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December 2015 The insider's guide to Dubai's must-have visitor experiences


Welcome Note

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DXB City Expert

ediTorial Editorial Director John Thatcher Contributing Editors Lara Brunt, Hazel Plush Contributors Andy Buchan, Oliver Robinson, Tracey Scott

arT

A WA R M

Senior Designer Andy Knappett Designer Emi Dixon Illustrator Andrew Thorpe

commercial Managing Director Victoria Thatcher Group Commercial Director David Wade Commercial Director Rawan Chehab Business Development Manager Rabih El Turk Sales Manager Lisa Price

ProdUcTion Production Manager Muthu Kumar

To

DUBAI We know it can feel a little overwhelming when you first set foot in Dubai. How exactly do you explore this ultra modern metropolis? Where do you start? We love Dubai and we want to ensure that you feel the same, so that’s why we decided to create this handy-sized, helpful guide to help you on your way. Rather than present you with a long list of recommendations which would take you the duration of your holiday to read, our Dubai-based team of in-the-know writers have cherry picked the city’s best bits – leaving you free to simply enjoy it. Inside this guide you’ll find insider knowledge on everything from the best restaurants with a view and the must-shop stores of local fashion designers, to the coolest clubs and the finest entertainment. We’ll also tell you which of the many organised tours are the best to take to see all of this city’s ample attractions. All that remains is for us to wish you the holiday of a lifetime. Go get it...

John ThaTcher Editorial Director DXB City Expert

Cover Image : UAE National Day By Andrew Thorpe


OPEN YOUR HEART TO THE WORLD 3 Nov 2015 - 9 Apr 2016

Celebrate cultures from around the globe. • Entertainment • Shopping • Dining • Rides & Games • Winnings GlobalVillageAE

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Contents

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DXB City Expert

The

CONTENTS 7

On ArrivAl All you need to know when you touch down in Dubai.

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SO ThiS iS DubAi A little local knowledge to help you ease your way into the city.

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TOp Of The TOurS Let the experts take the strain out of sightseeing.

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Where TO eAT From fine dining and ‘only in Dubai’ eats, to family favourites and best budget options, this chapter comes stuffed with our recommendations.

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Where TO ShOp There’s more to Dubai’s shopping scene than merely the world’s biggest mall. Credit cards at the ready…

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WhAT TO DO Underwater, on the water, in the sand and in the snow: there are myriad ways to enjoy yourself in the city. We’ve selected the best.

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Where TO GO We hope you’ve packed your dancing shoes – you’re going to need them.

Produced for dnata Travel by HOT Media Publishing FZ LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from HOT Media Publishing is strictly prohibited. All prices mentioned are correct at time of press but may change. HOT Media Publishing does not accept liability for omissions or errors contained in DXB City Expert.


Tea Party on 68th. Take in the panoramic views from the top of the world’s tallest hotel, while savouring some of the finest beef cuts, along with an exceptional variety of American cheesecakes and unique beverages. Saturdays from 2.30pm to 5pm AED 185 per person AED 350 per couple Welcome to afternoon tea with a modern twist. JW Marriott Marquis Dubai Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay T +971 4 414 3000 jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com


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On Arrival

DXB City Expert

On

ARRIVAL You’re almost there now, but before you head off to your hotel here’s a little something to help you on your way

Leaving The airporT There are ample public taxis available at the airport, though there’s every chance you’ll have to queue to get one. As you do so, you may notice a line of estate-sized pink-roof taxis. These are exclusively for women and families, and are helmed by female drivers only. There are also taxis specifically for special needs travellers. Both can be requested from the taxi line attendant once you’re at the front of the queue. Your fare will include an airport pickup fee of Dhs25, which is the amount the meter will start from. Dubai International Airport is also serviced by the Dubai Metro. However, each passenger is restricted to two pieces of luggage, one of which shouldn’t be bigger than hand luggage. Trains run approximately every 10 minutes and depart from Terminals 1 and 3 – just follow the signs. Trains start at 5.50am (5.30am on Thursday), and stop at midnight (1am on Thursday and Friday). But be aware that trains start at only 1pm on Fridays. There are just two lines, so it’s easy to work out your route, and you’ll likely find taxis at each station to take you to your specific address. See ‘getting around’ for further information. If you’re intending to hire a car on arrival in Dubai, you’ll find all the major operators are present at the airport.

Chief amongst them is Hertz, which is available at both Terminal 1 (+971 4 224 5222) and Terminal 3 (+971 4 220 3013) of Dubai International Airport. Drivers must be aged 21 or over and be in possession of a valid driving license from their home country. Remember that driving in Dubai is on the right hand side of the road.

hire a heLping hand from marhaba If you’re reading this before you travel to Dubai, or if you haven’t yet planned your return journey to the airport, it’s well worth checking out the services of Marhaba (+971 4 389 8989, marhabaservices.com). On arrival, their always-smiling staff greet you as you come off the aircraft, before ferrying you by buggy to passport control and whizzing you past the queues (which can be long) to their dedicated counters and beyond, where a porter will collect your luggage. Services are tailored to suit individuals, families and those with specific needs. Fast-tracking through airport procedures is also a feature of any return journey you make with Marhaba, while you can also book a chauffer pickup from anywhere in Dubai and enjoy the hospitality of their airport lounge as you await boarding.

have a word With the UAE celebrating its National Day on 2 December, this month is the perfect time to wish the locals well. If Arabic’s not your native tongue, here are a few helpful words… Marhaba : Hello Sabah al-hayr : Good morning As-salaam alaikum : Peace be upon you Ma’assalama : Goodbye Eid milad saeed : Happy Birthday Minfadlik : Please Shukran : Thank you

geT connecTed Before departing the airport you may wish to buy a sim card that’s designed for visitors to use while in the UAE. It costs Dhs35 and provides you with The Visitor Mobile Line (VML), allowing you to make calls – or text – while in Dubai at a fraction of the cost you’ll pay for roaming. You can buy it from the ‘du’ shop in the arrivals hall of both Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. Once purchased you can top it up by buying pre-paid cards at various convenient locations across the city, including du shops. See du.ae for a list of locations.


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So This Is Dubai

DXB City Expert

show some respect

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Dubai is a very warm and welcoming city, but like anywhere else you travel in the world you’ll want to show respect for local sensibilities. Here are a few things to keep in mind while enjoying your holiday…

DU B A I Chapter oNe

You’ve read about it, seen the pictures and marvelled from afar. Now you’re here. But before heading off to enjoy the holiday of a lifetime, here are a few things to put you in the know

A little bit About this greAt city of ours… With a skyline dominated by towering skyscrapers and now-iconic structures like Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa, it’s hard to imagine that Dubai was once little more than a fishing village. The Bani Yas tribe settled next to Dubai Creek in 1833, and the area soon became a hub for fishing, pearling and trading. The discovery of ‘black gold’ in 1966 triggered Dubai’s remarkable transformation into the glittering city of today. In 1971, Dubai joined with six neighbouring emirates – Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and (in 1972) Ras Al Khaimah – to form the United Arab Emirates, and this union is celebrated each year on December 2. Under the late Sheikh Zayed, the first President of the UAE, the country has developed into one of the world’s most prosperous, while still remaining true to its rich heritage of Bedouin, Islamic and Emirati cultures. Today, Dubai is home to over 200 nationalities that are attracted by its opportunities and lifestyle. Such has been the city’s rapid expansion beyond its Creek origins

that residents now commonly refer to ‘old’ and ‘new’ Dubai, with the old part encompassing Dubai Creek and the wider Bur Dubai area in the north of the city, and the new part featuring the strictly modern superstructures – Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina and all – which spread for miles into the south of the city.

the bAsics, iN No more thAN 140 chArActers The Climate Expect daytime temperatures around the 25°c mark but don’t be surprised if there’s an overcast or – shock, horror – rainy day in December. The Currency The UAE Dirham is what you’ll use. Notes come in 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 and their value is pegged at Dhs3.67 = US$1. The Weekend The UAE’s weekend is Friday/Saturday. There’s a public holiday this month on the 2nd as the country celebrates National Day. Join the party.

Refrain from over-the-top public displays of affection, even when in nightclubs.

Do not succumb to the urge to make rude hand gestures to other people – doing so could land you in hot water.

Dress modestly when outside the confines of your hotel, particularly if you’re heading to a mall. Women shouldn’t leave their shoulders bare.

Taking photos of some government buildings and all military sites is strictly prohibited. Stick to the tourist attractions when you’re choosing a background for selfies.

Don’t drink alcohol, or be seen to be intoxicated, outside of licensed premises. Unruly behaviour isn’t tolerated.


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So This Is Dubai

DXB City Expert

Get Your Bearings

The fronds of Palm Jumeirah, and Dubai Marina in the distance

Throughout this guide we’ve referenced areas of Dubai, which to the first-time visitor may mean nothing at all. To help, here’s the skinny on the city’s districts you’ll most likely encounter...

DowNtowN DubAi Home to the largest mall, tallest tower and biggest fountain, Dubai’s showpiece city centre is as glitzy as it gets. Lined with palm trees that twinkle with thousands of fairy lights, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard boasts five-star hotels, restaurants, a San Francisco-style tram and a constant flow of supercars. Another popular spot is Souk Al Bahar (‘market of the sailor’), a waterfront entertainment and dining hub overlooking the Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa.

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 (JBR). Brimming with hotels and restaurants, there are two beachfront promenades, The Walk and The Beach at JBR, packed with family-friendly eateries. You’ll also find the more manageable Marina Mall and the new Dubai Tram, which connects to Palm Jumeirah monorail and will eventually extend to Burj Al Arab.

bur DubAi AND DeirA Flanking the southern side of Dubai Creek, Bur Dubai is the oldest part of the city. Here you’ll find the majority of the city’s historical sites, including Dubai Museum and Sheikh Saeed al Maktoum House, as well as restored wind-tower houses and a textile souk. Over the water, Deira is a melting pot of Arab, Asian and African cultures and a great spot for cheap street eats, as well as shopping in the Gold Souk and Spice Souk.

sheikh ZAyeD roAD The 8km stretch of the main highway between Business Bay and the World Trade Centre roundabout is popular with tourists, expats and locals alike, thanks to the clutch of five-star hotels including the Fairmont Dubai, The Conrad and H Hotel, which are easily reached by metro (stations line Sheikh Zayed Road). Continuing past the roundabout, you’ll find Zabeel Park, which hosts the outdoor Ripe Food and Craft Market every Friday from 9am to 3pm.

JumeirAh Home to sprawling villas and excellent beaches, this low-rise suburb overlaps with Umm Suqeim (where you’ll find Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah, an Arabesque-inspired hotel, dining

and entertainment complex). Jumeirah is known for boutique shopping along Jumeriah Beach Road, as well as trendy shops, cafés and restaurants at popular new developments such as The Galleria Mall, Box Park and City Walk. Jumeirah Mosque, the only mosque in Dubai open to non-Muslims, is another reason to visit.

pAlm JumeirAh Even if you’re not lucky enough to be staying here, you can still visit the manmade island that’s become a symbol of Dubai. A monorail runs along the length of the trunk to Atlantis, The Palm, where you can spend the day at Aquaventure water park or book a table at one of the resort’s many restaurants. Meanwhile, the 11km-long crescent has a string of hotels with restaurants and spas open to non-guests.


It’s more than just a dinner cruise

It’s one of Dubai’s top 10 experiences Enjoy a gourmet four-course à la carte dinner accompanied by flowing house beverages and ambient live music to set the tone for a truly memorable evening on-board Bateaux Dubai. Take in the awe-inspiring views of heritage sights and modern landmarks which tell the story of Dubai Creek on this two-and-a-half-hour dinner cruise.

AED 415* INCLUDING UNLIMITED SOFT DRINKS AED 520* INCLUDING UNLIMITED HOUSE BEVERAGES

BOOK YOUR DINNER CRUISE NOW! CALL 04 814 5553 OR VISIT bateauxdubai.com *Terms and conditions apply.

BateauxDubai


So This Is Dubai

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10 of the best ways to do Dubai

DXB City Expert Ski Dubai

best for… gettiNg A seNse of olD DubAi Wander around the historic Al Fahidi Neighbourhood in Bur Dubai, then visit Dubai Museum (+971 4 353 1862, cultures.ae), housed in the 18thcentury fort, to view the fascinating collection of old photographs depicting daily life in the emirate.

best for… gettiNg A seNse of New DubAi Nothing epitomises the dynamic vision of Dubai more than the Burj Khalifa (+971 4 888 8124, burjkhalifa.ae); the 828-metre-high tower opened in 2010. To truly appreciate all that the city has achieved in just a few decades, visit the observation decks on Level 124 or 148 via At The Top, Burj Khalifa.

best for… tAkiNg A selfie Trying to fit the world’s tallest tower into your photo can be tricky, so head to Umm Suqeim Beach (next to Jumeirah Beach Hotel) for a sunset selfie with Dubai’s other architectural wonder, the Burj Al Arab, in the background.

best for… thAt ‘oNly iN DubAi’ momeNt Where else but Dubai can you dine in an underwater restaurant in a lost city-inspired hotel on a man-made island? Ossiano at Atlantis, The Palm (+971 4 426 2626, atlantisthepalm. com) serves up award-winning seafood as hundreds of marine creatures glide past your table.

best for… brAggiNg to your frieNDs At home Jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet over Palm Jumeriah is pretty hard to beat. Skydive Dubai (+971 4 377 8888, skydivedubai.ae) offers tandem jumps over Palm Jumeirah, plus you get to take home a video to show your mates.

best for… mAxiNg out your creDit cArD With 440,000 square feet dedicated to luxury labels, Fashion Avenue at The Dubai Mall (800 38224 6255, thedubaimall.com) is the place to shop for luxury brands like Chanel, Dior, Burberry, Missoni and Tom Ford.

best for… feeliNg festive You’ll see every hotel and major mall decked out in decorations throughout December, but you want a bit of snow to feel fully festive, right? Head to Ski Dubai this month (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4888, arabianadventures.com) and not only will your cheeks be all aglow but you’ll get to see Santa in his grotto.

best for… greAt views of pAlm JumeriAh Located on the 52nd floor of the Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel, The

Observatory (+971 4 319 4795, marriott.com) has prime views of Palm Jumeriah that really show off the shape of the fronds branching out from the trunk.

best for… AN iNtroDuctioN to islAm Join a guided tour of Jumeirah Mosque (+971 4 353 6666, cultures.ae) followed by a no-holds-barred Q&A session, every Saturday to Thursday at 10am (Dhs10, free for under-12s). Dress modestly and meet at the main entrance at 9.45am.

best for… beiNg populAr with your kiDs From lazy river rapids and a dedicated kids’ area to fun-filled rides and slides, Aquaventure at Atlantis, The Palm (+971 4 426 2000, atlantisthepalm. com) is a watery paradise that will earn you big brownie points with the whole family.


The promise of a great adventure! Join us on a magic carpet ride over the Dubai desert. Catch the rising sun at 4000 feet and descent to a vast expanse of golden sand dunes. See roaming camels, galloping gazelles and the mighty Arabian oryx in their natural habitat. Let some of the world’s most experienced pilots take you on a ride of a lifetime! BALLOON ADVENTURES EMIRATES For booking and information visit: www.ballooning.ae or phone +971 4 2854949


So This Is Dubai

What’s on this month

Want to get a snapshot of life in Dubai? Party with locals and expats alike at these extravagant events

2nd uAe NAtioNAl DAy The United Arab Emirates celebrates 44 years since its formation in 1971, with festivities taking place all over Dubai. Those with a view of Burj Al Arab can look forward to a spectacular fireworks display.

