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we love


Hotels / Culture / Shops / Activities / Restaurants


Taking luxury to new heights. Located near some of Dubai’s best attractions, the JW Marriott ƒ”“—‹•—„ƒ‹‹•Š‘‡–‘—•—”’ƒ••‡†Ž—š—”›ǡ‘ơ‡”‹‰ƒ•’‡…–”— ‘ˆˆƒ…‹Ž‹–‹‡•ˆ‘”–Š‡‘•–†‹•…‡”‹‰–”ƒ˜‡ŽŽ‡”•Ǥ 1,608 LUXURIOUS GUEST ROOMS 8 INCREDIBLE RESTAURANTS AND 6 BARS AND LOUNGES SUBLIME SARAY SPA AND HEALTH CLUB OVER 8,000 SQM OF INDOOR AND OUTDOOR EVENT SPACE Book your next stay now on or call +971 4 414 0000

Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, PO Box 121000, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, T +971 4 414 0000, F +971 4 414 0001,

World Traveller // We Love Dubai

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welcome to

DUBAI There’s never been a better time to fall in love with Dubai. With Expo 2020 just around the corner, the city is booming. Here you’ll find many of the world’s finest restaurants, activities and shopping, not to mention a burgeoning cultural and arts scene that makes use of its unique past as well as nurturing the talent of the future. Whether you’re here for a week or a lifetime, Dubai has an inexhaustible energy that will keep you wanting more.


4 Essentials 7 Hotels 21 Shopping 27 Restaurants 38 Culture 41 Activities

About This Guide The We Love Dubai writers have lived, breathed and loved the city for years. Let them be your guide through this bustling metropolis.


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Victoria Thatcher


Tracey Scott

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team, email firstname@

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Senior Designer

Production Manager

Richard Jenkins

Adam Sneade

Chalitha Fernando

Editorial Director

John Thatcher

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

DO DO YOU YOU TRAVEL TRAVEL TO TO SEE SEE OR OR TO TO DISCOVER? DISCOVER? Isn’t Isn’tthe thereal realexcitement excitementofoftravel travelabout aboutdiscovering discoveringsomething somethingnew? new?At AtInterContinental InterContinental®® we weshare shareour ourlocal localknowledge knowledgeofofaadestination destinationsosoyou youcan canenjoy enjoywhat whatmakes makesititunique. unique. In InAbu AbuDhabi DhabiororDubai, Dubai,for forexample, example,our ourConcierges Conciergeswill willhelp helpyou youdiscover discoverhidden hiddengems, gems, be beititininthe themost mostunique uniquesouqs souqsororthe thelargest largestshopping shoppingmalls mallsininthe theworld. world.Whatever Whatever you youchoose choosetotodo, do,we wecan canhelp helpyou youenjoy enjoytruly trulyauthentic authenticexperiences experiencesthat thatwill willstay staywith with you youlong longafter afteryou youcome comehome. home.

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ESSENTIALS All you need to know

Getting there Dubai International Airport is the world’s second busiest international hub (a recordbreaking 66,431,533 passengers passed through in 2013), so getting to Dubai couldn’t be easier. The airport serves nearly 240 destinations, with 28 newbies added last year, thanks largely to the expanding networks of Emirates and low cost airline flydubai. The emirate’s second airport, Dubai World Centre Al Maktoum International Airport, is now open for business. The aerotropolis is located in Jebel Ali. To book a flight to Dubai, contact dnata (+971 4 316 6666),

Getting around


While not a city set up for walking, getting around Dubai is relatively straightforward and inexpensive, thanks mainly to the excellent metro system. Buy a ‘nol’ smart card at either Metro or petrol stations (priced around 20 dirhams) and you can use it on both buses and metros. Things look set to be even better in November 2014 when phase one of a swanky new tram system opens – the 10.6-kilometre route will connect Dubai Marina to the Al Sufouh area. If you’d rather take a cab, yellow Dubai taxis are plentiful and cheap compared with most major cities and can be flagged down on the street. Journeys have a minimum charge of 10 dirhams, however short your journey. There are also plenty of hire car options on arrival at the airport, although roads can be chaotic and drivers haphazard, so be extra cautious and avoid peak times (7-9am and 6-7pm).



