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Discover All ThAT’s Possible Pocket Guide 2017/18


Experience Experience Polynesia Polynesia in theinheart the heart of of Dubai Dubai Parks Parks and Resorts. and Resorts. Step into anStep exciting into an world exciting of curiosity world of with curiosity an unforgettable with an unforgettable stay at Lapita, stayaatunique Lapita,gateway a uniquetogateway the endless to the funendless and fun and enjoyment on enjoyment offer at Dubai on offerParks at Dubai and Resorts. Parks and Resorts. Create moments Createtomoments treasure to with treasure friendswith andfriends family and whenfamily you when you stay at Polynesian stay at Polynesian inspired rooms, inspired bond rooms, over a bond mealover at a meal at amazing restaurants amazing restaurants or unwind at or the unwind Lapita atlazy the Lapita river. lazy river. Exactly likeExactly nothinglike else. nothing else.

Book now at Book lapitadubaihotel.com now at lapitadubaihotel.com Tel +971 4Tel810 +971 9999 4 810 9999

Lapita, Dubai Lapita, Parks Dubai and Parks Resorts, and Autograph Resorts, Autograph Collection Hotels Collection Hotels Dubai Parks and Dubai Resorts, Parks Sheikh and Resorts, ZayedSheikh Road, Zayed P.O. Box Road, 334221, P.O. Box Dubai, 334221, UAE Dubai, UAE LapitaHotel | LapitaHotel LapitaHotel | | LapitaHotel @lapitahoteldubai | @lapitahoteldubai


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coNtENts

leGoland duBai

coNtact us Dubai Tourism Head Office PO Box 594, Dubai, UAE T. 6005 55559 e. info@visitdubai.ae

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The Basics Essentials Dubai Demystified What’s New?

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GeTTinG around On Arrival Dubai Metro

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GeT your BearinGs Bur Dubai & Deira Downtown Dubai Business Bay Jumeirah Sheikh Zayed Road Al Quoz Palm Jumeirah Dubai Marina & JBR

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a slice of emiraTi life

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musT-dos in duBai

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whaT’s on in duBai

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a family advenTure Theme Parks Waterparks Under The Sea Back To Nature Ask The Expert

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superB shoppinG Major Malls Mini Malls Open-Air Malls Discount Malls


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coNtENts 70 Sensational Souks 70 Outdoor Markets 72 Ask The Expert 74 74 75 76 77 77 78 80 81 82

naTure’s playGround Air Land Sea Snow And Ice Park Life Beach Life Into The Wild Spa Time Ask The Expert

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livinG culTure Art Show Time Heritage Highlights Must-Visit Museums Mosque Tours Ask The Expert

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eaTinG ouT Arabic Asian Emirati Indian/Pakistani Budget Bites Japanese Latin American Mediterranean Family Fare Specialist Restaurants Mall Munching Home-Grown Hot Spots Scenic Fine Dining Unbeatable Brunches Ask The Expert

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where To sTay Five Star Four Star Three Star Guesthouses

commercial direcTor Rawan Chehab

t. +971 4 364 2876 W. hotmediapublishing.com manaGinG direcTor Victoria Thatcher ediTorial direcTor John Thatcher Group commercial direcTor David Wade

arT direcTor Kerri Bennett producTion manaGer Muthu Kumar conTriBuTors Lara Brunt Emma Laurence Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from HOT Media Publishing is strictly prohibited.


TAKE YOURSELF ON A JOURNEY

Treatment Room

Hammam Area

Immerse into an aura of relaxation on ripples of endless bliss, and relax in the splendour of the Hammam as the heat and delicate aromas leave you radiant and refreshed. At the forefront of relaxation, rejuvenation and luxury, the spa is designed around a person-centric model to ensure that the selection of bespoke treatments and facilities for you makes it the ultimate destination of wellbeing.

For more information, visit jumeirah.com/taliseottomanspa or call +971 4 453 0455/456

Thai Gardens


6 visitdubai.com

Ahlan wa sahlan fi Dubai Welcome to Dubai – a city like no other Cloud-grazing skyscrapers, glorious coastline and the beautiful Arabian desert combine to make this glittering city the destination of choice for more than 14 million visitors every year. Whether you’re in town for business or pleasure, a long or short stay, Dubai is bursting with memories just waiting to be made. One of the world’s most modern cities, its infrastructure was largely financed by oil revenues, but thanks to economic diversification by its rulers, Dubai is now a global hub for commerce and tourism. It’s home to the busiest airport on Earth, Dubai International, and one of the world’s top container ports, Jebel Ali. It’s also a place with a rich, authentic culture. In 1833, the Maktoum family led the 800-strong

Bani Yas tribe to settle at the mouth of the Dubai Creek. Realising its strategic importance, the Maktoums, whose descendents still rule Dubai today, made the harbour a centre for trade, fishing, pearling and shipping. It became a flourishing port and in 1971 the emirate joined Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and (in 1972) Ras Al Khaimah to form the United Arab Emirates. Today, both sides of Dubai – old and new – are ripe for exploration. Delve into living history by the Creek, or marvel at the modern metropolis from the top of the world’s tallest tower. Add in golden beaches and endless sand dunes, record-breaking theme parks and spectacular shopping and dining, and there’s truly something for everyone.

ESSENTIALS Everything you need to know when travelling to dubai GEttinG thErE Two airports, both within easy reach of the city centre, connect Dubai to more than 260 destinations around the world: Dubai International (DXB) and Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC). Cruise ships from all over the world dock at the Dubai Cruise Terminal at Port Rashid. dubaiairports.ae; dubaicruiseterminal.com


thE basics 7 DubAI opErA AND burj khALIfA


8 thE basics

visitdubai.com

climatE Dubai enjoys a tropical desert climate, which means clear blue skies for most of the year. Average temperatures in summer reach around 41˚C, and 23˚C in winter.

medication, it’s advisable to bring your prescription and a doctor’s note with you. Rashid, Latifa and Dubai Hospitals offer free emergency services for all, regulated by the Dubai Health Authority.

monEy The UAE currency is the dirham (AED/Dhs). One dirham is made up of 100 fils. The dirham is pegged to the US dollar at a rate of approximately Dhs3.67 = USD1.

culturE Islam is the official religion of the UAE, but the practice of other faiths is accepted. The holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 27 May in 2017, and 16 May in 2018. English is widely spoken in Dubai, but it’s polite to try a few words in Arabic, the official language of the UAE. Try these…

GEttinG connEctEd The country code for the UAE is +971. Telecom services are provided by du and Etisalat. Both sell sim cards from booths at the airport, which you can then top up with prepaid credit.du.ae; etisalat.ae hEalth If you’re travelling with prescribed

marhaba: Hello ma’a as-salama: Goodbye as-salaam alaikum: Peace be upon you minfadlak: Please shukran: Thank you

EntErinG dubai Nationals of the following 48 countries and territories who are holders of normal passports are eligible to obtain a UAE visa on arrival, valid for 30 days (extension possible for an additional fee) all Eu countries Andorra Australia Brunei Canada China Hong Kong Japan Malaysia Monaco

New Zealand Russia San Marino Singapore South Korea United Kingdom United States of America Vatican City

nationals of the following countries may enter the uaE without a visa: Bahrain Kuwait Oman Qatar Saudi Arabia

citizens of other countries should apply for visas at their nearest uaE Embassy and follow the criteria stated


Exuding European grandeur and urban glamour, discover a space that mirrors your sense of style while fulďŹ lling your deepest desire. Plan your stay in Dubai this year and live the iconic Versace lifestyle in a cosmopolitan city that echoes the charms of tradition. Explore our family, business, honeymoon and other stay offers at www.palazzoversace.ae/specialoffers


10 thE basics

DubAI DEMYSTIfIED

It attracts millions of holidaymakers every year, but amazingly Dubai is still the source of myths. We give you a quick reality check it’s affordable (really) As well as some of the world’s most extravagant hotels and experiences, you’ll find plenty of affordable accommodation, restaurants and activities here – not to mention many excellent, free-to-enjoy parks and beautiful beaches. alcohol is available Non-Muslim adults can drink alcohol in numerous licensed hotels, resorts and restaurants around Dubai. Just remember, unruly behaviour won’t be tolerated. yes, women can drive Women are very well respected in Dubai, and hiring and driving a car as a female is no problem. ThE bEAch AT jbr

visitdubai.com

it’s okay to hold hands But you should refrain from overthe-top displays of affection when in public. Avoid making rude hand gestures, too. you don’t need to buy a whole new holiday wardrobe Swimwear and shorts are fine for the beach and pool. In public areas, shopping malls and restaurants, however, anything see-through or revealing is a no-go. Women should keep shoulders covered in malls, but a headscarf isn’t necessary.

did you KnoW? the uaE weekend is Fridaysaturday. most businesses are open from 8am to 6pm, saturday to thursday, while the main malls are open from 10am to midnight, sunday to Wednesday, and 10am to 1am, thursday to saturday.


FA B L E D S A N C T UA RY, B E D O U I N S O U L AL MAHA DESERT RESORT & SPA THE LUXURY COLLECTION DUBAI DESERT CONSERVATION RESERVE PO BOX 118887 DUBAI, UAE T 971 4 832 9900 — F 971 4 832 9211 WWW.AL-MAHA.COM


12 thE basics

WhAT’S NEW?

in this ever-changing city, there’s always something new to see and do. these are the biggest additions in the past year dubai WatEr canal Bridging old and new Dubai, this impressive waterway flows through some of the city’s busiest areas. Stroll the boardwalk, or hop on a water ferry or traditional abra.

visitdubai.com

dubai ParKs and rEsorts Comprising a trio of theme parks – Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai and Legoland Dubai – as well as the brilliant Legoland Waterpark, Riverland and Polynesian-themed Lapita Hotel, there’s something for everyone at this all-new labyrinth of fun. dubaiparksandresorts.com

dubai oPEra One of 2016’s most talked-about openings, this stunning arts venue plays host to visiting opera, theatre, magic, music and dance from around the world. dubaiopera.com AL hAbToor cITY

live-performance spectacle that unfolds amid 2.7 million litres of water. alhabtoorcity.com imG Worlds oF advEnturE The world’s largest indoor theme park brings some of the world’s best-loved characters to life, all under one roof. Look out for your favourite Marvel heroes alongside the stars of Cartoon Network. imgworlds.com

al habtoor city Dubai’s newest district is home to three luxury hotels, a choice selection of dining and leisure hot spots, and La Perle by Dragone, a

Etihad musEum Immerse yourself in the Emirates’ history at this cutting-edge new museum, built on the very site where the union was established in 1971. etihadmuseum.dubaiculture.ae


PROMOTION

Hot in tHe City Why La Ville Hotel & Suites City Walk is now Dubai’s go-to place

I

n a city in which there’s a near endless stream of new and exciting developments, it takes something special to stand apart. That something special is La Ville Hotel & Suites, a beautiful, chic and effortlessly cool boutique hotel that’s a centrepiece of City Walk, Dubai’s new urban living destination. Part of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection Hotels, La Ville Hotel & Suites represents a new dimension of hospitality, where in-the-know travellers mix with local socialites to indulge in innovative leisure and entertainment offerings.

Whether in one of 77 rooms, 11 suites or 68 residences, guests are afforded contemporary, luxury furnishings with an artistic twist. The artistic nature of the hotel extends to its five restaurants and lounges, each headed by innovative Chef Tobias Taubner. Opt for healthy and thoughtfully sourced ingredients at Chival, succulent cuts and seafood at GRAZE, inventive platters and drinks at Grapeskin, or spectacular views from LookUp Rooftop Lounge. Why go elsewhere when you can stay in style at La Ville Hotel & Suites? livelaville.com


MOTIONGATE™ Dubai

Bollywood Parks™ Dubai

Riverland™ Dubai

Play the hero with your favourite Hollywood characters across action-packed movie rides and attractions.

The world’s first Bollywood theme park with rides and attractions based on some of Bollywood’s biggest blockbusters.

Enjoy a uniquely themed dining, retail and entertainment destination with four vibrant districts, located at the heart of Dubai Parks and Resorts.

LEGOLAND® Dubai

LEGOLAND® Water Park

The ultimate theme park for families with kids aged 12-2. With over 40 LEGO® themed rides, shows, attractions and building experiences.

Splash your way through 20 water slides and attractions in the region’s only water park designed for families with kids aged 12-2.

3 WORLD-CLASS THEME PARKS, 1 WATER PARK OFFERING OVER 100 RIDES,SHOWS AND ATTRACTIONS. ENJOY DINING AND RETAIL ADVENTURES AT OVER 50 OUTLETS. BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW on dubaiparksandresorts.com UAE: 800-Amazing (2629464) International: +971 4 820 0000

-2017 - Lic. Lafig Belgium - www.smurf.com Kung Fu Panda © 2017 DreamWorks Animation LLC LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Brick and Knob configurations, DUPLO and LEGOLAND are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2017 The LEGO Group. LEGOLAND is a Merlin Entertainments brand.


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saruq al hadid musEum Marvel at some of the UAE’s most exciting archaeological discoveries, on display for the first time in the historic Al Shindagha neighbourhood. saruqalhadid.ae avEntura If you like your thrills with a side of nature, get to grips with tree-surfing, zip-lining and rope-climbing among the trees in Mushrif Park. aventuraparks.com thE GrEEn PlanEt You can now experience the rainforest… in the desert. Wander through tropical flora and fauna in the region’s first bio-dome, keeping an eye out for the resident toucans and sloths. thegreenplanetdubai.com thE Palm JumEirah boardWalK Stretching 11km around the top of The Palm, get a whole new perspective on Dubai’s famous palm tree-shaped island and the city beyond from this waterfront walkway. hub ZEro Virtual zones and retro arcades combine to make this place a gamer’s paradise. hubzerodubai.com hystEria Dubai doesn’t do things by halves, so you can bet its first haunted house,

thE basics 15

located within The Dubai Mall, is not for the faint-hearted. hysteria.ae mattEl Play! toWn One for the little ones, this magical eduplay centre at City Walk allows kids to interact with Barney, Thomas & Friends, Angelina Ballerina, Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam. playtowndubai.com thE bEach WatErParK If you’ve never experienced an inflatable waterpark, this is the place to try it – it’s the world’s largest, and even spells out the name of your favourite holiday destination (that’ll be Dubai). arabianwaterparks.com niKKi bEach rEsort & sPa Featuring rooms, suites, deluxe villas and ‘lifestyle residence units’ by a pristine beach, this resort hotel comes with all the style you’d expect from the Nikki Beach brand. nikkibeachhotels.com/dubai


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thE basics 17

LAST ExIT

club vista marE In prime position on the trunk of Palm Jumeirah, this hip new strip adds seven beachfront restaurants to the foodie landscape, each boasting great views of the city skyline. nakheel.com/en/retail/ club-vista-mare thE outlEt villaGE Dubai isn’t short of luxury shopping, but here you can browse designer offerings at a fraction of the price, in a charming, indoor Tuscanstyled village setting. theoutletvillage.ae last Exit Don’t leave town without checking out Last Exit, a kitschy food-truck park serving up vintage Airstreams

and Americana alongside burgers and hot dogs. It’s in two locations, one along Sheikh Zayed Road and the other on the way out to Al Qudra, – and other locations are planned. lastexit.ae

did you KnoW? you can save money on tons of dubai experiences by downloading the Entertainer app (dhs690 for annual access) or the free voucherskout app. you’ll find the Entertainer is full of 2-for-1 deals on all the city’s main attractions, while voucherskout credits (available in bundles of dhs50 to dhs400) get you 50% off at a variety of food and leisure outlets. voucherskout.com; theentertainer.me


A MODERN HOTEL IN THE VIBRANT HEART OF THE CITY, JUST A SHORT DRIVE AWAY FROM EVERYWHERE That’s what matters to me.

Corner Abu Baker Al Siddique and Sallahudin Road, Dubai, UAE T +971 4 6013999 | E dubai.deira@avanihotels.com avanihotels.com


VisitduBai.com

GettinG around

A wealth of transport services make exploring Dubai easy

on arriVaL After touching down at either of Dubai’s international airports – Dubai International (DXB) or Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC) – there are a number of options for onward travel. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) provides bus services to and from both airports. At DXB, buses to the city leave from Terminals 1, 2 and 3. At DWC, bus no F55 travels to Ibn Battuta metro station every hour during Dubai Metro hours (6am11pm), outside of which, bus No F55A will take you to Satwa bus station. DXB is also serviced by Dubai Metro, with trains departing from Terminals 1 and 3 around every 10 minutes during operational hours. You’ll also find ample RTA taxis, with specific vehicles available for women and families (look out for the pink roofs) and special-needs travellers. All airport fares include a fee of Dhs25 and are metered thereafter. Both airports house numerous car-hire operators, and drivers must be aged 21 or over and in possession of a valid driving licence. dubaiairports.ae; rta.ae

getting around 19

taxis You can hail public taxis (rta.ae) on the street or from ranks at shopping malls and tourist hubs, or book by calling +971 4 208 0808. The minimum fare is Dhs12. You can also order private cars using Uber (uber.com) and Careem (careem.com) apps.

Buses The RTA bus network (rta.ae) covers the majority of the city, with over 700 buses serving 80 routes. You’ll need a Nol card to travel (see page 20). Big Bus Tours (bigbustours.com) and City Sightseeing (citysightseeing-dubai. com) run hop-on, hop-off open-top bus tours covering all the main tourist spots.