3-5th emirAtes AirliNe

DubAi rugby seveNs 2015 Over 100,000 fans gather across three fun-filled days to cheer on the world’s best Rugby Sevens players at this annual extravaganza. It’s part of the HSBC Sevens World Series and is a highlight of the Dubai sporting and expat social calendar. For tickets, see dubairugby7s.com

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DubAi iNterNAtioNAl film festivAl 2015 Filmmakers, actors and movie buffs descend on Madinat Jumeirah for the annual celebration of Arab and international cinema. Featuring hundreds of screenings of blockbusters, indie flicks, short films and documentaries. For timings and tickets, visit dubaifilmfest.com

10-11th spiNNeys DubAi 92 cycle chAlleNge

The biggest cycling event in the Middle East sees both professional and mere enthusiasts take to Dubai’s roads to ride 92km. Join the crowds roadside to cheer them on. cyclechallenge.ae For more events happening this month, visit dubaicalendar.ae

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So This Is Dubai Burj BurjKhalifa Khalifaon on New NewYear's Year’sEve Eve

Festive and New Year Celebrations

If you’re in town for the festive and New Year period, here’s where to get the party started… Hotels across the city have a whole host of seasonal treats. Kicking things off on December 24 is the fabulous French seafood dinner at Imperium at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray (+971 4 364 7557, jumeirah.com), which includes a glass of bubbly for Dhs350. (50% discount for kids aged four-12, under-fours dine free). Or feel the sand between your toes at Nasimi Beach at Atlantis, The Palm (+971 4 426 2626, atlantisthepalm.com) with DJ tunes and a set menu including a glass of bubbly for Dhs325, as well as some great a-lacarte options. Come the big day of December 25, Raffles Dubai (+971 4 324 8888, raffles.com) has a traditional feast with all the trimmings in the ballroom and garden, complete with market stalls, bouncy castles, and a special appearance by Santa (Dhs595 incl. house beverages, Dhs200 for kids aged seven-12, under-sevens eat free). Or for something different try the spectacular High Brunch at Nobu at Atlantis, The Palm (+971 4 426 2626, atlantisthepalm.com), which features all of the Japanese restaurant’s famous seafood, beef and vegetarian specialities (Dhs595 incl. house beverages, Dhs395 with soft drinks). If a buffet-style festive lunch isn’t your style, head to The Scene (+971 4 4222 328, thescenedubai.com) at Pier 7, where you can order your turkey and all its trimmings – plus four other courses – a-la-carte (Dhs650 incl. house beverages, Dhs395 with soft drinks, Dhs795 with bubbly. Children under five eat free). With Dubai’s landmarks hosting incredible fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve, there’s no better place to welcome 2016 than right here. For a free and family-friendly night out, pack a picnic, don a jumper, and head to the beach – The Beach at JBR and Kite Beach are top picks – for views of the

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always-brilliant Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab firework displays. If you don’t mind crowds, head to the Downtown Dubai area for the dazzling display at Burj Khalifa – check out the map at mydowntowndubai.com for the best vantage points of the fireworks and Dubai Fountain shows. The Dubai Mall (800 38224 6255, thedubaimall. com) also has a waterfront promenade seating area which overlooks all of the action. Reserve your front-row seat via the website. Dubai also plays host to some superstar DJs this NYE. French sound-master David Guetta will be hitting the decks at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre (+971 4 332 6343, peppermint-experience.com) with guaranteed floor-fillers from his vast back catalogue, while the city’s coolest beach club, Zero Gravity (+971 4 399 0009, 0-gravity.ae), has gone all-out with a cracking gig fronted by legendary British DJ Pete Tong and chart-topper Duke Dumont. Over at Meydan Racecourse, Dutch supremo Martin Garrix will be headlining the city’s biggest bash with the Burj Khalifa fireworks in the distance (+971 4 457 3212, dubai.platinumlist.net), while rooftop club WHITE Dubai (+971 50 443 0933, whitedubai.com) is hosting a decadent masquerade party. The city’s hotels and restaurants know how to throw a party too, with lavish gala dinners. Over on Palm Jumeirah, Social by Heinz Beck (+971 4 818 2222, waldorfastoria3. hilton.com) has exceptional European cuisine along with music from a jazz duo (Dhs1,850 incl. house beverages, Dhs1,100 with soft drinks). Down at JBR, Pure Sky Lounge (+971 4 399 1111, hilton.com) has fabulous views of Atlantis, The Palm from its rooftop terrace on the 35th floor and a menu of 20 sharing plates (Dhs695 incl. house beverages, Dhs995 with bubbles). Perfectly positioned for views of Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel (+971 4 432 3232, jumeirah.com) has 14 venues to choose from. Dinner and drinks packages range from Dhs650 at Indian restaurant Naya to a walletbusting Dhs4,500 for the Gala Dinner.


So This Is Dubai

An Insight Into Emirati Culture The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (+971 4 353 6666, cultures.ae) was set up in 1998 to realise the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who sought to educate expatriates and visitors in the traditions and customs of the UAE. To that end, SMCCU seeks to answer visitors’ questions about Emirati culture, its religion, politics and customs, and does so through its policy of ‘open doors/ open minds’, meaning that no question is considered too silly or offensive. In short, it’s a must-visit for tourists. In this question and answer session with SMCCU, which we conducted to provide you with an insight into Emirati culture, we talk traditional dress with two of the centre’s guides: Dahlia and Abdullah.

What are the key elements of national dress for men and Why do they Wear White? [Abdullah] Men wear a ‘kandura’ [long cotton tunic], normally with open-toed leather sandals. 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. The kandura wasn’t white until we got money and had washing machines – before that, we used to dip the material in coffee because white doesn’t provide camouflage in the desert, and white also gets dirty easily. But is the kandura Islamic or Arab? Think about what Jesus used to wear, or rabbis – they used to wear something that was loose, not to show off their muscles or the differences between people. So if I stand next to someone from the UAE Royal family, you will not notice the difference because we wear the same thing. No one is better than the other. We also wear a ‘ghutrah’ [headdress], which was originally used to cover the face from the harsh desert environment of sand, insects, sun and wind. If you go

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to a very cold place, people will cover their face from the elements, so it’s the same thing. There are different ways to tie the ghutrah, or you’ll also see the ‘igal’ [black rope] that sits on top of the ghutrah. It looks like handcuffs, right? This was originally used around the front feet of the camel because the camel is a very stubborn animal and will keep walking in the desert – you can’t tie it to a rock or a tree. So you tie the front feet of the camel [with the igal] and the camel can’t walk off. Rather than carry the igal, a smart Bedouin just put it on his head.

What are the key elements of national dress for Women and Why do they Wear black? [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 way of dressing was originally influenced by the environment – to protect us from sand, sun and bugs – and in the old days, it had nothing to do with modesty and religion. It was the same in Europe. If you came from the upper classes you wore a hat that came with a veil because women wanted their skin colour to stay white and they could go to the marketplace without anyone bothering them. 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 there were wearing black. Black was then traded in the Gulf and women loved it because they could wear a black wrap over their traditional colourful dresses, protecting them from fading through exposure to the sun and dirt. So it started because of practicality and then it moved to a closed coat, which allowed women to wear only one very thin piece of silky fabric with something cool underneath. Then we started to open the abaya again, and this is when fashion came into play because we can mix Western fashion with Eastern fashion. We’re very proud of who we are – this is our

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Emirati identity – but we want to be fashionable at the same time, so we mix both. When Madonna played in the UAE [in 2012] I had spikes on the shoulders of my abaya with chains hanging from them – my mum thought that was a little bit too much. Abayas embellished with Swarovski crystals, for example, can cost up to Dhs10,000.

What is the biggest misconception that Western tourists have about national dress? [Dahlia] Everyone’s biggest contention is ‘oh, you poor ladies, you’re made to dress like that and made to wear black which is hot in the summertime’. Anyone who’s been on a desert safari will know that Bedouins have black tents, so wouldn’t we have died if black absorbs heat? Black absorbs the light of the sun, not heat, to the point that some women now suffer from Vitamin D deficiency because we’re always covered when we go outside – that’s how much black protects you from the sun. If you’re wearing black out in the desert next to someone wearing white, there will be no temperature difference between you. When we go to our friend’s house we remove the abaya. It’s our sun protection and is considered rude to wear inside the house. Now why do Muslim women always have to cover more than Muslim men – and actually, why is pretty much every religion this way? We’re told it’s temptation – women are very attractive and men can’t control themselves. But honestly, when you get your hair cut and dyed does your husband notice? No, he doesn’t. So it doesn’t make sense, but how old is this teaching that women are the tempters of men? When it comes to the way we dress, women care more about what we look like – the biggest competition is among women. We do have face-covers that come from our culture, such as the ‘burqa’, which is a leather face mask worn over the brow and nose. It’s a beauty product that’s supposed

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to make you look like you have one eyebrow – which sounds weird, but was a sign of Bedouin beauty in the old days – and make the bridge of your nose look straight. The flat shape of the eyeholes is supposed to make your eyes look bigger and the mask covers your teeth because the fewer teeth you had, the older you appeared. On the inside, the mask was rubbed with indigo that would 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 mouth. The biggest problem today is where women wear the niqab in countries where the government is asking them not to wear it. When you tell a woman she’s going to get fined or go to jail if she continues to wear it, what is she going to do? She’s going to rebel. Just like women did in the West when they first wanted to wear trousers and cut their hair short. In the UAE, we say we’re open-minded to both sides of the story; we’re open-minded to conservatives and to liberals. I don’t think wearing a face cover is a big deal because sometimes I wear it myself. When I go to the mall and it’s very crowded I get very nervous, so the first thing I do is cover my face [with the niqab] and then everyone’s scared of me so they stay out of my way – and I get first-class service!

are there any tribal or regional differences When it comes to dress? [Dahlia] No, we all typically dress the same. Throughout the whole entire Gulf region there are slight differences; typically this used to be in the men’s dress that you don’t see anymore, and the women with the burqa face covering. But we’re very united you could say. For example, the red and white chequered ghutrah worn by men was originally a British protocol to differentiate army and police Bedouins, but now it’s all fashion. Interview by Lara Brunt.


Top Of The Tours

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Top OF THE

TOURS Chapter T WO

Bags unpacked, sunblock slathered on, it’s time to get out and see what this city is all about. But with its climate dictating a dearth of paved walkways, Dubai isn’t a city that you can easily explore on foot. Luckily, our friends at Arabian Adventures and City Sightseeing have just the answer…

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Top Of The Tours

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DXB City Expert

MORNING DUNE DRIVE There is no better time to observe the vast magnificence of the desert than during the early hours of the day. Explore the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve in a 4x4 and then try fat bike desert cycling, so-called because the bikes have three-inch-wide tyres which make it easier to cycle on sand. Finish with a picturesque picnic breakfast. INclUDEs:

• Morning dune drive in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve • Fat bike desert cycling. No minimum fitness required (weather-permitting) • Sand-boarding (weather-permitting) • Picnic breakfast in the desert • Opportunity to spot Arabian wildlife Days Of OpERaTION: Daily (half day,

mornings only) WhaT’s INclUDED: Food and soft

drinks; guided tour; hotel transfers GOOD TO kNOW: Modest dress and

sports shoes recommended; operates year-round; a portion of your fee goes towards supporting local conservation pRIcING: Adult: Dhs285, Child: Dhs285 To book this tour, call Arabian Adventures on +971 4 303 4992 or visit arabian-adventures.com


Top Of The Tours

flaVOURs Of DUBaI A great way to understand a culture is through its food, and this tour takes you into the heart of one of Dubai’s most historic streets, 2nd of December Street. Hear about the culture of the Middle East and sample regional street foods, then sit down to a traditional Emirati meal. Be sure to arrive with a big appetite. INclUDEs:

• Guided walk through this old neighbourhood • Knowledgeable guide • Stop for a traditional Arabic fruit cocktail and Middle Eastern bites • Take a short drive into Jumeriah for a traditional Emirati meal Days Of OpERaTION: Sun, Tue (late

afternoon to early evening) WhaT’s INclUDED: Food and soft

drinks; guided tour; hotel transfers GOOD TO kNOW: Modest dress and

walking shoes recommended laNGUaGE: English and German pRIcING: Adult: Dhs399, Child: Dhs300 To book this tour, call Arabian Adventures on +971 4 303 4992 or visit arabian-adventures.com

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DEsERT DUNE BUGGIEs Those looking for the ultimate off-road experience will love this exhilarating adventure tour. After leaving Dubai in the morning or afternoon, you’ll head into the empty desert where the off-road dune buggies will be waiting. Then it’s a rollercoaster of a ride over the dunes in the fully automatic, fourseater vehicles that were built for fun. INclUDEs:

• Fully guided tour along the dunes • Driving and safety instruction provided • All dune buggies are four-wheeldrive, fully automatic with seat belts, roll cages and off-road suspension • Driver experience and passenger experience options are available • Shared buggy or private buggy option • Fantastic desert photo opportunities Days Of OpERaTION: Daily (half day,

morning/afternoon) WhaT’s INclUDED: Soft drinks; guided

tour; hotel transfers GOOD TO kNOW: Sports shoes

recommended; operates yearround; drivers must be minimum 18 years of age and carry a valid UAE or international driver’s licence; passengers must be aged six and above pRIcING: Per person (sharing); 30-min driving time: Adult/Child: Dhs695 Per person (sharing); Passenger: Adult/Child: Dhs300 Private buggy (for up to 4 pax): Dhs1,500 per buggy To book this tour, call Arabian Adventures on +971 4 303 4992 or visit arabian-adventures.com


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DINNER shOW With an incredible cast of aerialists, contortionists, acrobats and dancers from across the globe, and delectable Mediterranean cuisine from executive chef Renaud Olivier, it’s no wonder ZIYA is the hottest ticket in town. Inspired by the travels of world-famous explorer Ibn Battuta, Pacha Ibiza Dubai’s latest dinner show takes guests on an unforgettable odyssey. DaTEs: Ongoing Days: Tuesday to Sunday TIMEs: 7:00pm and 9:30pm spEcIal OffER sET MENU pRIcEs:

Dhs350, Dhs450 and Dhs650 lOcaTION: Souk Madinat Jumeirah To book, call +9714 316 6666 or email contactcentre@dnata.com

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'NEW' DUBaI cIT y TOUR With its man-made islands, audacious architecture and futuristic skyline, Dubai has more than its fair share of iconic landmarks, and you can tick them off your list during this tour. Ride the monorail to Atlantis, The Palm; explore the buzzing Dubai Marina area; window shop at The Dubai Mall; and admire the view from the world’s tallest tower. INclUDEs:

• Visit to The Lost Chambers aquarium at Atlantis, The Palm • One-way ride on The Palm Jumeirah monorail • Drive through Dubai Marina and the Jumeirah Beach Residence area • Afternoon visit to The Dubai Mall • Visit to Burj Khalifa (with option to include the observation deck ticket) • Free pickup; tour ends at The Dubai Mall Days Of OpERaTION: Daily, except Fri (half day,

morning); Wed, Fri (half day, evening) WhaT’s INclUDED: Fully-guided tour GOOD TO kNOW: Operates year-round;

modest dress recommended laNGUaGE: English and German OThER laNGUaGEs: French/Italian and Russian

tours operate on Monday and Thursday mornings. Portuguese and Spanish tours operate on Monday and Thursday and comprise a full-day tour of ‘old’ and ‘new’ Dubai, including Burj Khalifa, At The Top pRIcING fOR ENGlIsh/GERMaN; fRENch/ITalIaN aND RUssIaN TOUR:

Including At The Top, Burj Khalifa ticket Adult: Dhs350, Child: Dhs300 Excluding At The Top, Burj Khalifa ticket Adult: Dhs225, Child: Dhs175 pRIcING fOR pORTUGUEsE/spaNIsh TOUR:

Including At The Top, Burj Khalifa ticket Adult: Dhs495, Child: Dhs395 Excluding At The Top, Burj Khalifa ticket Adult: Dhs395, Child: Dhs320 To book this tour, call Arabian Adventures on +971 4 303 4992 or visit arabian-adventures.com


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sUNDOWNER DUNE DINNER safaRI When it comes to the quintessential desert experience, this best-selling tour is hard to beat. Venture into the enigmatic Arabian desert and watch the sun set over endless dunes; enjoy an Arabic feast under the stars at a traditional Bedouin-style camp; and sample Emirati culture with camel riding and henna painting. INclUDEs:

• Dune driving through the desert • Sunset photo stop in the dunes • Arabic-style, three-course buffet with unlimited hops and grape beverages • Camel rides, sand-boarding, henna painting and aromatic shisha • Belly dancing performance • Stargazing • All inclusive - no hidden costs • Camel milk chocolates and photos are available for purchase • Sundowner Dune Dinner Safari and City Sightseeing combo tickets are available OpTIONal UpGRaDEs: Book a private 4x4 vehicle or add a sandboarding experience before the Sundowner Dune Dinner Safari Days Of OpERaTION: Daily (late afternoon until evening) WhaT’s INclUDED: Food, soft drinks and beverages; guided tour; hotel transfers GOOD TO kNOW: Operates year-round; a portion of your fee supports local conservation pRIcING: Adult: Dhs375, Child (aged 5-11): Dhs300

To book this tour, call Arabian Adventures on +971 4 303 4992 or visit arabian-adventures.com

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aBU DhaBI cIT y TOUR The captivating capital of the UAE makes a great day trip from Dubai. Stop for refreshments at Abu Dhabi’s entertainment hotspot, Yas Island, before lunch at the emirate’s labelloaded Marina Mall. Afterwards you'll drive past the extravagant Emirates Palace Hotel, then tour the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, an architectural icon that can accommodate over 40,000 worshippers. INclUDEs:

• Refreshment stop on Yas Island, close to the Yas Marina F1 Circuit • Lunch stop at Marina Mall (lunch is not included due to the variety of options available) • Drive along the Abu Dhabi Corniche • Drive past the Emirates Palace Hotel • Tour of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Days Of OpERaTION: Mon, Tue, Wed,

Sat (full day) WhaT’s INclUDED: Fully-guided tour;

hotel transfers GOOD TO kNOW: Very modest dress

recommended; operates year-round laNGUaGE: English and German OThER laNGUaGEs: Russian guided tours operate on Wednesday pRIcING fOR ENGlIsh/GERMaN aND RUssIaN TOUR OpTIONs :

Adult: Dhs255, Child: Dhs150 To book this tour, call Arabian Adventures on +971 4 303 4992 or visit arabian-adventures.com


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aBU DhaBI aND fERRaRI WORlD Abu Dhabi is a mesmerising mix of tradition and progression, and you’ll witness both during this tour. Visit the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and drive along the impressive Corniche in the heart of the city. Then, if you dare, ride the world’s fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and explore the artistry of the classic Italian car. INclUDEs:

• Tour of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque • Drive along the Abu Dhabi Corniche • Drive past Emirates Palace Hotel • Afternoon at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi Days Of OpERaTION: Sun, Thu

(full day) WhaT’s INclUDED: Fully-guided tour;

hotel transfers GOOD TO kNOW: Very modest dress

recommended; operates year-round laNGUaGE: English and German OThER laNGUaGEs: Russian tours operate on Wednesday. French/Italian tours operate on Tuesday. Spanish/ Portuguese tours operate on Sunday and Tuesday pRIcING: Adult: Dhs495, Child: Dhs375 To book this tour, call Arabian Adventures on +971 4 303 4992 or visit arabian-adventures.com

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cIT y sIGhTsEEING TOUR City Sightseeing, the world’s leading open-top bus tour operator, is here in Dubai. Audio commentary is available in 12 languages and includes commentary for kids in Arabic and English, spoken by three entertaining characters: Ali, Alice and Ghantoot, the Arabian Oryx. There are four routes to choose from, split by colour. The Blue Route offers 11 stops, including The Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Jumeirah Mosque, Madinat Jumeirah, Palm Jumeirah and Mall of the Emirates. The Red Route has 17 stops, including the gold and spice souks, a dhow cruise, and Dubai Museum. The Golden Route explores the skyscrapers of Dubai Marina and Jumeriah Beach Residence, while the Orange Route explores the colourful Miracle Garden and brilliant Global Village, a theme park which packs in more than 50 fun rides and pavillions representing 70 different countries. hIGhlIGhTED TOUR: Orange Route Days Of OpERaTION: Daily DEpaRTURE: Mall of the Emirates, at15.00, 17.00 ROUTE: Mall of the Emirates, Miracle Garden,

Global Village DROp Off: Mall of the Emirates,

at 17.00, 19.00, 21.00 laNGUaGEs: English, German, Spanish, Russian,

French, Hindi, Chinese, Arabic, Turkish, Japanese, Italian, Persian pRIcING: 24hr ticket: Family (2 adults, 2 children): Dhs580, Adult: Dhs240, Child (aged 5-15): Dhs100 48hr ticket: Family (2 adults, 2 children): Dhs720, Adult: Dhs295, Child: Dhs130 WhaT’s INclUDED: Hop-on and hop-off access to all City Sightseeing buses on all 4 routes for length of ticket purchased. The 24hr ticket also includes a night tour, Arabian dhow cruise, RTA Waterbus ride, Dubai Museum entry, entry to Sheikh Sayeed Al Maktoum House, VIP Global Village ticket, Al Ghurair Centre shopping discount card and entry to 5 other museums. The 48hr ticket additionally includes entry to Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and the City Sightseeing Sharjah Tour GOOD TO kNOW: Before your 24hr ticket has expired you can upgrade to a 48hr ticket for an extra Dhs55 To book, call 800-CSDUBAI (800 273 8224), email info@cs-dubai.com, or visit citysightseeing-dubai.com


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TRaDITIONal DUBaI cIT y TOUR While the modern city has only existed for little more than 40 years, Dubai has a rich history that blends Bedouin, Persian, Islamic and Emirati culture and traditions. This fascinating tour explores the atmospheric old quarter of Al Fahidi with its wind towers and historic fort, as well as the bustling Creek area and exotic souks. INclUDEs:

• Photo stop close to Burj Al Arab • Photo stop at Jumeirah Mosque • Drive by Zabeel Palace • Walk through Al Fahidi Cultural Neighbourhood • Visit to Dubai Museum • Traditional abra crossing over Dubai Creek • Walk through the spice and gold souks Days Of OpERaTION: Twice daily (half-day, morning

/afternoon); Friday (afternoon only) WhaT’s INclUDED: Guided tour; hotel transfers GOOD TO kNOW: Modest clothing and walking shoes

are recommended laNGUaGEs: English and German OThER laNGUaGEs: French and Italian tours operate on Sunday and Wednesday afternoon; Russian tours operate on Saturday morning and Tuesday afternoon. Mandarin tours operate on Monday and Thursday mornings. Japanese tours operate daily. Portuguese and Spanish language tours operate on Monday and Thursday and comprise a full-day tour of ‘old’ and ‘new’ Dubai, including Burj Khalifa, At The Top. pRIcING fOR ENGlIsh/GERMaN; fRENch/ITalIaN aND RUssIaN TOUR OpTIONs:

Adult: Dhs165, Child: Dhs110 (Dhs120 English/ German) pRIcING fOR MaNDaRIN:

Adult: Dhs175, Child: Dhs110 pRIcING fOR JapaNEsE:

Adult: Dhs180, Child: Dhs140

pRIcING fOR pORTUGEsE aND spaNIsh:

Including At The Top, Burj Khalifa ticket Adult: Dhs495, Child: Dhs395 To book this tour, call Arabian Adventures on +971 4 303 4992 or visit arabian-adventures.com

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Where To Eat

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Chapter THREE

Eat

Dubai’s cultural diversity is reflected in its culinary mosaic of fantastic restaurants – from the best Indian food this side of the subcontinent to sleek Japanese eateries and authentic Arabic mezze. It’s little wonder that world-renowned chefs are falling over themselves to open venues in the city. There is something for every taste in Dubai, so it’s time to tuck in…

A TASTE OF ARABIA Considering all of the colourful cuisines Dubai has to offer, it might come as a surprise that good Emirati food is not easy to come by, to say the least. One place, however, which has started to pull in its fair share of local Emiratis (always a good sign) is Essor at Damac Maison – Dubai Mall Street (+971 4 270 0700, damacmaison. com). Here, the authentic Emirati dining experience extends from the food right through to eating while sat on the floor. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (+971 4 353 6666, cultures.ae) also

offers authentic Emirati cuisine, but with a welcome twist. The ‘cultural meals’ they serve – so named because the experience is very interactive as guests are encouraged to ask questions on anything that relates to the Emirati culture – are prepared by local chefs in order to preserve the traditions and customs of the Bedouin culture. They offer cultural breakfast on Mondays and Wednesdays, cultural lunch on Sundays and Tuesdays, cultural brunch every Saturday and a cultural dinner every Tuesday. Advance booking is essential for every meal. While Emirati food may be thin on the ground, wider Arabic isn’t, thanks

to the city’s abundant selection of Arabic and Lebanese eateries. The best high-end option can be found at the always outstanding Al Nafoorah in Jumeirah Zabeel Saray (+971 4 453 0444, jumeirah.com) out on Palm Jumeirah. It offers its own take on traditional dishes like mouth-watering mezze, lamb shish kebabs, and grilled sea bass. Emiratis, meanwhile, are very fond of Burj Al Hamam (+971 4 434 1424, binhendi.com), the best branch of which you’ll find within The Dubai Mall, and the always packed Saudi Kitchen (+971 4 385 5077), which you'll find along Beach Road in Jumeirah 2.


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ABOuT THIS CHApTER Where possible we've included a website, should you wish to look at menus and prices before heading out. And, of course, a phone number if you wish to book ahead. While only including those places we know and recommend, we’ve also included a range of options price-wise, from restaurants that will cause your bank manager’s heart to skip a beat, to the too cheap to be true – and all that falls in between.

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Where To Eat

CElEBRITy-CHEFS' RESTAuRAnTS Michelin-starred chefs have long been coming to Dubai to hawk their wares. Having been one of the first celebrity chefs to open a restaurant in Dubai (the now defunct Verre by Gordon Ramsay, back in 2001), firebrand Gordon Ramsay has just returned to the emirate with Bread Street Kitchen & Bar (+971 4 426 2000, atlantisthepalm. com) at Atlantis, The Palm. Here, the menu, though for the most part international, makes more than a nod to Ramsay’s homeland, but the fact that it has a bit of everything makes it a never-fail option for families. Don’t be swayed by Ramsay’s name into thinking that this is a fine dining and, by extension, expensive restaurant. It’s more gastro pub, good value, and nearly always buzzing. Another Brit chef to cause a stir in Dubai’s bubbling pot of great restaurants is Jason Atherton, who recently opened Marina Social (+971 4

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446 6777, ihg.com) at InterContinental Dubai Marina. Atherton’s Social concept has won an army of fans in London, including food critics, and while this Dubai offshoot hasn’t yet hit the same dizzy heights it is still a great spot. Expect to feast on perfectly prepared British-Mediterranean dishes and receive outstanding service. Keeping with the social theme, three-Michelin-star Heinz Beck has Social by Heinz Beck (+971 818 2222, waldorfastoria3.hilton.com) at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah. The restaurant can lack atmosphere, but if you’re after an intimate oldschool fine-dining experience, complete with expert sommeliers and innovative contemporary European cuisine (opt for the herb-crusted sea bass) this is the place to visit. Nobu in Atlantis, The Palm (+971 4 426 2000, atlantisthepalm.com) meanwhile, offers a Peruvian twist on dishes that have made the Japanese master chef’s restaurant chain the toast

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of celebrities the world over. This Nobu boasts a unique garden, which is a great place to dine under the stars. Also on Palm Jumeirah is STAY by Yannick Alléno, at One&Only The Palm (+971 4 440 1010, thepalm.oneandonlyresorts.com). The restaurant’s interior drips with opulence, which is matched by the elaborate, indulgent dishes on offer – try the roasted milk-fed veal tenderloin or the spit-roasted whole sea bass for two. For a luxe contemporary dining experience from the subcontinent, head to Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar at JW Marriott Marquis (+971 4 414 3000, jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com). Here, the menu sings with a cacophony of flavour and creativity, and we heartily recommend the very well-priced grazing menu. Every bite is a delight. CUT by Wolfgang Puck at The Address Downtown Dubai (+971 4 888 3444, wolfgangpuck.com) is the latest instalment of Austrian-born American


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pREvIOuS pAGE, FROM lEFT: Bread Street Kitchen & Bar; STAY by Yannick Alléno; CUT by Wolfgang Puck THIS pAGE: Nobu

chef’s chain of high-end steak houses. Expect the very best cuts of prime dryand wet-aged beef with sides such as creamed spinach with fried organic egg and polenta with Parmesan. Lastly, Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire (+971 4 701 1111, pierre-gagnaire. com) remains one of the longestrunning and most renowned restaurants in Dubai. The Frenchman makes a point of visiting his restaurant at least once a year (more than most), and the chefs onsite have all been trained by him personally. It shows. The ever-changing menus are exquisite examples of fusion fare.

DInnER wITH An InCREDIBlE vIEw One of the most striking spots in Dubai to enjoy outdoor dining is on the westernmost tip of Palm Jumeirah – from here you get to drink in pictureperfect views of Dubai Marina and Burj

Al Arab. Just off a jetty that juts out into the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf, lies 101 Dining Lounge and Bar at One&Only The Palm Dubai (+971 440 1010, thepalm.oneandonlyresorts. com). This sparkling, shimmering venue serves sublime contemporary European fare from a menu that has been rubber-stamped by French superchef Yannick Alleno – here we enjoyed the softest squid we’ve ever tasted. The whole experience can be heightened by catching a boat to the restaurant from sister hotel One&Only Royal Mirage. Booking is essential, as is a preboarding drink in the Jetty Lounge. If you want a fine vantage point to see the Dubai Fountain dance its way toward the night sky – and believe us, you do – book a table on the terrace at Rivington Grill at Souk Al Bahar (+971 4 423 0903, rivingtondubai.ae). Coming a close second to the view is the always-great British-themed fare.

How about dining as if under the sea? Of course it’s possible: this is Dubai. The Burj Al Arab has the renowned seafood restaurant Al Mahara (+971 4 301 7600, jumeirah.com), which is both over the top and under the water – a huge, floor-to-ceiling aquarium full of sea creatures is at the restaurant’s centre. Equally spectacular is the whole-wall aquarium which forms the backdrop to a meal at the excellent Ossiano (+971 4 426 2000, atlantisthepalm.com). Your credit card will enjoy a good workout at both, but hey, you’re on holiday.

