curries.  04 8798888

bread, spinach pie and grilled meats. The venue stays true to its roots by celebrating the rich Greek culture with traditional dances and plate smashing acts performed by the staff every evening.  04 5755915

K I C K - S TA RT E R Café Society is giving diners a delicious start to their day with a sumptuous breakfast menu, available daily from 9 to 11am. A wide range of options caters to all tastes, including smoked salmon

DOWNTOWN DINING

with poached eggs and toasted

Beirut export Em Sherif Café is now welcoming diners to its all-new Dubai

French brioche. There’s also a

location. Across the street from Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall, guests visiting

sumptuous vegetarian breakfast

for dinner are in for a real treat as it’s not just the food that promises a remarkable

on offer with blueberry muffins,

experience but up-close views of the world’s tallest building brilliantly lit up after

granola, passion fruit and chia

sunset. Those who’ve visited are claiming that the café serves the best hummus in

seeds.  04 3183755

town. Are you ready to take a bite?  04 3304444

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COLLECTION ZAYA NURAI ISLAND Upon arrival in Zaya Nurai Island, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve landed on remote Pacific shores. In every direction, you’re greeted with bright blue views over the waters, sure to satiate your wanderlust. Book a day pass to the island on myconcierge.com, priced at AED480 per person. Enjoy all-day beach and pool access, and also get dining credit worth AED420, which can be redeemed for food and drinks at any outlet on the island.  myco.ae/zayanuraiisland


Captain for the day

If you would like to pack in as much as possible while visiting Dubai, a sightseeing excursion along the coastline is the way to go. While there are plenty of options for cruises on the Arabian Gulf, one of the most interesting ways to add a bit of adventure to your trip is embarking on a self-drive boat tour. Discover the thrill of being your own captain with Hero Odysea’s tour packages that take you on a sightseeing adventure from Fishing Harbour in Jumeirah 2 to Palm Jumeirah. Packages start from AED700.  myco.ae/hero

Conquer the dunes

If you’re looking to explore the stunning desert terrain over high dunes, fast trails and soft peaks, a dune buggy or dirt bike tour is the ideal fit. Infiniti Desert Tours offers a range of experiences, from dirt bikes to buggy safaris, to explore the vast Arabian desert like never before. Not only will you find your adrenaline pumping, but you’ll also have the chance to spot plenty of desert wildlife, from gazelles and the Arabian oryx to camels. Choose from packages offering Yamaha YXZ1000R dune buggy rentals or KTM 450 dirk bike tours starting from AED900.  myco.ae/infiniti

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Brunch at the Burj

A fine gourmet spread, live cooking stations buzzing with excitement and a free flow of refreshing drinks, the Burj Club brunch packs all your weekend wishes into one single experience. And the impressive venue at the foot of the majestic Burj Khalifa, overlooking the Burj Lake, definitely seals the deal. It serves as the perfect place to catch up with friends and family on a Friday afternoon after a busy workweek. Book now as a MyConcierge member and ensure you don’t miss out on this incredible weekend treat.  myco.ae/brunch


C O L L EC T I O N

Let’s brunch

Promising the perfect backdrop to brunch with endless views over the ocean, Frangipani on Zaya Nurai Island welcomes you to its Friday feast, served both al fresco and indoors every weekend. You can now reserve your table online for a special price as a MyConcierge member. But brunch here is not all about the food. You also enjoy a speedboat ride to the island from the welcome centre on Saadiyat Island and back, as well as all-day access to the resort’s private beach and pool.  myco.ae/zayabrunch

Touch the skies

Experience the thrill of flying over Dubai’s dazzling landscape with a gyrocopter flight. Not for the faint-hearted, the experience sees you soaring 1,500 feet above the emirate’s most iconic landmarks – from Palm Jumeirah and The World Islands to Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and Ain Dubai – in this unique two-seater aircraft. We can’t think of a better way to add another feat to your adventure diaries.  myco.ae/gyrocopter