20 getting around

Boats Dubai Ferry operates sightseeing routes around Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Creek and Dubai Water Canal, while the Water Bus travels around the Marina and along the Creek. You can also sail across the Creek and along the Dubai Water Canal aboard a traditional abra. For details of all these services, or to book a Water Taxi, see rta.ae. Wonder Bus Tours (wonderbusdubai.net) runs a sea and land bus tour, the first of its kind in the Middle East. the Palm monorail To get a good idea of the sheer size of Palm Jumeirah, take a trip on The Palm Monorail (palm-monorail.com). It spans the trunk of Palm Jumeirah, from Al Sufouh – where it links to the Dubai Tram – to Atlantis, The Palm. It runs every 15 minutes from 10am to 10pm, and tickets cost Dhs15 (Dhs25 return).

VisitduBai.com

dubai trolley Styled like a vintage tram, the world’s first hydrogen-powered trolley (emaar. com) runs along Emaar Boulevard, providing hop-on, hop-off access to the many sights of Downtown Dubai. dubai tram The Dubai Tram (rta.ae) runs on a 42-minute loop from Al Sufouh to JBR, via Dubai Marina. Operating hours are 6am-1am, Saturday to Thursday; 9am-1am, Friday. Trains are divided into Gold, Silver (standard) and family carriages. You’ll need a Nol card to travel (see page 20). Dubai Tram stops to look out for include Jumeirah Beach Residence 1 & 2, from where you can explore Dubai’s beach and al fresco café and restaurant scene; Dubai Marina Mall, which houses Pier 7 (seven restaurants over seven floors) in addition to a host of stores; and Mina Seyahi, where you’ll find Skydive Dubai.


22 GettinG around

viSitduBai.CoM

Dubai Metro Dubai Metro (rta.ae) covers the length and breadth of the city and, with just two lines, it’s easy to navigate. The Red Line runs from Rashidiya to Jebel Ali (best for exploring Dubai’s heritage) and the Green Line runs from Al Qusais to Jadaf (best for seeing the sights). Operating hours are 5.50am-midnight, Saturday to Wednesday; 5.30am-midnight, Thursday; 10am-1am, Friday. Trains are divided into Gold, Silver (standard) and family carriages. Where to hop on and hop off Green Line ◆ Baniyas Square Stroll to the old part of Dubai Creek. ◆ al ras Wander the colourful Gold Souk. ◆ al Ghubaiba Gets you close to the Al Shindagha historical district. ◆ healthcare City Explore Creek Park and the Egyptian-themed Wafi Mall. red Line ◆ emirates Dubai Festival City is a bus ride away. ◆ adCB Take a bus to Karama Souk for bargains galore. ◆ al Jafiliya Enjoy a day of family fun in Zabeel Park. ◆ financial Centre Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) houses some

DID YOU KNOW? You’ll need a Nol card (nol.ae) to access much of Dubai’s public transport. You can purchase and recharge these contactless payment cards at metro and bus stations.

of the city’s finest art galleries and restaurants. ◆ Burj Khalifa/dubai Mall Alight here for the world’s tallest tower and largest mall, as well as The Dubai Fountain, Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and Souk Al Bahar. ◆ first Gulf Bank Close to the Gold & Diamond Park. ◆ Mall of the emirates You’ll find Ski Dubai within this mega-mall. ◆ dubai internet City Palm Jumeirah is a short taxi ride away. ◆ daMaC (dubai Marina) For Dubai Marina Mall, Marina Walk, and the tram interchange. ◆ Jumeirah Lakes towers A 15-minute walk from The Beach at JBR. ◆ ibn Battuta For the world’s largest themed mall, and the bus station.


PROMOTION

T

Polynesian Perfection lapita, Dubai Parks and resorts – a haven of relaxation

he roots of Polynesian culture are built on exploration, then settlement. So too, settling into the elegance and sophistication of Lapita represents a natural evolution – to a day of adrenaline and exploration of its Dubai Parks and Resorts surrounds. The tropical hotel honours the aura of the South Pacific Islands, and is part of the esteemed Autograph Collection by Marriott International – which ensures a stylishly curated experience with accomplished service and elite standards exceeded. The truly unique property is the only hotel within Dubai Parks and Resorts yet harbours the requisite personality to be considered a worthy destination in its own right. 60 suites and three private villas are among the 504 exquisite room-retreats. Meanwhile there's exceptional international cuisine, lagoonstyle pools, ornate decor, a menu of indulgent treatments at Ola spa, and a kids and teens club for the youngsters to unleash any unspent energy: Lapita's traits harmonise to tempt guests for a brief daycation, while urging them to extend their stay that little while longer... lapitadubaihotel.com


visitdubai.com

area guide 25

get your bearings

To gain a better understanding of the districts of Dubai you’ll most likely encounter as you explore the city’s myriad attractions, here’s the skinny on the main areas…


26 visitdubai.com

buR dubai aNd dEiRa On the southern side of Dubai Creek, Bur Dubai is the oldest part of the city and home to the majority of its historical sites. The area features low-rise buildings punctuated by wind towers and minarets, along with hundreds of ethnic eateries and the bustling Textile Souk, where you can bargain for fabric, pashminas and souvenirs. Housed in an old fort that dates back to 1859, Dubai Museum offers an excellent introduction to the history, culture and customs of Dubai. The nearby Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, formerly known as Bastakiya, is an impressive maze of sandy-hued buildings topped with traditional wind towers; be sure to stop by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, which hosts traditional meals and cultural Q&A sessions. Heading west along the Creek past the Souk, the Al Shindagha historical area houses a fascinating collection of small museums, including the Camel Museum and Diving Village. Don’t miss Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House, the grand 19th-century seat of the ruling family that today houses an excellent collection of pre-oilboom photographs of Dubai. Take an abra across the Creek – a one-way ride costs just Dhs1 per person – to Deira. A melting pot of Arab, Asian and African cultures, the densely populated neighbourhood is a top spot for cheap street eats,

Al FAHIDI HISTORICAl NEIGHBOURHOOD

DUBAI CREEK

especially around Muraqqabat Street and Al Rigga Road. Once the commercial centre of the city, Deira still plays an important part in Dubai’s trading industry. Along the banks of the Creek, you’ll find dozens of old-fashioned wooden dhows, loading and unloading goods that are bound for places like India and Iran. Deira’s myriad souks are made for aimless wandering and attract visitors and locals alike. Here you can haggle for jewellery and gems in the Gold


buR dubai aNd dEiRa 27

WHERE TO STAy XVA Art Hotel This charming boutique hotel in the Al Fahidi district has just 13 rooms set around three shady courtyards in an old windtower house. There’s a vegetarian café and art gallery, too. xvahotel.com Avani Deira Dubai Hotel A gateway to the best of Dubai’s diverse old town; soak up Dubai’s bustling souk culture before returning to peace in this cosmopolitan hotel with spacious suites. minorhotels.com

SPICE SOUK

Souk, stock up on supplies in the atmospheric Spice Souk and follow your nose to the Fish Market to see sprawling displays of fresh seafood caught earlier that day. Bur Dubai and Deira have a good selection of accommodation to suit all budgets, with plenty of inexpensive independent hotels and apartments. Both areas are also easily accessible by public transport, including multiple stations along both Dubai Metro lines.

JW Marriott Hotel Dubai A grandiose entranceway staircase sets the tone for this Deira property – it’s an ideally placed sanctuary in which to retreat, having explored Dubai’s vibrant Creekside quarters, and home to the city’s most famous steakhouse. marriott.com JW MARRIOTT HOTEl DUBAI


28 visitdubai.com

doWNtoWN dubai This 500-acre district is the glitzy modern heart of the city. It’s home to a number of record-breaking attractions including Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building; The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination; and The Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest ‘dancing’ fountain. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown’s thriving thoroughfare, loops around all its key attractions. Lined with palm trees that twinkle with thousands of fairy lights at night, the boulevard is sprinkled with cafés, restaurants and five-star hotels. The surrounding streets are made up of picturesque low-rise, traditionalstyle residential buildings. Soaring 828m skywards, the elegantly tapering Burj Khalifa is visible from most parts of the city, while the spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks display is highly anticipated across the globe. The tower consists of residential apartments, an Armani hotel, At.mosphere restaurant (the world’s highest) and the must-visit At The Top observation decks. Immediately below Burj Khalifa lies Burj Lake, home of The Dubai Fountain. Come 6pm each evening, it shoots choreographed jets of water into the air every 30 minutes, accompanied by Arabic, Western and classical songs and illuminated by over 6,000 lights. It’s definitely a spectacle not to be missed.

Overlooking this nightly show is the new Dubai Opera, within the evolving Opera District. The 2,000seat venue is designed to resemble the old dhow sailing vessels that once plied the Arabian Gulf, laden with dates, fish, spices and pearls. Just across the water, Souk Al Bahar (‘market of the sailor’) is a hugely popular waterfront entertainment and dining hub. Many restaurants have outdoor terraces offering top-notch views of the fountains and landmarks. BURJ lAKE


doWNtoWN dubai 29 THE DUBAI MAll

At The Dubai Mall, you can shop in more than 1,200 stores, including flagship department stores such as Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdale’s Dubai. For fashionistas, there’s the high-end Fashion Avenue and a 9,000sqm store devoted entirely to shoes. The mall is also home to a score of family-friendly attractions, including the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, Kidzania and SEGA Republic, and hundreds of casual eateries. Getting to Downtown Dubai is easy, thanks to the Burj Khalifa/ Dubai Mall metro station. Once there, you can climb aboard the Dubai Trolley, a San Francisco-style tram that trundles along Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard.

WHERE TO STAy Hotel Sofitel Dubai Downtown Being directly connected to The Dubai Mall, a stay here is a shopper’s dream. The Sofitel’s French Art de Vivre aura strikes a chord of sophistication. sofiteldubai-downtown.com Vida Downtown Dubai An urban oasis, this boutique bolthole has achieved effortless cool. Welcome the evening in a relaxing poolside cabana, before igniting nighttime buzz within the hotel’s Downtown surrounds. vida-hotels.com Armani Hotel Dubai located in Burj Khalifa, this super-stylish hotel has 160 rooms with king-size beds, marble bathrooms and Armani amenities. There are seven restaurants, an uber-cool lounge and a sleek spa. dubai.armanihotels.com

ARMANI HOTEl DUBAI


30 visitdubai.com

busiNEss baY Bordered to the north by Downtown Dubai, Business Bay is a central neighbourhood located between Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road, the city’s main transport arteries. The area is easily reached by metro, jumping off at Business Bay station, and is home to the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, the world’s tallest hotel. Business Bay has been reborn as a waterfront leisure destination to rival Dubai Marina, thanks to the recent opening of the Dubai Water Canal. The canal winds its way from Dubai Creek through Business Bay to the Arabian Gulf, with a motioncontrolled waterfall at the Sheikh Zayed Road bridge that switches off when boats approach. There’s a 12km-long promenade, which is popular for strolling, jogging and cycling, and you can catch a public ferry from Business Bay all the way south to Dubai Marina, or head north to the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood by Dubai Creek. Crossing the bridge at Sheikh Zayed Road, you’ll find Al Habtoor City, another emerging precinct with three five-star hotels: The St. Regis Dubai, W Dubai-Al Habtoor City and The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City. Coming in late 2017 is La Perle by Dragone, the region’s first theatrical residency. Further changes are afoot for Business Bay with stage one

DUBAI WATER CANAl Image courtesy of @abdullalbuqaish

of the Dhs1 billion Marasi Business Bay development set to open towards the end of 2017. It will include five palm-lined marinas with 1,250 berths and more than 100 ‘floating’ restaurants and shops, as well as a dozen parks and an amphitheatre hosting outdoor cinema and weekly markets. Meanwhile, the established Bay Avenue precinct near Executive Towers is home to a mall with casual restaurants, along with a popular park with a playground and bouncy jogging track.


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WHERE TO STAy JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai This twin-tower hotel has more than 1,600 rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and freestanding tubs, along with 14 topnotch restaurants and the sprawling Saray Spa. marriott.com Taj Dubai Keep a watchful eye on the glittering Burj Khalifa from a prime Downtown vantage. lavish rooms are a fusion of contemporary and heritage, with décor inspired by Indian artistry. taj.tajhotels.com

For foodies, Bay Avenue hosts a weekly farmers’ market every Friday during the milder months, from November to May, from 8am until 1pm. Alongside the world’s tallest hotel, Business Bay is the location of some of Dubai’s most striking skyscrapers. These include the funky O-14 tower, popularly known as the Swiss Cheese Tower due to the layer of white outer cladding dotted with around 1,300 holes, and the Zaha Hadid-designed The Opus by Omniyat.

Al Habtoor City Hotel Collection Choose from three hotels: The St. Regis Dubai for luxury; The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City for business or leisure; and the W Dubai-Al Habtoor City, for a future-perfect stay. alhabtoorcity.com

JW MARRIOTT MARqUIS HOTEl DUBAI


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JumEiRaH Home to luxurious villas, boutique shopping, excellent beaches and the city’s most iconic hotel, the low-rise coastal district of Jumeirah stretches from just south of Port Rashid all the way down to Madinat Jumeirah. The main thoroughfares are Jumeirah Beach Road and Al Wasl Road, which run parallel between the coastline and Sheikh Zayed Road. The best way to visit Jumeirah is by taxi. At the northern end, the new Etihad Museum tells the fascinating story of the formation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. Visitors can also pop into Union House next door, where the unification agreement was signed. Foodies should make a beeline for 2nd December Street, which is lined with wallet-friendly restaurants serving authentic Indian, Pakistani, Lebanese and Iranian food. Ravi’s and Al Mallah are two long-standing favourites. Jumeirah Mosque is another big draw. Featuring graceful Fatimidstyle architecture, the mosque is open to non-Muslim visitors (excluding Fridays), and the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding hosts guided tours six days a week. Those in need of retail therapy should visit Jumeirah Beach Road for independent boutiques such as Garderobe (selling pre-owned designer garb) and mini-malls like

CITy WAlK

KITE BEACH

Sunset Mall and Mercato Mall. Don’t miss BoxPark and City Walk – two open-air shopping, dining and entertainment districts known for their unique shops, hip cafés and boutique cinemas. Jumeirah’s long stretch of shoreline is dotted with public beaches. Kite Beach, so named for its resident kitesurfers, has a cluster of cafés along its promenade, as well as a skate park and an elevated wire obstacle course. South of here, Sunset Beach (also known as Umm Suqeim Beach) boasts stunning views of Burj Al


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WHERE TO STAy Burj Al Arab This all-suite hotel boasts lavish interiors and a team of round-the-clock butlers. There are nine restaurants and lounges, plus a new pool deck that stretches 100m out to sea. jumeirah.com la Ville Hotel & Suites City Walk, Dubai Distinctively low-rise in contrast to the emirate’s plethora of skyscraper hotels, the boutique la Ville has a relaxed vibe that’s reflected in the spacious guest rooms. livelaville.com

BURJ Al ARAB

Arab, making it as popular for selfies as it is for swimming. Regularly named the world’s most luxurious hotel, the sailshaped Burj Al Arab is here, as is family favourite Wild Wadi Waterpark. Nearby, the sprawling Madinat Jumeirah resort is designed like a mythical old Arabian city, complete with wind-tower buildings and snaking Venetianlike canals and abras to ferry visitors around. It also boasts an atmospheric souk (great for a few souvenirs) and a long line-up of al fresco restaurants.

Roda Beach Resort Standing just a stone’s throw away from the beautiful Kite Beach, Roda Beach Resort (opening late 2017) will offer suites and the standout Deluxe 5-Bedroom Vila, which spans two floors. roda-hotels.com

lA VIllE HOTEl & SUITES CITy WAlK


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sHEiKH ZaYEd Road Sheikh Zayed Road, aka the E11 highway, is Dubai’s main artery and runs the entire length of the city. The Sheikh Zayed Road neighbourhood is generally considered to stretch between the World Trade Centre roundabout and Downtown Dubai. With an almost unbroken line of gleaming skyscrapers, this area offers a quintessentially futuristic image of the city. Metro stations line Sheikh Zayed Road, along with five-star hotels such as Fairmont Dubai, The Conrad and H Hotel. The 37-storey World Trade Centre was the first skyscraper to open on Sheikh Zayed Road back in 1979, and the building is depicted on the 100-dirham note. The area now includes a vast convention centre with a year-round calendar of major exhibitions, concerts and events. To the east lies Zabeel Park, one of Dubai’s prettiest green spaces. The park is huge and beautifully landscaped, with manmade lakes, boat rides, sports courts, barbecue areas and picnic tables. During the milder months it plays host to the popular Ripe Market every Friday, where you’ll find organic produce, food trucks, live music and local artisans selling jewellery, clothes and crafts. Zabeel Park is also the setting for Dubai Garden Glow, which runs from November to April.

The family-friendly attraction features glow-in-the-dark statues of animals, flowers and iconic buildings. When you’re in this part of town, you can’t help but notice the Dubai Frame that is currently taking shape in the park. Due to open in late 2017 and resembling a giant picture frame, it will offer visitors a 360° view of both the old Creekside city and the shiny new metropolis as they walk through the 150m-high bridge. The soaring Emirates Towers are another key landmark. The smaller of the twin towers contains a fivestar hotel, a cluster of restaurants including The Rib Room and La zABEEl PARK


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Cantine du Faubourg, and The Boulevard, an upscale shopping arcade with choice cafés. Continuing south, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is Dubai’s equivalent of Wall Street, with a 15-storey triumphal arch that houses the region’s stock exchange. DIFC’s Gate Village, meanwhile, is an important hub of the city’s burgeoning arts scene, with a number of dynamic galleries that exhibit Middle Eastern and international art. It’s also home to some of Dubai’s best restaurants including Zuma and La Petite Maison, which both feature on the World’s 100 Best Restaurants list.

