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DUBAI 101

the pick of the world’s most fascinating city

hotels cUltUre shops sIghts ActIvItIes restAUrAnts

kanoo world traveller

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Opening Soon at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray


City of Gold

Dubai’s transformation from tiny fishing village to ultra-modern metropolis has been as rapid as it is incredible, and it’s a journey that has captured the imagination of travellers throughout the world. As such, the city continues to draw tourists in their droves, each keen for a slice of the sun, sea, (snow) and spectacular sights. This is a city that throbs with excitement, providing myriad opportunities to enjoy the holiday of a lifetime. About This Guide We’ve compiled the 101 best things about Dubai and placed them into simple-to-reference sections, making it easy for you to plan your perfect trip. Our recommendations try to cater for all tastes and requirements, providing a rounded view of the city. Contents Dubai

9

The Hotels – the pick of the places to enjoy five-star splendour.

19 The Shopping – everything from the best souks to the label-loaded

Abu Dhabi

mega malls. 25 The Restaurants – where to go to enjoy Dubai’s world-class eateries. U.A.E

31 The Culture & Sights – explore the remnants of the old city and spy

Production in whole or in part without written permission from HOT Media Publishing is strictly prohibited. HOT Media Publishing does not accept liability for omissions or errors in this publication.

modern marvels. 35 The Actvities – land, sea or snow? How to enjoy Dubai to the fullest. 4

Dubai 101

Produced by HOT Media Publishing FZ LLC


Welcome to Dubai

The need-to-know facts for getting to and around the city. GettinG there

UAE Dirhams and you can use it to pay fares on both

Dubai is incredibly well served by airlines – from

buses and the metro. If you want to hire a car and

budget to big name – so you’ll find a suitable time

drive around the city yourself, however, you’ll find an

to fly in to the city from wherever you’re based in

endless amount of rental firms at the airport, just be

the GCC. For ticketing information, visit your nearest

sure to keep your wits about you – Dubai’s drivers

Kanoo Travel or American Express Travel outlet.

can be a little bit inconsiderate – and try to avoid being on the road during the peak traffic times of

transport

7-9am and 6-7pm.

It’s easy to get around Dubai unless you try to do so on foot. Taxis are plentiful and simple to flag down,

Money

but remember that there’s a minimum charge of 10

The UAE Dirham is the official currency of the UAE.

UAE Dirhams, no matter what the length of your

Banknotes are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200,

journey. A cheaper way to get around is to take the

500 and 1000 dirhams and there are countless ATM

bus. These are spacious, clean and air-conditioned

machines dotted around the city should you need

and journeys start at 1.8 UAE Dirhams. That’s the

to withdraw cash. For ease of reference, there is

price you’ll also pay for the shortest trip on the Duabi

1 Saudi Riyal to 1 UAE Dirham, 1 Omani Rials to 10

Metro, which ferries you overland to multiple stops.

UAE Dirhams, 1 Qatar Riyal to 1 UAE Dirham and 10

Buy a ‘nol’ card at metro and petrol stations for 20

Bahrain Dinars to 1 UAE Dirham.

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Dubai 101


1.8

The amount in dirhams that you’ll pay to ride the shortest journey on the Dubai Metro.

12

The number of championship golf courses that you can enjoy a round at in Dubai.

10

The amount in millions of dollars awarded to the owner of the winning horse at The Dubai World Cup.

442

The height in metres of Atmosphere, the world’s highest restaurant which is housed on floor 122 of Burj Khalifa. 31

Big events in the big city..

February

March

April

The Dubai tennis Championships attracts the world’s top players - men and women - to the city each year to vie for the title and abundance of prize money

If horse racing is your thing, visit for the Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race and the highlight of the city’s social calendar.

The best rally drivers in the business will speed across the sands in their cars, trucks and motorbikes for the Uae Desert Challenge.

June

July

August

This month heralds the beginning of Dubai summer surprises, when the city’s malls go sales and entertainment crazy.

If you’re in town with the kids, there are great children’s theatre workshops held at Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre, which culminate in a public performance.

The holy month of ramadan spans much of August, a time of peace in Dubai, when friends and family gather after dark to enjoy the citywide iftars.

eid-al-Fitr in Dubai sparks three days of celebration across the city, with many traditional entertainments on offer for visitors to enjoy.

November

December

January

If it’s good natured revelry you’re after, don your fancy dress and head to the Dubai rugby sevens, a much-loved event among the city’s many expats.

new year’s eve in Dubai is always a great occasion, not least for the incredible firework displays that light up the night sky.

The standard Chartered Dubai Marathon sees professional, ameteur and fun runners take to the city’;s streets where they’re cheered on by crowds.

October

If you must have the most up-to-date technology, visit GiteX shopper at Dubai’s Airport Expo where all the latest gadgetry will be on show.

May

the Vertical Marathon is an endurance race with a twist - see runners scale the 1,334-stair Jumeirah Emirates Towers in aid of local charities.

September

Dubai 101

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Quintessential Living

Taj Palace Hotel Dubai, located in the heart of Dubai, This 5 Star deluxe hotel offers impeccable amenities and service for a memorable stay. Nearby, guests will find much to see and do including Arabian shopping bazaars, cultural centers, shopping malls and more. The Hotel is 2 minutes away from Al Reqqa Metro Station and 15 minutes from Dubai International Airport. Taj Palace Hotel Dubai features 249 well appointed guest rooms, suites and apartments, 5 specialized restaurant, Taj Spa one of the finest spa in the city, recreation and fitness facilities as well as well appointed meeting rooms. P.O. Box 42211, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Tel: +971 4 223 2222. Fax: +971 4 227 8222. e-mail: tphsales.dxb@tajhotels.com

www.tajhotels.com


The Hotels Dubai is as well-known for its hotels as for its sunshine. With so many five-star options to choose from, finding your perfect match can be tough, so we’ve come up with a list of our favourite 20 to guide you through the accommodation maze… Dubai has miles of white sands lapped by warm,

breaking away to tiptoe between the peaceful villas

clear waters. Naturally, several hotels take advantage

right through to the private beach is an afternoon

of this by having their own private stretch of beach.

well spent.

The Jumeirah Beach Hotel is a Dubai classic.

Slightly further south along the coast lies the

Elegantly shaped like a wave, it’s popular with

impressive Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort

families because of its excellent facilities: this is a

& Marina (www.starwoodhotels.com). Resembling

truly spectacular complex, with five huge swimming

an enormous colonial mansion, the pink-hued hotel

pools, watersports, 36,300sq m of private beach

has gained a reputation as one of the city’s best

and a purpose-built coral reef 2km offshore which

dining destinations – not surprising given the quality

you can check out with the hotel’s PADI dive centre.

of its four signature restaurants. But it’s not just

If all that wasn’t enough, waterpark Wild Wadi is

food that sets it apart: the 294 spacious bedrooms

right next door. Serving the guests of its 598 rooms

boast Westin Heavenly Beds (if you don’t get a good

are three signature restaurants and 10 casual dining

night’s sleep on one of those, you probably never

spots; you simply can’t run out of things to do here.

will), and the 1.2km of private beach is absolutely

Very close by is the Madinat Jumeirah, which

pristine. In the rooms, high ceilings and formal

comprises the glorious Malakiya Villas, three hotels

balconies meet LCD TVs and rainforest showers in

– the Mina A’Salam, Al Qasr and Dar Al Masyaf – and

a perfect fusion of classic décor and cutting-edge

a fabulous assortment of entertainment. Designed

technology.

to resemble a traditional Arabian souk, Souk

Further south still is the Jebel Ali Golf Resort &

Madinat’s weaving passageways are lined with small

Spa (www.jebelali-international.com), comprising

boutiques and stalls selling all manner of goods,

the Jebel Ali Hotel and the Palm Tree Court & Spa.

from Moroccan-style lamps to Crocs for the kids.