1.8 b 355 The height, in metres, of the world’s tallest hotel, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai


World Traveller // We Love Dubai


billion The amount, in US dollars, spent at Dubai Duty Free last year

1971 The year Dubai became one of the seven emirates of the UAE

,000 The number of creatures you can see swimming around in Dubai Aquarium

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TALKING POINTS Superlatives abound in this town. Here are four of Dubai’s biggest and best

The Palm Jumeirah is the world’s largest man-made island and is even visible from space. The Palm is made up of a twokilometre-long trunk with 17 fronds and a surrounding crescent. Its total area is larger than 800 football pitches. The Dubai Fountain at Souk Al Bahar shoots water a whopping 150-metres in the air (that’s as high as a 50-storey building). The fountain ‘dances’ in time to a selection of pop, opera and Arabic classics, including local favourite ‘Shik Shak Shok’. The Dubai World Cup, held every March at Meydan Racecourse, is the world’s richest horse race, with total prize money of US$27.25 million across a nine-race card. It’s also the biggest social event of the year, with J-Lo closing 2014’s event. Ski Dubai has around 22,500 square metres of snow covered slopes – that’s the equivalent of three football fields. There are five runs of varying difficulty and length, including the world’s first indoor black run. And it’s all inside a shopping mall.



While at Raffles, why not visit Dubai? Legendary service since 1887 Our reputation travels









Reservations: (US and Canada) +1 800 768 9009




(International) +800 1 RAFFLES or +1 506 870 6794

World Traveller // We Love Dubai

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HOTELS we love

From the record breaking and iconic, to luxury beachfront resorts and inner-city sanctuaries, Dubai has hotels to suit every taste under the sun‌




It’s all in The Address


to The Address Hotels + Resorts. Located in the most vibrant parts of the city, The Address Hotels + Resorts is defining the global standards of luxury hospitality. From business meetings to social rendezvous. From absolute relaxation to luxurious indulgences. It’s where world-class services have been recreated to suit discerning tastes. It’s where energy surrounds you the minute you walk in. It’s chic. It’s exciting. It’s all in The Address.


World Traveller // We Love Dubai

In a city of remarkable hotels, among the most unique is Raffles Dubai


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ubai’s well-earned reputation for having the biggest and best of just about everything naturally extends to its hotels. Abiding by the city’s ‘bigger is better’ philosophy, Atlantis, The Palm boasts well over 1,000 rooms and suites and enough attractions to keep you there, and only there, for the duration of your holiday. There’s the fun-filled waterpark, Aquaventure, where you can do anything from shooting down a shark-lined waterslide to floating gently on a rubber ring; Dolphin Bay, where you get the chance to swim with dolphins; plus a unique Aquarium and countless restaurants proposing myriad cuisines. Dubai’s tallest hotel (also the world’s tallest hotel), is JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, and it puts its height to good use by housing some of the best restaurants in the city, a great spa and spectacular suites that make the most of their cloud-skimming vantage point – they look out to the bigger still Burj Khalifa. The towering Burj Khalifa also provides a most unique backdrop to many of the impeccably dressed rooms at The Address Downtown Dubai and The Address Dubai Mall, sister hotels laden with luxuries. At the former you’ll find a five-tier infinity pool, ever popular sky lounge Neos and a superb spa, while the latter grants shoppers direct access to The Dubai Mall and its mind-boggling array of stores. The shortest of strolls from here is the funky Vida Downtown Dubai. Modernity rules at this boutique-style abode, with technological quirks in each of the sharply attired rooms and a couple of standout restaurants to boot. You’ll also find that staff members never fail to wear a smile. Yet another great option in this area of town is DAMAC Maison – Dubai Mall Street. These luxurious hotel apartments allow you to create a real home-from-home, while enjoying the convenience afforded by five-star amenities – kids’ club, a great concierge, spa and, best of all, an in-house chef who’ll come to your apartment and cook to order while you relax on your balcony admiring the views. At the foot of Burj Khalifa itself, affording unbeatable views of The Dubai Fountain, is the Armani Hotel Dubai, one of only two Armani hotels in the world. Its seriously stylish environs, designed by Georgio Armani himself, are all you’d expect from Italian design royalty.