WHERE TO STAy The Conrad Dubai With a metro station right on your doorstep and one of the best urban pool areas in Dubai, this hotel is both convenient and classy. There are 555 rooms, a sprawling spa and five restaurants and lounges. conraddubai.com The Ritz-Carlton DIFC With a handsome limestone façade and an Art Deco-inspired lobby, this 341-room hotel has an excellent Belgian restaurant and sublime spa. Gate Village’s restaurants and galleries are a short walk away. ritzcarlton.com Hotel Ibis One Central Opened in 2016 near the World Trade Centre, this three-star hotel offers 588 modern rooms, along with an Asian fusion restaurant, Cuban-themed lounge and fully-equipped gym. ibis.com

THE RITz-CARlTON DIFC


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aL QuoZ At first glance, this industrial neighbourhood filled with warehouses and factories appears to hold little of interest to visitors. However, Al Quoz is also home to a burgeoning arts district, hip cafés and family-friendly activity centres. The area stretches north from the Mall of the Emirates to Business Bay, running between Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road. Art lovers should head straight to Alserkal Avenue, a network of warehouses containing around 20 permanent art galleries including Salsali Private Museum, the region’s first gallery for contemporary Middle Eastern art, and Carbon 12, which rotates exhibitions of international artists. Alserkal Avenue has a packed programme of exciting exhibitions, cultural talks and annual events. Highlights include the Quoz Arts Fest, a free weekend festival held in January with gallery tours, live music and markets, and Galleries Night, which kicks off Art Week each March and sees the galleries open their doors for exhibitions, artist talks and pop-up projects. Foodies, meanwhile, will enjoy visiting Mirzam, the UAE’s first beanto-bar chocolatier, where you can see the product being made. It specialises in single-origin dark chocolate, along with bars flavoured with coffee and cardamom or date and fennel. A few blocks away is Raw Coffee, a boutique roastery with a brew bar and beans for sale.

Al qUOz

For active types, Adventure HQ has a fabulous indoor adventure zone with climbing walls, cable and low-rope obstacle courses, a zip line and skate park. There are also two sprawling trampoline parks, Bounce and Flip Out, which cater to all ages. Also in the area are a number of small malls. Oasis Mall has close to 100 high-street stores spread across four levels, including New Look, La Senza and Steve Madden. Times Square


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THREE COOl CAFéS Tom & Serg Expats and locals flock to this warehouse-style duplex with industrial décor for fantastic espresso, filter and speciality coffee. Open for breakfast and lunch, top picks from the all-day brunch menu include Turkish poached eggs and salted-caramel French toast. tomandserg.com Café Rider While the baristas take care of your caffeine hit, you can watch the mechanics at work behind the glasswalled workshop building custom-made motorbikes. There’s a small menu of breakfast and lunch favourites such as crushed avocado on toast and Thai chicken salad. facebook. com/caferider Center has the city’s largest Sharaf DG electronics store, along with stores selling fashion, toys and home furnishings. The Gold & Diamond Park, meanwhile, is devoted exclusively to jewellery and watches, with stores such as the ever-popular Cara selling ready-made and bespoke pieces. To get to Al Quoz, you can take the metro to FGB or Noor Bank stations along Sheikh Zayed Road, although a taxi is probably best for Alserkal Avenue.

Hapi This health-conscious hangout serves up hearty, organic fare such as hot-smoked salmon and charcoal chicken, alongside simple sides like sweetpotato wedges and beetroot salad. It shares a space with a parkour playground and yoga studio. facebook.com/ behapi


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PaLm JumEiRaH Lying off the coast around 5km south of Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah is a man-made island that has become a symbol of Dubai. It is designed in the shape of a palm tree, with a central trunk and 16 radiating fronds, all enclosed by an 11km-long crescent. A monorail runs along the length of the trunk to Atlantis, The Palm, the island’s flagship resort at the centre of the crescent. Non-hotel guests can book a table at one of the resort’s many restaurants, such as Nobu, and visit The Lost Chambers Aquarium, with 65,000 marine animals and thrilling experiences like diving with sharks. The resort’s Aquaventure Waterpark is fantastic fun for all ages. Spread over 17 hectares, there are slides, rides, pools and a 2km-long lazy river, along with dolphin and sea-lion experiences. While the fronds are given over to residential villas, the crescent is lined with a string of upmarket hotels, with restaurants, beaches, pools and spas open to non-guests. These include Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort and Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah. The new Boardwalk runs all the way along the crescent from Rixos The Palm Dubai hotel at one end to the One&Only The Palm resort at the other. The 6m-wide walkway is dotted with food trucks and is a great place for a sunset stroll.

Visitors can also explore the island on two wheels with Byky, the city’s self-service bike-sharing scheme. You can hire a bike from as little as Dhs15 from one of seven docking stations on Palm Jumeirah. Located on the top right-hand side of the trunk, Club Vista Mare is Palm Jumeirah’s latest dining hot spot. The bustling boardwalk has seven licensed restaurants overlooking a 120m stretch of sand, with unbeatable views of the Palm’s eastern shoreline. There’s a real mix PAlM JUMEIRAH AND ATlANTIS, THE PAlM


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WHERE TO STAy Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah A private, soft-sanded beach belongs to this hotel, whose suites boast stunning ocean views. Added to this is fabulous fine dining and a superb spa. waldorfastoria3. hilton.com

of cuisines, from Peruvian and Italian to Ethiopian and Arabic. The entire trunk is currently being transformed into a pedestrian-friendly area featuring beaches, parks and a mall, with work expected to be finished by the end of 2017. For now, visitors can relax at Ibiza-style al fresco restaurants-cum-beach clubs such as El Chiringuito at Rixos The Palm Dubai, which offers its guests all-day access to the beach and pool, and the option of hiring day beds and cabanas.

Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort With a distinctly Thai architectural style, this resort has lagoon rooms and villas, some over the water. There’s a pool fringed by a white-sand beach and a vast spa with traditional Turkish hammam. dubai-palm. anantara.com Rixos The Palm Dubai Ideal for both families and couples, this resort has an excellent kids’ club and spa. It also offers all-inclusive packages. thepalmdubai.rixos.com ANANTARA THE PAlM DUBAI RESORT

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dubai maRiNa aNd JbR In the south of the city, this buzzing district includes a man-made marina and a forest of skyscrapers that stretch from Sheikh Zayed Road to Jumeirah Beach Residence, known as JBR. The area is a top spot for a stroll, particularly in the evening, when it’s an impressive display of high-rise neon. Brimming with residential towers, hotels and restaurants, there are two main promenades. The Walk at JBR is a 1.7km-long oceanfront boulevard with restaurants, cafés, shops and hotels. Along here, you’ll find The Beach, a low-rise shopping and dining complex with sea-facing eateries, kids’ playgrounds, Roxy cinemas and an outdoor cinema. Just inland, the 7km-long Marina Walk is lined with restaurants and cafés overlooking the yacht moorings. They serve up almost every imaginable cuisine, from Mexican and Middle Eastern to Indian and American. At the heart of the Marina is Dubai Marina Mall, which houses more than 140 high-street stores and an al fresco waterfront dining strip. The adjacent Pier 7 has seven floors, each devoted to a different restaurant, including Fümé, Cargo and Asia Asia. Besides walking, you can also explore the Marina by bike – there are a number of Byky stations scattered around – or by boat, with many companies offering

THE BEACH

THE BEACH

one-hour cruises aboard a traditional dhow. Be sure to keep an eye out for the striking Cayan Tower; rising to 75 storeys, it’s the world’s tallest twisted tower. The Beach is one of Dubai’s most popular places to swim, sunbathe and eat al fresco. There are sunbeds to rent, spotless changing facilities and an excellent array of water sports. You can also see the giant Ferris wheel, called Ain Dubai, which is currently under construction on the new Bluewaters Island development.


dubai maRiNa aNd JbR 41 DUBAI MARINA

WHERE TO STAy le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa With a sandy beach, multiple swimming pools, sprawling lawns and loads of activities and water sports, this hotel is perfect for a beachside break. leroyalmeridiendubai.com Grosvenor House This sophisticated hotel consists of two 45-storey towers. It has large, plush rooms and plenty of fine-dining restaurants. grosvenorhousedubai.com

If you’d rather hit a beach club, Zero Gravity and Barasti Beach (the latter located within Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort) are two perennial Dubai favourites with both sun-worshippers and avid partygoers. Getting to the Marina couldn’t be easier. There are two metro stations – Damac Properties and Jumeirah Lakes Towers – where you can also interchange with the Dubai Tram, which loops around Dubai Marina and JBR before heading off down Al Sufouh Road.

InterContinental Dubai Marina Surrounded by skyscrapers and a five-minute walk from the beach, this 328room city hotel features minimalist interiors, a pleasant pool area and a restaurant by celebrated British chef Jason Atherton. ihg.com

INTERCONTINENTAl DUBAI MARINA


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EMIRATI CULTURE 43

A sLICE of EMIRATI LIfE For an insight into local customs, culture and cuisine, we chat to the volunteers at the SMCCU The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) was established in 1998 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Set in a traditional wind-tower house in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood near Dubai Creek, the centre aims to remove barriers between people of different nationalities and raise awareness of the UAE’s local culture, customs and religion. This translates into welcoming

visitors with a traditional meal, while volunteers like Dahlia and Abdullah chat about all things Emirati. What can visitors to the SMCCU expect? [Dahlia] The idea is that you come to our ‘house’, we have a good conversation over a good meal and we give you the freedom to ask questions about our culture, religion, politics and behaviours. Our motto is ‘Open doors, open minds’, which means our


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doors are always open to everybody and we accept you as you are – no question is silly or offensive. There are two presenters – a male and a female – so you’ll get two perspectives. Can you tell us about women’s dress in the UAE? [Dahlia] Women wear a long black abaya [loose coat] over their clothes and we also cover our hair with a headscarf for cultural purposes. This was originally influenced by the environment to protect from sand, sun and bugs and had nothing to do with modesty and religion. Culturally, we have face covers such as the burqa, which is a leather face mask worn over the brow and nose. It’s supposed to make you look like you have one eyebrow, which sounds weird but was a sign of Bedouin beauty in the old days. On the inside, the mask was rubbed with indigo to exfoliate the skin and keep it light coloured. The updated version is the niqab and the original purpose was practicality because one piece covers the hair and the second piece covers the nose and the mouth. Why do women wear black? [Dahlia] Wearing black started in the 1950s – the abaya is not our traditional dress. Our traditional dress is very colourful; it’s a long dress with embroidery. But in the 1950s, there was a mourning period in Iran and Iraq so women wore black. This spread across the Gulf and women loved it because they could wear a black

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wrap over their traditional colourful dresses, protecting them from dirt and fading in the sun. What is national dress for Emirati men? [Abdullah] Men wear a kandura [long cotton tunic], normally with opentoed leather sandals. We also wear a ghutrah [headdress], which was originally used to cover the face from the harsh desert environment. There are different ways to tie the ghutrah, or you’ll also see the igal [black rope] that sits on top of the ghutrah. The igal looks like handcuffs and was originally used to tie the front feet of the camel


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so it couldn’t walk off in the desert. Rather than carry the igal, a smart Bedouin just put it on his head. And why do men wear white? [Abdullah] Originally, the kandura wasn’t white – we used to dip the material in coffee because white doesn’t provide camouflage in the desert and also gets dirty easily. We’re always asked, ‘How do you keep your kandura so clean?’ And the answer is we have a washing machine! But people expect an extreme answer so we tell them we have four wives to do our laundry. Are there any tribal or regional differences when it comes to dress? [Dahlia] No, we all typically dress the same. Throughout the Gulf region there are slight differences. Typically this used to be in the men’s dress that you don’t see any more, and the women with the burqa face covering. But we’re very united, you could say. For example, the red-andwhite checked ghutrah was originally a British protocol to differentiate army and police Bedouins, but now it’s fashion-related. What is traditional Emirati cuisine? [Dahlia] In my grandmother’s era, you could say that Emirati cuisine was very plain because we did not have much. It was traditional to have maleh, a very heavily salted fish, and dates. With the ability of trade we could get rice and spices so a lot of influences come from the countries we traded

with, namely India, Iran and Africa. Spices such as cardamom, saffron, cinnamon and turmeric are staples in our cooking. What are some of the most popular Emirati dishes? [Dahlia] Machboos is our most famous dish, which is rice that’s pressed with meat like chicken or lamb, or it could even be fish. Saloona, which is like a stew that typically goes with


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two. Al Fanar at Dubai Festival City is very famous, while Al Barza on Jumeirah Beach Road serves great Emirati food in a modern setting.

white rice, is also very popular, and maleh is still eaten today. Chebab is our version of a pancake and luqaimat are Arabic donuts, which are usually drizzled with date syrup. Ten years ago it would have been more difficult for tourists to find Emirati food because usually we eat in very large groups and it’s hard to take our recipes and cook for two people. But now you can find many a restaurant serving Emirati cuisine at a table for

Why are coffee and dates so important in Arabic culture? [Dahlia] Traditionally, in the old days we honoured you by serving you Arabic coffee, or qahwa. We serve dates with Arabic coffee to balance out the bitter taste, and it tastes very different to what you get at Starbucks. We add saffron to relax you and cardamom to settle your stomach. Dates help with digestion and have a lot of vitamins, which was key in the old days. For more information about cultural meals at the SMCCU, visit cultures.ae


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15

must-dos in dubai

There’s so much to see and do in this city. Here are 15 highlights to get you started

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Ride an abra across the Creek at night For an authentic slice of Dubai life, take an evening abra from Deira to Bur Dubai (or vice versa). Inspired by the traditional sailing vessels of the Gulf, motorised abras are the most atmospheric way to cross the Creek, all for the bargain price of Dhs1 each way. Simply pay the captain and the boat will leave when it’s full.

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snap a selfie with an icon No Dubai visitor’s Instagram feed is complete without a requisite shot in front of the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab or Burj Khalifa. For the perfect vantage point of the former, head to Umm Suqeim Beach next to Jumeirah Beach Hotel just before sunset. For the latter, wait until the evening shows of The Dubai Fountain commence at 6pm to add more than a splash of life to your picture.

ascend the world’s tallest tower Walk beneath it, snap yourself in front of it, take the elevator to the top of it, have lunch on the 122nd floor, or visit at night amid twinkling lights – whichever way you do it, visiting the 828m Burj Khalifa (burjkhalifa. ae) never fails to impress. If you’re really lucky, you might see the tower lit up for a special occasion in different colours.

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make a date for Friday brunch Dubai has elevated the laidback mid-morning meal with mates to an unmissable tradition. Here, brunch means an all-youcan eat, all-you-can-drink Friday lunchtime feast that involves


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cuisines from every corner of the globe. Decadent options include the monthly Super Brunch at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray and Wanderlust at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, with more relaxed, à la carte affairs available at Marina Social and Coya.

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Hit the shops Trawling the malls is considered Dubai’s unofficial national sport. Whether you’re after designer bling and luxury boutiques or high-street staples and regional designers, the city has well and truly got the lot. Top spots include

The Dubai Mall’s Level Shoes, home to 40 footwear boutiques, and the Fashion Dome at Mall of the Emirates, with over 80 luxury labels.

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see the city while falling from the sky What better way to take in the views of Dubai than from thousands of feet above it all? Experience the thrill of freefalling on a tandem skydive with Skydive Dubai (skydivedubai.ae) over Palm Jumeirah. It’s one of the most scenic drop zones in the world and you get a video as a memento.


50 dubai must-dos

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slide down a sand dune at sunset Venturing out into the Arabian Desert is high on many visitors’ bucket lists. A desert safari offers endless dunes, scintillating sunsets and often a ride on a camel to boot. The best part, though? Trudging up to the top of a dune, shoes filling with sand at every step, then running, rolling, sliding or boarding back down.

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Go on a gastronomic journey With Michelin tipped to launch a guide to Dubai in the near future, dining out in the city has never tasted so good. Take your pick from celebrity chefs’ restaurants from the likes of Yannick Alléno and Heinz Beck, exciting home-grown eateries like Play and Folly, and hipster cafés such as The Sum of Us. Just don’t leave without munching on a shawarma.

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ask all those taboo questions What do Emirati men wear under their kandura? Are women allowed to work? The volunteers at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (cultures.ae) are more than happy to answer your questions, no matter how sensitive. Sign up for a cultural meal, which involves an Emirati feast followed by a frank and open discussion about local culture and religion.

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uncover the art scene To get a flavour of Dubai’s exciting art scene, head to Alserkal Avenue in the industrial Al Quoz area. This collection of warehouses is home to the city’s hippest galleries. Be sure to swing by eL Seed Studio, home of the region’s best-known ‘calligraffiti’ artist, and MAD Gallery, which exhibits the weird and wonderful mechanical creations of Swiss watch manufacturers MB&F.


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Hit the beach Whether you want to top up your tan, swim in the sea or try your hand at kitesurfing, you’ve come to the right place. Dubai boasts some brilliant beaches, with plenty of five-star resorts right on the sand. Meanwhile, popular public beaches include The Beach at JBR and Kite Beach in Umm Suqeim.

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discover life back in the pre-oil days Few nations have experienced such rapid and monumental development as the United Arab Emirates. For a glimpse of life before the boom, visit the Etihad Museum (etihadmuseum. dubaiculture.ae) in Jumeirah, which tells the story of the formation of the UAE in 1971. Forget dusty displays and creaky floors – this state-of-the-art museum has interactive exhibits and stunning architecture.