The former was refurbished in 2009 and each of its

Step outside and you’ll find a tranquil waterway

260 rooms offers either a golf course or sea view.

winding along a promenade packed with restaurants,

The latter is a touch more secluded and better suited

with an occasional abra – which you can take a

to privacy-seekers, with 134 suites all surrounded by

ride on – drifting serenely past. An afternoon spent

lush gardens and greenery. The resort as a whole is

wandering through the labyrinthine complex then

a thoroughly nice place in which to relax, although

Dubai 101

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Clockwise from far left: One & Only, The Palm; Atlantis, The Palm; The Address Downtown Dubai.

C

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Y

horse-riding stables and a nine-hole, par-36,

will probably race right past it and dive into the

championship golf course also make it a great place

huge Zero Entry Pool before exploring the 1.4km of

for those craving an active holiday.

beach beyond. But the action doesn’t stop there: the

MY

hotel is home to waterpark Aquaventure, aquarium

CY

Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa (www. dxbmarine.com) is located in the upmarket Jumeirah

The Lost Chambers, swim-with-the-dolphins spot

neighbourhood. Sandy beach, sprawling gardens

Dolphin Bay, the divine ShuiQi Spa, tennis courts

and fun-filled swimming pools combine to make it a

and no less than 17 food and beverage outlets. You

great choice for families, and rooms are decorated in

certainly won’t get bored.

a contemporary, elegant style – think caramel walls

One&Only, The Palm (http://thepalm.

and potted palms. One of the nicest ways to start

oneandonlyresorts.com) opened late last year and

your holiday is to take a seat at the beach hut, order

has already been heralded a jewel in Dubai’s crown.

a tropical mocktail and watch the sun melting into

Lush manicured gardens and tinkling fountains

the horizon.

provide a tranquil backdrop to the accommodation,

The Palm Jumeirah is a manmade archipelago

which comprises the three-storey Manor House, six

shaped, you guessed it, like a palm tree. At the

low-rise Mansions and four private Beach Villas, and

end lies Atlantis, The Palm (www.atlantisthepalm.

features a tasteful blend of Moorish and Andalusian

com), an enormous hotel boasting 1,373 rooms

architecture. Swimmers will be in their element in the

and 166 suites. As you drive up the Palm’s ‘trunk’,

850sq m pool, and if you fancy visiting sister hotel

Atlantis looms in the distance like a fairytale palace,

the One&Only Royal Mirage, a private water taxi will

salmon pink with a cut-out shaped like the spade in

whisk you there in minutes.

a pack of cards through its middle and little turrets

Not far from the base of the Palm lies Jumeirah

dotted around it. An enormous glass sculpture by

Beach Residence (more commonly referred to as

Dale Chihuly dominates the lobby, although kids

‘JBR’). The residential and leisure development is

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Dubai 101

CM

CMY

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LIGHT, SPACE, FUN AND FREEDOM AND A LIFETIME OF DREAMS IS BORN. An enchanting oasis of considerable charm, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai is an exclusive beachfront property in the heart of the Dubai Marina. All guestrooms overlook the pool, lush, tropical gardens and 350 metres of private, white sandy beach. The hotel provides an intimate retreat, and a stylish base from which to enjoy some of the world’s premier dining, shopping, leisure and nightlife. For more information, please call The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai at 971-4-399-4000 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com/dubai.

Š 2011 The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.


Clockwise from left: Raffles Dubai; Ibn Battuta Gate; Ritz Carlton Dubai.

‘Stroll through the landscaped gardens (of the Ritz Carlton Dubai) and the only sound you’ll hear is birdsong’ home to several five-star hotels, some of which were

JBR also features a number of hotels which may

there before the area was given its name. Located

not have their own private beach but are within

on The Walk, a stretch of shops and cafés, stands the

spitting distance of a public one. First up, a relative

Hilton Dubai Jumeirah (www.hilton.com). It has a

newcomer to Dubai’s hotel scene: the Sofitel

private beach, two outdoor pools and a watersports

Jumeirah Beach (www.sofitel.com). The brand’s

centre. If you don’t fancy venturing out for dinner,

signature French style lends an elegant air to the

fear not: there are an impressive 10 food and

surroundings, and the lobby is particularly stylish,

beverage outlets.

dominated by an enormous fairy-lit tree. Perhaps

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai (www.ritzcarlton.com)

because the hotel is slightly set back from the beach,

is another well-established favourite. An intimate,

enabling guests to observe the action going on along

138-room hotel, its interiors feature a very grandiose

the promenade below, there’s a very cosmopolitan,

décor scheme, with sweeping marble staircases and

‘seaside’ feel to the Sofitel. Rococo, the hotel’s

exquisite chandeliers, but it’s outside that the Ritz-

signature restaurant, is undoubtedly worth a visit,

Carlton really comes into its own. Stroll through the

especially for its lobster and homemade pasta.

landscaped gardens and the only sound you’ll hear is

The Mövenpick Jumeirah Beach (www.

birdsong; and while the waterslide, tumbling fountain

moevenpick.com), a fellow newcomer, is located just

and 350m of private beach make it a very good

a few minutes’ walk from the Sofitel. This is a very

choice for families, there’s also an adults-only pool

clean-feeling hotel, with 294 spacious, beautifully

for those craving peace and quiet. The spa is one of

bright rooms each equipped with LCD TVs and high-

Dubai’s finest.

speed internet. Guests can recline by the pool while

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Dubai 101


‘Madinat Jumeirah comprises the glorious Malakiya Villas, three hotels, and a fabulous assortment of entertainment’ gazing over the ocean beyond, work up a sweat

Neos where, despite the abundance of mirrored

in the cutting-edge fitness centre, or glow under

surfaces and space-age lights, nothing can detract

altogether more relaxing circumstances in the sauna

from the sight that awaits at the window. Elsewhere

and steam rooms at the hotel’s luxurious spa.

in the hotel, the décor is more sedate – think modern

Moving inland, Ibn Battuta Gate (www.

neutrals kissed with Arabic class – and the infinity

moevenpick-hotels.com) is another new hotel. It’s

pool, which cascades down five tiers with direct

named after a famous 14th-century Arabic explorer

views across to the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain,

and his travels are reflected through the hotel’s

is out of this world.

eclectic architecture and décor. The 396 guestrooms

Quite close by but of an entirely different ilk is

have been designed around a Moroccan theme, while

the Crowne Plaza Dubai (www.ichotelsgroup.com).

the decadent suites have been based on the styles

It’s a firm favourite with some of the city’s oldest

of Africa, Asia, the Middle East and southern Europe

fans, not least due to its staff, who make guests feel

respectively. Sporty types and sun-worshippers alike

welcome right from check-in to the moment they

congregate around the 20m rooftop swimming pool,

walk out the door. Its third-floor outdoor pool makes

which is surrounded by imposing Moroccan arches.

the perfect spot for some downtime, although the

If you’re one for jaw-dropping views, the Address

rooms are pretty relaxing too, employing the brand’s

Downtown Dubai (www.theaddress.com) is the

signature snooze-enhancing packages to ensure you

answer. Itself an imposing tower, it is immediately

get flawless sleep. But before you tuck into bed, tuck

dwarfed when you glance sideways at its next-door

into some dinner at one of the many restaurants –

neighbour, the Burj Khalifa, which happens to be

Sakura is great as it features live teppanyaki tables.