World Traveller // We Love Dubai

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Opening page: Atlantis, The Palm. Previous page: Raffles Dubai; The Address Downtown Dubai. This page: JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai.

Spectacular views are a given at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

their cues from the four elements, while the two magnificent Royal Suites – one inspired by Asia, the other by the Middle East – house myriad luxuries. Outside, the hotel’s Botanical Gardens are dreamy enough to make you entirely forget you’re in a bustling city. Another distinctive hotel is The Meydan. Rooms and suites boast all manner of ArmaniAside a track that hosts the richest horse race themed goodies, too, from fluffy branded robes on the planet, The Dubai World Cup, the hotel to spectacular-smelling lotions housed inside spans much of the Meydan racecourse, which marble-decked bathrooms. means it simply cannot be trumped come In a city of remarkable hotels, among the race season. Want to go all out? Reserve a most unique is Raffles Dubai – with its pyramid Panoramic Suite and you can catch sight of the structure it’s difficult to miss. That distinctive action as you ready yourself. façade gives way to what are among the most The Meydan’s sister hotel, Bab Al Shams, spacious (and best) rooms in the city, not least is something entirely different from its sibling. a number of spectacular suites you could get Built in the style of an Arabic fort, it’s a low-rise lost in. Design wise the Presidential Suites take oasis amid rolling sand dunes, and gives guests



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the opportunity to sample the calmness of the desert. And once suitably relaxed, you can try your hand at the traditional Arabic pursuits of horse riding and falconry. Dubai’s iconic Palm Jumeirah continues to add spectacular hotels to its crescent. The palatial Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah is one such new arrival. It offers up 200 metres of private beach, six restaurants and lounges (including the brilliant Social by Heinz Beck), and a luxury spa. If you like your rooms with a view, you’ll find plenty to choose from here, each boasting postcard perfect vistas of the sparkling sea and skyscraper-lined Dubai Marina beyond. At the Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, the five-star luxury treatment kicks off as soon as you enter the hotel, where staff will pretty much tend to your every holidaying need. Here the accommodation options are as plentiful as they are enticing - choose from the sea-facing Luxury Room laden with Lanvin bathroom accessories, a Beach Suite Deluxe, which grants you direct access to the hotel’s slice of powder-soft sand, or the decadent, three-bedroom Beach Villa, replete with a private pool and Jacuzzi. But don’t forget to bring the kids: they’ll love their own dedicated day club. Also packing real clout in the decadence stakes, the design of Jumeirah Zabeel Saray takes inspiration from the royal residences of the Ottoman era, it’s a showcase of grandiose gold pillars, red and turquoise jewel chandeliers and handpainted frescos, forming the most opulent of backdrops to your stay. Rooms, meanwhile, come with huge Turkish baths and silk-draped beds. Set on the Palm’s same western crescent, you’ll find the formidable façade of the Kempinksi Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah, whose lavish lobby is very much a sign of the luxuries that await you. Choose between a suite, penthouse or villa and you’ll be immersed in plush Italian décor in duck egg blue or glittering gold. Each comes with either a sizeable balcony or terrace (complete with Corinthian-style pillars), making it a breeze to drink in views of the sun-kissed Arabian Sea. Fabulous vistas also come as standard at Rixos The Palm, but if you want to stay in absolute style, splash out on the hotel’s only Grand King Suite. It affords its privileged guests Hotels

This page: Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai. Next page: The Meydan

Family Shop and Stay Weekend. Because in Pullman, we know how to make the most out of your weekend. Enjoy a stay for 3 with breakfast in a Deluxe Room or a Junior Suite, AED 200 shopping giftcard per room per night, discount booklet from Deira City Centre and foot massage for 2. Valid for GCC Residents on Thursdays to Sundays only. Terms & Conditions apply.

Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre Telephone: 04 603 8555 | Email |


World Traveller // We Love Dubai

a unique 360 degree view of the Palm and city skyline, either via its floor-to-ceiling windows or from the suite’s terraces and balconies. A watery wonderland, Fairmont The Palm Dubai is one of the best-appointed hotels in the city when it comes to the wet stuff. With a private beach and no less than four glittering swimming pools, you could spend the whole day here without ever fully drying off. But that would be a shame as you wouldn’t want to miss out on a trip to the hotel’s wonderful spa, where many of the treatment rooms look out to the ocean. If you’d rather look out to the Palm Jumeirah than stay on it, you’ll be wanting a beach hotel. One of the city’s perennial favourites situated aside the sea is Le Royal Méridien. It’s set in spectacular grounds, with pea-green grass dotted with pools, about which ducks, peacocks and bunny rabbits meander. It also houses an excellent kids’ club and, in the form of modern Mexican Maya, one of the most popular restaurants in the city. Hotels

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The Meydan stands aside a track that hosts the richest horse race on the planet 15

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This page: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.



Taking Sofitel’s reputation for excellence to the sleek and chic downtown area, the Sofitel Downtown offers unparalleled views of the stunning coastline and the ever-impressive Burj Khalifa. The rooms and lobbies are decorated with Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely’s bold geometric works, giving each room a unique twist. Staying in the city, the Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai remains a choice pick. This is due in part to its well-earned reputation for housing some great restaurants, a reputation further bolstered by the opening of the world-renowned Don Alfonso 1890. Treat yourself here to a stay in a Presidential Suite: two floors, two bedrooms and two views, one of the city, one of the sea. Along the road from here is the Conrad Dubai. This new kid on the block was quickly established as a go-to place thanks to its stellar line up of restaurants and lounges – IZEL is one of Dubai’s few supper clubs and offers a great night out, while the Marco Pierre White Grill serves up never-fail British classics – but the rooms are not mere sideshows: wonderfully spacious and crammed full of technology, you can choose from city skyline or sea views. For a conveniently-located hotel, try the Novotel Al Barsha, which overlooks the

Sheikh Zayed Road, the main artery running through Dubai. Close to Metro stations and offering easy access to a number of beaches, malls and golf courses, if you have a lot to pack into your trip then the Novotel is perfect. It’s also a great option for families, with two kids aged 16 and under able to stay for free in their parents’ room. If you’re intent on not missing a single second of shopping while in Dubai, then Sheraton Mall of the Emirates is a great choice. It’s attached to Mall of the Emirates, and you’ll find Chanel, Prada and Harvey Nichols within walking distance of your luxuriously appointed bedroom. Also here is Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, which houses what’s possibly the most unique suite in the UAE. The 3-bedroom Grand Ski Chalet looks onto the slopes of Ski Dubai on one side and out to the city skyline on the other. It also affords access to the hotel’s Executive Lounge, which lays on complimentary light bites, drinks and even afternoon tea each day. If such convenience suits your style, also connected to a mall – in this case the 340-store Deira City Centre – is Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre. Inside the hotel you’ll find chic rooms, great amenities (spa included) and

+971 4 2700 700

There is something new in Dubai luxury living. DAMAC Maison gives you the warmth of home together with service beyond the best hotel – so you and your family can feel uniquely well looked after. Find out why else there’s no place like Maison at