GuT-BuSTInG BRunCHES In Dubai, the word ‘brunch’ takes a very different meaning. Here, brunch is not a laidback mid-morning meal with a friend in a nice café; it is an allyou-can-eat, all-you-can-drink Friday lunchtime feast that involves cuisines


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from every corner of the globe, live music, and sometimes even acrobatics. A Dubai brunch isn’t just a meal; it’s an experience, and something everyone needs to try at least once during their stay. We could devote an entire chapter to brunch, such is the broadness of the offering, but you will have to settle for a slimmed-down pick featuring a few of the quirkier and family-friendly options instead... For a no-expense-spared treat for all the family (we’d recommend your kids being aged seven and above on account of how busy this brunch is) head to Bubbalicious (+971 4 399 4141, westinminaseyahi.com) at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi. The scale of the offering is dizzying, and room after room packs in everything you could possibly think of. The name relates to the fact that free-flowing bubbly is one of the options you can stump up for (Dhs680 per person), while kids are catered to through entertainers, face painters and their own outsized buffet. Younger children are best served at Friday Brunch at Al Bahou (+971 4 444 0000, movenpick.com), within the Mövenpick Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, not least because it’s free for them if aged six and below. Here they’re treated to their own room comprising entertainers, face painters, movies on the big screen and buffet (lots of savoury options, lots more of the sweet stuff). You’ll have to be at your eagleeyed best to stop them from sneaking into the chocolate room. Urban Picnic (+971 4 888 3444, vida-hotels.com) is the name given to Friday brunch at Vida Downtown Dubai. Instead of roaming amidst a mind-boggling spread of food, plate in hand, wondering where to start (as is the case at the majority of Dubai brunches) here you’re given a picnic basket to top up with what takes your fancy and a blanket to sit on outside by

the hotel’s pool, which you’re free to take a dip in once you’re done grazing on your grub. The Mas Mas Maya Brunch (+971 4 316 5550, maya-dubai.com/brunch) at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa also comes with the added attraction of pool access for its diners, but goes one further by throwing in all-day beach access too. Pull yourself off your sunbed to enjoy high quality Mexican fare, ordered in unlimited amounts from a sharing menu.

FOR SOME FAMIly Fun As mentioned elsewhere, The Beach at JBR is a great place to head for a family dinner. But there are other places worthy of your attention, particularly if your kids are that little bit older. You’ll find Crab Tavern (+971 4 420 7489, crabtavern.ae) at Media One Hotel in Dubai Media City. Crab, you’ve guessed it, is the house speciality here, and it comes served many ways – in pasta, as a fish cake, or, best of all, the soft-shell variety comes in a burger laced with red pepper jam. Of the same ilk is Claw BBQ (+971 4 432 2300, clawbbq.com) in Souq Al Bahar, although it’s a tad more raucous than Crab Tavern thanks to its eating competitions and live band. They’ve been known to queue out of the door to snag a table at Slider Station (600 544 005, sliderstation. com) in the Galleria Mall on Al Wasl Road, which proudly claims to be the world’s first conveyor-belt burger joint. It’s much more than that, offering a fun American tapas menu (the likes of sticky red onion rings and Coca Colabraised short ribs) to complement décor based on a 1940s American petrol station. Grab a gourmet slider from its unique, if small, conveyor belt – we say reach for the so-called Dangerous, featuring buttermilk fried chicken, jalapeno and chimichurri aioli.

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GRApE EXpECTATIOnS Alcohol is only served in restaurants based within licensed premises, which basically means a hotel. A handful of exceptions include restaurants based at DIFC. Where sold, you'll likely find wine expensive.

SO yOu CAn SAy yOu’vE BEEn THERE If you know only one thing about Dubai, chances are it will be that it’s the home of Burj Al Arab, that most famous of hotels. You’ll doubtless leave Dubai with a picture of yourself posing against a backdrop of it, but why not go the whole hog and dine there? After all, the only way you can get inside for a nose around is by pre-booking. The best way to experience the culinary offering of the Burj is via its brilliant Culinary Flight: your dinner begins with a drink at Skyview Bar before you embark on a journey through five courses and five different restaurants. Memorable. You’ll also need to book ahead should you wish to dine at the world’s highest restaurant, which spans much of level 122 of the Burj Khalifa, but you’ll be glad you’ve done so. You arrive at At.mosphere (+971 4 888 3828, atmosphereburjkhalifa.com) via a fabulously fast elevator, before settling down in the swankiest of settings to take your pick from the finest meat and fish to grace a menu.

FOR DuBAI’S AnSwER TO STREET FOOD With gourmet food trucks rolling out across Dubai at an astonishing rate, there’s bound to be one on the tarmac (or sand) near you. Stalwart Ghaf Kitchen (+971 4 443 0355, ghafkitchen.com) was the first restaurant-on-wheels concept in the city and serves a variety of British classics with a decadent twist, all supplied from a lovingly restored

DXB City Expert

retro Citroen H van. The truck travels to various events across the city so keep an eye on its Facebook and Twitter accounts to discover where it's at. Shiny new truck Calle Tacos (+971 55 171 5712, calletacos.ae) dishes up street-side tacos, nachos and burritos complete with utterly delicious salsa – handmade from a secret family recipe. Look out for the bright orange truck at Ripe Market, Dubai World Trade Centre, and many of the city's big festivals – it's hard to miss. Another one to add to the list is the hugely popular Salt (instagram.com/FindSalt). Serving gourmet burgers packed with flavour, you can usually find it parked beachside in Jumeirah. You’ll have to follow it on Instagram to get the exact location but trust us, it’s worth the effort.

SuCCulEnT STEAk Most high-end hotels in Dubai are endowed with a high-end steakhouse. Good news for carnivores. You’ll also find that the menus at each include premium beef staples like wagyu, and that they’re far from cheap. But, budget aside, there are some brilliant steaks to be had in this city. Prime68 (+971 4 414 3000, jwmarriottmarquisdubailife. com) at JW Marriott Marquis, is a case in point. The premium cuts here are sourced from choice suppliers across the globe and taste sublime. Likewise, Seafire (+971 4 426 2000, atlantisthepalm.com) at Atlantis, The Palm, is another go-to steakhouse. Its added quirk is that the meat for its own brand Atlantis beef comes from the hotel’s own cattle farm in Australia (yes, you did read that right: Atlantis, The Palm rears its own cattle). As such, take our tip and don’t look beyond the Atlantis beef on the menu. It’s the cheapest on there but is second to none. For somewhere lighter on your wallet, go to Soho Grill (+971 4 286 8520, sohogrill.ae) at Century Village, Garhoud (one of four branches in the city). The meat here hails from Australia and New Zealand (two of the world’s finest suppliers), and you can bag a grass-fed fillet for just Dhs100.


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MIRDIF

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MUHAISNAH 11

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Dubai International Airport

AL TWAR

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To Sharjah

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16 AL ITTIHAD ROAD

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DEIRA

HOR AL ANZ

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At The Top

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MAP 1 20 29

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Port Rashid

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MAP 2

< SHEIKH ZAY

Shopping

Metro (red line)

Metro (green line)

1 Al Dhiyafa Centre

11 Rashidiya

11 Etisalat

2 Al Ghurair City

12 Emirates

12 Al Qusais

3 Al Khaleej Centre

13 Terminal 3

13 DAFZA

4 Al Mazaya Centre

14 Terminal 1

14 Al Nahda

5 Al Mulla Plaza

15 GGICO

15 Stadium

6 Al Rais Centre

16 Deira City Centre

16 Al Qiyadah

7 Beach Centre

17 Al Rigga

17 Abu Hail

8 Bin Sougat

18 Union Square

18 Abu Baker Al Siddique

9 BurJuman Centre

19 Khaleed Bin Waleed

19 Salah Al Din

10 Deira City Centre

20 Al Karama

20 Union

11 Deira Gold Souk

21 Al Jafiliya

21 Baniyas Square

12 Dragon Mart

22 World Trade Centre

22 Palm Deira

13 The Dubai Mall

23 Emirates Towers

23 Al Ras

14 Dubai Outlet Mall

24 Financial Centre

24 Al Ghubaiba

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The World

RTA Ferry

15 Emirates Towers Boulevard 25 Burj Khalifa / The Dubai Mall 25 Al Fahidi 16 Dubai Festival City

26 Business Bay

26 Khalid Bin Al Waleed

17 Dubai Marina Mall

29 Noor Islamic Bank

27 Oud Metha

18 Hamarain Centre

31 First Gulf Bank

28 Dubai Healthcare City

19 Ibn Batuta Mall

32 Mall of Emirates

29 Al Jadaf

20 Jumeirah Centre

33 Sharaf DG

30 Creek

21 Jumeriah Plaza

34 Dubai Internet City

22 Festival Centre

35 Nakheel

23 Lamcy Plaza

36 Dubai Marina

24 Lulu Centre

37 Jumeirah Lakes Towers

25 Mall of the Emirates

38 Nakheel Harbour & Tower

26 Mercato Mall

39 Ibn Batuta Mall

27 Mirdif City Centre

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Where To Eat

DInInG AT DIFC You may want to check in with your bank manager back home before heading to DIFC for dinner (especially with the whole family), but your reward for blowing your budget will be a truly memorable meal. Within DIFC is Gate Village, where amidst the high-end galleries and auction houses are some of Dubai’s – and the world’s – best restaurants. Listed at number 88 in Restaurant Magazine’s 2015 list of the World’s Best Restaurants is the ever-popular Zuma (+971 4 425 5560, zumarestaurant.com), where the outstanding Japanese food is best ordered to share. In fact, what always works well here is to ask your waiter to order for you. It may have slipped from that same list of best restaurants this year (it was placed at 81 in 2014) but La Petite Maison (+971 4 439 0505, lpmlondon.co.uk/dubai) is still great. It uses produce from local UAE farms in a number of its sublime dishes, all of which have their roots in French Mediterranean cooking – dishes like the burrata with basil and tomatoes and the salt-baked seabass are legendary amongst Dubai gourmands. Another good reason to visit LPM is the atmosphere: the place buzzes throughout the entire week. Many will know the Gaucho brand (+971 4 422 7898, gauchorestaurants. ae) – the high-end steakhouse serving the finest Argentinean beef cuts money can buy. The setting for its Dubai outpost is instantly eye-grabbing (shiny and sparkly things offset by cowhide – lots of cowhide) and the steak, as you’d expect, is seared to perfection. Fine dining Italian style can be had at Roberto’s (+971 4 386 0066, robertos. ae), where you’ll want to snag a table on the open-air terrace to enjoy expertly executed traditional fare – the citrusmarinated black cod is superb. If you’ve ever been to Monaco you’ll be aware of the celebrity-swamped Sass Café (+971 4 352 7722, sasscafe-dubai. ae). Its Dubai offshoot also attracts the in-crowd, while its southern France inspired menu doesn’t disappoint.

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SOMEwHERE SIMplE wITH yOunG kIDS Eating at your hotel can be expensive – especially if you have a whole family to feed – but fear not: Dubai has plenty of options for good value, great quality fare. Ideal for tiny tots is bookstore-slash-café BookMunch in Al Wasl Square (+971 4 388 4006, bookmunchcafe.com). It serves up tasty treats (try the blueberry pancakes) and stocks plenty of children’s books, ensuring your kids get food for thought as well as the belly. Bystro (+971 336 8056, bystrodubai.com) on Sheikh Zayed Road offers a special kids’ corner featuring mini tables and chairs, as well as toys and books. The food will please kids and adults alike; choose from sandwiches, great breakfast options, weekend roasts, and – intriguingly – dinosaur ribs. Baker & Spice’s (+971 4 362 4686, bakerandspice.com) Marina Promenade location in Dubai Marina is arguably the pick of the chain’s four venues in the city – the weather now is perfect for you to take a table on the terrace, and enjoy views of the yachts while eating tasty home-style dishes, the ingredients for which are often drawn from local farms. There’s no dedicated kids’ menu here, but on offer are smaller portions of main dishes, including a fine spaghetti and meatballs. Over at Italian restaurant Sapori Di Bice (+971 4 344 2550, saporidibice. com) at City Walk, kids get to create their own pizzas, with multiple funshaped bases on offer. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for somewhere to eat with your baby, try Pantry Café (+971 4 388 3868, pantrycafe.me) on Al Wasl Road. While you enjoy wholesome, locally-sourced food, your baby will get messy sucking on free veggie puree. Also free here are kids’ meals on Friday nights, providing you’re also eating and your children are aged under 12. Lastly, if you have budding gourmands in your family, give their tastebuds a workout at Atisuto (+971 4 343 6303, atisuto.ae). This great little Japanese restaurant, housed in the Galleria Mall, serves up mochi ice cream and miso caramel sauce. Yum.

ASk A TOp CHEF Izu Ani, La Serre I spend most of my time in the kitchen, so when I’m outside I tend to just eat snacks. For a quick and healthy shawarma try Swich (myswich.com) at Marina View Towers A, Dubai Marina.

lOvEly lATIn AMERICAn Just like other major cities across the world, Dubai is currently in love with Peruvian food. In fact, a few of the city’s hot-right-now restaurants serve authentic examples of this fabulous cuisine, which puts meltin-your-mouth meat to good use as much as the freshest fish. While you’ll be right to love Coya (+971 4 316 9600, coyarestaurant.com) at the Four Seasons Dubai, we adore Garden (+971 56 224 0956, jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com) at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai. Here the chef is Peruvian, the staff are fully knowledgeable of what they’re serving, and the vibe relaxed. Save room in your affections though for the equally impressive Inka (+971 4 346 9295, inkadubai.com) at the Sofitel Downtown Dubai. The intimate dining room is complemented by super nice staff and a lounge area that’s perfect for pre- or post-dinner drinks (and fine views of Burj Khalifa), while their chill-laced rocoto ceviche and chicken anticuchos are divine. Dubai’s love affair with Latin American fare started with Toro Toro (+971 4 317 6000, torotoro-dubai. com) at Grosvenor House Dubai. It bears the name of renowned Mexican chef Richard Sandoval and serves ‘pan-Latin’ cuisine, which basically translates to the best of Peru, Argentina, Brazil, and beyond.


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pREvIOuS pAGE: Inka THIS pAGE: Gaucho


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ClOCkwISE FROM BOTTOM lEFT: Garden; OKKU; Le Serre; Zuma

DInE AT THE BEACH The Beach at JBR – a brilliant pedestrianised area mere metres from the sand and sea – is the perfect place to head for a good-value feed with your family in tow. Your best bet is to simply stroll the length of it, stopping to peruse the menus at places that catch your eye – there are myriad cuisines to choose from. But were you to twist our arm we’d heartily recommend the following. Pots, Pans & Boards (+971 4 456 1959, thebeach.ae) is one of Dubai’s more interesting recent openings. Helmed by Tom Aitken, who remains the youngest UK chef to have scooped two Michelin stars, the concept here is sharing dishes (make sure you get the lion’s share of the lobster mac and cheese), which you’ll enjoy in a relaxed, informal (even the chairs are mismatched) vibe. Almaz by Momo (+971 4 551 6247, momoresto. com) is one place that will definitely catch your eye. Here you can look out to the sparkling sea while enjoying your pick from a menu of North African and Levant-inspired dishes. Think piping hot tagines, slow-cooked meats and grilled fish. Busaba Eathai (+971 4 428 1421, thebeach.ae) is a Thai restaurant with roots – and multiple branches – in the UK, where it was founded by Alan Yau, the man responsible for the brilliant Hakkasan. You’ll find the food here is every bit as tasty, particularly if you order one of the spice-laden curries (ask for it hot), yet a great deal lighter on your wallet. Breathing in the sea air may well put you in the mood for the ocean’s finest catches. If so, crack open a crab at Aprons & Hammers (+971 4 456 7888, apronsandhammers.com). Crab and shrimp are served by the bucketful – along with a dollop of family fun – with diners having to work for their meal by crushing crustaceans with hinged crackers and (you guessed it) hammers.