the world’s tallest building. To get yourself in the

A little-known gem in Dubai is the Villa Rotana

mood for heights, whizz up to 63rd-floor lounge

(www.rotana.com), where guests are encouraged

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Dubai 101


MUCH MORE THAN A HOTEL

The ultimate residential sanctuary from where you can discover Dubai. Enjoy a luxurious stay in one of our endlessly enchanting suites. Inspired by the great pyramids, Raffles Dubai is the epitome of residential elegance and warm Arabian hospitality, setting unrivalled standards of splendor and impeccable comfort. Located just 10 minutes from Dubai International Airport, the financial, restaurant and shopping districts, Raffles Dubai hosts eight restaurants and bars offering a tantalizing spread of international cuisines, spacious state-of-the-art meeting spaces and Raffles Spa for the ultimate in relaxation. Raffles Dubai presents heartfelt and gracious service so that you can enjoy a first-class business and leisure visit, in an unsurpassed location right in the heart of the city.

RAFFLES DUBAI Sheikh Rashid Road, Wafi, P.O.Box 121800 Dubai, United Arab Emirates T +971 4324 8888 F +971 4324 6000 dubai@raffles.com www.raffles.com/dubai


Previous page: Madinat Jumeirah. This page, left: Desert Palm. Below: Bab Al Shams.

to take full advantage of the relaxation-enhancing

believe to be the heart and soul of the city, is the

facilities on offer, from the steam room, sauna and

Taj Palace Hotel (www.tajhotels.com). The five-star

Jacuzzi to the climate-controlled swimming pool,

spot is surrounded by the atmospheric souks and

Bodylines health and fitness centre to the excellent

historical sites that arguably constitute the ‘real’

in-room dining options. Each of the 118 rooms is light,

Dubai, but inside lies an oasis of calm. The rooms

airy and spacious.

have a contemporary, spacious feel – in fact the Taj

Raffles Dubai (www.raffles.com) is an impressive,

Palace claims to have the largest room in the city,

pyramid-shaped building, and the Egyptian theme

If your idea of Dubai revolves more around its

is echoed through the décor. Its Amrita Spa is one

desert origins than hustle and bustle, try the multi-

of the city’s finest, offering signature treatments

award-winning Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa

in the Raffles Botanical Gardens. Bedrooms all

(http://meydanhotels.com). It’s styled in a traditional

feature a generously sized balcony, and label-lovers

Arabic manner and all of its rooms look out on to

will be delighted to learn that the hotel is next-

either desert, gardens or the pool – there’s no such

door to designer-heavy shopping mall Wafi. Don’t

thing as a bad view here. But being in an isolated

leave without dining in at least one of its superb

location doesn’t mean you’ll be left wanting when it

restaurants.

comes to activities: you’ll be kept entertained with

Still on the shopping theme, Pullman Dubai Mall of the Emirates (www.pullmanhotels.com) enjoys

desert safaris, camel rides and sunset yoga. Desert Palm Dubai (http://desertpalm.peraquum.

a ridiculously convenient location as it’s actually

com) is another fabulous option for those wishing

situated inside the mall. Bedrooms are simply yet

to get away from it all – but the complex offers

stylishly decked out with a chocolate brown, muted

more than sandy landscapes: it also enjoys the lush

gold and ivory colour scheme providing a soothing

surrounds of polo fields and trees. In all, there are

yet luxurious ambience. Come nightfall, shisha-lovers

only 26 suites and villas, each enjoying designer

should sit in a poolside majlis and unwind with

amenities and high-tech appliances, and you’ll

hookah and aromatic Moroccan tea.

eat like a king, especially if you dine at signature

In the thick of the action in Deira, which many

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Dubai 101

restaurant Rare.


The Shopping Dubai’s world-class shopping is one its best-known perks: whether you’re on the hunt for designer one-offs, high-street bargains or literally going for gold, the mind-bogglingly huge malls will have it covered. Dubai is renowned throughout the world for its

Prominently positioned halfway down Sheikh

outstanding shopping, and its reputation is well-

Zayed Road (the highway that runs the length of

earned. Both high-end and high-street shoppers

the city) is another much-loved shopping centre: the

have infinite options, and the best bit is that 99 per

Mall of the Emirates. While its most famous feature

cent of your spending can be done under the cover

is Ski Dubai, an indoor real-snow ski slope with a

of a blissfully air-conditioned mall.

connecting Kempinski Hotel, which offers rooms

BurJuman may have been around for longer than

with views over the piste, its shopping is not to be

some of the newcomers, but that doesn’t make

sniffed at. For starters, there’s the largest Harvey

it any less fabulous – in fact, it is best-known for

Nichols store outside the UK. Opened in 2006, the

its uber-high quota of designer haunts. Its serene

luxury department store offers a plethora of designer

atmosphere, enhanced by the occasional classical

names as well as Almaz by Momo, a restaurant that’s

piano performance, makes it a joy to explore. The

very popular in its own right. You could spend at

biggest shop, and one which has been attracting a

least a day wandering the rest of the mall, which

loyal hardcore of wealthy customers for years, is Saks

contains 520 shops comprising fashion, lifestyle,

Fifth Avenue. Split over two levels, the department

sports, furnishing and a large Carrefour hypermarket

store boasts numerous concessions belonging to

that’s great for well-priced electricals.

some of the biggest names in fashion: Dolce &

The biggest mall in the city – and, some say, the

Gabbana, Christian Dior and, much to shoe-lovers’

world – is The Dubai Mall. It is well worth a visit

delight, Manolo Blahnik, all have their own dedicated

even if you’re not interested in its 1,200 shops; you

spaces. There’s also a princess-worthy ball-gowns

simply have to experience the mall to be able to

area featuring some of the hottest names in Arabic

comprehend its enormity. It’s impossible not to

fashion and an extensive shoe department. But

get lost on your first visit to The Dubai Mall – but

shopping at BurJuman doesn’t stop at Saks: there

that’s no bad thing, for around every corner lies

are over 300 stores in the mall, mainly high-end

a sight more astounding than the last. Take the

(think Valentino, Louis Vuitton and Chanel) but with

Dubai Aquarium, which features the world’s largest

a few high-street stores, including Zara and Mango,

viewing panel, behind which lurk countless sharks,

thrown in for good measure.

rays and other fish. Or how about an Olympic-sized

Dubai 101

19


‘The Dubai Mall houses countless flagship stores, though its crowning glory has got to be Bloomingdale’s’ shopping scene. Situated in the north of the city, Mirdif City Centre really provides well for youngsters. Playnation incorporates indoor skydiving centre iFLY Dubai, kids’ edutainment venue Cite’ Des Enfants, a cinema, interactive football attraction Soccer Circus Dubai, a 12-lane bowling alley and gamers’ paradise Magic ice-skating rink, sitting incongruously in the middle

Planet. This is great news for parents who want their

of hundreds of cafes and shops? Then there’s the

children to be well-occupied while they cruise the

beautiful fountain, which features sculptures of

shops, the best of which include department store

people diving down a waterfall, a gold souk and

Debenhams and interior superstore Home Centre.

designer-label-laden Fashion Avenue. Shop-wise, The Dubai Mall houses countless

Those who want a truly unique mall experience should head to Ibn Battuta Mall. Themed around

flagship stores, though its crowning glory has got to

the explorer of the same name, the emporium is a

be Bloomingdale’s – the first outside the USA. As

huge hit with camera-toting visitors, who have a

well as a stunning array of fashion, beauty, jewellery,

whale of a time snapping each other standing under

accessories, bridal and eveningwear, there’s a beauty

magnificent domed ceilings and standing next to life-

salon, separate home store and interior design

sized model elephants. Divided into ‘courts’ named

studio, and divine food section. A big favourite of

China, India, Persia, Egypt, Andalusia and Tunisia,

those in the know is Forty Carrots, supplier of the

the mall has a great selection of high-street stores

frozen yoghurt that has New Yorkers hooked in the

like H&M, Forever 21 and Topshop, and a handful of

store’s home city. We’re not sure if it was the yoghurt

boutiques including the award-winning Ginger and

that did it but this branch of Bloomingdale’s must be

Lace. Ibn Battuta Mall also has an IMAX theatre and

doing something right – in less than a year of being

great selection of restaurants (the Lime Tree Café

open it has already drawn Beyonce, Tony Bennett,

sells the world’s most delicious carrot cake).