L uxury Hotel Apartments

World Traveller // We Love Dubai

numerous prime spots from which to look on at the bustling Creek and championship golf course. Yet another top spot near the shops is the Golden Tulip Al Barsha. Home to one of the city’s most authentic Korean restaurants and surrounded by good-value local dining options, this unpretentious place offers pleasantly appointed rooms, super friendly staff, and an unbeatable location just moments from the metro. There’s also a rooftop pool. Not far from here, and for those who prefer self-catering, there’s Fraser Suites Dubai. Set in a great, central location, these well-furnished apartments encompass one, two or three bedrooms. and whichever you choose you can make the most of the venue’s fine facilities.

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Down in Deira, the area of the city often dubbed ‘the real Dubai’ on account of it having sprung up by the Creek long before the city’s skyline featured skyscrapers, you’ll find the serene Asiana Hotel. Its sleek design spans the rooms, spa, pool and Korean restaurant Sonamu, hailed by those in the know as the finest of its type in Dubai. Stay here and you won’t have to travel far to be entertained either – the hotel’s huge nightclub hosts an extravagant Las Vegas dinner show. Along the Creek you’ll also find the brilliant InterContinental Dubai Festival City, home to some fantastic suites and what is among the city’s best restaurants too - the ever excellent Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire. If you’re a keen golfer, you’ll find Al Badia Golf Club next door.

This page: Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa.


Stay connected to the heart of Dubai Directly connected to the Mall of the Emirates, close to the major business hubs of Dubai, featuring 94 suites out of 481 guest rooms with inspiring views over Dubai. Enjoy Sheraton signature experiences that include luxurious all-white Sheraton Sweet Sleeper® Beds, Sheraton® Club lounge, Link@SheratonSM experienced with Microsoft® and Sheraton® Fitness programmed by Core Performance™. For reservation please call +971 4 377 2000 or visit

©2013 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, Sheraton and their logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates. For full terms and conditions, visit

World Traveller // We Love Dubai

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SHOPPING we love

In Dubai, shopping is a national sport. From the biggest brands to local treasures, here’s all you need to know...



World Traveller // We Love Dubai

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In a city well stocked with shopping malls, simply providing a customer with a place to engage in retail therapy is no longer enough. Which is great news for the shopper, as it’s meant that malls are now art galleries, cinemas and activity centres all in one. No list of malls of the area would be complete without mentioning The Dubai Mall, widely recognised as the biggest in the world. Even if you aren’t a dedicated shopper, it’s a sight worth seeing – over 1,200 stores, cafés and boutiques, including the gargantuan Level Shoe District, should be enough for even the most dedicated shopper. For those looking for a touch of New York in Downtown Dubai, the region’s first Bloomingdale’s is the first Bloomies to appear

for thinking you’ve stepped straight into Monte Carlo. Inside, you’ll be greeted by the opulent Harvey Nichols, one of the UK’s most luxurious department stores, and the Fashion Dome, home to 80 designer brands. Further in amongst the 520 storefronts are more high street names like Zara, Topshop and French Connection, and a surprisingly high number of stores for kids. You’ve come all the way to Dubai, and you don’t want to spend all day indoors – the Jumeirah Beach Road is the place to go. This waterfront street has loads of cool shopping destinations like the West L.A. Boutique inside the Sunset Mall. Stop for a Starbucks to recharge and head back out into the sunshine, laden with new purchases.

outside of the US. With glamorous clothing, jewellery and even homeware sections, the legendary department store is right at home in the UAE. If you’re the more glamorous type, the Mall of the Emirates on Sheikh Zayed Road is impossible to miss – literally at night, as its brightly lit façade will draw you in. Supercars line the entranceway and you’ll be forgiven

Along the same road you’ll also find Mercato Mall and Palm Strip Mall, or a stone’s throw from there City Walk, a new outdoor shopping concept. Arguably Dubai’s biggest shopping secret is known as The cARTel, a fashion showroom in the Al Quoz area of the city. Packed with exclusive pieces from local and international designers, The cARTel specialises in one-off,


Opening page: Bloomingdale’s; This page: Mall of the Emirates.