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take a ride on a roller coaster What’s a holiday in Dubai without some adrenaline-pumping thrills? Plan a visit to one (or more) of the city’s new theme parks. IMG Worlds of Adventure (imgworlds.com) has coasters and thrill rides based on iconic Marvel superheroes and prehistoric dinosaurs. Motiongate Dubai (motiongatedubai.com), meanwhile, has rides based on hit films like Madagascar and The Hunger Games.

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Go downhill skiing in the desert You can’t come to Dubai without checking out the snowcovered slopes of Ski Dubai (skidxb. com). There are five runs, including the world’s first indoor black run, along with a freestyle area for snowboarders, kids’ play area and a colony of cute penguins. Craving more? Strap yourself into the Snow Bullet zip line and soar 16m above the slopes.

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slip and slide at a waterpark Want gravity-defying speed slides, twisting water slides and lazy river rapids? You’re in luck, because Dubai has three worldclass waterparks. Aquaventure (atlantisthepalm.com) and Wild Wadi (jumeirah.com) are fun for all ages – both have brilliant kids’ play areas and slides – while Legoland Water Park (legoland.com) is designed especially for two to 12-year-olds.


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What’s on in Dubai

From sporting events and shopping festivals to national celebrations and foodie festivities, Dubai has an annual calendar bursting with showstoppers

omega Dubai Desert ClassiC When: February The ‘Major of the Middle East' sees the world’s elite golfers tee off at Emirates Golf Club as they vie for a slice of the Dhs9.1 million prize pool. The illustrious list of past champions includes Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia. dubaidesertclassic.com


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sPort

stanDarD ChartereD Dubai marathon When: January First held in 2000, this 42.2km race attracts runners from across the globe, including some of the world’s best male and female long-distance athletes. Whether you walk, run or just cheer from the sidelines, it’s an amazing experience. dubaimarathon.org

Dubai Duty Free tennis ChamPionshiPs When: February The world’s biggest tennis stars descend on Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium in Garhoud for a fortnight of top-flight tennis. Expect a fantastic atmosphere, with large crowds gathered to see the best players battling it out on centre court. dubaidutyfreetennis championships.com Dubai WorlD CuP When: March Taking place on the final weekend in March each year, the Dubai World Cup is the biggest sporting and social event in Dubai. Thousands of racegoers congregate in their finery at Meydan Racecourse to witness the world’s richest horse race. dubaiworldcup.com DP WorlD tour ChamPionshiP When: November Around 65,000 fans flock to Jumeirah Golf Estates to watch

the top players on the European PGA tour battle it out in the finale of the season-long Race to Dubai competition. Away from the fairways, there’s live music and hospitality tents. dpwtc.europeantour.com emirates airline Dubai rugby sevens When: December Join 100,000 fans (most in fancy dress) across three fun-filled days to cheer on the world’s best rugby sevens players. dubairugby7s.com

art & Design

Quoz arts Fest When: January The galleries of Alserkal Avenue, Dubai’s vibrant arts quarter, throw open their doors for this free festival. Culture vultures can look forward to exhibitions and street art, workshops and gallery tours, plus live music performances, food trucks and pop-ups. alserkalavenue.ae gPP Photo Week When: February The region’s biggest photography fest brings together some of the globe’s leading photographers with professional and amateur snappers looking to develop their skills. Organised by Gulf Photo Plus, there’s a packed programme of exhibitions, workshops and portfolio reviews. gulfphotoplus.com


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sikka art Fair When: March Held in the historic Al Fahidi neighbourhood, this contemporary art fair showcases the works of regional and locally based artists. The 10-day programme complements the cultural events that take place during Dubai Art Season, which runs throughout March and April. dubaiculture.gov.ae art Dubai When: March Founded in 2007, Art Dubai has established a reputation as a surprise-filled showcase for art from all corners of the globe. Held at Madinat Jumeirah, you can discover new artists and emerging trends from more than 90 galleries. artdubai.ae Design Days Dubai When: March The region’s leading design fair brings established designers and up-and-coming names to Dubai Design District (d3). Whether buying or browsing, there’s plenty to enjoy. designdaysdubai.ae

Culture

emirates airline Dubai Jazz Festival When: February Held at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, this long-running festival is a highlight of the city’s music calendar. It’s not exactly purist and all the more fun for it, with past performers including Mariah Carey, James Blunt and Sting. dubaijazzfest.com emirates airline Festival oF literature When: March Bookworms gear up for nine days of literary fun at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City. The eclectic programme includes readings, workshops and panel discussions led by bestselling international authors. emirateslitfest.com


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gastronomy

UAE NAtioNAl DAy When: December Every year on 2 December, the United Arab Emirates celebrates its formation in 1971. Festivities take place all over Dubai, with spectacular fireworks displays, traditional music and dance performances, free concerts and three days of sales at the city’s malls. visitdubai.com

miDDle east Film & ComiC Con When: April Since its first outing, this pop-culture convention has gone from strength to strength. Get your geek on alongside 70,000 fans at Dubai World Trade Centre. Dubai international Film Festival When: December Filmmakers, actors and movie buffs descend on Madinat Jumeirah for this annual celebration of Hollywood, Bollywood and Arab cinema, which features hundreds of screenings. dubaifilmfest.com

Dubai FooD Festival When: February This city-wide festival celebrates Dubai’s rich melting pot of cuisines. Held over 17 days, you’ll find plenty to tempt your taste buds, including markets, cooking classes, celebrity-chef appearances, beach parties, food-truck festivals and discounts at top restaurants. dubaifoodfestival.com taste oF Dubai When: March Closing the Dubai Food Festival, this event lets foodies indulge in three days of fine-dining pop-ups, celebrity-chef demos and live music from international acts. tasteofdubaifestival.com

shoPPing

Dubai shoPPing Festival When: December to January Kicking off in late December, Dubai Shopping Festival is the biggest shopping extravaganza in the Middle East. This month-long festival sees amazing promotions and sales across the city’s malls and souks, as well as fashion events, concerts and activities. visitdubai.com Dubai summer surPrises When: July to August Dubai Summer Surprises sees more than 40 days of discounts, promotions and prizes, along with family-friendly events and live entertainment. visitdubai.com


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A fAmily Adventure With mind-blowing theme parks and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, Dubai is a dream holiday for all the family Here in the UAE, family is everything, and Dubai in particular is a place where children come first. So it should come as no surprise that the city is brimming with all manner of activities to keep both little and big kids entertained, not to mention family-friendly dining and accommodation options to keep everyone happy. Let their imaginations run wild in the myriad theme parks, waterparks and adventure playgrounds, or make their dreams come true by swimming with dolphins (or even sharks). However you choose to spend your family holiday in Dubai, the memories made here will last a lifetime.

bollywood parks dubai


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tHeme PArKs

indoor or outdoor, supersized or toddler-friendly, there’s a park to suit every member of the family The big Two dubAi PArKs And resorts This gargantuan attraction amalgamates three theme parks, a waterpark and a resort hotel, all centred around the picturesque Riverland Dubai – perfect for recharging in-between the action. Go behind the blockbuster with the characters of family favourites The Smurfs and Madagascar at Motiongate Dubai or get swept up in the colourful world of

Bollywood Parks Dubai. The 15,000 model structures of Legoland Dubai should satisfy big kids as well as little ones, and you can build your own raft at the adjoining Legoland Water Park. It’s 25 million sqft of non-stop fun. dubaiparksandresorts.com imG Worlds of Adventure Where else in the world can you mingle with the Hulk and The Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10 and Captain America? At IMG Worlds of Adventure, Marvel icons and Cartoon Network heroes come to life alongside dinosaurs, ghosts and roller coasters galore. Divided

WHy dubAi for fAmilies? ◆ dubai is regularly listed among the safest cities on earth. ◆ it’s easy to get to. A third of the world’s population is within a four-hour flight of dubai, and two thirds are within an eighthour flight. ◆ finding accommodation is a breeze. Kids’ clubs, interconnecting rooms and children’s menus come as standard in most resorts, while hotel apartments offer home-from-home comforts. ◆ With a vast choice of restaurants and food outlets

at every turn, there’s a dish to please even the fussiest eaters (and all budgets). ◆ there’s tons to see and do: from waterparks and theme parks to adventure parks, there’s never a dull moment. ◆ it’s a natural playground. you can explore the desert, swim with dolphins, or simply splash around at the beach – there’s plenty of fresh-air fun to be had. ◆ With year-round sunshine, rainy days are few and far between. And even when it’s hot outside, there are ample indoor attractions.


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into four epic zones, it’s the world’s largest indoor theme park, promising hours of entertainment whatever the weather. Climb through LazyTown (which is anything but lazy), pick a side in the battle between Spider-Man and Doc Ock, plummet into the Lost Valley and stop by The Haunted Hotel, all before lunch in Iron Man’s Skydeck. imgworlds.com

segarepublic.com Hub Zero A must-visit for tech fans of all ages, welcome to an undercover world of classic arcade games and futuristic fun. Featuring everything from Pac Man to virtual reality, as well as a climbing zone, karaoke suites and pool tables, there’s something to entice just about everyone. hubzerodubai.com

KidZAniA In this 80,000 sqft mini-city, complete with paved streets, shops and cars, under-16s can explore what they want to be when they grow up by trying their hand at over 80 different careers – from pilot to police officer – and even earn themselves some spending money while they’re at it. kidzania.ae

mAttel PlAy! toWn Also at City Walk, this indoor edutainment centre is a real treat for little ones, with cameos from Barney, Thomas & Friends, Angelina Ballerina, Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam. Activities include arts and crafts, teamwork and dancing, all designed to teach kids aged two to 10 valuable life lessons as they play. playtowndubai.com

seGA rePublic Lightning slides, laser mazes, drift racing, bobsledding, snowboarding and, of course, hanging out with Sonic the Hedgehog – it’s thrills aplenty at this indoor theme park. With two levels of adrenaline-fuelled entertainment, plus 170 of the latest amusement, arcade and video games, you might have trouble tearing the kids away.

Adventure Zone There’s no prizes for guessing the name of the game at Adventure Zone, in Jumeirah’s boutique Galleria Mall. Little adventurers can tackle the 9m-high pinnacle and 6m-high climbing wall before taking on the skate park, boulder wall and cable climb. Mums and dads can join in, or just chill out in the café. adventurehq.ae


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WAterPArKs

Crazy rides and lazy rivers beckon at dubai’s coolest splash zones AquAventure WAterPArK Enter a realm of thrills, spills and record-breaking rides at the city’s biggest waterpark – home of the world’s largest water slide, Aquaconda. Shoot through a sharkfilled lagoon, take the jaw-dropping Leap of Faith, get acquainted with the stingrays or just drift along the lazy river. The Splashers play area will keep toddlers amused, while the region’s longest zip wire offers heady views of the Dubai coastline. atlantisthepalm.com

Wild WAdi WAterPArK Dubai’s original waterpark is the place to go for wet, wild, whiteknuckle rides – from the 80km/h Jumeirah Sceirah tandem slides to the tornadoes of Tantrum Valley. Thirty rides and attractions include a wave pool, action river, surf simulators, water guns and a splash pad for little ones – just watch out for the dumping buckets! jumeirah.com

leGolAnd WAter PArK The newest waterpark on the block, this one’s designed for children aged two to 12, but there’s plenty to keep older kids (and parents) happy, too. Get the whole family together


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for Red Rush, a 312ft group slide, and see who can craft the best raft on the Build-A-Raft River. Tiny tots can embark on the DUPLO Splash Safari, accompanied by its largerthan-life characters. legoland.com/dubai sPlAsH PAd This interactive wet-play area is a safe haven for under-12s to splash about all year round, with temperature-controlled water, trained lifeguards and even the option of supervised care while you enjoy all the delights of JBR. splashpaddubai.com tHe beAcH WAterPArK The Arabian Gulf is your playground at this floating network of slides, trampolines and rope swings – all part of the world’s biggest inflatable waterpark. arabianwaterparks.com

under tHe seA

get up close to all kinds of marine life at one of dubai’s other watery wonderlands tHe lost cHAmbers AquArium Based on the fabled lost city of Atlantis, this magical cluster of underwater tunnels beneath Atlantis, The Palm is alive with creatures from the deep. As well as gazing at the cleverly themed aquariums built around shipwrecks and ruins, you can tickle a sea cucumber, hold a starfish in your hand, feed the fish and even go behind the scenes with a marine-animal expert. atlantisthepalm.com dolPHin bAy For an experience no-one will forget in a hurry, Dolphin Bay, also at Atlantis, The Palm, does not disappoint. Whatever your

ouTside The boX

a trip to the movies takes on a whole new dimension in this city dubAi is Home to mAny A multiscreen meGAPlex, but beyond the multitude of screens are a few experiences guaranteed to take your viewing pleasure to the next level. Al fresco screenings pop up across the city in the cooler months – settle into giant beanbags at Wafi Pyramids Rooftop Gardens for free feel-good flicks every Sunday, or head to Vox Outdoor at Galleria Mall, the region’s first permanent rooftop cinema. Vox 4DX makes you part of the action with moving seats and real-life special effects (wind, rain, smoke and even smells), while at Theatre by Rhodes in Mall of the Emirates you can dine on gourmet snacks from Michelin-starred chef Gary Rhodes. pyramidsrestaurantsatwafi.com; uae.voxcinemas.com


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age or swimming skills, every member of the family can stand nose to nose with the sea’s most playful inhabitants in one of the most sophisticated dolphin habitats in the world. atlantisthepalm.com turtle lAGoon You’ll probably know of Burj Al Arab’s glitzy interiors and fine dining, but the hotel is also the base of the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project, which has been caring for sick and injured turtles for more

dubai aquarium and underwaTer Zoo Weighing in at 500kg and measuring over 5m long, the mighty King Croc is just one of the stars of Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. It’s home to 33,000 aquatic animals, and you can even dive with the resident sharks and rays. thedubaiaquarium.com

than a decade. Before they’re released back into the ocean, the rescued creatures are transferred to the Turtle Lagoon at neighbouring Jumeirah Al Naseem, where you can watch them swim and even feed them, every Wednesday at 11am. jumeirah.com/turtles


62 visitdubAi.com The green planeT

did you know? Dubai is not only home to the tallest building on Earth, but also the highest observation deck. Shoot to the 124th, 125th and, when you’re ready, the 555m-high 148th floor to enter the world of At the Top, Burj Khalifa, and survey the city below from cloud level. burjkhalifa.ae

bAcK to nAture

natural adventures to sate inquisitive minds and active spirits tHe Green PlAnet Built around a colossal lifesustaining tree, the region’s first bio-dome allows you to explore every inch of the rainforest as you wind your way down through its five levels, from canopy to river basin. Toucans, porcupines, sloths and even snakes (safely behind glass,

thankfully)… you just never know what you might find as you make your descent. thegreenplanetdubai.com dubAi butterfly GArden You’ll find this delightful oasis right next to Dubai Miracle Garden, housed in a string of nine colourthemed domes. At what is the largest indoor butterfly sanctuary in the world, you can wander among pretty plants and fragrant flowers as


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don’T miss

The best of the rest of dubai’s family-friendly experiences Jump to it when you step, or should we say jump, into one of the city’s three trampoline parks, the walls become the floor, gravity falls away and the sky’s the limit. bounce has 100 interconnecting trampolines, Jump boxx has a dedicated court for three to five-year-olds, while Flip out – the largest – has more than 200 trampolines. bounce.ae; jump-boxx.com; flipout.ae Fly high who hasn’t dreamed they could fly? at iFly, kids (and grown-ups) as young as three can experience all the thrill of skydiving, suspended 4m in the air, without ever leaving the iFly bubble. theplaymania.com/ifly thousands of these beautiful insects flutter around you. dubaibutterflygarden.com AventurA Play among the trees at this adventure course in leafy Mushrif Park. Featuring 80 exhilarating challenges spanning from the forest floor to the very treetops, your entire brood can enjoy tree-surfing, zip-lining and rope-climbing. aventuraparks.com

go dark definitely one for bigger kids, hysteria immerses you in the legend of a family whose children vanish in the night. we won’t spoil the fun but take care as you navigate the creaking corridors of this haunted house – the owners have sworn revenge on all who cross its threshold. hysteria.ae


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asK tHE EXPERt Helen Farmer, founder of parenting blog The Mothership and mum-of-two, shares her top tips for a fun-filled family holiday, guaranteed What makes Dubai the perfect choice for a family holiday? With year-round sunshine and activities for all ages, a holiday in Dubai is jam-packed with things to do. There are also plenty of five-star hotels with kids’ clubs where you can just relax and enjoy a break. Depending on the ages of your children, you can take them to theme parks, waterparks, beaches, the tallest building in the world and even a ski slope in the desert. What are your absolute must-dos for families visiting Dubai? The new Legoland Dubai theme park is fantastic, and toddlers will love Mattel Play! Town at City Walk, where they can meet their favourite characters, like Barney and Bob the Builder. During the cooler months, you can’t beat a morning at the beach. Can you recommend any familyfavourite beaches and parks? I love Kite Beach for its many cafés, as well as the chance to rent sunloungers by the sea. Zabeel Park is huge, and home to both Dubai Garden Glow and Dinosaur Park, which offer great value (the combined entrance fee is just Dhs60) and plenty of entertainment come evening.