Anna Wintour and England’s Queen Elizabeth II… Its 430 stores have made Mirdif City Centre another well-received newcomer to the Dubai

Those looking for a mall offering a lovely location as well as top-notch shopping should look no further than Festival Centre. Situated on the banks of Dubai

Dubai 101

21


Previous page: The Dubai Mall Left: Mall of the Emirates Below: The Persia Court at Ibn Battuta Mall

Creek, the waterfront complex offers over 400 shops

800 premium fashion brands in 240 stores, with

including British favourite Marks & Spencer, which

discounts of between 30 and 90 per cent. If you love

is as much loved for its food as for its lingerie and

a bargain, it’s un-missable.

home collections. When you get peckish, simply

While its fashion is world class, Dubai is also a

head to Canal Walk, a chic al-fresco setting offering

very popular destination for those looking to buy

50 restaurants.

gold. As long as you buy from a reputable dealer,

Visitors with cash to splash are extremely well

you can rest assured that international standards

catered for at Wafi. The shops lie within a striking

and best practices are adhered to – and remember,

pyramid structure, the immaculate interiors of

if you don’t spot anything that takes your fancy,

which are brought to life by statues, mosaic floors,

you can always commission a jeweller to custom-

stained-glass windows and regular art exhibitions.

make a piece you’ve designed yourself. There are

There are over 350 stores at Wafi, ranging from

two venues that really stand out: Dubai Gold Souk

edgy Roccobarroco and Tiger Lily to classic luxury

and Dubai Gold & Diamond Park. The former is so

brands like Chanel and Escada. Boutique concept

comprehensive that some have estimated there are

store Salam offers numerous brands including

10 tonnes of gold in the souk at any one time. It has

Just Cavalli, GF Ferre and Hugo Boss; Souk Khan

hundreds of retailers offering everything from classic,

Murjan, meanwhile, features beautiful Middle Eastern

timeless pieces to spectacular Indian designs. The

souvenirs and pieces for the home.

latter is home to 90 retailers including Damas, ARY

Those seeking designer labels without the

and the perennially popular Cara Jewellery, which

designer price tags should make a beeline for

features photos of its celebrity fans around its walls

Dubai Outlet Mall. Situated a short distance outside

and is known for offering good-quality, reasonably-

the city, it’s an enormous complex offering over

priced diamonds.

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Dubai 101


Perceive Perfection The Bonnington boasts 208 non-smoking deluxe rooms and suites, each with spacious en-suite bathroom and freestanding bathtub and rainfall shower. All rooms feature wifi and wired high-speed Internet access and large flat screen TVs complete with high-tech connectivity panel and bedside room-control units. The Deluxe Suits come with added touches, such as a separate lounge area with comfortable sofa and a spacious work desk.

AED 650*

- Discount available for interconnecting rooms - One, two and three bedroom apartments also available at competitive daily, monthly and yearly rates. *The above rates are inclusive of Municipality Fee and Service Charge Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers PO Box 37246, Dubai Phone:+971 4 3560600, Fax:+971 4 3560400, Email: reservations@bonningtontower.com WWW.BONNINGTONTOWER.COM


The Restaurants The dining opportunities in Dubai are phenomenal. Many of its restaurants are fronted by internationally famous chefs and it’s possible to eat practically every cuisine under the sun. Here are our top picks. Dubai has attracted many a celebrity chef in its

English gastro restaurant. A hot favourite with the

time and nowhere is this truer than in the modern

city’s British expats, Rivington Grill enjoys a casual,

European food category. A well-established favourite

lively vibe, with the odd neon sign jazzing up the

is Verre by Gordon Ramsay (+971 4 227 1111). The

otherwise neutral space. Most who try the fish and

elegant space follows a monochrome design scheme,

chips with mushy peas never look back, ordering the

with black leather chairs, immaculate white linens

same dish time and time again, although the slow-

and neat rows of spotlights lending it a businesslike

roasted duck leg and, for pudding, the baked rice

air. Dishes include a starter of Canadian lobster

pudding with homemade jam are also pretty special.

lasagne which comes with lemongrass veloute;

When the weather’s not too sweltering, make sure

adventurous types will also love the baked halibut

you book a table outside on the terrace, which looks

with crispy frogs’ legs for mains. For a particularly

over the spectacular Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa.

memorable experience, book the chef’s table and

Sharing the same stunning surrounds is Mango

you’ll enjoy a view straight onto the action of the

Tree (+971 4 426 7313). This wonderfully styled

kitchen’s pass.

restaurant serves up good-priced, great-quality Thai

Michelin-starred chef Gary Rhodes’ first venture

dishes which are perfect for sharing around a large

into Dubai’s dining scene came in the form of the oh-

table. Start off with a punchy papaya salad before

so-chic Rhodes Mezzanine (+971 4 399 8888). The

delving into a pineapple-laced roast duck curry.

all-white décor is brought to life with jewel-coloured,

STAY by Yannick Alléno (+971 4 440 1010)

baroque-style chairs and splashes of fluorescent

is one of the newest restaurants in the city. It is

Perspex, but the food needs no such tricks: endless

most widely known for its ‘pastry library’ – a wall

amuse bouches, palate-cleansers and other delicious

completely hidden by, well, you know – but this is a

freebies make perfect accompaniments to the

restaurant that really doesn’t need any gimmicks: it’s

beautiful food on offer here, which focuses on giving

sensational. Wagyu beef is the name of the game

British classics a French twist. Our tip? Go for the

here; order it and you’ll be the recipient of cuts of

lamb – you won’t regret it.

meat so melt-in-the-mouth perfect that you’ll feel

Slightly lower down the price scale is Rivington Grill (+971 4 423 0903), Dubai’s answer to an

you’re on an Australian ranch. However, the look they’ve gone for here is much more sophisticated,

Dubai 101

25


with black crystal chandeliers stretching down from

Steakhouse (+971 4 501 8666) is simply fantastic.

high vaulted ceilings.

Décor is all tall white leather chairs and intimate

Talking of beef, steak is another area in which

booths offset by royal reds, chocolate browns

Dubai’s restaurants excel. MJ’s (+971 4 366 6730) is

and low-level lighting – but it’s the steak-cooking

a carnivore’s paradise, with an intoxicatingly smoky

procedure that’s earned Ruth’s Chris the most

pan-seared fillet being one of the most popular

column inches. Steaks are broiled at 980˚C and

dishes on the menu; if you like your meat raw rather

placed on 260˚C plates, in the middle of which ooze

than rare, however, the chefs will happily knock up

rivers of sizzling butter. It’s enough to give you a

a steak tartare. The venue feels very masculine, with

heart attack just thinking about it, but the taste more

high ceilings and big red chairs.

than makes up for a few clogged arteries.