DInE DOwnTOwn In addition to The Beach, Downtown Dubai is one of the few areas in the city where you can walk along the street or, in this case, wide boulevards lined by trees and lit by tiny, twinkling lights at night. You’ll pass an array of goodvalue independent restaurants as you saunter past the skyscrapers, serving up everything from gourmet burgers and American classics at Ashton Kutcher-owned Ketchup (+971 4 363 8595, ketchup.ae) to the menu mash-up at Loui’s (+971 4 457 2411, louisrestaurant.net) where Lebanese, Mediterranean and Japanese dishes all vie for your attention. Trust us, Loui’s identity crisis matters less when you’re eating al fresco in the shadow of the glorious Burj Khalifa. The al fresco terrace is also a major draw at Fümé Neighborhood Eatery (+971 4 456 8784, fume-eatery.com) at Manzil Downtown Dubai, but its homestyle cooking is the real crowd charmer. At the other end of the scale, on the lower floors of Burj Khalifa you’ll find Armani Hotel Dubai. This landmark property is one of those places you can boast about visiting. Do so for dinner and head to Armani/Ristorante (+971 4 888 3888, dubai.armanihotels.com) – it would be remiss not to go Italian, after all. Expensive but excellent, this is fine dining in stylish surrounds – just as you’d expect from Mr. Armani. However, if you’re coming to Downtown Dubai on the hunt for a meal you’ll remember long after your flight home has left the runway, it has to be La Serre (+971 4 428 6969, laserre.ae). Great service, even better food, and an atmosphere rarely bettered anywhere else in the city, this is another place where you should let the waiter order for you – just hope they mention the tagliatelle with black prawns and smoked duck. Its downstairs boulangerie is also a great place to head for an al fresco breakfast.


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DInnER wITH A TwIST

HEAD TO pIER 7 It’s a pier, it has 7 floors. That’s the reason for its name covered off. But what’s of real note here is that each floor is devoted to a different-style restaurant. It’s also the only licensed premises on Marina Walk in Dubai Marina. And so to the good stuff... The Scene (+971 422 2328, thescenedubai.com) by TV chef and serial author Simon Rimmer is the frontrunner here. British-style comfort food is the jist of it – think succulent, deep-filled pies, feather-light battered fish and chunky chips – but if you want something less filling, the grilled halloumi, pear and salted hazelnut salad is delicious. No prizes for guessing the cuisine cooked up at the excellent Asia Asia (+971 4 276 5900, asia-asia.com), but there might be a prize if you can find a dish, anywhere, that tickles your tastebuds as much as their tiger prawn Kerala masala. Meanwhile, if you want a side order of animated atmosphere with your mains of slow-cooked prime beef back ribs, then head to Cargo (+971 4 361 8129, cargo-dubai.com).

SuMpTuOuS SEAFOOD While most menus these days feature ample fish dishes, restaurants which specialise in serving up our fishy friends are in surprisingly short supply across Dubai. That’s one of the reasons why Catch (+971 4 357 1755, catch.ae) was so warmly received by locals – and it remains one of the hottest tables in town. Hailing from NYC, the other good reason that this contemporary American seafood restaurant found favour is of course its produce. You can have your fish in a number of ways, but you don’t need to look beyond the simple grilled version for a fantastic feed. And don’t leave without tackling one of its towering desserts. You’ll snap it for Instagram, for sure. Over at Four Seasons Dubai (+971 4 270 7777, fourseasons.com) Sea Fu serves excellent seafood in a beautiful setting – just yards from the ocean. The menu offers seafood in myriad tantalising ways, including a deliciously creamy lobster macaroni and a wonderful salt-crusted seabass. But whatever your order, end your meal with a drink by the sunken fire pit.

An increasing number of venues across Dubai are now offering a live performance to accompany starter, main and dessert. Top billing goes to Ibiza’s legendary club Pacha (+9714 316 6666, pacha.ae) which now has a holiday home in Dubai, at Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Your enjoyment of its high-energy stage show (see the ‘Top of the Tours’ section for a more detailed description) is heightened by a winning menu of delectable dishes, our pick from which is the Chilean sea bass. The Act (+971 4 355 1116, theactdubai.com), perched on the 42nd floor of the Shangri-La Hotel Dubai, lays on Peruvian delicacies and decadent dishes like grilled lobster slathered in black truffle butter – alongside fantastical entertainment (think acrobats and singers and human oddities) at its Tuesday and Wednesday dinner shows. Beirut export MusicHall (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabianadventures.com) in Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on Palm Jumeirah serves Arabicstyle food along with a whole host of eclectic live music acts – up to ten per night – on Thursdays and Fridays. For something altogether different try a dinner as you float down Dubai Creek in a boat-turned-restaurant, taking in the sights of old Dubai as you feast on fine dining dishes like oven-roasted duck breast topped with a punchy mushroom, beetroot and rosemary sauce. That’s Bateaux Dubai (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabian-adventures.com) for you, where boarding is at 7.45pm nightly, and disembarking at 11pm. Lastly, here’s somewhere to head if you’re tired of peering at your partner over the dinner table – Noire (+971 4 311 8316, fairmont.com) at Fairmont Dubai. The concept here is dining in the dark (literally). Over the course of 90 minutes (from 7.30pm, MondayFriday) night-vision-goggle-sporting waiters serve you a ‘surprise’ threecourse meal in a pitch-black room, which is cut up for ease of eating and paired with drinks for Dhs325.


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ASk A TOp CHEF Grégoire Berger, Ossiano The restaurant that I’ve enjoyed the most is Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire (+971 4 701 1111). It’s at the supreme level of fine dining in the city. I’d also recommend TOMO at Raffles Dubai for its brilliant traditional Japanese cuisine.

BIG, BEAuTIFul BuRGERS Brilliant burgers aren’t confined to the menus of Dubai’s hotel-based restaurants. In fact, the city’s best burgers are served in stand-alone venues. This is certainly true of Burger Fuel (+971 4 445 8220, burgerfuel. com), which has various branches across the city – the best of which, due to it being beside the sea, is at The Walk, JBR. The concept is 100% New Zealand grass-fed beef, a 1/3 pound patty of which is chargrilled to perfection and placed within a wholemeal bun. Thereafter, you can pick multiple extras to stuff inside. 100% organic, free-range beef is the pledge of Elevation Burger (+971 4 338 7055, elevationburger.com), which has three locations across Dubai, including one in The Dubai Mall. If you’re planning to upload a YouTube video of your trip to Dubai, you may wish to include a scene in which you attempt to sink your teeth into the vertigo burger. You can ask for between three and ten (yes, ten) patties to be placed within your bun. There are no such gimmicks at Burger Joint New York (+971 4 344 4459, burgerjointny.com), which you’ll find at City Walk. The emphasis here is on quality alone, with the options limited to just hamburgers and cheeseburgers. Their meat is minced on the premises to ensure consistency of flavour.


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BRIllIAnT BAR FOOD

SuBlIME SuSHI AnD SASHIMI

DIvInE DIM SuM, AnD THEn SOME No self-respecting cosmopolitan city can call itself a self-respecting cosmopolitan city unless it has a Hakkasan (+971 4 384 8484, hakkasan.com). Happily, Dubai does (at Jumeirah Emirates Towers) and the high-end chain doesn’t disappoint with its chic contemporary Chinese décor, expertly-made dim sum and oh-so fashionable bar. Shang Palace (+971 4 405 2703, shangri-la.com) at the Shangri-La Dubai is an old favourite which never fluctuates from serving up outstanding examples of Cantonese cuisine: case in point, the signature cod fish with grapes and well-balanced orange sauce. If you’re feeling decadent, head to DIFC and pull up a chair in Royal China’s new-for-this-season garden (+971 4 354 5543, royalchinadubai.com). Your al fresco meal of whole lobster and sugar snap peas in XO sauce will be illuminated by both glowing lanterns and the lights from the surrounding skyscrapers. For a budget-friendly, brilliant and authentic Chinese restaurant experience, head to China Sea (+971 4 295 9816) in Deira – try the Peking duck before heading upstairs for a spot of karaoke.

Beyond the previously-mentioned Zuma and Nobu, Dubai is also home to a couple more standout Japanese restaurants, some of which house incredibly popular lounge bars where beautiful people loiter and pout at one another. Homegrown concept OKKU (+971 4 501 8777, okku.com) at H Hotel is one such place – choice sashimi, sushi, and the requisite black miso cod are served in low-lit environs with Balearic beats in the background. TOMO in Raffles Dubai (+971 4 357 7888, tomo.ae) is helmed by chef-owner Chitoshi Takaashi, who has devised a menu that’s vast and packed with fantastic authentic Japanese delicacies, best navigated with the help of a waiter or waitress. The terrace here bestows brilliant views of Burj Khalifa. Cheaper than both – though still of high quality – is Manga Sushi (+971 4 342 8300, mangasushi.ae) at Beach Park Plaza in Jumeirah 2. As its name more than hints at, this is a restaurant that’s designed manga-style, right down to the waitresses’ uniforms. The fun extends to the very inventive sushi creations, of which there are many – including Godzilla in Dubai: deep-fried wasabi prawn, asparagus and diced mango, dipped in wasabi mayonnaise and rolled in sesame seeds. Within the very funky Vida Downtown Dubai hotel is the equally cool Toko Dubai (+971 4 442 8383, toko-dubai.com). Like Nobu, Toko Dubai also boasts a brilliant garden, where under the stars you can have your fill of some unique and sublime sushi creations – scampi nigiri, with foie gras and truffle oil being one.

About as far from the traditional image of greasy onion rings and soggy nachos as you can get, Dubai’s lounges offer a plethora of delicious bar bites to accompany your evenings. For a laidback affair, head to Bidi Bondi (+971 4 427 0515, emiratesleisureretail. com) on the trunk of Palm Jumeirah. The massive menu features Kangaroo sliders, Queensland lamb cutlets and New Zealand grass-fed rump steak alongside plenty of familiar bar staples. With national flags hanging from the walls and plenty of television screens, it’s an ideal spot for catching up on the sport while tucking into some simple, tasty grub. Just a little further along from here you’ll find Beach House Cabana (+971 4 361 8856, emiratesleisureretail. com). Inside there are rattan barstools, an eclectic photo wall and colourful furniture, but outside is really where you want to be. Munch on crab cakes with ravigote sauce or try the old school fajitas served with heaps of guacamole, sour cream and salsa. For something a bit more sophisticated, recently renovated Madinat Jumeirah’s Left Bank (+971 4 368 6171, emiratesleisureretail.com) offers great entertainment and a lively atmosphere. With an Asian-inspired sharing concept, you can sink your teeth into delectable kofta kebabs, feast on halloumi and vegetable skewers or try the spicy Thai beef noodle salad. Sit outside for fantastic abra views or take a pew in the Botanical Garden to watch the mixologists at work. If you’re after a bit of respite from the sun, make for Après (+971 4 341 2575, emiratesleisureretail.com) in Mall of the Emirates, the UAE’s only après-ski gastropub. With an international menu, there’s plenty to choose from, but the stone-fired pizzas are easily some of the best in the city. Plump for the traditional Swiss cheese fondue and tuck in as you watch Ski Dubai’s snowboarders swoosh down the slopes in front of you.


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InCREDIBlE vAluE InDIAn & pAkISTAnI Since Indians and Pakistanis account for the biggest expat community in Dubai, it comes as little surprise that the city is awash with an abundance of Indian and Pakistani cuisine – much of it very cheap and delicious. That’s particularly true of Saravanaa Bhavan (+971 4 334 5252) in Karama, whose vegetable curries pack in brilliant flavour and cost an average Dhs15. Also in Karama is Calicut Paragon (+971 4 449 8560, paragonrestaurant. net), which serves curried Keralan seafood specialities, while Rangoli Vegetarian Restaurant (+971 4 351 5873, rangolirestaurants.com) in Meena Bazaar, Bur Dubai, serves food hailing from the Gujarati region of India (imagine platters upon platters of delicious thali, which just keep on coming). The Dubai institution that is Ravi Restaurant (+971 4 331 5353) in Satwa serves Pakistani-style curries, with favourites including chicken achar, keema fry and chicken methi. These places are strictly no frills, but when the curries are so good and such great value, who cares?

ASk A TOp CHEF Benjamin Wan, Coya In all the years I’ve spent in Dubai and eaten in a lot of restaurants, the place that’s always a sure thing for me is Sonamu (+971 4 238 7777) – a Korean restaurant at the Asiana Hotel. It not only serves amazing cuts of meat for the barbecue but the bibimbap (mixed rice on a hotpot) is excellent.

FAST, FIllInG nOODlES (AnD A BIT MORE BESIDES) The Noodle House (+971 4 366 6730, thenoodlehouse.com) is a real homegrown success story, and is the go-to place for steaming hot bowls of fragrantly-spiced pad thai and myriad other dishes inspired by the street foods of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok and Jakarta. The dishes are never-fail and good value to boot, which makes it a great option for families – it even has a funky kids’ menu, comprising the likes of wok-fried satay chicken noodles. You’ll find branches of it across the city, including one at Souk Madinat Jumeirah. The menu at Veda Pavilion (+971 4 361 8845, emiratesleisureretail.com) on the trunk of Palm Jumeirah moves beyond Far Eastern staples to include a headpopping free-range chicken vindaloo. As such, everyone in your dining party is likely to find something that really hits the spot here.

THIS pAGE, FROM TOp: Bateaux Dubai; Catch; Coya


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Call: 04 3166268 or email: reservations@hertzinternational.ae


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To

SHOP Chapter FOUR

Step inside the stores, meander around the markets and seek out the unique shopping experiences that are found only in Dubai

Mega Malls Few places in the world ‘do’ malls like Dubai. Ever since the first shopping centre swung open its doors in 1980 (the Al Ghurair Centre) there has been a steady flow of malls opening up across the city. Whether you’re in town for one day, one week, or longer, there’s a mall for you. With over 1,200 stores under its gargantuan roof, The Dubai Mall (800 38224 6255, thedubaimall.com) should

be your first stop. Consisting of four levels – plus an aquarium, Olympic-size ice rink and a 22-screen cineplex – it was named the largest shopping centre in the world by the Guinness World Records when it opened in 2008, and is positively packed with both designer and high street stores. At some point during your shopping spree here it’s a given that you’ll lose your bearings, but there are numerous help desks (and even buggies to ferry you around if you’re flagging). Don’t leave without

visiting Level Shoe District (+971 4 501 6939, levelshoedistrict.com), which houses every designer shoe brand known to mankind; the region’s first Bloomingdale’s (+971 4 350 5333) and an outpost of France’s famous Galeries Lafayette (+971 4 339 9933, galerieslafayette-dubai.com). Mall of the Emirates (+971 4 409 9000, malloftheemirates.com) is another big shopping draw. Following its recent 36,000 square-metre extension (which saw 20 new fashion


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abOUt this ChapteR Dubai’s main malls have long opening hours; The Dubai Mall opens from 10am-11pm Sunday-Wednesday and 10am-midnight Thursday-Saturday, while Mall of the Emirates opens 10am-10pm Sunday-Wednesday and 10am-midnight Thursday-Saturday. The malls also ask that shoppers dress modestly – shoulders and knees should be covered. These dress codes are in place to show respect for the country’s culture and religion, rather than a law.