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standout pieces for the day or night in a cool and arty setting. Bringing a taste of France to the area, Galeries Lafayette, housed inside The Dubai Mall, oozes Gallic cool. Fanciful French brands fill Lafayette’s storefronts, and the strong Parisian vibes resonate right through the store Galeries Lafayette is revered in its homeland; it’s been providing elite shopping to the French for over a hundred years. Keeping with the international theme, albeit slightly more bizarre, is DragonMart. A sprawling, dragon-shaped metropolis largely based on the wholesale of Chinese goods. Due to a recent extension, there’s now plenty to be found for a casual shopper as well, including toys, clothing, footwear and Chinese dining Shopping

galore. With 2,500 parking spaces, be sure to make note of where you’ve left your car. If you need to tighten, rather than loosen, your purse strings worry not – a well hidden secret is situated just outside the city on Al Ain Road – the Dubai Outlet Mall. Here you’ll uncover hundreds of designer fashion brands and previous seasons pieces at slashed prices. A fab find for bargain hunters. If you aren’t familiar with the famous Arabian explorer Ibn Battuta, you will be by the time you’re finished at the Ibn Battuta Mall. Each ‘court’ in the mall bearing his name is inspired by his travels to a different land. So you’ll wander around China, Persia, India, Egypt and a host of others, all under one roof. But never fear, the brands you love are all here – high-

This page: The Duhai Mall. Opposite page: Level Shoe District; Ibn Battuta Mall.

World Traveller // We Love Dubai

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street labels like Topshop, H&M and River Island are all found in this kooky emporium. On the subject of cuisine, Dubai’s malls have no shortage of wonderful restaurants to sample. Perhaps the best place of all is the Festival Centre at Dubai Festival City. A relatively small number of shops (a mere 400) are augmented handsomely by the over 50 restaurants that line Canal Walk. It’s worth visiting The Marina Mall for more high-street stores and classy cafés including Carluccio’s, Yo! Sushi, and Shakespeare & Co. Nobody should leave Dubai without a piece of what made the region famous – luxurious, decadent, glamorous gold. The two top sellers are The Dubai Gold Souk and Dubai Gold & Diamond Park, where you can be sure you’re dealing with reputable characters. It’s said that The Souk holds 10 tonnes of gold at any given time, and the Diamond Park is a celebrity haunt – find a store with a celeb’s photo on the wall and know that you’re operating with the same dealers as the A-list.

Malls are art galleries, cinemas and activity centres all in one

For a final touch of high-end luxury, BurJuman houses the highest concentration of couture stores in the city. Chanel, Valentino and Prada all have stores here. Dominating them all, however, is Saks Fifth Avenue. The two-level titan is heaven-sent for fashion worshippers keen on the latest looks from Stateside. Concessions from Dior and Manolo Blahnik guarantee that you’ll be stepping out just a little bit more glam than the way you walked in.


World Traveller // We Love Dubai

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Dubai’s culinary scene has it all: Michelin-starred chefs, world renowned restaurants, authentic eateries and a constant flow of new openings. That’s it, we’re going in…



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rom coastal retreats filled with culinary gems to districts chock-full of enticing eateries, Dubai’s dining scene offers a plate for every palate. To kick things off, let’s home in on Dubai’s new entrants, of which there are many. Three-Michelin starred chef Heinz Beck has catapulted the new Waldorf Astoria on the Palm Jumeirah onto the culinary map with his European restaurant Social by Heinz Beck. Found in the eastern wing of the hotel, the food and surrounds here are neither stiff nor formal. Instead, quality and comfort take centre stage for Beck and his team. The Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai has been given a mouth-watering boost with the opening of Italy’s iconic two-Michelin starred restaurant, Don Alfonso 1890. The restaurant, headed by Christian de Nadai who trained under Don Alfonso himself, will transport you to the bootshaped country in a single bite. Bellissimo. Making some culinary noise in the