JW’s Steakhouse (+971 4 607 7977) is a real

Like your steak with a view? Then Terra Firma

classic in Dubai steak-lovers’ books. The place has

(+971 4 701 1128) is the restaurant for you. Not only

the feel of an old American library, with dark woods,

is the meat divine – they serve David Blackmore

leather wing chairs and endless gramophones and

Wagyu – but you get to eat while surveying the

other paraphernalia giving it a genuinely homely

immaculate fairways of Al Badia golf course. To give

vibe. JW’s isn’t about quirkiness or needless ‘twists’:

your meal an edge, book the private dining room, a

this is a restaurant that stands up for what it believes

very generous way to give your family and friends

in, and that’s the best-quality meat money can buy

a treat.

served up with no-nonsense baked potatoes or a good peppercorn sauce. If you can get past the name, Ruth’s Chris 26

Dubai 101

Talking of magnificent locations, there are few lovelier ways to spend an evening than by dining on Bateaux Dubai (+971 4 399 4994) as it sails down


Opposite page, clockwise from left: Traiteur; Dish at Hujkama; Bateaux Dubai. This page, clockwise from left: Al Manara; Mango Tree; Bussola.

‘For French fare like you’ve never tasted or even imagined before, the only choice is Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire’ Dubai Creek. Take your pick from luxurious foie gras

believed to be responsible for coining the term

or beetroot smoked salmon followed by sirloin beef

‘molecular gastronomy’. Blue lobster and tomato

or lamb, before ascending above deck to take in the

jelly are among the more unusual choices (though

views as you glide gracefully through the city.

it’s hard to narrow it down), and both are absolutely

Seafood fans will be hard pushed to find a

delicious – but it’s really the sense of drama and

more impressive dinner anywhere on earth than

theatre that accompanies each dish, many of which

that which they will find at Al Mahara (+971 4 301

are assembled before you at the table, that makes

7600). Michelin-trained Chef Mansour Memarian

this restaurant special. That, and the décor, which

and his team dish up deliciously fresh fare – try

combines royal purple carpets with girly pink

the degustation menu if you really want to make

chandeliers and manly leather walls in a cacophony

the most of it. The fact that the room is flanked by

of texture, colour and style.

a huge aquarium filled with exotic fish makes the setting almost as special as the food. For French fare like you’ve never tasted or even

For French food of a more conventional bent, make a beeline for Traiteur (+971 4 317 2222). Spread over two beautiful, high-ceilinged storeys connected

imagined before, the only choice is Reflets Par

by a dramatic showpiece staircase, the restaurant

Pierre Gagnaire (+971 4 701 1111). It’s one of the

is dominated by a raised kitchen so you can watch

wackiest dining experiences you’ll ever have: no

as your meal is prepared. Start with mixed seafood

surprise given that its namesake chef is widely

before progressing to the juicy, herb-encrusted lamb.

Dubai 101

27


‘If you’re in the mood for a curry, Indego is without a doubt the best choice you could make’ Many believe Rive Gauche (+971 4 436 7777)

4311) manages that rare combination of being

to be one of the best additions to Dubai’s dining

permanently full (booking is a must) but also

scene in recent years. Taking classic French

sophisticated and romantic. A live pianist plays in

brasserie cooking and enhancing it with subtle

the evenings, and food is of the northern Italian

modern touches, the food here is sublime: order the

variety. Filled with oozing ricotta, the cannelloni is

escargots and you’ll be given snails in their classic

particularly decadent.

form – swimming in deliciously garlicky butter – and, more unusually, in a breaded potato ball. Moving east to Italian cuisine, Bussola (+971 4

Of course, no chapter on dining in Dubai would be complete without mentioning Arabic food. The ultimate has got to be Khan Murjan (+971 4 327

399 4141) enjoys a stunning location by the ocean.

9795). Set in a souk, the space is atmospherically

Whether you opt for the formal elegance of the

surrounded by arches and intricate Islamic art; all

ground floor or the relaxed, al-fresco pizza lounge

the usual favourites are on offer but they tend to far

upstairs, you’re in for a real treat here.

outshine those at rival restaurants: the baba ghanouj

There’s a trendy vibe at Prego’s (+971 4 435

is seductively smoky and the lamb tagine gives you

0000), with funky red lights and old films on mute

tender cuts of meat swathed in silken sauce and

setting the scene for some truly tremendous food.

dotted with fruity dates.

The gnocchi is the best in Dubai: pillowy clouds

If you’re in the mood for a curry, Indego (+971 4

of potato dumpling arrive delicately tossed in

399 8888) is without a doubt the best choice you

homemade pesto, and for pudding you really can’t

could make. The brainchild of Michelin-starred chef

beat the traditional tiramisu.

Vineet Bhatia, the restaurant fuses traditional Indian

Michelin-starred chef Marco Pierre White and horse racer Frankie Dettori’s Frankie’s (+971 399 28

Dubai 101

cooking with unique fusion twists – the chocolate samosas, in particular, are ridiculously decadent.


Opposite page: Zuma. Left: Tuna at Nobu. Below: Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire.

Moving yet further east in cuisine, the fierce

won’t be disappointed when you visit Dubai. The

competition between the city’s top Chinese

city really has three primary movers and shakers in

restaurants manifests itself in some genuinely world-

this category, the first of which is the internationally

class restaurants. Set by the quiet waters of Mina A’

renowned Nobu (+971 4 426 2626). The space itself

Salam, Zheng He’s (+971 4 366 6730) draws loyal

is achingly hip, with netted archways lending it

customers back time and time again for its squid ink

an almost cage-like entranceway. The black cod is

dumplings and scallops with truffle and asparagus.

undoubtedly the restaurant’s most famous dish, but

If it’s too hot to eat outside, no matter – the interiors

you won’t go wrong with the yellowtail starter either.

are lovely too, with geometric Oriental prints and low-hanging lanterns.

For an informal take on Japanese dining, head to Zuma (+971 4 425 5660), where food is served as

For a contemporary twist on Chinese dining,

it’s prepared and designed for sharing. Though it’s

look no further than The Noble House (+971 4 314

über-trendy, and perpetually packed with the city’s

9888). Fiercely chic environs – think black gloss

hippest crowds, the staff never fail to greet you with

and scarlet hues and you’ll get the right idea – are

a friendly smile and are supremely knowledgeable

complemented by panoramic views of the city as

about the restaurant’s excellent menu which, as well

seen from the 17th floor. The menu draws inspiration

as beautiful sushi and sashimi, includes a fabulous

from the Szechuan and Cantonese styles of cooking

lobster dish.

to result in a stupendous explosion of flavours. A delightfully upbeat vibe welcomes diners to

Last but not least, there’s Okku (+971 4 501 8777). The first thing that will grab your attention is the

Hukama (+971 4 436 8880), where you can choose

backlit cabinet of jellyfish, which glide around almost

between al-fresco dining overlooking the Burj Khalifa

eerily as the diners come and go. Rock shrimp

or stay inside but still benefit from the view through

tempura is a favourite of many, and the chef can do

the panoramic window. Crispy pan-fried salmon is

almost superhuman things with eggplants, turning

one of the menu’s highlights.

what is usually an unassuming vegetable into a

If Japanese food is more your bag, again, you

caramelised work of genius.