What about family-friendly places to eat? Despite many cafés and restaurants in Dubai being located within fivestar hotels, you might be surprised by the family-friendly nature of the city’s dining scene. For a casual bite try Inn The Park, a lovely café in Al Khazzan Park with tables under a tree, or Bystro, where kids eat free when adults order a main course. For ice creams the size of their head, make for Serendipity 3, or get in on the freakshake trend at Black Tap. Sorry in advance for the impending sugar rush… Where would you head for some indoor family fun come summer? As well as Mattel Play! Town, City Walk has a lovely selection of shops (including the impressive Level Kids for designer fashion) and the new Hub Zero, which will keep gamers happy, while The Dubai Mall boasts the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, ice-skating, SEGA Republic, Kidzania and more. For little ones, there are plenty of softplay centres to tire them out. Where can you enjoy some me-time, while the kids enjoy some them-time? Fairmont The Palm has a brilliant kids’ club (suitable for little ones


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aged 18 months right up to teens), complete with indoor climbing wall, arts and crafts, playhouse, splashpad, gaming for older kids and healthy food options. While they’re tiring themselves out, parents can enjoy a seafood lunch on the beach or a massage in the spa. Describe your perfect family day out in Dubai… We’d start early at Ripe Market – which pops up in Zabeel Park every Friday morning between October and May – with breakfast and a browse of the stalls, before moving on to Wild Wadi Waterpark for a few hours of watery fun. Then we’d head to a family-friendly brunch for

the afternoon; the Pik-Nik Brunch at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina offers plenty of food, plus face painting and bouncy castles for kids. What’s your ultimate ‘only in Dubai’ experience that’ll give little ones something to remember? The new Dubai Parks and Resorts is home to the Motiongate Dubai and Legoland Dubai theme parks, plus the Legoland Water Park. With rides, slides, shows and more, you can easily spend the whole weekend there, and the new Lapita hotel, right in the heart of the action, is the place to stay. themothershipdxb.com


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superb shopping Home to atmospheric souks, the world’s largest mall and just about every label you can imagine, Dubai is a shopper’s paradise If you’re a fashionista or a shopaholic, you’ve come to the right place. Dubai is one of the world’s top destinations for retail therapy, with more than 100 malls, including the world’s largest, and two annual shopping festivals offering brilliant bargains. Dubai may be famous for its air-conditioned mega-malls but in recent years the city has embraced open-air, boulevard-style shopping at places such as BoxPark and City Walk in Jumeirah and The Beach at JBR. You’ll also find plenty of cool, home-grown boutiques and independent shops nestled among the international designers and well-known chains. For the quintessential Arabian shopping experience, head to the souks in Bur Dubai and Deira, where the city’s trading past is still keenly felt and it’s almost impossible to leave empty-handed. It’s time to hit the shops…

The Dubai Mall


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maJor maLLs

Dubai Creek has over 400 stores, the dubai maLL along with 90 restaurants and cafés, With over 1,200 stores and 200 a 12-screen multiplex cinema and eateries, not to mention an ice a ten-pin bowling alley. Many of rink, indoor theme parks, massive the restaurants overlook the water, aquarium, 22-screen while shoppers will find a cinema and even a great mix of mid-range DiD YOu KNOW? 155 million-year-old and high-street brands, The annual Dubai dinosaur skeleton, including Kate Spade, Shopping Festival The Dubai Mall is DKNY and New Look. kicks off at the end of more like a mini-city festivalcentre.com December, with huge than a shopping sales across the city’s centre. You’ll find city centre deira malls during everything from highOne of Dubai’s first big January. end designer boutiques malls, this family favourite such as Chanel and Louis in old Dubai has more than 370 Vuitton in Fashion Avenue to high-street stores such as Paris high-street heroes like Topshop Gallery, Zara, Massimo Dutti, Gap and Mango, plus Bloomingdale’s, and Guess. After you’ve trawled Galeries Lafayette and Level Shoes, the shops, take your pick from the world’s largest shoe store. over 60 eateries, catch a film at thedubaimall.com the 12-screen cinema, head to the bowling alley or enjoy the rides maLL of the emirates and attractions at Magic Planet. Dubai’s second-largest mall citycentredeira.com boasts more than 560 stores and 95 dining outlets, along with the ibn battuta maLL world’s largest indoor ski slope, a In the south of the city, this 24-screen cinema and two five-star colourful mall is made up of hotels. It has its own high-end six themed areas, decorated Fashion Dome, as well as a trio of according to the places visited by British department stores – Harvey the great Arab traveller Ibn Battuta, Nichols, Debenhams and Marks including Persia, Andalusia and & Spencer – a raft of high-street Egypt. There are more than 275 names, from Accessorize to stores such as Debenhams, Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch, and one Tommy Hilfiger and Forever 21, of the region’s few Apple stores. along with 50 eateries, a 21-screen malloftheemirates.com cinema and IMAX theatre, plus a great bowling alley replete dubai festivaL city maLL with karaoke lounges. This popular mall on the banks of ibnbattutamall.com


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mini maLLs

dubai marina maLL For a shopping spree on a more manageable scale, this 140-store mall offers a stylish mix of highstreet brands such as Aldo, Iconic and Dune, alongside al fresco dining from the likes of Carluccio’s and Le Pain Quotidien. dubaimarinamall. com goLd & diamond park Located in Al Quoz, the mall is devoted exclusively to jewellery. It houses around 90 retailers, including well-established chains such as Damas and Liali Jewellery, and stores like Cara that can replicate existing pieces or help you design your own. goldanddiamondpark.com gaLLeria maLL This boutique mall in the heart of Jumeirah has around 20 stores; firm favourites include Adore for

fashionable abayas, and Cities for hip homewares. There’s a handful of excellent eateries, too, including Taste of Italy by Heinz Beck, and a rooftop cinema. galleria-mall.ae

open-air maLLs

city WaLk This pedestrianised district features European-style streets and a contemporary glass-roofed mall with more than 60 stores including Michael Kors and Rag & Bone. Alongside fine-dining restaurants and cafés, there are also familyfriendly attractions like a biodome, gaming centre and cinemas. citywalk.ae

boxpark Stretching for over a kilometre along Al Wasl Road, this funky mall made of shipping containers boasts a bunch of cool stores. Favourites include Zoo Concept, Atelier and Urbanist, plus there’s a boutique Roxy cinema and around 30 casual eateries. boxpark.ae


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The beach aT JbR

the beach at Jbr Down at Dubai Marina, this classy beachfront mall has around 25 stores such as Muji, MAC and Victoria’s Secret. Stroll in the sunshine, stop for lunch at a breezy outdoor café, and stock up on souvenirs at the I Love Dubai store. thebeach.ae

discount maLLs

dubai outLet maLL Hunt out some bargains with a minimum of 30% discount across more than 200 stores, including Burberry, Coach and The Outlet, which stocks clothes and

accessories from the city’s biggest department stores. Located 30 minutes outside the city, a taxi from Downtown costs around Dhs50 each way. dubaioutletmall.com the outLet viLLage Inspired by the architecture of a medieval Tuscan town, this mall in Jebel Ali is dedicated to designer discounts, and offers bargain hunters 20 to 70% off more than 100 luxury brands. Free shuttle buses depart regularly from around 20 hotels in Jumeirah, Al Barsha and Dubai Marina. theoutletvillage.ae


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SeNSaTiONal SOuKS

goLd souk Located in Deira, the souk is made up of around 300 jewellery stores with a dizzying array of bracelets, necklaces, rings and precious gems. Gold is sold by weight, based on international gold rates, but you can still haggle for a good deal. Nearby, the small Perfume Souk sells Arabian attars in gem-encrusted bottles, while the Spice Souk sells herbs, spices, dried fruits and frankincense. textiLe souk On the Bur Dubai side of the Creek, this bustling souk is filled with swathes of vibrant fabrics, along with pashminas, bejewelled kaftans and souvenirs. Pick up some material here and then visit one of the tailors in Bur Dubai or Satwa for a custom-made

beST buYS FROM Dubai

memory of Dubai. You can easily visit the souks on both sides of the Creek by climbing aboard an abra for just Dhs1 each way. souk madinat Jumeirah For a more upmarket souk experience, visit this modern recreation of an old Arabian marketplace. With beautiful architecture and myriad winding streets, you can shop for spices, oud, gifts, souvenirs, handicrafts, clothing and jewellery. The complex is also home to more than 20 restaurants and cafĂŠs offering cuisines from all over the globe, many with views of Burj Al Arab. jumeirah.com

OuTDOOR MaRKeTS

ripe market This much-loved market has stalls selling local organic fruit and

arabian oud: Both Emirati men and women wear this heady scent. Stock up on perfumes and oils at the Perfume Souk or from wellknown retailers such as Arabian Oud (at most malls). arabica coffee: Originating in the highlands of Ethiopia, coffee was first cultivated in Yemen in the Arabian Gulf. Stock up on freshly roasted beans at Dubai Coffee Museum (coffeemuseum.ae). Dates: There are more than 200 different varieties of dates. Bateel (at most malls) sells some of the finest specimens in town, including super-sweet medjool dates and delicious chocolate-covered treats. Tailor-made clothing: Dubai has hundreds of tailors offering madeto-measure outfits at very reasonable prices. Local favourites include Deepa’s (deepastailoring.com) and 800 Tailor (800tailor.com). b 180 caps: These cool trucker caps are emblazoned with Arabic calligraphy and hashtags like #MyDubai. Find one at Virgin Megastore.


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ShOp heRe FOR The… best concept store The Cartel is a gallery-like space in the Alserkal Avenue arts district with an impressive edit of avantgarde labels and ‘wearable art’. thecartel.me

TexTile SOuK

vegetables, street food and original fashion, jewellery and homewares. It pops up each week from October to April at Zabeel Park (Fridays, 9am-3pm) and Al Barsha Pond Park (Saturdays, 3pm-9pm), before moving indoors over summer to Times Square Center (Saturdays, 9am-3pm). ripeme.com gLobaL viLLage This seasonal leisure destination boasts 30 pavilions of stalls piled with goods from more DiD YOu KNOW? than 75 countries. Top before buying, picks include arabesque you can check the lanterns and hand-woven daily gold price at carpets, plus there are dubaicityofgold. funfair rides and replicas com of landmarks like Big Ben and Taj Mahal. globalvillage.ae

best boutique West LA Boutique at Sunset Mall is a local fashionista favourite, with Los Angeles street style and quirky pieces. westlaboutique. com best bookshop The huge Kinokuniya in The Dubai Mall is your go-to for any and every genre of book. uae.kinokuniya. com


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ask the expert Tala Samman, stylist and blogger at myfashdiary.com, gives us the low-down on how to shop Dubai like a local How would you describe your personal style? I don’t like to generalise my style, but I do consider it quite eclectic. I travel a lot, and dress for different occasions and different moods – so it really depends on what I’m currently inspired by. I believe that comfort is just as important as style, so I really look at comfort when buying new items. You grew up in Dubai and studied fashion in London. How does fashion and style differ between the two cities? Dubai is a lot more put together and glamorous, whereas London is a lot more edgy and grungy. I love living between both cities as it really lets me experiment fashion-wise. What are your go-to stores in Dubai? S*uce is a multi-brand concept store co-founded by Lebanese designer Zayan Ghandour – keep an eye out for her own designs under the brand Zayan the Label. There are seven boutiques across Dubai, including at The Dubai Mall and Marina Mall, stocking a curated selection of contemporary pieces, from Stella McCartney swimwear and Mira Mikati bomber jackets

to quirky KitKat clutches. For international brands, Boutique 1 is a multi-brand boutique that has all bases covered, with a great selection of high-end brands such as Missoni, Victoria Beckham and Erdem. The flagship store is located in the Fashion Dome at Mall of the Emirates. Harvey Nichols-Dubai is another top spot for covetable international brands, while namshi.com is my favourite online store for high-street fashion. Where are the best places to score a fashion bargain? Zara offers affordable high-street style and is known for its superspeedy interpretation of catwalk trends and pieces. You’ll find stores in most of the major malls including Mall of the Emirates, The Dubai Mall and Deira City Centre. For ontrend items, wardrobe staples and activewear, namshi.com has some of the best high-street buys. You can shop over 500 international and local brands online, and get your order delivered the next day for free to your hotel room. Any cool boutiques you’d recommend for edgier brands? S*uce stocks edgier brands that are not available elsewhere, while the S*uce Rocks boutique in the Galleria


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Mall is dedicated to jewellery, with brands such as AS29 and Bil Arabi. Amongst Few is a home-grown boutique on Jumeirah Beach Road stocking streetwear, cool caps and limited-edition vinyl records. Where would you send vintage lovers in Dubai? Bambah. It started out as a highend vintage boutique on Jumeirah Beach Road, but designer Maha Abdul Rasheed has since launched her own vintage-inspired readyto-wear label, which I’m pretty obsessed with. You’ll find the new Bambah boutique at City Walk. What local designers/brands should visitors look out for?

A few of my favorites are Nathalie Trad for her sculptural clutches (look out for them at Bloomingdale’s and Harvey Nichols-Dubai); Rami Al Ali for couture; and Mochi for contemporary ready-towear pieces handcrafted by local artisans using traditional embroidery methods. What are your favourite hidden gems in Dubai? Dinner at Teatro, an old-school spot in the Towers Rotana hotel that does great sushi (if you’re lucky, you might meet the hilarious and charming manager, Pat) and the Gold Souk in Deira, which has hundreds of small stores where you can strike a bargain.


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Nature’s playgrouNd Breathtaking outdoor escapes, adrenaline-pumping activities and brilliant beach and park life – Dubai has it all There’s so much more to this exhilarating city than gleaming superstructures and luxury living. There are boundless opportunities for you to get outdoors and enjoy some fresh-air fun. Whether you want to jump out of a plane, conquer the sand dunes, make friends with marine life, explore secret gardens or simply hit the beach, Dubai is the perfect playground. Cloudless skies for most of the year mean the weather is unlikely to spoil your fun – but if you should need to retreat indoors, some of the world’s best spas are on hand to soothe body and mind, and prepare you for your next adventure.

aIr

A vantage of Dubai from among the clouds Hot-aIr ballooNINg There’s no better way to admire the Arabian Desert than from a hot-air balloon, drinking in bird’s-eye views of camels and gazelles in their natural habitat. Flights last around an hour – book an early-morning trip with Balloon Adventures Emirates to watch the sunrise illuminate Dubai’s endless dunes. ballooning.ae

bAlloon ADventures emirAtes

skydIvINg For serious thrill-seekers, Dubai is home to one of the world’s most spectacular drop zones. Take the leap with Skydive Dubai and enjoy an unparalleled vantage of the city’s epic coastline (or the majestic desert, if you prefer) as you jump


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cyclIng Dubai’s 170km of cycle paths run through park, beach and desert locations. At Al Qudra Cycle Course you can ride out into the dunes as Arabian oryxes race alongside you, while Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park offers a choice of routes with Downtown Dubai as your backdrop. Or visit in December to take to the roads in the annual Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge. cyclechallenge.ae from a plane 13,000ft in the air. skydivedubai.ae ScenIc flIgHtS See the sights from on high, minus the scream factor, with a scenic joy flight. Seawings offers seaplane tours of Dubai’s coast and Creek, taking in all its major landmarks along the way. If helicopters are more your style, Helicopter Dubai has a range of options covering city, beach and desert. seawings.ae; helicoptertour dubai.com

lAnd

thrills and spills across diverse uAe terrain off-RoAdIng There’s nothing quite like cruising the desert from behind the wheel of a dune buggy – though you can also opt to leave the driving to the experts. Numerous tour operators

are ready and willing to take you offroad and on the ride of your life. arabian-adventures.com motoR RAcIng Get to grips with this city’s supercar obsession at the Dubai Autodrome, where you can commandeer an F3 race car, McLaren Sprint or Audi R8. There are also indoor and outdoor go-karting circuits for big and little kids alike. dubaiautodrome.com HoRSe RIdIng Equestrian adventures abound – from the prestigious Dubai World Cup, held every March, to the array of clubs and stables around town. Saddle up at Emirates Equestrian Centre, go behind the scenes of the Meydan Stables and Racecourse, or enjoy a game of polo at the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club. emiratesequestriancentre.com; meydan.ae; dubaipoloclub.com


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golf This may be the desert, but it isn’t short of world-class greens. Emirates Golf Club has some of the city’s most famous fairways, like the Majlis course, home to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Pros should swing by Jumeirah Golf Estates (home of the DP World Tour Championship), while The Track at Meydan Golf is ideal for beginners. dubaigolf.com; jumeirahgolfestates. com; meydangolf.com

SeA

Adventure, both on and beneath the waves deep-SeA fISHIng The Arabian Gulf is home to a rich variety of fish, making Dubai ideal for a day of angling on the open water. Go Fishing, Deep Sea Fishing and ABSea will all take you out past The World Islands, and keep you fed and watered while you fish. gofishingdubai.com; deepseafishing. ae; fishinguae.com kIteSuRfIng The appropriately named Kite Beach is the best place to try your hand at some aerial thrills. Kitesurf School Dubai and DuKite both offer a range of courses to suit all abilities as well as equipment hire. kitesurf.ae; dukite.com dIvIng There’s a world of sunken shipwrecks and exotic sealife to explore, both on

and off land. Deep Blue Sea Diving has a dive experience for everyone, from beginner to expert. Or swim with the sharks without venturing offshore at The Lost Chambers Aquarium at Atlantis, The Palm or Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, in the middle of The Dubai Mall. diveindubai.com; atlantisthepalm. com; thedubaiaquarium.com SAIlIng With such an impressive shoreline, Dubai was made for sailing and yachting. One of the best ways to enjoy the city from the water is on a sunset cruise around Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab – try First Yacht for a tailor-made tour. firstyacht-me.com


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StAnd-up pAddleboARdIng Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is among the easiest water sports to master, especially when you’ve got the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf as your playground. Most kitesurfing schools also offer SUP lessons, or you can hire equipment from Surf House Dubai. surfingdubai.com

SnoW And Ice

A refreshing blast of chill in the desert heat SkI dubAI Take to the slopes at the alpinethemed Ski Dubai, a huge indoor slope where you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and a snow park for toddlers. skidxb.com

dubAI Ice RInk This Olympic-sized ice rink, housed within The Dubai Mall, is perfect for all ability levels, from the best to the beginner, with Penguin Pal skating aids for little ones and Snowmen skating aids for any unsteady adults.

pARk lIfe

unearth Dubai’s green side buRj pARk This small but pristine island park in the middle of Downtown Dubai makes the perfect pit stop on a day’s sightseeing. Gaze up at Burj Khalifa, marvel at The Dubai Fountain or just enjoy a picnic on the lawn. cReek pARk Botanical gardens, a cable car and even a dolphinarium: this vast


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green space has it all. On the edge of Dubai Creek, it also features a lovely promenade from which to survey the bustling waterway. ZAbeel pARk Mini golf, boat rides and a 3D cinema are just a few of the draws at this locals’ favourite. Our tip? Hop on a train around the park before getting stuck in, and don’t miss Dubai Garden Glow (dubaigardenglow.com), where the resident flora and fauna are actually giant glow sculptures that come alive after the sun has set. Al bARSHA pond pARk Family rules in this quiet expanse of pretty parkland set around a huge lake. Kids will love the bouncy castles, and enjoy sports such as volleyball, tennis and football.

sunset beAch

muSHRIf pARk The city’s oldest park is also its largest. Rich with indigenous wildlife and greenery, some truly beautiful birdlife – which you’ll spot as you stroll its sprawling gardens – is the highlight here.

beAcH lIfe

no holiday to Dubai is complete without a little bit of sun, sea and sand jbR beAcH The most popular beach in town, JBR is more than just golden sand. The Beach complex houses a string of boutiques and eateries, as well as a cinema, steps from the shore. And beyond that lies The Walk, the home of Dubai’s café culture and the site of regular pop-up exhibitions.