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pReviOUs page: Mall of the Emirates ClOCKWise FROM FaR leFt: Saks Fifth Avenue; cARTel; West L.A.; Hamac Beachwear Boutique

asK a lOCal Nicola Monteath, Journalist Global Village is my go-to shopping spot during winter. It has pavilions from all over the world and is a great place for unique finds. Vendors sell everything from clothing to toys, furniture to art, and at great prices, too – plus, it’s a top spot to indulge in a little haggling...

brands, 12 restaurants and a revamped 24-screen VOX Cinemas open their doors) this mega mall continues to win over residents and tourists alike. With over 560 stores to roam, make sure you become acquainted with Fashion Dome, an area dedicated to designer garb; Boutique 1 (+971 4 395 1200, boutique1.com), a homegrown retail star stocking global and local labels; and Harvey Nichols – Dubai (+971 4 409 8888, harveynichols.com), which houses a winning mix of international fashion heavyweights and much more over its three floors. Next, hop in a taxi – or take the metro to BurJuman Metro Station 1 – to BurJuman (+971 4 352 0222, burjuman.com) one of the oldest shopping malls in Dubai. Offering wallto-wall high fashion, from Fendi and Versace to the UAE’s only Saks Fifth Avenue (+971 450 12700, saksme. com), here you can shop for designer names in relative calm. Back on the metro, continue for three stops along the Red Line and you’ll reach Deira City Centre Mall (+971 4 295 1010, citycentredeira.com) home to over 370 retail stores. Aside from the shops, the mall houses Magic Planet, a super-sized indoor family entertainment centre. A hop and skip from here is Dubai Festival City Mall (+971 4 800 332, festivalcentre.com), an urban retail resort nestled in Dubai Festival City. Set on the historic Dubai Creek, it offers a potpourri of shops (mostly midrange) and some great waterfront cafés that are perfect for a pit stop. Shoppers who need a fuss-free retail spree should head to Dubai Marina Mall (+971 4 436 1020, dubaimarinamall.com), which offers a stylish mix of high-street brands alongside al fresco dining on a more manageable scale, or Ibn Battuta Mall (+971 4 362 1900, ibnbattutamall. com) touted as the world’s largest themed shopping mall and based on the travels of Arabic explorer Ibn Battuta

– the décor alone makes for great photographs. It’s bargains galore at Dubai Outlet Mall (+971 4 423 4666, dubaioutletmall.com), located 30 minutes outside the city. Offering previous seasons’ wares of top brands at heavily discounted prices, must-visit shops here include Burberry, Coach, Priceless and The Outlet, which stock clothes and accessories from the city’s biggest department stores.

MiNi Malls They might not be as big as Dubai’s jumbo malls but the city’s smaller counterparts are chock-full of labels worthy of your holiday Dirhams. Most of the mini-malls are located along Jumeirah Beach Road and Al Wasl Road – two roads that run parallel. Simply drive up one, turn around at Drydocks Dubai, and drive down the other. Kick-off your mini-mall trawl at Sunset Mall (+971 4 330 7333, sunsetmall.ae), home to West L.A boutique and its batch of underground fashion brands. Two other must-visit shopping havens here include the Mediterraneaninspired Mercato Mall (+971 4 344 4161, mercatoshoppingmall.com) – here you’ll find a brilliant boutique called Bagatelle (+971 55 312 6822) which sells pre-owned designer clothing, shoes and jewellery – and The Galleria Mall (+971 4 344 4434), the newest name in the independent mall arena and home to quirky stores such as SoH (+971 4 344 4147, soh.ae) a beauty-salon-meets-art-gallery-meetsboutique, and ValleyDez (+971 4 321 2898, valleydez.com), which stocks a great range of cool designer and readyto-wear clothing. If you want to fully enjoy this area of the city but haven’t rented a car, a good option is to hire a taxi for a six-hour stint for a flat fee of Dhs500. You must book 24hrs in advance (+971 4 208 0000, dubaitaxi.ae).


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best OF bespOKe Dubai has garnered a well-deserved reputation for custom tailoring over the years thanks, in part, to an abundance of fabric stores and quick turnaround times – great for visitors like yourself. Areas synonymous with tailoring include Satwa – Deepa’s (+971 4 349 4434, deepastailoring.com) is a popular spot; Karama – Dream Girls (+971 4 337 7287) is a regular for Dubai’s female dwellers; and Bur Dubai – Parmar Tailors (+971 4 3513112, parmartailors.com is a firm favourite for made-to-measure. These three locations make for a great day out in old Dubai, regardless of whether or not you’re looking for bespoke attire. Thread and Stitches (+971 4 347 2577; threadstitches.com) has long been revered for its quality and ability to create made-just-for-you items at an enviable pace. Located a stone’s throw from Mall of the Emirates – perfect after a morning spent moseying around the mall – this local tailor creates custom clothing for men, women and children. Better still, there’s a fabric store next door so you can meet with the tailor, buy your fabric and drop it off immediately. Men, meanwhile, should stop by Royal Fashion (+971 4 368 6192, royalfashion.biz) at Souk Madinat Jumeirah (it also has branches in various hotels in Dubai). Applauded for its ability to make bespoke tailoring accessible to all, Royal Fashions creates made-to-measure suits and shirts at reasonable prices, and can send them on to your home country. Couples looking to say ‘I do’ should stop by the popular Gold & Diamond Park, a hive of activity with lots of jewellery stores offering custommade luxuries. (+971 4 362 7777, goldanddiamondpark.com). Here, Cara Jewellers (+971 4 340 8151, carajewellers.com) offers some of the best prices in Dubai for diamond rings (and other jewelled goodies), and has photos of some very famous customers pinned to its wall. The Dubai stalwart’s bespoke service allows customers to design their own piece too.

CONCept stORes Outside of Dubai’s glitzy malls there’s a raft of independent concept stores and shopping experiences to enjoy – if you know where to find them. The best way to tick off the city’s unique stores is to introduce them into your day, rather than allocate a day to visit them. For example, if you find yourself in Alserkal Avenue admiring the art galleries, make sure you stop by cARTel (+971 4 388 4341, thecartel. me), one of Dubai’s creative retail pioneers. From the outside it looks like an abandoned warehouse desperate for some architectural attention. Step inside, however, and a carefully curated selection of limited edition clothing awaits. The designers stocked at cARTel are often exclusive to the region, with every piece a limited edition to ensure its individuality. Over the road from cARTel you’ll find A4 Space (+971 50 556 9797, alserkalavenue.ae), a sprawling 6,000sqft warehouse that regularly hosts pop-up fashion and art events for the city’s cool crowd. Fashion-conscious parents heading to Dubai Zoo should visit the nearby Zoo Concept (+971 4 349 5585), a concept boutique offering everything from novelty gifts to trendy T-shirts. From here, venture a little further along Jumeirah Beach Road to Comptoir 102 (+971 4 385 4555), a conceptualised eatery selling kitsch clothing items alongside a delicious vegan food menu. A short drive down the same street you’ll find Garderobe (+971 4 394 2753, garderobe.ae), a hotbed for preowned luxury fashion. There is vintage Chanel alongside Celine, Balenciaga beside Burberry, and Dior in company with Dolce & Gabbana. Holidaymakers planning on retracing Tom Cruise’s footsteps at Dubai International Financial Centre (Cruise ran under the iconic Gate Building in the fourth installment of Mission: Impossible) should pay Momentum (+971 4 327 4320, momentum-dubai. com) a visit. This vintage and rare watch store offers a raft of timepieces as well as service and repair.

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DXB City Expert pReviOUs page: BoxPark this page: Global Village NeXt page: Bloomingdales - Dubai

gO lOCal Dubai is home to a number of stellar designers whose collections have careered down the runway at fashion weeks around the world. Star of the moment Madiyah Al Sharqi, who is also the daughter of the ruler of Fujairah, is celebrated at home and abroad for her statement pieces, feminine separates and dresses. Pick up a Sharqi staple from Symphony (+971 4 310 6904, bysymphony.com) in The Dubai Mall and Saks Fifth Avenue (+971 4 501 2700, saksme.com) in BurJuman. Also stocked in Symphony is Endemage, an ethnic chic label created by Omani sisters Nadia and Lubna Zakwani. House of Nomad is another local label elbowing its way inside the wardrobes of the UAE’s fash-pack. The celebrated newcomer, applauded for its use of Arabic calligraphy throughout its collections, can be found in West L.A. (+971 4 388 2828, westlaboutique. com) in Sunset Mall. Holidaymakers who have landed in Dubai without the necessary swimwear would do well to check out Ola Swimwear, an innovative swimwear company stocked at a number of Poupette à la Plage (poupettealaplage. com) hotel-based branches in Dubai. Disaster averted. Besides the malls, the streets along Jumeirah Beach Road, Al Wasl Road and the surrounding roads are dotted with villas housing local design talent. You’ll find Dubai fashion star Rami Al Ali (+9714 394 5607, ramialali. com), whose couture collections have appeared at Paris Fashion Week, in villa 697 on Al Wasl Road. Book a consultation or simply scour the rails for haute couture inspiration.

Superstar designer Ezra (+971 4 395 5385, ezrafashiondesign.com), best known for his dreamy, extravagant gowns, creates his masterpieces from his atelier in Dubai’s Jumeirah 3 (villa 746, Al Wasl Road). With Britney Spears and Michelle Rodriguez for clients, Ezra is a must-visit boutique for ladies looking for couture. Emirati dress has long fascinated visitors to Dubai – from its cultural relevance to how it is worn. And while the most recognisable garment is the black abaya for Dubai’s Muslim women, a wave of new-gen designers have decided to spice things up. Emirati sisters Reem and Hind Beljafla are the creative masterminds behind DAS (+971 4 395 2427, dascollection.com), a Dubai-based label that has given a new lease of life to the traditional abaya by introducing new materials and cuts – think tweed, Italian crepe and cotton voile paired with flapper pockets, thick stitching, pearls and beading. The showroom is located in Jumeirah 3, villa 16, Umm Al Sheif Road. One designer taking on the abaya in reverse is French-Algerian visionary Faiza Bouguessa (+971 4 369 9919, bouguessa.com), whose designs are stocked at the aformentioned Symphony. Rather than take an abaya and westernise it, Bouguessa takes western trends, such as a trench coat or wrap dress, and transforms them into an abaya. Then there are Dubai’s department stores, which stock a number of abayabending brands. The fun part, though, is searching the rails for an exclusive piece. Three stores to visit include Harvey Nichols – Dubai, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s – Dubai.


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OpeN-aiR Retail aFFaiR If you’re seeking sunshine with your shopping, a stroll around the city’s markets is a must. Ripe Market (+971 4 380 7602, ripeme.com) is one of the city’s most popular, with the Ripe Food & Craft Market taking place every Friday from 9am to 3pm at Zabeel Park at the Dubai Creek end of Sheikh Zayed Road. Focused solely on local artisans and food producers, the organisers have expanded their reach to include a night market every Saturday at Al Barsha Pond Park from 4pm to 9pm. The Beach (+971 800 637 227, thebeach.ae), located in Dubai Marina, is one of the emirate’s newest developments offering an al fresco retail experience. Aside from the coastal views and vast esplanade, it boasts a bunch of cool stores selling holiday staples for young and old. Refuel at one of the many restaurants here – Eat Greek is a celebrated eatery – before making your way along JBR to Boutique 1 (+971 4 425 7888, boutique1.com), the aforementioned retailer’s second Dubai outpost. BoxPark (boxpark.ae), another new shopping site, is a pop-up mall made of shipping containers. Peppered along a 1,200-metre stretch of pavement along Al Wasl Road, visitors will find 220 industrial containers selling everything from streetwear to ice cream. Keep walking along Al Wasl Road and you’ll come across Al Wasl Square, where edgy retail stores, bakeries and beauty parlours are bunched together for a short but sweet shopping experience. The development’s sister property, City Walk (citywalk.ae), also offers a central al fresco location from which the family can shop, dine, play and pamper. This outdoor concept can be found at the junction of Al Wasl and Al Safa Road. Something open-air and altogether different is Global Village (+971 4 362 4114, globalvillage.ae). The seasonal leisure destination boasts more than 50 fun rides and 26 restaurants, as well as 36 country-specific shopping pavilions. It’s a unique attraction and good fun for all the family.


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sOUK speCtaCUlaR

sOUveNiRs tO savOUR It’s time to say farewell to tacky token gifts and hello to something a little more authentic. Starting with Arabica coffee. While a number of coffee shops in Dubai serve Arabica coffee (with a signature date), few sell the beans to take away – apart from the Dubai Coffee Museum (+971 4 353 8777, coffeemuseum.ae), that is. The museum, which is located in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, is split across two levels with a coffee bar on the top floor. It is here that the museum’s bubbly barista John Paul – an expert when it comes to drinks of the caffeinated kind – serves and sells Arabica coffee for visitors looking for a souvenir with a touch of authenticity. It’s open 9am until 5pm every day except Friday. Like coffee, poetry forms a cornerstone of Dubai’s history. Head to the vast Kinokuniya (+971 4 434 0111, uae.kinokuniya.com) bookshop

in The Dubai Mall to pick up an Arabic poetry book from one of the many shelves stacked high with tomes. Calligraphy, too, is synonymous with Emirati heritage. Gallery 1 (+971 4 432 7493, g-1.com), which has shops in Souk Al Bahar and Souk Madinat Jumeirah among other locales, stocks an enviable selection of calligraphy keepsakes – from cards and prints to notebooks. Oud, a scent synonymous with Dubai, will undoubtedly make for a memorable holiday memento, with most of the malls and markets mentioned in this section offering bottled or bespoke versions for men and women. But for noses that prefer softer scents, head to Villa 515 (+9714 39 54 054, villa515.com), an olfactory sanctuary for bespoke fragrance. Located in Jumeirah 3, this perfumer boasts a shop and a laboratory that’s specifically designed for perfume customisation – perfect for creating your own holiday scent.

It’s no surprise that one of Dubai’s oldest settlement areas provides the base and backdrop for one the city’s most authentic shopping experiences: Deira. Nestled in the neighbourhood’s maze of winding walkways you’ll find the Dubai Gold Souk – best reached by taxi, although the nearest metro stop is Al Ras. The residents love it because it reminds them of days gone by, while tourists like it for the quality and variety of gold – and the fact that you can haggle over the price. A quick march from the Gold Souk will lead you to the Spice Souk, home to a number of thatched market stalls selling spices that are certain to pull at your purse strings. Over the water, on the Bur Dubai side of Dubai Creek, you’ll find Bur Dubai Souk, a labyrinth of passageways teeming with stores selling clothes, camels (miniatures, of course), cushions and much more. The best way to get here from the Spice Souk is by hopping on board a sturdy abra boat at one of the many stations along Baniyas Road – for just Dhs2 per person, you’ll be standing on the other side of the creek in five minutes. The Dubai Textile Souk, meanwhile, is a fabric fairyland for shoppers looking to create bespoke garments. From swathes of silk for sarees and wedding gowns, to bolts of embroidered cotton, you would be hard-pressed to find a souk more colourful than this one.


ABU DHABI AL AIN WESTERN REGION

44TH UAE NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATIONS #INABUDHABI Abu Dhabi comes alive this National Day with a choice of interesting activities, fantastic firework shows, captivating concerts, dazzling displays and heritage attractions taking place across the Emirate. The festivity marks the country’s union over four decades ago and celebrates the spirit of the union.

NOV 9 - DEC 5

NOV 19 - DEC 12

NOV 25 - DEC 5

Traditional Souq Nation Towers Galleria

Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival Al Wathba

National Day Group Exhibition National Theatre

DEC 1

DEC 1

DEC 1 - 3

Al Fursan Aerobatic Show Abu Dhabi Corniche

Al Bawaneesh Sailing Race Breakwater

National Day Family Celebrations Emirate wide

DEC 1 - 3

DEC 2

DEC 2

National Day Concerts Emirate wide

National Day Traditional Rowing Race - 40ft Breakwater

The Official Ceremony ‘Celebrate our Nation’ Zayed Sports City

DEC 2

DEC 2 - 3

DEC 3

Yas National Day Celebrations Yas Marina Circuit

Souq Al Qattara Activities Al Qattara Oasis

The Official Car Parade Yas Island

For more information abudhabievents.ae

abudhabievents


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DO Chapter FIVE

Think you’re here for the sun and shopping only? Think again. Dubai boasts ample attractions that you’ll want to experience before heading home. The fun starts here...