Dubai 101

29


The Sights and Culture From the world’s tallest building to quirky art galleries, Dubai’s got culture in spades. Here are the highlights. For a city that was little more than a fishing village

Al Arab. Shaped like a giant ship’s sail, the iconic

50 years ago, Dubai boasts a phenomenal amount

structure holds a world-famous hotel and is slightly

of cultural activities and sights. The most noticeable

off the mainland on an artificial island, connected

comes in the form of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s

by a bridge. There’s a rooftop tennis court, helipad

tallest building, which towers over the city at

and no regular bedrooms – only suites. If you’re not

an awe-inspiring height of 828m. While you can

staying in one, book afternoon tea and you’ll be in

travel to the top (see ‘The Activities’, pxx), it’s also

for a real treat: stacks of dainty sandwiches and

mightily impressive viewed from afar – and be sure

delightfully light cakes are served in Sahn Eddar,

to watch for it when you fly in and out of Dubai:

a lounge that sits gracefully at the bottom of the

it’s even better seen from above. Home to Giorgio

world’s tallest atrium.

Armani’s first ever hotel and a few lucky residents,

If you like to explore cities’ histories when you’re

the stunning monolith also forms the backdrop to

on holiday, the Bastakiya won’t disappoint. A

the Dubai Fountain, a choreographed light and water

stunningly peaceful complex of small stone wind-

show designed by the team behind Las Vegas’s

tower dwellings built in the 1890s in the north of

Bellagio fountains.

the city, the area is also home to the Local House

Another sight that’s best viewed from a plane

Restaurant, one of the only places in Dubai that

is that of the Palm Jumeirah. The manmade

actually serves Emirati food, and the XVA, which

development extends into the sea and is shaped like

features a tranquil internal courtyard shaded by a

a palm tree. Residential complexes line the trunk and

giant tree. Sitting quietly with a book and a mint

the fronds, while at the top of the tree stands the

lemonade is a blissful way to spend an afternoon.

equally impressive Atlantis The Palm, which looms

To really acquaint yourself with Dubai’s history,

in the distance like a magical palace. There are also

you simply have to check out the Dubai Museum.

a growing number of hotels on the circular land that

Constructed in 1787, the building was once a

frames the main body of the Palm – staying at one

defensive fort and now features colourful life-sized

of them would certainly make for a great postcard

dioramas depicting what everyday life was like

boast.

before the drills hit oil. Once you understand what

The image of one hotel in Dubai has become almost synonymous with the city, and that’s the Burj

the city has grown from, the incredible commitment of Dubai’s founding fathers to developing the

Dubai 101

31


Clockwise from left: Burj Al Arab; Atlantis, The Palm; XVA.

emirate becomes apparent, so it’s fitting to pay

used to house a fairly limited collection of monkeys

homage by visiting Sheikh Saeed House. The former

and big cats, but thanks to a continuing regeneration

dwelling of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum (ruler of Dubai

programme, you can now see Arabian wolves, which

from 1912 until 1958 and grandfather of the present

are extinct in the wild, Gordon’s wildcat and the

ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum),

world’s only captive breeding colony of Socotra

the elegant building now houses rare historic

cormorants. Kids will also be riveted by the Bengal

photographs, coins, stamps and other intriguing

tigers, hyenas, gorillas, chimpanzees, flamingos,

documents for your perusal.

gazelles, snakes, vultures and a huge aviary housing

Further south along the coast lies Jumeirah Mosque. It is Dubai’s most well-known place of

many regional birds of prey. There’s a thriving arts scene in Dubai, and if

worship and is a truly beautiful building constructed

you fancy seeing a play or concert while you’re

in the medieval Fatima style. For a guided tour in

in town, there are multiple options available. For

which the intricacies of the architecture and practices

performances by international companies, the

of the mosque are explained, head there by 10am on

Madinat Theatre is your best bet. Nestled in the

a Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday.

gorgeous, maze-like Madinat complex, the theatre

Also in Jumeirah is the popular family destination of Dubai Zoo. The oldest zoo in the Arabian Gulf, it 32

Dubai 101

has a very comfortable 432-seat auditorium and routinely plays host to productions that fuse actors


‘Jumeirah Mosque. is a truly beautiful building constructed in the medieval Fatima style’ to encourage the public to get involved with art in a handson capacity. Recent artists to have exhibited at the Third Line include Youssef Nabil, Huda Loutfi, Abbas Akhavan and Slavs from from London’s West End with the best of local

and Tatars, and the in-house bookshop is a real

talent. And if it’s local talent that you’d specifically

gem for those interested in learning more about the

like to see, it enjoys a very welcoming home at the

rapidly developing field of contemporary Middle

Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre, more

Eastern art.

commonly known as DUCTAC. As well as excellently

Back up north in the Bastakiya lies another

produced plays and concerts, the centre, which is

Dubai treasure: The Majlis Gallery. Founded by an

based at the Mall of the Emirates, often plays host to

expat, her husband, two Iranian tea importers and

art exhibitions and workshops and is a real hub for

an Egyptian curtain-maker way back in 1978, the

Dubai’s artistic community.

bohemian-feeling home has played host to many

However, the local arts scene doesn’t stop there. A

an artistic soul in its 33 years. As well as wonderful

wealth of edgy galleries are springing up around the

paintings, The Majlis Gallery contains beautiful glass

city, notably in the industrial zone of Al Quoz. Traffic

sculptures, jewellery, traditional Omani basketware

is run by Emirati expert Rami Farook, whose own

and French-style furniture. Perfect for a lazy

collection of over 200 pieces sits alongside works by

afternoon of browsing.

local and international artists in the modern space.

A strongly contrasting – but no less impressive –

As well as the exhibitions, there’s a shop selling

artistic experience awaits within the sleek environs

art books, prints and quirky gifts, and regular film

of DIFC. Art Nights @ Gate Village was formed in

screenings.

reaction to the heavily corporate world of Dubai’s

The nearby Third Line has a very urban feel

banking elit, who are housed at DIFC, and every

with corrugated ceilings and concrete floors. The

month it hosts a fresh combination of art, film,

gallery’s aim is to promote Middle Eastern artists

fashion, design and cuisine, inviting members of the

and its dedicated team focuses strongly on non-

public to engage through a variety of free indoor and

profit, charitable activities, often holding events

outdoor activities.

34

Dubai 101


Activities and The Adventure Activities

Malaysia is a dream destination for adventurous types andadrenalinefamilies who Breathtakingly luxurious spas, world-class golf courses, want to get out and about to enjoy the great outdoors. There of pumping water parks – however you define fun, Dubai’s gotare thehundreds lot. wonderous expeditions to choose from: here’s our pick of the country... If you thought sunbathing was the only thing to do

firma can keep themselves occupied with over 150

in Dubai, think again:names there for are families so manyvisiting activities on One of the biggest

computer games. rubber ring rides. series of excellent

offer thatisit’s impossible to get bored there.drive Malaysia Genting Highlands, an hour’s

Dubai’s visitors you’ll can’t fail love Further youngest south in Melaka, findtothe A’Famosa

It can beoftricky gain a sense of theisgeography northeast KualatoLumpur. This place the king of

Kidzania 4 448 5222). kiddie-sized replica resort. As(+971 well as having topAgolf facilities and a of

of Dubaiand when arrivevia because the Genting city is so resorts canyou be first accessed the lofty

a real city complete with roads, buildings cars, super-fun waterpark, A’Famosa is famedand for its

widely Luckily, help istoatthree handseparate in the form Skywayspread. cable car. It’s home

the centre enables little onesthe to pretend that they’ve animal attractions, notably Animal World

of a tripparks, up theincluding world’s tallest building. The At The theme a water park, an outdoor

got their dream it aafirefighter, a teacher or Safari. Here youjob, canbe take trip around 150