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kIte beAcH Not just for kitesurfers, this buzzing locale combines activities for all the family with great views of Burj Al Arab and the kite-strewn sky above, not to mention a hip, sporty vibe and a real sense of community. jumeIRAH coRnIcHe Interspersed with luxury hotels, Jumeirah Beach is perhaps the most famous of Dubai’s beaches. The Corniche – which runs 14km alongside it, from Jumeirah Mosque to Burj Al Arab – complements the picture-perfect seascapes with cafés, kiosks and an extensive jogging track. SunSet beAcH This short stretch of sand is probably the most photographed in all of Dubai, thanks to its prime location in front of the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab. It’s popular with families and surfers by day but comes into its own at sunset, when you can snap that all-important selfie with the hotel as the sky behind it fills with colour. Al mAmZAR beAcH pARk This award-winning beach-park hybrid is one of the city’s hidden gems. Home to five beautiful beaches and acres of parkland, there are also swimming pools, barbecue areas and a range of sports facilities. You can even hire a chalet on the sand for the day, and take a scenic train ride around the area.

3 picturesque promenADes the palm Jumeirah boardwalk stretching along the upper crescent of palm Jumeirah, this newly opened woodenslatted walkway takes you on an 11km seaside stroll with impressive views back across the palm, plus a good selection of refuelling stations. Dubai Water canal Another new addition, this man-made waterway cuts through the city, linking the creek in old Dubai to business bay and back out to sea. ongoing development will see the whole area around it blossom, but for now you can survey the changing metropolis from the 5.7km boardwalk. marina Walk Dubai’s original waterfront promenade, marina Walk takes you right the way around Dubai marina, with its bobbing boats on one side and soaring skyscrapers on the other. there are also myriad places to eat and people-watch.


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Into tHe WIld

beyond the skyscrapers lies a world of nature that’s ripe for discovery Just half an hour from the city centre, Al Marmoom Conservation Reserve is the place to go to see oryx and gazelles, among more than 200 other species of desert wildlife, up close in their natural environment. At nearby Al Qudra Lakes, enjoy a spot of birdwatching around this series of manmade lakes as Dubai’s Saih Al Salam Desert unfurls around you. Sunsets are particularly special here. Back within the city limits, don’t miss Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, at the mouth of Dubai Creek. Al mArmoom conservAtion reserve


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SpA tIme

in this city, pampering is an art form SARAy SpA, jW mARRIott mARquIS Hotel dubAI Spanning the entire third floor of the world’s tallest hotel, this city spa is as indulgent as it is grand. With gorgeous arabesque styling, a Dead Sea flotation pool and a menu of ancient restoration and renewal rituals, you’ll enjoy an authentic Arabian experience from start to finish. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com AmARA SpA, pARk HyAtt dubAI Nestled among private courtyards

SpA tIme

in this city, pampering is an art form, with a near-endless amount of spa experiences to enjoy tAlISe ottomAn SpA, jumeIRAH ZAbeel SARAy Winner of multiple international awards, this Ottoman-era-inspired spa has 42 treatment rooms, the city’s grandest Turkish hammam and a pair of snow rooms. jumeirah.com tHe SpA, pAlAZZo veRSAce dubAI More fairy-tale castle than hotel spa, indulgent treatments (think gold-leaf facials) complete the fantasy. palazzoversace.ae

SARAy SpA, jW mARRIott mARquIS Hotel dubAI Spanning the entire third floor of the world’s tallest hotel, this city spa is as indulgent as it is grand. With gorgeous arabesque styling, a Dead Sea flotation pool and a menu of ancient restoration and renewal rituals, you’ll enjoy an authentic Arabian experience from start to finish. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com

tImeleSS SpA, Al mAHA deSeRt ReSoRt & SpA Head out of town to experience another world, in the middle of the desert. Book a Pool Package to combine your treatment with a day at the resort’s pool, surrounded by sand dunes. al-maha.com


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ASk tHe eXpeRt Amir mehta, general manager of Arabian Adventures (arabian-adventures. com), offers up his choice picks from the wealth of activities on offer What are your must-dos for anyone visiting Dubai? A visit to the desert is a must on any trip to Dubai and the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is the ideal place in which to enjoy a desert dune dinner. It’s a magical evening that includes dune driving, desert activities – like henna hand-painting, camel riding and sand-boarding – and a traditional Arabic barbecue dinner. Meanwhile, At The Top, the observation deck on the 148th floor of Burj Khalifa, is another essential stop on any Dubai-visit itinerary. What’s the best way to see the sights if you’re only in town for a short time? You can tour the traditional side of Dubai in a morning or afternoon, taking in Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Dubai Creek (make sure you take a ride on an abra, a traditional water taxi), Dubai Museum and the Gold and Spice Souks. If you have time, a tour of the ‘new’ areas of Dubai, such as Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai, will provide an interesting contrast. A helicopter ride over the city is a wonderful and scenic way to see all the major landmarks in one go, while a sightseeing boat ride gives you

a great perspective of the Dubai skyline from the water. On land, a hop-on, hop-off bus tour is another great way to see the sights. Are there any hidden gems you’d recommend seeking out? Dubai is a growing and dynamic city with a wealth of hidden gems and new finds emerging all the time. A professional tour guide will be able to show you the best of the city at that moment in time and offer interesting facts and local knowledge. A few of my favourite places that visitors might not know about are the Dubai Coffee Museum, Emirati-cuisine eateries included on our Flavours of Dubai walking food tour, and a tour of the Meydan horse-racing stables. And don’t miss the chance to see local wildlife in its natural habitat on a desert safari in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. You can take wonderful photos from The Palm Monorail, while the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, where you can enjoy a traditional Emirati breakfast or lunch, is also worth special mention. Where should visitors head for a slice of Dubai beach life? Kite Beach is a favourite among locals. Food trucks and stalls


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line the sand, and sailboats and kitesurfers alike come to show off their skills. The Beach at JBR is another popular choice, with a wide selection of dining, shopping and entertainment options right next to the sand. What’s the ultimate ‘only in Dubai’ experience? There are so many amazing ‘only in Dubai’ experiences, it’s hard to choose just one! From skiing at Ski Dubai and snorkelling in the Dubai Aquarium to more peaceful options such as an overnight glamping safari in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. For the ultimate foodie experience, you could try one of

the fine-dining establishments in Burj Al Arab or afternoon tea at At.mosphere, on the 122nd floor of Burj Khalifa. If you only do one thing while in town, what should it be? A traditional dinner in the dunes is certainly one not to be missed. The city sights are iconic, but an evening out of the city, exploring desert life as it was in times gone by over a delicious dinner with friends or family, is an experience to remember. Even more fun, head to the desert in the afternoon to try your hand at off-roading and work up an appetite before you dine among the dunes.


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Living cuLture Beneath the surface of this buzzing metropolis lies a thriving current of art and history Despite its relative youth, Dubai has a rich and proud history that touches every corner of the city – if you know where to look. Nestled between glittering skyscrapers, monuments to Dubai’s heritage can be seen in the domes and minarets of its mosques, and the cobbled streets and bustling marketplaces of its Creekside heart. Join us on a culture trail through old and new Dubai, from historical villages and desert safaris to a more contemporary wave of galleries and arts venues that showcase the vibrant, evolving nature of this extraordinary capital.


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art

Dubai’s dynamic art scene is awash with high-end galleries and alternative spaces On the waLL dubai international Financial centre (diFc) As well as being a hub for business, DIFC boasts an array of art galleries. Concentrated in Gate Village – a smart, Zen-like cluster of restaurants, boutiques and offices – they include big names Sotheby’s and Christie’s; The Empty Quarter, devoted to fine-art photography; and Ayyam Gallery, specialists in Middle Eastern art. It also hosts regular Art Nights and walking tours of the major galleries. difc.ae majlis gallery If it’s local flavour you’re craving, the city’s oldest gallery won’t disappoint. Opened in a wind-tower housed in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood in 1989, Majlis Gallery has a reputation as a haven for both artists and art lovers, where you can browse regional artworks alongside jewellery, furniture and objets d’art in a beautifully authentic setting. themajlisgallery.com al Quoz This urban district is where the local art scene first took hold. The area largely consists of warehouses, many

of which have been converted into gallery, studio and performance spaces, with some of Dubai’s coolest cafés dotted in-between (Tom & Serg is an institution). The Courtyard is a great place to start, with a handful of galleries and boutiques arranged around a pretty square. courtyard-uae.com

alserkal avenue Alserkal Avenue is the beating heart of Al Quoz, and where you’ll find the majority of its cultural capital. A cul-de-sac of creative spaces, you'll see it’s overflowing with art of all varieties as well regularly staging pop-up concerts and screenings. Notable galleries are too numerous to mention and best explored by simply strolling through, but one thing not to miss are the artists-inresidence at Satellite. alserkalavenue.ae

dubai design district (d3) As well as providing local designers with an inspiring space in which to create, d3 has a healthy mix of galleries, cafés and concept stores. Art Hub Dubai is the best place for art and design pieces from the region, and the district plays host to leading exhibitions throughout the year. dubaidesigndistrict.com


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2nd december street

Off the wall 2nd december Street Decorating this historic row (where the UAE was officially established on 2 December 1971) are 16 murals that bring to life the country’s past, present and future. Highlights include street-art star Seth’s curious children, photorealist Case Maclaim’s qahwa (Arabic coffee) and 1010’s UAE-shaped ‘hole in the wall’. It’s the first phase of the Dubai Street Museum project, a government initiative to preserve the area’s heritage through its public art. emaar boulevard Looping around Burj Khalifa, Dubai Opera and The Dubai Mall, there’s plenty more to divert your attention on this Downtown crescent. A diverse series of sculptures includes camels and horses, a Stonehengelike circle and a pair of graceful Arab

figures standing guard opposite the world’s tallest tower. Karama This bustling melting pot, best known for its curry houses and fabric stalls, is an area of the city like no other. As well as fabulous food, bargains and people-watching, it’s home to 24 murals depicting everything from parrots to pearls via faraway galaxies – in perfect harmony with the colourful 18B Street below. 18b street


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city Walk At this chic Jumeirah retail district, everything from the walls to the palm trees are alive with works by some of the world’s finest street artists – the latter given a cosy makeover by yarn-bomber Magda Sayeg. Look out for ROA’s super-rat, Nick Walker’s spray-painting unicyclist and Slinkachu’s mini masterpieces (you’ll know them when you see them). citywalk.ae

sHoW time

there’s something for everyone – and every age – lined up at the city’s trio of top arts venues dubai opera The launch of Dubai Opera in 2016 cemented Dubai’s place on the world arts stage with an epic season of opera, ballet, music, theatre and even a little magic, and it’s quickly become the city’s contemporary

cultural epicentre. The year ahead promises an equally packed schedule – from Mozart to Mary Poppins – and the launch of a stunning rooftop restaurant. dubaiopera.com dubai community tHeatre and arts centre (ductac) The city’s premier community centre comprises two theatres, a gallery, and a suite of studios offering creative workshops. With an eclectic programme of music, dance, student theatre, experimental performance and stand-up comedy, it’s a lively alternative arts hub. ductac.org


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madinat tHeatre Tucked away in magical Souk Madinat Jumeirah, this was Dubai’s first theatre. Designed to resemble an ancient Arabian citadel, arabesque décor sets the stage in the intimate auditorium, where the line-up includes everything from Shakespeare to storytelling, with a sprinkling of visiting Broadway and West End shows. madinattheatre.com

Heritage HigHligHts

step into the past at one of Dubai’s many historical hot spots dubai creek The ideal starting point for any journey into Dubai’s history, the Creek is where it all began. Originally a base for pearling and fishing, the port became a flourishing trade hub from which the city’s first settlements emerged. The best way to explore the Creek today is also the cheapest – a Dhs1 abra ride takes you from the Textile Souk in Deira over to the Spice and Gold Souks of Bur Dubai. al FaHidi Historical neigHbourHood Al Fahidi (formerly known as Bastakiya) is one of Dubai’s oldest heritage sites, dating back to the early 1900s. It’s here that the city’s first settlers built the grand coral-clad houses and wind towers that epitomise old Dubai. A tour of the area, with its picturesque

courtyards and alleyways, museums and cultural centres, offers an unbeatable, atmospheric glimpse into the past. al sHindagHa Perched between the Creek and the Arabian Gulf, this is where the ruling Al Maktoum family established their roots. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House, which served as the family’s home until Sheikh Saeed’s death in 1958, houses an ample collection of artefacts, maps and photographs charting the city’s evolution. Stroll along the waterfront to the Heritage and Diving Villages, where you can peer inside the kind of barasti huts once inhabited by Dubai’s Bedouin communities. sHeikH moHammed centre For cultural understanding (smccu) Set up to help visitors and expats better understand the local culture, customs and religion, the SMCCU is staffed by well-informed, friendly Emiratis. As well as giving tours of Dubai’s historic landmarks, they host ‘cultural meals’ that begin with a walk through the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood and end with a Q&A session about life in the emirate as you feast on traditional cuisine. Enjoy breakfast on Mondays and Wednesdays, lunch on Sundays and Tuesdays, and dinner on Tuesdays. Pre-booking is essential. cultures.ae


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must-visit museums

etihaD museum

gain a great insight into the city’s past by visiting its museums Dubai museum Housed in Al Fahidi Fort, the city’s oldest building, this flagship museum tells the story of Dubai’s past through a comprehensive mix of displays and dioramas that recreate ancient desert and marine life through its homes, mosques, souks and date farms. dubaiculture.gov.ae etihaD museum At the other end of the spectrum, Dubai’s newest museum is a stateof-the-art tribute to the UAE and its founding, built on the historic spot where the union was formed.

You’ll find it packed with all kinds of interactive exhibits as well as some 3,000 books. etihadmuseum.dubaiculture.ae saruq aL haDiD museum Delve into the Iron Age at this recent

jumeirah mOsque

mosQue tours

You can learn more about the Islamic faith at two of Dubai’s most majestic mosques, Jumeirah Mosque and Al Farooq Omar Bin Al Khattab Mosque & Centre. The landmark Jumeirah Mosque was built entirely from white stone in the medieval Fatimid tradition, and features towering twin minarets framing a huge central dome – particularly beautiful after dusk. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultual Understanding conducts tours at 10am, Saturday to Thursday.


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addition to the Al Shindagha neighbourhood. Displaying some of the UAE’s finest archaeological discoveries, the collection is continuously refreshed with new finds from the Empty Quarter, the world’s largest purely-sand desert. saruqalhadid.ae emirates nbD pearL museum This collection of natural Gulf pearls, gifted to the people of the UAE by Sultan Al Owais, offers a rare insight into the emirate’s pearl-diving past – and as viewing is by booked appointment only, you’re ensured an intimate audience with these precious relics. pearlmuseum.ae

The Al Farooq mosque was inspired by the architecture of Istanbul’s Blue Mosque and is adorned with intricate Islamic decoration and Arabic calligraphy. Tours are available at 10am and 4.15pm, Sunday to Thursday, but must be booked in advance. You can take photographs and borrow traditional attire at both mosques but you’ll still need to dress modestly, covering arms and legs, and remove your shoes before entering. Women will also need to wear a headscarf.