Beach daze

If you haven’t checked out Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai yet, this is your chance. Book a day pass to this resort nestled on the emirate’s newest lifestyle island destination, Bluewaters, and as a MyConcierge member, also enjoy a delectable three-course lunch at Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen with all-day beach and pool access. Packages start from AED249 per person.  myco.ae/hellskitchen

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TH E LA S T W OR D

Beyond Wellness Sophia Bakkal and Rachel Dowes, co-founders of Beyond Wellness, share the inspiration behind the amazing work they do in the region and beyond in the realm of holistic wellbeing

Living in Dubai for the last 11 years, we have fallen in love with the city and it has become home to our families. While we have travelled and worked all over the world, there are few places we would rather be. The UAE is such a diverse cultural melting pot, rich with opportunities, especially in the wellness arena. We’ve both worked in the UAE’s corporate world, experiencing six- to seven-day working weeks ourselves and we’ve seen expats doing the same to support their families while living away from them. But we are now witnessing a shift. It is wonderful to see both individuals and the businesses they work for beginning to make wellness a priority. And what better environment to do so than the UAE. Here, we’ve hosted wellness retreats beside the ocean and also under the desert stars. Unlike other places around the world, the concept of wellbeing retreats is relatively new here, so the impact and personal transformations we witness with our guests are often so much more dramatic. This makes our work very rewarding. Beyond Wellness is inspired by our personal transformation journeys over more than 15 years. Having explored close to a hundred renowned retreats around the world, it became clear that the majority of these focus on the physical being while forgetting that the spiritual, emotional and mental health aspects are equally important. Furthermore, while many retreats felt hugely transformative at the time, the crucial long-term support and community element beyond the retreat was missing and so it became easy to slip back into the old habits. Hence, Beyond Wellness was born. An entirely new concept, we offer a 360-degree mind, body and spirit experience encompassing physical, mental and spiritual wellness in its entirety. With a supportive global community and a team of wellness experts, we are always on hand to support our clients not only during but also after the retreat. Beyond the UAE, our retreats are set in some of the world’s most tranquil locations. We believe that being close to nature is important for self-healing, so all our experiences are held within natural beauty. Our Maldives retreat is the most popular simply because there’s nothing quite like seeing dolphins swimming by during a yoga session or meditating at night on the beach and witnessing bioluminescent plankton lighting up the ocean. In the UAE, our three-day programme is the most popular. Since the natural environment is so important for healing, our last retreats were hosted on the lush grounds of Park Hyatt Dubai and by the seaside at Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas. All our guests are treated to a three-day wellness programme, where they get to relax, unwind, connect with themselves and each other within a five-star environment and participate in a selection of transformational activities, such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, life coaching, hypnotherapy, integrative energy healing or crystal healing. The pandemic brought about a dramatic rise in the levels of stress, anxiety and depression. With the current climate and with personal health on everybody’s mind, wellness tourism is expected to be the biggest travel trend in 2021. Our retreats are also inspired by these trying times. For instance, with the increasing pressures, couple and family retreats are in great demand and soon, we will be offering our first men’s retreat in the UAE. With countries around the world preparing to open their borders once again, we are gearing up to cater to an unprecedented demand for wellness travel. This is very promising for us.

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S ophi aB Ra c h e l a k k a l Do & we s

  beyondwellness-group.com

Vilamendhoo Island Resort, Maldives Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas

Park Hyatt Dubai


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C L O S E T O H OM E Dreamy escapes

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TREASURED TIME Discover Patek Philippe

Support autism, a condition with a spectrum of abilities.

www.SupportSpectrum.com

License No. 3697

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TA B L E TA L K Time to dine


SUPER AVENGER NIGHT MISSION

Scott Kelly Rocio Gonzalez Torres Luke Bannister

AVENGER

The Aviation Pioneers Squad

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Concierge UAE - Spring 2021  

Concierge UAE - Spring 2021  

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