Top, Burj Khalifa (+971 4 888 8888) experience theme park and the first world indoor theme park,

a doctor. They role play and even get to beautiful acresengage and seeinzebras, tigers, camels,

begins with are a high-speed whisking you up all of which stacked toelevator the rafters with brilliant

don a uniform, whileand alsolions, learning about what the giraffes, elephants before popping over

the tower’s 124 floors. You emerge to a spectacle rides and attractions. could spend a good few

job entails. Island The fact thethe learning is disguised to Monkey tothat meet primates. You can

like other. The circular Observation Deckso offers daysnoworking your way around this place, be

beneath fun means thatpet both children and parents also let your little ones camels, rabbits and

jaw-dropping of the mostlike famous sights certain not to views miss out on city’s key rides, the Rolling

feel the In day has been well ponies. Teluk Sengat in spent. the south east, there’s an

–Thunder the Palm Jumeirah, the Sungai financial district, the Dubai Mine Train, the Rejang Flume Ride

AnotherCrocodile great opportunity for learning comes in incredible Farm, where over a thousand

Fountain – and the surrounding look like and the fabulously fun Bumper skyscrapers Boats. The resort is

the form of beauties Dubai’s two Still aintour The and Dubai toothsome areaquariums. on show. Take

tiny There really is nowhere else like it. also bungalows. home to five performance areas, which host

Mall is Dubai Aquarium (+971 448whole 5200),chickens, which watch the crocs being fed fish4and

Once you’ve had–your fillinofadvance dizzy heights, fantastic concerts check to seethose what’s

boasts Guinness Worldsnapper Record –forif the before the picking up a baby youworld’s dare.

with families (orvisit… big kids) in tow should head on during your

largest panel (that is, thefor huge panefans thatis Nearby,acrylic another wonderworld animal

to neighbouring The Dubai Mall, which boasts Meanwhile, just a quarter of an hour’s drivea

allows the mall’s shoppers to Sungai see theRengit, aquarium’s the brilliant Ostrich Farm in where

plethora ofKuala family-friendly Its indoor outside of Lumpur isactivities. Desa Water Park, theme

inhabitants). in at 32.88 you can viewMeasuring baby ostriches beingmetres tendedwide by their

park Republicto (+971 4 448 8484) combines a miniSEGA city devoted aquatic pleasures. Bring

by 8.3 metres high, it over offersinaSabah staggering view of parents. Meanwhile, in Malaysian

thrilling rides andcostume virtual games with something your swimming and spend a day being

its 33,000 residents, which comprise 140onspecies Borneo, there are jaw-dropping sights offer

for everyone. Top adrenaline junkies has knocked about bypick the for Shock Wave, zipping along

including sharksOrang and rays. you want toLocated get evenin at the Sepilok UtanIf Sanctuary.

to Gear, a 380-metre rollercoaster thatPool onbe theSpin Super Tube, chilling out in the Bubble

closer to the can take this the world’s most Sandakan outaction, on theyou east coast, place allows

–and unsurprisingly – spins riders around; elsewhere screaming your head off as you descend

surreal glass-bottomed try aorange spot of cageyou to get up close withboat the ride, majestic

competitive canlegendary battle it out on the Action Rivertypes and the Thunderbolt, Asia’s

snorkelling or even go shark-diving. beasts, which are looked after as part of Malaysia’s

skateboarding-themed Canyon, which is a longest Master Blaster.Halfpipe Up in Sungai Petani in the

The Lost Chambers (+971 4 426 0000) is based eco-protection programme.

lot trickier to master onlookers might realise. north there’s anotherthan great – although somewhat

in Atlantis The Palm and itscute theme is, you guessed If smaller – but equally – creatures are more

Those prefer to keep their feet firmly smallerwho – waterpark, The Carnivall, whichon hasterra a

it, thething, lost underwater of Atlantis. Guests canin your head to thecity Penang Butterfly Farm

Dubai 101 Malaysia 101

35 21


lose themselves in the maze-like assortment of

opening of Tantrum Alley, in which guests share a

passageways and tunnels, coming face-to-face with

four-seater tube and spin through tornadoes, and

sea creatures from all over the world, from sharks

Burj Surj, during which riders are hurled into bowls

to jellyfish. You can touch starfish, feed stingrays or

and spun around at breakneck speed. The Wipeout

even book a special guided back-of-house tour.

and Riptide Flowriders allow you to try your hand

Adjacent to the Lost Chambers is Aquaventure (+971 4 426 0000), Dubai’s newest water park. Race to the top of the 28-metre-tall Ziggurat and plunge

at body-boarding and knee-boarding in the face of seven tonnes of water per second. Away from the sun lie two infinitely chillier

down the near-vertical Leap of Faith, the tunnel of

options. First is Dubai Ice Rink (+971 4 448 5111), an

which shoots you straight through a shark-infested

Olympic-sized rink that enjoys an unusual location

lagoon; alternatively, take a ride on Shark Attack,

in the middle of The Dubai Mall. Kids and adults

which travels through the pool at a far more leisurely

can glide around to their hearts’ content, knowing

pace, allowing you to observe the five species of

they’re in the safe hands of the rink’s highly trained

sharks as they lazily circle around you… If you prefer

supervisors, before feeding up at one of the mall’s

your leisure minus fins, there’s a white sand beach as

150-plus food outlets.

well as a 2km lazy river and action-packed ‘splashers’ area for tiny tots. Dubai’s other great water park is Wild Wadi

If ice-skating in the desert sounds outlandish, skiing must sound insane – but anything is possible in Dubai and so, when you see a huge, sloped tin

(+971 4 348 4444). Located just down the road

box attached to the side of Mall of the Emirates,

next to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, its repertoire

rest assured that it is actually Ski Dubai (+971 4 409

of rides expanded in January this year with the

4000). The real-snow slope features the world’s only

36

Dubai 101


Opposite page, clockwise from left: Burj Khalifa; Dubai Aquarium; Aquaventure. This page, clockwise from left: Golf; Ski Dubai; The Dubai Ice Rink.

‘Plunge down the near-vertical Leap of Faith, the tunnel of which shoots you straight through a shark-infested lagoon’ indoor black run and offers toboganning, tubing and bobsled rides. Clothes are provided (though you’ll need to buy your own gloves and hat).

front of the green – very challenging indeed. Ernie Els’ brand-new Els Club (+971 4 425 1010) is an entirely different beast. A part of Dubai’s Sports

As well as the unlikely arena of winter sports,

City, it really embraces its desert setting, with native

Dubai excels itself when it comes to golf. Its year-

plants and sand dunes beautifully incorporated into

round sunshine makes it the ideal place to play,

the 18-hole course. It stretches 7,538 yards and offers

which is reflected in the number of courses dotted

four sets of tees. Hole 9 is among the trickiest – as

around the city. The Montgomerie Dubai (+971

well as being the longest shot on the fairway, a tree

4 390 5600) is set in the luxurious Emirates Hills

also stands between you and your target.

neighbourhood. The 265-acre course was designed

The Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club (+971 4

by Colin Montgomerie and Desmond Muirhead, and

380 2222) was voted one of the top 100 courses

while its 14 lakes make it stunning, don’t let them

outside the US by Golf Digest last year – and it’s

distract you: this is a serious course with some pretty

not surprising when you consider its design (which

tricky holes. The most whimsical has got to be the

comes complete with majlis) and unusual quirks,

par 3 thirteenth, which is in the shape of the UAE

such as playing up-hill. The Faldo, the club’s second

(Emiratis are nothing if not patriotic); the toughest

course, was redesigned by Nick Faldo and reopened

however is probably the par 5 eighteenth which

in 2006, proving very popular for its rugged terrain

stands at 656 yards and has water protecting the

and the natural wadi (valley) running through it.