3 Of the best

cuLturaL experiences Desert safaris A sojourn into the desert is the best way to get a real taste of Bedouin life. You’re spoilt for choice as far as operators go, but Arabian Adventures is one of the best. Its Sundowner Dune Dinner Safari takes you to the desert at sunset for an Arabic-style buffet, camel riding, henna painting and a slice of life-amid-the-dunes. arabian-adventures.com falconry The crowning jewel of the UAE’s heritage sports, falconry has long been a vital part of desert life. Used by the Bedouins to hunt and communicate, these birds remain an important icon of Arab culture. Many desert safaris include falconry displays, but for a oneon-one interaction, head to Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa or Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa. meydanhotels.com/babalshams; al-maha.com camel racing The camel is an enduring symbol of the Emirates: the Bedouins relied on these gentle beasts for survival. Camel racing is a fun modern-day version of an old tradition that you can watch at Al Marmoom Racetrack from October to March. dcrc.ae


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asK the expert for an insight into the region’s art and cultural highlights, we speak to myrna ayad, fair director of the region’s leading art fair, art Dubai, which takes place annually in march (artdubai.ae) Where should visitors head to get their culture fix? If here in March, visitors can attend the city’s two big fairs: Art Dubai and Design Days Dubai, and if here in November, d3 welcomes Dubai Design Week. Outside of those events there is still plenty to see. Al Quoz is home to a number of the city’s fantastic galleries that showcase modern and contemporary art from around the world; most of these spaces are housed within the Alserkal Avenue hub. You’ll also find great galleries located at DIFC and the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. Dubai Opera regularly stages popular musicals and performances, too. Where can you go to explore Dubai’s heritage? The newly opened Etihad Museum is an incredible eye-opener into Dubai and the UAE’s heritage and history. I’ve always felt that Dubai Creek is one of the places where the pulse of the city can be best felt and I would recommend a ride on a traditional dhow. The nearby Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House in Shindagha and the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood are beautiful and present a historical insight into life in the Emirates; the latter hosts the Sikka Art Fair in March. What’s the best way to learn

more about the city’s culture and religion? Dubai is a cosmopolitan city, home to over 200 nationalities and numerous cultures, and the way to deal with all is simple: respect. The city is hospitable, welcoming and dynamic, and that can be instantly felt. Islam is a tolerant religion and I’d recommend reading about it to gain a better understanding. Are there any hidden gems you’d recommend seeking out that visitors might not know about? It is ‘old school’ Dubai but the Al Dawar restaurant at the Hyatt Regency in Deira offers such an incredible vantage point to see the city as the restaurant rotates. Head here after exploring the area around Dubai Creek. Where’s the best place to see/ buy local art? Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde represents some UAE-based and Emirati artists, as do Lawrie Shabibi, Carbon 12, Ayyam and several other such galleries. What about the best places to see street art? City Walk has commissioned street artists to create site-specific works.


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art Dubai

Drive or walk down 2nd December Street, too, where buildings have been painted as part of the Dubai Walls initiative, which contributes to the city’s appreciation and support of art and culture. What can visitors expect from Dubai Art Season, staged annually in March? Dubai Art Season is a reflection of the city’s appreciation of the arts, but also acts an indicator of how much is happening in this period as the city celebrates art and

culture across several platforms and genres – from modern and contemporary visual art through to literature, design and heritage. This is the best time to indulge, discover and really be inspired by the city’s many cultural offerings. What’s the art scene like in Dubai? Constantly evolving, always growing and organic; the country is a major cultural hub in the region and the city has so much to offer.


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eating out Dubai has an incredibly diverse range of dining options, from ethnic eateries to world-class fine dining Home to more than 200 nationalities, Dubai dishes up a veritable smorgasbord of international cuisine, from Indian and Ethiopian to French and Vietnamese. It’s a genuinely exciting city in which to eat out because there really is something for everyone, whatever your budget and craving. Take your pick from a glittering array of celebrity-chef restaurants and home-grown concepts from the city’s most exciting chefs. Indulge in Middle Eastern and Emirati cuisine, enjoy street food by the beach and don’t leave without exploring the down-to-earth eateries of old Dubai. If you’re looking for a great meal, you’ve come to the right place… pier 7


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$ Budget

GuiDe To priceS $$ Mid-range $$$ Premium

Al HADHeerAH

arabic

Al Hadheerah $$$ Bab Al Shams Desert resort & Spa Tucked among the desert dunes, this open-air restaurant has live cooking stations and a huge buffet of Middle Eastern dishes. Entertainment includes falconry displays and camel rides. meydanhotels.com em Sherif $$ The Address Downtown Dubai Styled like a lavish Oriental mansion with superb Burj Khalifa views, this Lebanese import offers a stellar set menu of 30 dishes, with a seemingly endless flow of mezze, charcoalgrilled meats and desserts. emsherif.com

Zaroob $ Sheikh Zayed road Open 24 hours, this funky eatery serves super-tasty Levantine street food such as chicken shawarma, falafel and man’oushe. You’ll also find outlets at Ibn Battuta Mall and Palm Jumeirah’s Golden Mile. zaroob.com

asian

Asia Asia $$ pier 7 A riot of statues and birdcages, this trendy spot overlooking Dubai Marina serves Pan-Asian dishes that are ideal for sharing. Post dinner you can move conversation to the fabulous outdoor terrace. asia-asia.com


96 visitdubai.com HAkkASAn

Hoi An $$ Shangri-la Hotel Dubai This cosy restaurant dishes up authentic Vietnamese, including plenty of vegetarian options. The set menus are a great way to sample the full flavours. shangri-la.com Hakkasan $$$ Jumeirah emirates Towers This high-end chain is renowned for its modern take on Cantonese cuisine. Dishes are artfully presented and the vibe is

sophisticated, with moody lighting and an outdoor terrace with pavilions. hakkasan.com

Emirati

Al Fanar $ Dubai Festival city Mall Popular with locals and visitors alike, this atmospheric eatery is a top spot to experience traditional Emirati cooking. Don’ t miss the chicken machboos (a spiced rice dish) and naghar mashwi (grilled squid). alfanarrestaurant.com


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Aseelah $$ radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira creek This stylish restaurant serves up the city’s most accomplished take on local cuisine. You’ll find traditional dishes like lamb thareed (stew) alongside modern interpretations like camel sliders. radissonblu.com logma $ Boxpark Meaning ‘bites’ in Arabic, this funky eatery serves up casual, contemporary Emirati fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try a khameer sandwich with a side order of Logma’s famous Khaleejispiced fries. logma.ae

indian/ PaKistani

carnival by Tresind $$$ Burj Daman DiFc This wildy popular Indian finedining restaurant impresses with its molecular-gastronomy menu and vibrant interiors. Expect intriguing dishes with quirky names, waiters blowing bubbles and plenty of fun. carnivalbytresind.com rang Mahal by Atul kochhar $$$ JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai Head here for haute Indian cuisine in a stunning setting (think giant murals, carved wooden pillars and rich red hues). Dishes are served sharing-style, with expert spicing and sophisticated presentation. Don’t look beyond the well-priced grazing menu. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com

4 oF THe BeST BuDGeT BiTeS

Bu Qtair $ umm Suqeim A Dubai institution, this simple seafood restaurant has been pulling in the crowds for more than two decades. Join the everpresent queue and order fried fish and Malabar fish curry served with piping-hot paratha. +971 55 705 2130 3 Fils $ Jumeirah Fishing Harbour Foodies are flocking to this tiny spot for Singaporean chef Akmal Anuar’s Asian-inspired cuisine. Dishes are playful and delicious: try the crispy eel and foie-gras tempura rolls. 3fils.com Salt $ kite Beach Salt serves just three types of sliders from its silver Airstreams. Order a side order of fries and a Lotus milkshake, then grab a table on the sand or inside the air-conditioned glass cube. find-salt.com Aroos Damascus $ Deira This Syrian stalwart has been serving seriously good kibbeh and kabab since 1980 and boasts a huge terrace. +971 4 221 9825


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calicut paragon $ karama Specialising in seafood, this strictly no-frills favourite serves excellent dishes from the South Indian state of Kerala. Try the coconut-flavoured fish curries and Karimeen fry (spicy fried fish). paragonrestaurant.net

JaPanEsE

Tomo $$$ raffles Dubai With produce direct from Japan, chef Chitoshi Takahashi creates some of the most authentic Japanese cuisine in town. The outdoor terrace boasts brilliant views of Burj Khalifa. tomo.ae

katana $$ Downtown Dubai Hailing from LA’s Sunset Strip, this sleek restaurant specialises in robatayaki-seared skewers of beef, chicken and fish, and outstanding sushi. Overlooking The Dubai Fountain, it has spectacular Burj Khalifa views. katana-dubai.com

Zuma $$$ Gate Village DiFc The ever-popular Zuma serves contemporary Japanese sharing plates with real wow factor. The sushi is sublime and be sure to order signatures such as the miso-marinated black cod. zumarestaurant.com


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Latin amErican

laluz $$$ Four Seasons DiFc With ex-elBulli chef Alain Devahive in the kitchen of this classy Catalan restaurant, you’re in for a treat. Whether it’s casual pinchos or a sit-down meal, be sure to order the spherical olives. laluzrestaurant.com

Aji $$ club Vista Mare Aji serves up a superb fusion of Japanese and Peruvian dishes from its home on Palm Jumeirah's Club Vista Mare, a beachfront dining and leisure complex which affords diners fine views of some of city’s world-famous landmarks. aji.ae

FamiLy FarE

Garden $$ JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai With colourful murals, booth seating and cool tunes, this Peruvian restaurant offers a buzzy night out. Dishes like yellowfintuna tiradito and Patagonian toothfish are served sharing-style, alongside excellent beverages. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com

Slider Station $ Galleria Mall With industrial décor and a small conveyor belt for burgers, this family-friendly joint specialises in gourmet mini-burgers. It also offers American tapas, including sticky maple shrimps and Coca-Colabraised ribs. sliderstation.com

coya $$$ Four Seasons resort Dubai For high-end Peruvian cuisine in swish surroundings, head to this famed London import. On the menu are zesty salads, gourmet tacos and delectable ceviches. coyarestaurant.com

mEditErranEan

level Seven $$ W Dubai-Al Habtoor city Based on a Mediterranean market - albeit one adorned with vintage art - this is a great place to enjoy a leisurely lunch over abundant tapas dishes and grilled fish. levelsevendubai.com

Big chefs $$ The Beach at JBr This casual spot scores big for its homely interiors and beachside location. There are more than 145 dishes to choose from, ranging from Turkish to Tex-Mex, along with a separate kids’ menu. bigchefs.com.tr

leopold's of london $$ riverland, Dubai parks and resorts This homegrown concept is famous for its variety of teas more than 70 - but its food is also noteworthy. A full and varied menu offers myriad healthy options through to big burgers and pizzas great for sharing. leopoldsoflondon.com


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sPEciaList rEstaurants

life’n one $ Jumeirah Beach road This place feeds the soul just as much as the body since it doubles up as a yoga centre. The dishes, created using raw, organic and home-grown ingredients, taste even better when eaten in the serene garden. lifenone.com

omnia Gourmet $$ Jumeirah Fishing Village Something of a hidden gem, perched beside the water’s edge at Jumeirah Fishing Village, here celebrity chef Silvena Rowe serves up a menu that is almost entirely gluten-free, not to mention the extensive range of raw, sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan and Paleo options. omniagourmet.co Wild and the Moon $ Alserkal Avenue Tucked away in the art district of Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz, this creative, wholesome café offers up salads billed as ‘wild, local, plant-based, ethically sourced, seasonal and pure’ and countless cold-pressed juices and smoothies. wildandthemoon.com

maLL muncHing

Din Tai Fung $ Mall of the emirates Hailing from Taiwan, this acclaimed chain has a devoted local following, thanks to its delicious steamed dumplings and buns. Be sure to

order the signature xia long bao. +971 4 265 1288 parker’s $ The Dubai Mall You need a key to score a seat at this hipster hangout (search Snapchat and Instagram for clues). Once you’re in, enjoy fun comfort food like spicy toffee shrimp, mac and cheese and truffle burgers. instagram.com/byparkers circle café $ The Dubai Mall This home-grown favourite has an


gastronomy 101

3 oF THe BeST celeBriTy cHeFS’ reSTAurAnTS

The Artisan by enoteca pinchiorri $$$ Burj Daman DiFc The Dubai outpost of Florence’s famous three-Michelin-starred restaurant offers a more relaxed version of Italian fine dining. Signature dishes include slowcooked octopus and tuffoli pasta with veal-shank stew. theartisan.ae

extensive menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes, from an Arabic breakfast platter with halloumi za’atar and foul medames (fava beans) to superfood salad and periperi prawns. circle-cafe.com common Grounds $ Mall of the emirates Open from 8am ’til late, this excellent café offers imaginative salads, gourmet burgers and the best prawn tacos this side of Mexico City (although it’s hard to resist the katsu chicken). commongroundsdubai.com

Marina Social $$$ intercontinental Dubai Marina British chef Jason Atherton’s Dubai dining experience is best enjoyed on the large terrace outside. The perfectly executed dishes include beef tartare prepared tableside and a duck and foie-gras hot dog. marinasocialdubai.com Social by Heinz Beck $$$ Waldorf Astoria Dubai palm Jumeirah This offshoot from threeMichelin-star Heinz Beck serves exceptional contemporary European cuisine, minus the pretension. Plump for the seven-course tasting menu to embark on an exquisite journey for the senses. waldorfastoria3.hilton.com


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HomEgroWn Hot sPots

The experience by reif othman $$$ H Hotel Dubai This exclusive fine dining restaurant seats just 12 people at its U-shaped table. For each sitting, guests are presented with a handwritten, oneoff menu cooked and served by the acclaimed Singaporean chef himself. +971 4 501 8888 rüya $$$ Grosvenor House Dubai Helmed by Colin Clague, one of the region’s most respected chefs, and kitted out with gorgeous tiles, twinkling lanterns and an open kitchen, Rüya is your go-to for innovative Anatolian cuisine. ruyadubai.com

Folly $$$ Souk Madinat Jumeirah Nick & Scott helm the kitchen here, two longtime Dubai-based chefs who have worked wonders on sharing plates of modern European dishes. The cooking is precise and the flavours impactful, and the venue’s a cracker, too. folly.ae

scEnic FinE dining

At.mosphere $$$ Burj khalifa Spanning level 122 of the world’s tallest tower, At.mosphere is a truly memorable fine-dining experience. Reserve a table by the window and prepare to be wowed by the Frenchinspired cuisine and unbeatable views. atmosphereburjkhalifa.com


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rockfish $$$ Jumeirah Al naseem With sleek interiors and floor-toceiling glass doors opening onto a sandy terrace, Rockfish offers prime Burj Al Arab views. Seafood is the speciality, with dishes such as ahi tuna with caperberries and juicy Japanese scallops. jumeirah.com

Held every Friday, the sprawling Wanderlust brunch takes your taste buds on a trip around the world with 360 international dishes from 10 of the hotel’s restaurants. With drinks and cool tunes, this brunch is great for groups. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com

Bateaux Dubai $$$ Dubai creek This popular dinner cruise sees gourmands take in the sights of old Dubai while feasting on dishes like beef tenderloin with porcini-mushroom purée and braised veal cheek with puy lentils. jaresortshotels.com

Friday Fork & cork Anantara The palm resort Another feast for the eyes as much as the stomach can be grazed on at Friday Fork & Cork at Crescendo. This culinary journey pit stops at numerous countries across the world, while the dessert buffet is a particular highlight. Whatever your taste buds crave they are certain to be tickled, and it’s a great option for families. dubai-palm.anantara.com

unbEatabLE bruncHEs

Wanderlust JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

FABulouS FooD TourS Frying pan Adventures if you’re keen to explore Dubai’s melting pot of cuisines, sign up for one of these fascinating walking tours of old Dubai. There’s a range of itineraries available year-round, including the Middle eastern Food pilgrimage and little india on a plate. fryingpanadventures.com FooDiva Dine Around Dubai Food blogger Samantha Wood takes gastronomes on a secret dining adventure at three high-end restaurants, where diners enjoy signature dishes presented by the chefs. foodiva.net Arabian Adventures This tour company offers a range of food tours such as Flavours of Dubai, which explores the ethnic eateries of 2nd December Street, followed by an emirati meal. arabian-adventures.com


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asK tHE EXPErt Zoe Bowker, official World’s 50 Best restaurants Tastemaker and blogger (instagram.com/zoe.bowker), shares her thoughts on Dubai’s dining scene What’s the best thing about eating out in Dubai? Given our hugely diverse multicultural mix, you can find anything from amazingly affordable ethnic options right up to fine dining in some of the world’s most recognisable landmarks. You can choose whether you want street food or smoke and spheres, or you can enjoy the best of both worlds. I love that there’s something for every taste and budget. Plus, you haven’t brunched until you’ve experienced Dubai’s take on allday weekend feasting. How has the culinary scene here evolved? We’re starting to see more chef-led establishments where it’s truly about their passion and inspiration, such as The Experience by Reif Othman and Carnival by Tresind. These restaurants are serving up creative food that competes on a global level. The hipster scene has well and truly arrived in Dubai too, from cafés to food trucks (of which you’ll find many) to uber-trendy eateries. We’re also starting to care more about the produce on the plate, with chefs here making an increased effort to source organic and local ingredients.