SEE thE cIty From thE Sky Skydiving is on every daredevil’s bucket list and there’s no better place to do it than here. Skydive Dubai (+971 4 377 8888, skydivedubai.ae) has one of the world’s most spectacular tandem jumps over the iconic Palm Jumeirah, landing back at its Dubai Marina base under the guidance of world-class instructors. For more sedate sightseeing – with equally impressive birds’ eye views of the city – Seawings (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabianadventures.com) offers a range of scenic joy flights, including the Dubai Creek Silver tour, a 40-minute ‘dock to dock’ seaplane excursion above the historic Creek, Palm Jumeirah, Burj Khalifa and more. If VIP bling is more your thing, nothing beats hovering around town in a helicopter. Fly High Helicopter Services (800 25742 929) offers 15- or 25-minute tours from its helipad at

Atlantis, The Palm, as well as helicopter transfers so you can really arrive in style. Meanwhile, Heli Dubai (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabianadventures.com) takes off from Dubai Festival City, with 12- or 22-minute aerial tours over Dubai’s stratospherenudging skyscrapers. Leaving the glitz and glamour of the city behind, a hot air balloon ride over the desert as the sun comes up is an unforgettable experience. Balloon Adventures Emirates (+971 4 285 4949, ballooning.ae) will take you up, up and away in either a large group or a private charter.

GEt wEt and wIld Water babies are spoilt for choice as Dubai has two world-class waterparks that have something for all ages. Located in front of the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab, Wild Wadi (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992,

arabian-adventures.com) is the more manageable of the two, with over 30 rides and attractions. From kid-friendly slides and the relaxing lazy river, to adrenaline-fuelled surfing experiences and the truly terrifying Jumeirah Sceirah, it’s impossible not to have fun at this fantastic park. Over on Palm Jumeirah you’ll find Aquaventure (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabianadventures.com) at Atlantis, The Palm. It comprises 17 hectares of heart-stopping slides, rides, pools and interconnecting waterways, along with a huge kids’ play area, exhilarating zip line, pristine private beach, private cabanas and the not-so-small matter of Shark Lagoon, where you can handfeed gentle rays. Celebrating your birthday while in Dubai? Register online at atlantisthepalm.com for a free Aquaventure day pass to use anytime during your birthday week.


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about thIS chaptEr As you’ll read, there is much to do in Dubai, and as such we’ve ensured our recommendations include plenty of options for both big and little kids. By far the best way to get your bearings – and to see all of the city – is by starting out with a City Sightseeing Dubai, hop-on, hop-off bus tour (see ‘Top of the Tours’ for booking details). Then it’s all about ticking off that to-do list...

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aSk a local Glen Pearson, Photographer When I have visitors in town I always take them to Bait Al Wakeel (+971 4 353 0530) restaurant in Bur Dubai. Overlooking Dubai Creek, it’s a great spot to watch the abras go by. It can get busy, so be prepared to queue.

SEE a moVIE wIth a dIFFErEncE A trip to the cinema takes on a whole new dimension in Dubai. The new VOX Cinemas (+971 600 599 905, voxcinemas.com) at Mall of the Emirates has 24 screens including a multi-sensory 4DX theatre that adds moving seats and effects like rain and lightning, the first laser IMAX in the Middle East, and a colourful kids’ cinema. You can even swap popcorn for a gourmet duck burger at Vox Theatre by Rhodes, which combines luxury seats and service with a menu devised by Michelin-starred chef Gary Rhodes. The cooler months (that’s now) also see a raft of al fresco film screenings. Movies Under the Stars at Wafi Pyramids Rooftop Gardens (+971 4 324 4100, pyramidsrestaurantsatwafi. com) is an old favourite and shows feel-good flicks for free every Sunday from 8.30pm, while La Playa Lounge (laplayalounge.com) screens Hollywood hits on its full-size screen by The Beach at JBR daily from 6.30pm. Something unique for kids cinemawise is The Dome Box (800 637 227, thedomeboxdubai.ae), at BoxPark on Al Wasl Road. It’s a dome-shaped theatre with a 360-degree screen which plays short edutainment films that are themed around science, nature, and popular culture. Instead of seats there are beanbags – and leaning posts for adults – and each movie lasts for around 30 minutes.

GEt on track Petrol heads can do more than just drool at Dubai’s legion of supercars. Slip behind the wheel of a single seater F3 race car, McLaren, Audi TT or R8 supercar at Dubai Autodrome (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabianadventures.com). Track experiences combine classroom and behind-thewheel training from a professional racing driver, before you’re let loose to do a few laps on your own. Meanwhile, learn-to-drift experiences include five minutes in the passenger seat with a pro at the wheel – guaranteed to get your blood pumping. The complex is also home to Kartdrome which has indoor and outdoor tracks that are suitable for big kids and little ones aged 7 and up. The 1.2km outdoor circuit features 17 corners, a tunnel and bridge, while the 500m indoor track allows up to ten karters to race at any one time. Plus, the karts are equipped with timers so you can test your mettle against your mates.

bEyond ShoppInG at thE dubaI mall The Dubai Mall has a host of activities to keep the whole tribe entertained. Gamers of all ages will love SEGA Republic (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabian-adventures. com), a huge indoor theme park with 15 rides including a rollercoaster, and hundreds of high-tech games. Little visitors will love KidZania (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabianadventures.com), a sprawling mini city that allows children to dabble in 80 different careers, from pilot to police officer. And aviation enthusiasts aged 9 and over can fly the world’s largest passenger plane at the Emirates A380 Experience (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabian-adventures. com), a state-of-the-art Airbus flight simulator.

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DXB City Expert prEVIouS paGE: Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo thIS paGE: At The Top, Burj Khalifa


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ExpErIEncE Snow and IcE While a winter wonderland in a desert city sounds fantastical, it does exist in Dubai. Located in Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabian-adventures. com) is the go-to place for skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing or just throwing snowballs. Clothing and equipment are available for hire, and there are lessons for budding skiers aged 3 years and up, while boarders must be at least 8 years old. And don’t miss the crowd-pleasing antics of the colony of gentoo and king penguins (daily parades at 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm) – it’s free to watch or you can sign up for a penguin close encounter. Dubai’s other mega mall has its own penguins too, albeit plastic ones. Dubai Ice Rink (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabian-adventures.com), the Olympic-sized rink at The Dubai Mall, has public skating sessions that are suitable for beginner and immediate skaters, as well as disco sessions with a resident DJ (nightly at 6.15pm and 8pm). Penguin Pal skating aids are available for little ones measuring a minimum of 100cm tall, while there are Snowmen for adults and children over 12 years who are unsteady on their skates. One-on-one and semi-private lessons can also be arranged.

hIt thE bEach If you’re staying in a hotel without its own private beach, but a dose of sea and sand is high on your holiday wishlist, head down to one of Dubai’s many beautiful public beaches. Backed by a low-rise collection of restaurants, cafés and boutiques, and featuring a winding walkway dotted with innovative food stalls, The Beach at JBR (800 637 227, thebeach.ae) is one of the most

popular spots along the Arabian Gulf. There are well-kept changing facilities with showers, all manner of activities to enjoy (from beach football to early morning yoga), and you can rent a sunbed with an umbrella and towel for Dhs110 per day. Another firm favourite is the stretch of sand running the length of Umm Suqeim known as Kite Beach, thanks to its popularity with kite-surfers (you can sign up for lessons if you fancy giving it a go). It boasts a promenade with a handful of cool cafés such as The Surf Shack, changing facilities and showers, a new jogging track, beach tennis and watersports, but no sunbed or brolly rental. If a chilled-out beach club is more your style, Riva Beach Club (+971 4 430 9466, riva-beach. com) on Palm Jumeirah is one of the best. It’s got a private beach and temperature-controlled pool, sunloungers and daybeds, a restaurant serving Mediterranean-style cuisine, outdoor bar, and watersports such as paddleboarding and kayaking.

takE to thE hIGh SEaS Cruising past Atlantis, The Palm towards the iconic Burj Al Arab at sunset is one of the most memorable ways to experience Dubai. Sailing and yachting are popular pastimes in the emirate, and visitors can cruise the Arabian Gulf by private charter or regular tour. Deep sea fishing is another big draw, with species such as king mackerel and barracuda tempting anglers. First Yacht (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabian-adventures. com) specialises in tailor-made luxury yacht and catamaran charters and private fishing trips, as well as powerboat rides and romantic

DXB City Expert

dinner cruises for two. Sea Hunters (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabian-adventures.com) is another recommended operator that can organise deep sea fishing tours, luxury yacht and catamaran charters, and flashy speedboat cruises all around Palm Jumeirah.

all thE Fun oF thE FountaInS At the foot of Burj Khalifa is a 30-acre lake, in which stands the world’s largest dancing fountain. Dubai Fountain has multiple jets spread across the lake, which shoot water 500ft into the air – about the height of a 50-storey building – while ‘dancing’ to the music. Shows are daily at 1pm and 1.30pm (1.30pm and 2pm on Fridays) and every 30 minutes from 6pm-11pm. There are various ways to get a ringside seat for this must-see spectacular, including bagging a table on the terrace of a lakeside restaurant (see ‘Where to Eat’), or watching for free from the Waterfront Promenade, just outside the entrance to the lower ground floor of The Dubai Mall. But you’re on holiday, so why not see it in style by hopping aboard one of the abras (traditional Arabic boats) which sail as close as possible to the action? They operate from 5.45pm until the evening’s last show at 11pm. Tickets to ride cost Dhs65 per person and can be purchased from a counter on the Waterfront Promenade or from At The Top, Burj Khalifa. Much harder to come by are tickets for XLine Dubai (xdubai.com), a hair-raising 600-metre-long zipline that sets off from the 32nd floor of a skyscraper in Downtown Dubai and travel at speeds of up to 85 kilometres per hour across the Dubai Fountain to the mall. You need to follow XDubai on social media for your chance to win a coverted slot.


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FEEl on top oF thE world Ascending the world’s tallest tower is high on most visitors’ must-do lists, and At The Top, Burj Khalifa (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabianadventures.com) doesn’t disappoint. A high-speed elevator delivers you to the observation decks at Level 124 (452 metres above the ground) or Level 148 (soaring 555 metres). Floor-toceiling glass provides unobstructed, 360-degree views, plus your ticket allows you to linger as long as you like. Open daily until 11pm – but tickets do sell out, so be sure to book in advance.

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play (or watch) a lIttlE polo Seasoned polo pros, novices and spectators can enjoy the age-old sport of kings at Desert Palm, Per Aquum (+971 4 323 8888, desertpalm. peraquum.com). The resort has its own swish stables and four championship polo fields with lessons and daily matches (from October to April). Spectators are well catered for too, with afternoon tea served on a chic terrace overlooking the action. Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club (+971 4 361 8111, poloclubdubai.com) also offers a fun introduction to the game with mini

DXB City Expert

polo experiences designed for groups of two to 10 holidaymakers. This being Arabia you can also saddle up for a spot of Camel Polo (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabian-adventures.com) using the so-called ‘ships of the desert’ instead of horses. You’ll start your day with a lesson on the basics before mounting up in pairs, with one rider taking the reins and the other swinging the mallet, for an undoubtedly hilarious match. This unique experience is available for groups of at least 8, and you need never have ridden a camel (or a horse) in your life to take part.


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DXB City Expert prEVIouS paGE: Camel polo thIS paGE, clockwISE From top lEFt: Kidzania; Aquaventure; Sailing with First Yacht; Dubai Fountain

in 2005, has a wadi (valley) running through it, which is sure to challenge first-timers. A quick trip down the road, The Montgomerie Dubai (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabianadventures.com), was co-designed by Colin Montgomerie. It’s a pictureperfect Championship course that can trick first-timers with its deceptively difficult holes. One of the signatures is the par three 13th, where the green is laid out in the shape of the UAE. Jumeirah Golf Estates (+971 4 818 2000, jumeirahgolfestates.com) has two Greg Norman-designed Championship courses matched by excellent club facilities. Inspired by the great parkland courses of Europe and North America, the Earth course is home to the DP World Tour Championship, the grand finale of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. The undulating topography of the Fire course, meanwhile, demands a strategic approach.

SwInG Into actIon Dubai has become a major golf destination and boasts an impressive collection of high-calibre courses. Emirates Golf Club (+971 4 380 1234, dubaigolf.com) is an old favourite, with two 18-hole par 72 Championship courses and a clubhouse inspired by Bedouin tents. The Majlis course, home to the Dubai Desert Classic, a prestigious winter fixture on the European Tour, has open horizons and stretches of scrubby sand along with more traditional bunkers, while the Faldo, redesigned by Nick Faldo

on your bIkE Cycling is proving ever popular in the emirate, and the European-style bike hire service Byky (bykystations.com) is the best way to explore the city on two wheels. There are roughly 16 stations dotted around Downtown, Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah. First, you need to register with your credit card details online, at a rental station or by downloading the NextBike app to your smartphone. Then a unique code is sent to your mobile to unlock the bike and you’re good to go. To really stretch your legs, head to Al Qudra Cycling Track, the world’s

longest purpose-built cycling track that loops around the desert dunes near Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa. You can hire bikes from Trek Bikes (+971 4 832 7377, trekbikes.ae) at the start of the track.

ExplorE thE art ScEnE With a keen focus on contemporary art, Dubai has a burgeoning art scene centred around the financial district of DIFC and the industrial area of Al Quoz. The former is home to a dozen spaces including Ayyam Gallery (+971 4 439 2395, ayyamgallery.com), which promotes emerging and established artists from the Middle East, and The Empty Quarter (+971 4 323 1210, theemptyquarter.com), the city’s only gallery space devoted exclusively to fine art photography. The hippest art hub, Alserkal Avenue (+971 50 556 9797, alserkalavenue. ae), can be found in Al Quoz. There are around 15 galleries housed in converted warehouses including Mojo (+971 4 347 7388, themojogallery. com), which focuses on contemporary art from North Africa, and La Galerie Nationale (+971 4 380 4652, galerienationale.com), which showcases art and furniture from regional designers. For a good introduction to the current exhibitions, pop along to the free gallery tour held every Saturday from 4-5pm. Meanwhile, Majlis Gallery (+971 4 353 6233, themajlisgallery. com) is also well worth a look. It’s Dubai’s oldest art gallery established over 25 years ago in a wind-tower house in the historic Al Fahidi district in Bur Dubai.


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thIS paGE: Penguins at Ski Dubai

SEE amazInG SEalIFE

aSk a local Isuru Paththinige, Admin Officer Aquaventure at Atlantis, The Palm is my favourite place for fun in the city. If, like me, you love scaring yourself, try out Poseidon’s Revenge. You stand in a capsule and wait for the floor to give way beneath you, dropping you at a speed of 60kph. Brilliant.