Dubai 101

37


‘If you’d rather view endless miles of undulating terracotta-coloured sand dunes, you simply can’t beat hot-air ballooning’ The par 71 course at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht

like, and audio commentary is available in eight

Club (+971 4 380 1234) is a water-lover’s dream, with

languages. Prepare to be dazzled by Dubai’s most

several artificial lakes complementing the views of

spectacular and historically significant landmarks,

the shimmering Dubai Creek. A tense end to your

from the Burj Al Arab to the traditional souks. The

game is provided by the two par 4 closing holes. The

ticketing system is very flexible: choose between

17th and 18th are flanked on one side by the creek

24 hours and 48 hours, beach and city, and day

and the 18th is made even more challenging by a

and night (free entry to Dubai Museum and a dhow

long bunker on the right – and guess what, there’s

cruise are included in the day ticket).

water on the other side of that too. Definitely one for the confident golfer. If you’re looking for a desert oasis, you’ll find it at

To see the city from a slightly different perspective, however, get airborne. Book an aerial city tour with Seawings (+971 4 883 2999) and

Al Badia Golf Club (+971 4 285 5772). World-famous

you’ll take in landmarks from the Burj Khalifa to the

golf course architect Robert Trent Jones II is behind

Palm Jumeirah in a seaplane – a hugely thrilling

this divine setting, which leads players around lakes,

experience. If you’d rather view endless miles of

waterfalls, ponds and ‘sand rivers’, placed to give

undulating terracotta-coloured sand dunes, you

players a break from all that pesky water. Four sets

simply can’t beat hot-air ballooning. Balloon

of tees are provided on each hole, so professionals

Adventures Emirates (+971 4 285 4949) will whisk

can tackle the full 7,303 yards while newbies can

you off to the desert where you can enjoy a magic

stick to 5,398 yards.

carpet ride and take in the majestic beauty of the

Away from the fairway, the Big Bus Tour (+971 4 340 7709) is the perfect solution if you want to explore. You can hop-on and hop-off whenever you

38

Dubai 101

scenery, which is interrupted only by oases, gazelles and the odd camel. Another supremely popular way of experiencing


Opposite page: Skydiving. This page, left to right: Scubadiving; Watersports.

the desert is by going on a desert safari. After

from the Dubai International Marine Club and take

spiriting you away into the desert, your probably-

guests along the coast and around the famous Palm

slightly-crazy 4x4 driver will embark on a white-

Jumeirah. A particularly romantic experience is to

knuckle ride over, around, up and down the sand

be had on the sunset trip. The company also offers

dunes, normally at breakneck speed. You are then

fishing trips – and what could be more rewarding

led into a camp where there is belly dancing, a

than catching your own dinner?

delicious Arabic feast, henna tattoos and endless shisha. It’s a must-do. Are adrenaline-laced sports your thing? Then

If you prefer swimming with fish to reeling them out of the sea, you’re in luck: the UAE offers fantastic scuba-diving opportunities. If you need tuition, Al

head to Dubai Autodrome (+971 4 367 8700), where

Boom Diving (+971 4 342 2993) runs PADI courses.

you can drive an Audi R8 V10 Thriller, an F1-style

While Dubai isn’t short of shipwrecks or marine

single-seater and all manner of other fast cars on

life – the Arabian Gulf is home to turtles, parrotfish,

their track, as well as karting in the Kartdrome and

rays and reef sharks to name but a few – for the best

running around and shooting your friends in the

visibility, do a day trip to Fujairah or Musandam.

Laserdrome. Very silly and very fun.

The former is only 90 minutes away and boasts the

A more natural way of satisfying your need for

quirky Snoopy Rock (thus named because it looks

speed can be found in Dubai’s equestrian centres.

like the silhouette of the cartoon dog lying on his

Horse-riding is huge in the UAE and large centres

back). While Musandam is slightly further away

such as Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club (+971 4 361

and necessitates passing through the Oman border,

8111) will offer stable tours, riding lessons and desert

you’re almost guaranteed to see dolphins there so

hacks, a sure-fire ticket to a pinch-yourself moment.

it’s well worth the early start.

Dubai looks just as spectacular from the sea as

You’ll also get to see dolphins - and have

it does from the air – and taking a boat trip such as

the opportuinty to swim with them - at Dubai

those offered by Dusail (+971 4 398 9146) is a truly

Dolphinarium (+971 4 336 9773). Here you’ll also

luxurious way to spend some time. Cruises depart

get to enjoy the spectacle of dolphins and seals

Dubai 101

39


Left: Heading out for a desert safari; Below: Talise Spa & Wellness; Open beach at JBR.

‘The beaches of Dubai also provide a wide range of fantastic watersports to enjoy’ performing spills and thrills in the water, while kids can also learn all about the mammals and their natural habitat. The beaches of Dubai also provide a wide range of fantastic watersports to enjoy. From banana boating to parasailing to being swung out of control

per capita than any other city in the world. Talise

on a donut, if it’s high-octane thrills you’re after,

Spa & Wellness (+971 4 366 6818) at the Madinat

this is the destination for you. Several companies

Jumeirah provides a total reprieve from the city and

operate from the open beach at JBR. It’s a fabulous

the minute you enter the green, tranquil gardens

spot if you’re looking for the ‘city beach’ experience,

and wander towards your treatment room, you will

with skyscrapers running along the entire stretch of

feel the stresses of the outside world melt away. The

coastline and numerous cafés on the promenade.

Talise rituals combine guided stretching, massage

Another activity that the JBR beach offers is

and facial to leave you feeling on top of the world.

skydiving with Skydive Dubai (+971 50 153 3222).

At Atlantis, The Palm, meanwhile, ShuiQi Spa

Doing a dive in this area of the city offers you some

& Fitness (+971 426 2000) is an astoundingly

truly breathtaking views: think the Palm Jumeirah,

peaceful space. Spread over two floors, the gentle

the World islands and Dubai Marina and you’ll get

lapping of water features soothes the soul. The

the picture.

sublime treatments range from Laconium thrones for

After all that action, even a marathon runner

improving the body’s immune system to the Dubai

would fancy some downtime in a spa and again,

Glamour Ritual, designed to fully prepare female

Dubai is the perfect place for that, with more spas

visitors for wherever their evening may take them.

40

Dubai 101


My

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Life is simply brighter when you add a bit of sparkle to it. Sprinkle some sparkle onto your holiday this winter with a fabulous getaway to Dubai and stay at the ideal family destination of Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

Relax and unwind on our sun-drenched beaches, indulge in local traditions or partake in exciting water sports whilst enjoying your stay in total luxury. As a Middle East resident you will receive 10% off our best available rate (from AED 1,260*) which includes many exclusive complimentary benefits: Buffet Breakfast Sinbad’s Kids Club Wild Wadi Waterpark Exclusive Beach Access Complimentary Internet For reservations, contact your preferred travel partner or call +971 4 364 7555

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Dubai101_February2011  

A guide to holidays in Dubai

Dubai101_February2011  

A guide to holidays in Dubai

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