What are the biggest misconceptions about dining in Dubai? Probably that all of our dining options are expensive, but to get the most from your money make sure you’re in town on a Friday to discover the uniquely Dubai ‘brunch’. It’s also not all Arabic food – though there are certainly plenty of wonderful Arabic options, from small local restaurants through to dining among the dunes. What are your top picks when it comes to fine dining? The Experience by Reif Othman is a newly opened concept with only 12 seats where the menu changes for each service. Tresind (and its charismatic little brother, Carnival by Tresind) is a giddy ride full of bubbles, levitating platforms and boiling skulls. I also recommend Dragonfly by Tim Raue, The Artisan by Enoteca Pinchiorri and Marina Social. Any cheap and cheerful restaurants you’d recommend? The one that gets talked about the most would have to be Ravi’s in Satwa, though it serves Pakistani and Indian fare as opposed to Arabic cuisine. Dubai is currently working to raise awareness of its hidden gems serving fantastic local cuisine at amazing prices.


asK tHE EXPErt 105 MArinA SociAl

What are your favourite insider spots? Weslodge on the 68th floor of the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai is the place to be at sunset. The outstanding views of Burj Al Arab right around to Burj Khalifa can’t be beaten. Add to that great music, décor, staff and food and it’s a must-visit. The Restaurant at Address Boulevard, just across the road from The Dubai Mall, has great views of Burj Khalifa and is styled like a Parisian apartment with many different luxurious spaces to enjoy. It’s open 24 hours, too. And Lucky Voice, for when you want to take a break from the beach clubs and

sing up a storm in state-of-the art karaoke pods. Which Friday brunches would you recommend? I'd certainly say Play, as you can feast on a fantastic selection of inventive Asian cuisine without leaving your seat. Brilliant entertainment here caps off a brunch that’s hard to beat. Treehouse’s La Guinguette Friday-evening brunch is another winner, where you can enjoy a huge range of delicious à la carte dishes paired with some of the best views of Burj Khalifa in town.


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ThE wEsTin dubai, al habToor CiTy

al Maha

bollywood parks dubai

jw MarrioTT Marquis hoTEl dubai

la VillE hoTEl & suiTEs


visitdubai.com

Hotels 107

wHere to stay Dubai offers visitors a wealth of accommodation options, from iconic and record-breaking hotels to beach and city boltholes, and from boutique through to budget...

5 star Hotels Al Ghurair Rayhaan Hotel Rotana rotana.com/ alghurairrayhaanbyrotana Al Maha, A Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa - Dubai al-maha.com Al Masyaf Villas jumeirah.com Al Naseem Hotel jumeirah.com Jumeirah Al Qasr jumeirah.com Amwaj Rotana Hotel & Resort rotana.com Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort anantara.com Armani Hotel Dubai dubai-armanihotels.com Asiana Hotel asianahoteldubai.com Atlantis, The Palm atlantisthepalm.com Auris Plaza - Hotel Al Barsha auris-hotels.com Avani Deira Hotel minorhotels.com Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa meydanhotels.com Bonnington Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers bonningtontower.com Burj Al Arab jumeirah.com

Carlton Palace Hotel carltonpalacehotel.com Conrad Hotel Dubai conraddubai.com Crowne Plaza Hotel - Dubai Deira crowneplaza.com Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City Hotel crowneplaza.com/ dubaifestival.com Crowne Plaza Hotel crowneplaza.com/dubai Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa dxbmarine.com Dukes Dubai dukesdubai.com Dusit Thani Dubai dusitthanidubai.dusit.com Fairmont Dubai fairmont.com/dubai Fairmont The Palm fairmont.com/palm-dubai Four Seasons Hotel DIFC fourseasons.com Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach fourseasons.com Ghaya Grand Hotel Ghayagrandhotel.com Grand Hyatt Dubai Hotel dubai.grand.hyatt.com Grand Hyatt Residence hyatt.com Grand Millennium Hotel Dubai grandmillenniumdubai. com Grosvenor House Dubai grosvenorhouse-dubai.com

Habtoor Grand Resort Autograph Collection habtoorhotels.com Hilton Dubai Creek hilton.com Hilton Dubai Jumeirah hilton.com Hyatt Regency Dubai hyatt.com Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights Hotel dubaicreek.regency.hyatt. com Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel Dubai movenpick.com InterContinental Dubai Festival City ihg.com InterContinental Dubai Marina ihg.com JA Resorts & Hotels jaresortshotels.com Jood Palace Hotel joodhospitality.com Jumeirah Beach Hotel jumeirah.com Jumeirah Creekside Hotel jumeirah.com Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel jumeirah.com Jumeirah Zabeel Saray jumeirah.com JW Marriott Marquis Hotel jwmarriottmarquisdubai. com Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah kempinski.com


108 visitdubai.com Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts marriott.com La Ville Hotel & Suites livelaville.com Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre lemeridien.com/dubai Le Meridien Mina Seyahi lemeridien-minaseyahi. com Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa leroyalmeridien-dubai.com Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf marriott.com Media Rotana Hotel rotana.com Melia Hotel melia.com Millennium Plaza Hotel millenniumhotels.com Mina A'Salam jumeirah.com Movenpick - Bur Dubai movenpick.com Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach movenpick.com Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lake Towers movenpick.com Nassima Royal Hotel nassimaroyalhotel.com Nikki Beach Resort & Spa nikkibeachhotels.com One&Only The Palm thepalm. oneandonlyresorts.com One&Only Royal Mirage Hotel royalmirage. oneandonlyresorts.com Palazzo Versace Hotel palazzoversace.ae Park Hyatt Dubai dubai.park.hyatt.com Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel Dubai parkregiskriskin.ae Pullman City Centre Hotel pullmanhotels.com

Pullman Jumeirah Lake Towers Hotel pullmanhotels.com Raffles Dubai raffles.com/dubai Rixos The Palm Hotel rixos.com Roda Al Bustan Hotel roda-hotels.com Roda Al Murooj Hotel roda-hotels.com Shangri-La Dubai Hotel shangri-la.com Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers sheraton.com/dubai Sheraton Dubai Mall of Emirates sheratondubaimalloftheemirates.com Sheraton Grand Hotel sheratongranddubai.com Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Hotel sheratonjumeirahbeach. com Sofitel Dubai Downtown Hotel sofitel.com Sofitel Hotel - Dubai Jumeirah Beach sofitel-dubai.jumeirahbeach.com Sofitel The Palm Hotel sofitel.com The St. Regis Dubai stregisdubai.com Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay steigenberger.com Taj Dubai taj.tajhotels.com The Address, Dubai Mall theaddress.com The Address Downtown Dubai Hotel theaddress.com The Address Dubai Marina Hotel theaddress.com The Address Montgomerie - Dubai

theaddress.com The H Dubai h-hotel.com The Meydan Hotel meydanhotels.com The Oberoi Hotel oberoihotels.com/hotels. in.dubai The Palace Downtown Dubai Hotel theaddress.com The Ritz Carlton DIFC ritzcarlton.com The Ritz Carlton Dubai ritzcarlton.com/dubai Viceroy Palm Jumeirah viceroyhotelsandresorts. com The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City westindubaialhabtoorcity. com The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina westinminaseyahi.com W-Dubai, Al Habtoor City Wdubaialhabtoorcity.com Waldorf Astoria Hotel Dubai Palm Jumeirah waldorfastoria.com/ dubaipalm Zabeel Saray Hotel jumeirah.com

4 star Hotels Abjar Grand Hotel abjargrandhotel.com Al Jawhara Gardens Hotel jawhara.ae Al Khaleej Palace Hotel sunandskyhotels.com Al Khoory Atrium Hotel alkhooryhotels.com Arabian Courtyard - Hotel & Spa arabiancourtyard.com Arjaan by Rotana – Dubai rotana.com Armada BlueBay Hotel armadabluebayhotel.com


Hotels 109 Ascot Hotel ascothoteldubai.com Atana Hotel atanahotel.com Auris Inn Muhanna Hotel Auris-hotels.com Avari Dubai Hotel avari.com Avenue Hotel avenuehoteldubai.com Best Western Premier Hotel bestwesternpremierdubai. com Black Stone Hotel bluebayresorts.com Boutique7 Hotel & Suites boutique7.ae Byblos Hotel bybloshoteldubai.com Capitol Hotel bybloshospitality.com Carlton Tower Hotel carltontower.net Cassells Al Barsha Hotel cassellsalbarshahotel.com City Seasons Hotel cityseasonshotel.com City Seasons Towers Hotel Cityseasonhotels.com Copthorne Hotel millenniumhotels.ae Coral Dubai Deira Hotel coral-deira.com Cosmopolitan Hotel dubaicosmopolitan.com Courtyard Marriott Dubai Green Community cydubaigreencommunity. com Damas Unique Hotel warwickhotels.com Desert Palm Resort & Hotel desertpalm.ae Donatello Hotel Dubai Donatello.hoteldubai.com Dorus Hotel Montrealhoteldubai.com Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Dubai Jumeirah Beach dubaijumeirahbeach. double-tree.com

Double Tree by Hilton Hotel & Residences Dubai Al Barsha doubletree3.hilton.com Dubai Grand Hotel Fortunegroupofhotels.com Dusit D2 Kenz Hotel Dusit.com Emirates Grand Hotel emiratesgrandhotel.com Flora Al Barsha Hotel florahospitality.com Flora Grand Hotel florahospitality.com Fortune Park Hotel fortunegroupofhotels.com Fortune Boutique Hotel fortunegroupofhotels.com Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road - Dubai Gloria Hotel gloria-hotels.com Golden Tulip Hotel - Al Barsha goldentulipalbarsha.com Grand Central Hotel grandcentralhoteldubai. com Grand Excelsior Hotel grandexcelsior.ae Grand Excelsior Hotel - Al Barsha grandexcelsior.ae Grand Excelsior Hotel Deira grandexcelsiorhoteldeira. com Grand Midwest Tower Hotel & Hotel Apartments grandmidwest.com Grandeur Hotel Grandeurhotel.com Hatta Fort Hotel hattaforthotel.com Hawthorn Hotel & Suites by Wyndham JBR hawthornsuitesdubai.com Hilton Dubai The Walk Hotel Hilton.com Hilton Garden Inn Al Muraqabat

hiltongardeninn3.hilton. com Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Al Mina Hotel hiltongardeninn3.hilton. com Holiday Inn Al Barsha Hotel hialbarshadubai.com Holiday Inn Bur Dubai Hotel holidayinn.com Holiday Inn Downtown holidayinn.com Hues Boutique Hotel hueshotels.com Hyatt Place Dubai Hotel Al Rigga hyatt.com Hyatt Place Dubai Hotel Baniyas Square hyatt.com JW Marriott Dubai Hotel jwmarriottdubai.com Jumeirah Rotana Hotel rotana.com Landmark Grand Deira landmarkhotels.net Landmark Riqqa Landmarkhotels.net Le Meridien Fairway lemeridien.com/fairway London Crown Hotel Londoncrown.ae Majestic Hotel dubaimajestic.com Manzil Downtown Dubai vida-hotels.com Marco Polo Hotel marcopolohotel.net Marina Byblos Hotel marinabybloshotel.com Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites Dubai marriott.com Media One Hotel mediaonehotel.com Mercure Gold Hotel mercure-gold-hoteldubai.com Millenium Airport Hotel Dubai millenniumhotels.ae/ millenniumdubai


110 visitdubai.com Monaco Hotel monacohoteldubai.com Moscow Hotel moscowhoteldubai.com Nihal Palace Hotel Nihalpalacehotels.com Novotel Dubai Al Barsha novotel.com Novotel Deira City Centre novotel.com Novotel World Trade Centre novotel.com Orchid Vue Hotel orchidvuehotel.com M Hotel Downtown by Millennium Millenniumhotels.com Radisson Blu Hotel Downtown radissonblu.com/hoteldubaidowntown Radisson Blu Hotel - Dubai Deira Creekw radissonblu.com Radisson Blu Hotel - Media City radissonblu.com/hoteldubaimediacity Raintree Rolla Hotel raintreehotelsdubai.com Ramada Chelsea Hotel - Al Barsha ramadachelseaalbarsha. com Ramada Deira Hotel ramadadeira.com Ramada Dubai Hotel ramadadubai.com Ramada Jumeirah Hotel ramadajumeirah.ae Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach ramadaplazajbr.com Ramee Royal Hotel rameehotels.com Raviz Center Point Hotel ravizhotels.com Regent Palace Hotel rameehotels.com Riviera Hotel rivierahotel-dubai.com

Rose Rayhaan by Rotana Hotels rotana.com Royal Ascot Hotel royalascothotel-dubai.com Royal Continental Hotel royalcontinentalhotels. com Saffron Boutique Hotel saffronhotelsdubai.com Samaya Hotel & Resorts samayahotel.com Sea View Hotel seaviewhoteldubai.com Signature Hotel signaturehotel-dubai.com Somewhere Hotel somewhere-hotels.com Suba Hotel subahotels.com Summit Hotel summithotel.net Sun and Sky Hotel Al Rigga lotus-hospitality.com The Country Club Hotel countryclubdubai.com Time Grand Plaza Hotel timehotels.ae Time Oak Hotel and Suites timehotels.ae Towers Rotana Hotel rotana.com Vida Downtown Dubai Hotel vida-hotels.com Vida Hotels and Resorts vida-hotels.com Wyndham Marina Hotel wyndhamhotels.com Yassat Gloria Hotel yassatgloria.com

3 star Hotels Admiral Plaza Hotel admiralplazahotel.com Al Buraq Hotel buraq.ae Alfarej Hotel Alfarejhotel.com Al Khaleej Grand Hotel

sunandskyhotels.com Al Khoory Executive Hotel alkhooryhotels.com Al Sarab Hotel alsarabhotel.com Ambassador Hotel astamb.com Arabian Park Hotel arabianparkhotel.com Astoria Hotel astamb.com Benta Grand Hotel bentagrandhotel.com Broadway Hotel broadwayhoteldubai.com California Hotel californiahoteldubai.com Centro Barsha Hotel Rotana rotana.com Chelsea Plaza Hotel chelseaplazahoteldubai. com Citymax Al Barsha citymaxhotels.com Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai citymaxhotels.com City Star Hotel citystarhotel.ae Claridge Hotel claridgehoteluae.com Comfort Inn Hotel hotelcomfortinn.com Copthorne Airport Hotel millenniumhotels.ae Delmon Palace Hotel delmonhotel.ae Dream Palace Hotel dreampalacehotel.ae Dubai Palm Hotel dubaipalmhotel.com Dulf Hotel dulfhotels.com Fortune Hotel Deira fortune-hotels.net Fortune Karama Hotel fortune-hotels.net Fortune Pearl Hotel fortune-hotels.net Fortune Plaza Hotel fortunegroupofhotels.com Gateway Hotel


Hotels 111 gatewayhotel.ae Howard Johnson Hotel -Bur Dubai hojoburdubai.com Ibis Deira City Center accorhotels.com Ibis Al Barsha ibis.com Ibis One Central Hotel accorhotels.com Ibis Style Hotel accorhotels.com Ibis Style Dragon Mart Hotel accorhotels.com Imperial Suites Hotel imperialsuiteshotel.com J5 Hotels Port Saeed Dubai J5hotels.com Jonrad Hotel jonradhotel.com Kings Park Hotel kings-park.dubaihoteluae. com Landmark Baniyas landmarkhotels.net Landmark Plaza landmarkhotels.net Lavender Hotel Lavender-hotels.com London Suites Hotel londonsuiteshotel.com Mayfair Hotel mayfairdubai.ae Nihal Hotel nihalhoteldubai.ae Orchid Hotel orchidhoteldubai.com Palm Beach Hotel palmbeachburdubai.com Panorama Grand Hotel panoramagrouphotels.com Phoenix Hotel phoenixhoteldubai.com Premier Inn Dubai Investment Park premierinn.ae Premier Inn Dubai Silicon Oasis premierinn.ae Premier Inn Hotels – Dubai International Airport

premierinn.ae Premier Inn – Ibn Battuta Hotel global.premierinn.com Rainbow Hotel rainbowhotel.ae Ramee Rose Hotel rameehotels.com Reflections Hotel reflectionshoteldubai.com Regal Plaza Hotel rameehotels.com Richmond Greens Hotel kreativehospitality.com Rove Downtown Dubai Hotel rovehotels.com Rove Healthcare City rovehotels.com Rove City Centre rovehotels.com Royal Falcon Hotel royalfalconhotel.ae Sadaf Delmon Hotel - Al Rigga delmonhotel.ae Sadaf Hotel sadafhotel.ae Sandras Inn Hotel sandrasinndubai.com Signature Inn Hotel Al Rigga signature-inn-hotel-alrigga.dubaihoteluae.ae Sky Light Hotel skylight-hotel.com Smana Hotel Al Raffa smanahotels.com St. George Hotel stgeorgedubai.ae Suite Novotel Mall of the Emirates suitenovotel.com Sun & Sands Hotel sunandsanddubai.com Sun & Sands Plaza Hotel ssplazahotel.com Versailles Hotel dubaiversailles.com York International Hotel yorkinternationalhotel.com Zain InternationaI Hotel zaingrouphotels.com

Guest Houses Ahmedia Heritage Guest House Al Aman Guest House Al Firdous Guest House Al Khail Guest House Al Madani Guest House Al Rahaba Guest House Al Sheraa Guest House Aras Guest House Barjeel Heritage Guest House Dolphin Guest House Emirates Academy Lodging Branch of Jumeirah Beach Resort Gold Plaza Guest House Howf Guest House Mirage Guest House Niawaran Guest House Orient Guest House XVA Guest House Emirates Concorde Hotel Disclaimer: This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all accommodation options in Dubai. For an up-to-date directory please email info@dubaitourism.ae or log on to visitdubai.com


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