Some of Dubai’s best family-friendly attractions can be found under the sea. Home to over 65,000 marine animals, The Lost Chambers Aquarium (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabian-adventures.com) at Atlantis, The Palm is sure to mesmerise young and old. There are over 20 exhibits with creatures from all over the world, including two rare albino alligators. Visitors can also book a behind-the-scenes tour or swim, snorkel or dive with sharks. Meanwhile, The Dubai Mall is home to the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabian-adventures.com), one of the largest suspended aquariums on the planet. Marvel at over 140 species of sea life, including over 300 sharks and rays, or rent some scuba gear and sidle up alongside the inhabitants of this 10-million-litre tank. No diving experience is required. At the zoo part of this aquatic attraction you’ll get to see the likes of penguins, otters and giant spider crabs, but by far its biggest draw – in every sense – is King Croc, one of the world’s largest reptiles at over five metres long with a weight equivalent to that of 15 men. He’s here with his blushing bride Queen Croc and their sprightly offspring. And if you’ve always dreamed of swimming with dolphins, you can do exactly that at Dolphin Bay (advance bookings via +971 4 303 4992, arabianadventures.com), the 4.5-hectare dolphin education and conservation centre at Atlantis, The Palm. Home to a family of friendly Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, you can take your pick from five different dolphin experiences, from a shallow water meet-and-greet or deep water towalong to a spine-tingling scuba dive.

chIll out at a Spa Feeling frazzled after all that fun? Dubai has some of the world’s most luxurious spas that are renowned for their ultra-indulgent treatments. Perched 150 metres above the Arabian Gulf and spread over two floors, Talise Spa at Burj Al Arab (+971 4 301 7365, jumeirah.com) is one of the best. Try the signature La Prairie Platinum Rare Facial, which sees two therapists work simultaneously to deliver an anti-ageing facial and hand and foot treatment. Precious metals also star at The Spa at The Address Downtown Dubai (+971 4 436 8755, theaddress.com). The three-hour Ultimate Diamond Experience includes a full-body scrub, massage and facial using crushed diamonds. Time your treatment right and you’ll also be able to watch The Dubai Fountain from the post-treatment relaxation room. For more amazing views, head to Shine Spa at Sheraton Grand Hotel Dubai (+971 4 503 4100, sheratongranddubai. com). Located on the 52nd floor, the spa combines the best of ancient and modern techniques from East and West – shake off your jetlag with the signature Balinese massage. Meanwhile, the luxurious new hammam facility at Anantara Spa at Anantara The Palm Dubai (+971 4 567 8140, dubai-palm.anantara. com) offers the ultimate Middle Eastern experience. The fabulous spa also boasts a dazzling array of Asian, Arabian and Ayurvedic treatments. ShuiQi Spa at Atlantis, The Palm (+971 4 426 1020, atlantisthepalm. com) is another sprawling spa with an impressive menu of treatments from the likes of Shiseido and Bastien Gonzalez. Try the signature Dubai Glamour Ritual, which includes a fullbody scrub, wrap, massage and facial.


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WHERE TO

go Where once it was a city bereft of cool clubs and nightlife to speak of, Dubai now attracts the biggest names in the business to a stellar line up of fabulous venues. Get your glad rags on – we’re going out…

SIppIng under the StarS For eight months of the year, Dubai is blessed with gorgeous weather, which means there’s no shortage of excellent al fresco lounges. Barasti (taxi: Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, +971 4 399 333) has been ruling the roost for 20 years, pulling in thousands of revellers every weekend. Combining live music, daily sunbathing sessions, a sandbetween-your-toes dancefloor on the beach and more serving stations than you can shake an empty glass at. If you fancy your drink with a side order of vertigo, 40 Kong (taxi: H Hotel, +971 4 355 8896) is your best bet. The rooftop lounge on the 40th floor (obviously) offers sweeping views across the city from its Sheikh Zayed Road location, and comes with some of the best house DJs in the city, including deep house expert KaY TeK.

Another elevated al fresco drink can be enjoyed at Pure Sky Lounge (taxi: Hilton Jumeirah Beach Resort, +971 4 399 111). Decked out in white, blue and plenty of glass, the 35th-floor lounge offers stunning views out to sea and across Jumeirah Beach Residence, alongside a very cool soundtrack. Bliss Lounge (taxi: Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort, +971 4 399 5533) is one of Dubai Marina’s best outdoor spots. The beachside lounge offers excellent sea views from one of the most high profile stretches of shoreline in the city and, at night, it turns into an excellent outdoor club with some of the best resident DJs in the city dropping soul-infused house music. Overlooking Media City’s low-rise buildings, Tamanya Terrace (taxi: Radisson Blu, Media City, +971 4 366 9111) has undergone a recent facelift and offers impressive views across to

Dubai Marina and its twinkling skyline. The Terrace hosts one of the city’s best club nights every Friday from 6pm as Night Vibes and its crew of fun-loving clubbers rock up and turn the venue into a mini Ibiza haven. At the other end of the scale, you could almost be on a deserted Thai island when you arrive at the Jetty Lounge (taxi: One&Only Royal Mirage, +971 4 399 9999) – make an entrance by private boat for that extra touch of class. A chic lounge where you can sup a sundowner with sand between your toes, it’s one of the city’s best hangouts. While most of Dubai’s nightlife has shifted south, there are still plenty of options in old Dubai including the stunning Creek-side lounge Cielo (taxi: Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, +971 4 416 1800). Order their own-recipe sangria and watch the sun descend behind Sheikh Zayed Road’s skyline.


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about thIS Chapter The UAE weekend is Friday-Saturday. As such, Thursday-Friday nights are usually the busiest across town. The legal age to drink alcohol in Dubai – and enter a nightclub – is 21, and while nowhere employs a seriously strict dress code policy, you won’t get in if you're dressed for the beach – no shorts, open-toe sandals or the like in this town, please. We have included a taxi reference for you – ask the driver to head here – as most will not know the location of the club or lounge if you say its name only.

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For the bIg nameS and beSt dJS 360 (taxi: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, +971 4 406 8999) is one of the longestrunning clubs in the city, and boasts panoramic views across the city from its perch in the middle of the Arabian Gulf. The two floor venue hosts Audio Tonic every Friday for your deep house kicks, while rotating promoters on Thursdays bring in soulful house, UK bass and dance classics. The drinks are expensive, but well worth it for the views and music. A cavernous venue on the 41st floor of Media One Hotel, Level 41 (taxi: Media One Hotel, +971 4 427 1000) hosts pop-up club nights and live music. From techno to drum and bass and hip hop to house, the back-to-basics rave cave hosts the city’s cooler promoters – meaning a clued-up crowd who aren’t afraid to cut loose on the dance floor. Pacha Ibiza Dubai (taxi: Souk Madinat Jumeriah, + 971 4 567 0000), is the latest international addition to the city, and includes a spectacular dinner/dance show (see ‘Top of the Tours’), a stunning rooftop venue and an ultra glamourous main room. Drinks are far from cheap, but service is good and while Pacha done Dubai-style doesn’t have quite the same hedonistic appeal of its Ibiza sister venue, it is still worth checking out. The first real beach party in the city, Nasimi (taxi: Atlantis, The Palm, +971 4 426 2626) has hosted everyone from Basement Jaxx to Robin Schulz over the years and can hold several thousand dancers on its sandy beach. Even if there’s nothing big going on when you visit, the resident DJs and the views back across Palm Jumeriah and into Dubai Marina are worth the trip. Part beach club, part open-air club and packed every weekend, Zero Gravity (taxi: Sky Dive Dubai, +971 4 399 0009) is the city’s current hot spot. It has welcomed big names like Paul Van Dyk and Mark Ronson alongside more alternative stars like Mr Scruff to play under the stars. Plus, their newly up-and-running pool party looks set to take the city’s day-time partying to a new level.

Since launching three years ago, Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE (taxi: Golden Tulip Al Jazira Hotels & Resort, Ghantoot, +971 51 133 3400) has set the benchmark high for house music parties in the country. Thousands of glamazons make the 30-minute journey towards Abu Dhabi to this Balearic beach party. The line-ups are always cutting edge and big on the house market: think Ibiza icons like Jamie Jones, Dixon and Marco Carola. With a panoramic view of Dubai’s skyscraper skyline, White Dubai (taxi: The Meydan, +971 50 443 0933) is the sister lounge and club to the Beirut original. And like its Lebanese sibling, it’s high on the glam factor, with a goodlooking crowd arriving around midnight every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the hip hop and EDM soundtrack. And of course, the stunning view back into the city. For an ultra glamorous (and slightly gaudy) night out, Cavalli Club (taxi: Fairmont Hotel, +971 4 332 9260) is a Roberto Cavalli institution that serves as a high-end dinner club. A three-level venue that dazzles under a weight of Swarovski crystals, the club hosts A-list DJs like Bob Sinclar on a regular basis. Another imported chain, Provocateur (taxi: The Four Seasons Dubai, + 971 55 211 8222) began life in New York as a bottle-service club that catered to high-end house music lovers. Fittingly, the Dubai branch has welcomed 4/4 heavyweights like Seth

Troxler and White Island favourite Solomon during its first season. More recently, it has shifted its focus to home-grown talents. Since its refurbishment in summer 2015, Movida (taxi: Radisson Royal Hotel, +971 55 1744 449) has reclaimed its position as one of the city’s regular hot spots. They frequently host cameos from established and up-and-coming rappers (including O.T. Genasis), and have a very commercial hip hop and mainstream house/EDM soundtrack on the weekend. If you like to see bottles of bubbly with sparklers in them paraded every 20 minutes, this is the club for you. Back on the sand, Eden Beach Club (taxi: Rixos, The Palm Dubai, +971 4 277 1477) is the latest big player on the beach club scene, and boasts private cabanas on the beach and a dazzling sound and light set-up that hosts some of the world’s biggest names (Steve Aoki and Sasha have played here). Open from early morning until midnight, it’s an ultra glamorous venue where reservations are highly recommended. Lastly, if you fancy going down to the woods today, make sure you do it with Frank The Bear at Toy Room Dubai (taxi: Al Murooj Rotana, 971 55 246 4555), the club’s mascot and official party starter. The playful club has a popular hip hop and deep house soundtrack with some of the best residents in town.


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DXB City Expert prevIouS page: Nasimi thIS page: Provocateur


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CLoCKWISe From bottom LeFt: Pacha Ibiza Dubai; Blue Marlin; Movida; Zero Gravity

For SomethIng dIFFerent Dubai does big and bold very well, but you have to dig a little deeper to find the alternative scene. Casa Latina (taxi: Ibis Hotel Al Barsha, +971 4 399 6699) hosts many of the better left-field nights, pumping out old school drum and bass (Bassworx), indie (Loaded) and punk (Bad House Party) on a monthly basis. Check in advance by calling as the music can vary wildly. If you’re after live music, the aptlytitled Music Room (taxi: Majestic Tower Hotel, +971 4 501 2534) in Bur Dubai is your best bet. Promising local – and frequently international – bands, this spacious venue attracts a knowledgeable crowd. Musically openminded, they’ve hosted local metal giants like Nervecell, Bon Jovi tribute acts, and alternative DJs like drum and bass kingping Goldie and jazz-funk troubadour Quantic. We’re not sure why it hasn’t been done before, but Stereo Arcade (taxi: Double Tree by Hilton, +971 52 618 2424) combines music and a stereo arcade (with over 50,000 games) as well as a slushy machine, hot dog stand and more. The hi-tech club plays the best of the ’80s and ’90s every weekend, while the low-key lounge on the other side of the arcade has a house band most nights of the week. For something with a real twist, push the bookcase in the lobby of the Dusit Thani hotel. It will open to reveal a hidden door, on which you’ll knock to gain entry to the Nippon Bottle Company (taxi: Dusit Thani, +971 4 357 0779), a Japanese speakeasy. It offers an impressive list of Japanese drinks, which are now considered to be some of the best in the world.

CatCh a matCh An always-lively atmosphere is yours to soak up at Girders (taxi: JA Ocean View Hotel, +971 4 814 5590), particularly in its faux garden which boasts a giant screen – a whole four metres, to be precise – and shows the biggest games of the day. Smaller screens inside show other matches at the same time. Multiple matches with same-time kick offs are also shown on myriad screens at Qube Sports Bar (taxi: The Meydan Hotel, +971 4 381 3780). It’s so named because of its unique draw – a cube screen bearing four huge surfaces to provide fans with a fine view no matter where they’re sitting. It's also impossible to miss any of the action at Kickers (taxi: Dubai Sports City, +971 4 448 1001) thanks to its two large and 10 other screens. While these venues show a lot of football and rugby, more countryspecific games are shown elsewhere. Aussie sports are screened at Bidi Bondi (taxi: Shoreline Apartments, Palm Jumeirah, +971 427 0515) while Gaelic games are shown at both McGettigans (taxi: Bonnington Hotel, + 971 4 378 0800) – which also often hosts good up-and-coming Irish bands – and The Irish Village (taxi: Century Village, +971 4 282 4752), which screens the biggest matches on its sprawling al fresco terrace.


Where To Go

beSt LadIeS' nIghtS Like Friday brunch, ‘ladies’ night’ is somewhat of a Dubai institution. Usually staged on Tuesday nights, but now increasingly popping up at least somewhere throughout the week, the nights are so-named because ladies get to drink for free, in some places to a limitless degree. An imported London chain Mahiki (taxi: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, +971 4 380 773) has been a big hit in the UAE since launching three years ago. It has a neat, Polynesianthemed twist on drinks you can share with your girlfriends. A big favourite in Dubai Marina, Atelier M (taxi: Pier 7, +971 4 450 7766) is a three-in-one venue – there’s a French restaurant, an open air terrace and swish lounge. Their popular ladies’ night runs every Tuesday, with ladies receiving four drinks alongside a soundtrack of commercial house and RnB from the resident DJs. Just a few floors below Atelier M is Asia Asia (taxi: Pier 7, +971 4 276 5900), which is so good they named it twice. Ladies receive three complimentary drinks between 6pm and 1am, while the resident DJ plays a great mix of deep house and nu-disco. Plus, the venue has a stunning Marinafronting balcony, which is perfect for the current weather. Packed every Thursday and Friday night, Dubai Marina Yacht Club (taxi: Dubai Marina, +971 4 362 7900) puts on an award-winning ladies’ night every Tuesday, with a stunning Marina backdrop and on-point music. The Observatory (taxi: Dubai Mariott Harbour Hotel & Suites, +971 4 319 4000) holds their ladies’ night every Monday, with three free drinks and a complimentary starter from an appealing food menu from 8pm until 11pm. It boasts one of the best views in the city from its 52nd-floor location. Also making food a feature of its ladies’ night is El Sur (taxi: Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, + 971 4 399 7700), a sophisticated Spanish restaurant which grants girls three drinks between 6pm-9pm and 2 for 1 on main courses.

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DXB City Expert CLoCKWISe From LeFt: Nippon Bottle Company; Mahiki; Cielo


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#HOLIDAY

From amazing architecture to sweeping sandscapes, you’ll have lots of memories of your time in Dubai to share via social media. Here are some of our favourite Instagram snaps of the city. Be sure to share your #VisitDubai and #MyDubai moments too 1.

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1. Photo credit: @shmoo5z

4. Photo credit: @ialbeshari The bright lights of Dubai Marina, as seen from Palm Jumeirah. 5. Photo credit: @jarradseng A sunset ride aboard the faithful ships of the desert. 6. Photo credit: @aalfahad Dubai’s iconic architecture is an Instagrammer’s dream.

With Burj Al Arab as your backdrop, kayaking is anything but hard work. 2. Photo credit: @sdfalcons A magical moment between a man and his falcon. 3. Photo credit: @zalazawi Jumping out of a plane at 13,500ft has never looked so fun.

7. Photo credit: @jarradseng Come on in, the water’s great at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa. 8. Photo credit: @adrianredcom Capturing the light at Jumeirah Beach Hotel. 9. Photo credit: @arabianadventures Arabian Adventures can organise that festive feeling at Ski Dubai.


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Dxb City Expert Dec'15 (UK)  

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