Atul Kochhar has brought Indian flair and flavour to the emirate Downtown area is the Vida Downtown, home of Australia’s award-winning restaurant TOKO, and Parisian style boulangerie and bistro La Serre. The former serves modern izakaya-style fare in swanky surrounds, while the latter offers a Med-inspired menu to discerning diners. Hot on Vida’s heels is the Conrad Hotel, which opened its doors in October last year. This is the base for celebrity chef Marco Pierre White’s latest culinary venture – Marco Pierre White Grill. Expect hearty food cooked to perfection here. Meanwhile, the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai is home to a handful of noteworthy restaurants. First up is Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar. The Michelin-starred chef has brought Indian flair and flavour to the emirate in mouth-watering fashion. On the menu you’ll find a series of small dishes to start (Bengali spiced croquettes, Southern Indian spiced chicken, smoked broccoli parcels), and a long list of curries and biryanis for main course



Opening page, top to bottom: Social by Heinz Beck; OKKU; Ba Restaurant & Grill. This page: At.mosphere.

Our no nonsense menu lets you put together your burrito, fajita, salad or taco in 3 easy steps. Choose your meal, add your fillings, spice up your life with some salsa and feel the tingle on your tongue. Various locations across Dubai and Abu Dhabi see for details

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WORLD FLAVOURS The Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai serves some of the city’s most authentic global cuisine



n an international city like Dubai, you really can experience the tastes and flavours of the world without travelling too far. And there’s no better place to begin your culinary journey than at the ShangriLa Hotel, Dubai in the heart of the city. With acclaimed chefs creating dishes from their home nations, get set for an exceptionally authentic dining experience. The hotel’s signature restaurant is Shang Palace, recently awarded ‘Best Chinese Restaurant, 2013’ by What’s On Dubai. At the helm is new executive chef Lai Kam Pui who grew up in Shunde in the Canton region and has worked alongside some of the best chefs in China for almost 40 years. This month, chef Lai is introducing an innovative ‘yin and yang’ dining concept, created to balance body and mind. The seasonal menu incorporates light, moisture-rich dishes to balance the heat and humidity of Dubai’s hot summer months and energising fragrant dishes for the cooler winter season. Staying in Asia, guests can enjoy vibrant Vietnamese cuisine at Hoi An. Make sure you try the ‘Chef ’s Recommendations’, a handpicked selection of treasured local recipes, such as grilled black Angus beef tenderloin skewers served with homemade soy sauce. Dessert has a distinctly French feel, with silky crème brûlée and sweet roasted banana tarte tatin. For international fare cooked with flair, head to Dunes Café on the ground floor. Feast on freshly-prepared sushi and sashimi, along with mezze, grilled meats, seafood, salads, and wood-fired pizza. Then finish off with a dazzling selection of indulgent international and Arabic desserts. Bon appétit!

World Traveller // We Love Dubai

NIGHT CALL At Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai, the party starts when the sun goes down

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ood connoisseurs rejoiced when Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai announced that two-Michelin starred Italian restaurant Don Alfonso 1890 was launching within its walls. The open-kitchen format lets you see the chefs in action as they prepare Mediterranean cuisine to the highest possible standards. The three cornerstones of the restaurant are the Mediterranean character, the quality in materials and up-to-the-minute modernity. With a menu curated by Don Alfonso himself, using only the finest ingredients and recipes passed down through generations (the 1890 in the restaurant’s name is taken from the year the family’s first eatery opened), it truly is an Italian experience in the heart of Dubai. Signature dishes include concerto of lemon fritters and yoghurt cream. For reservations call 04 4438215 or email Upstairs, it’s time to tackle a dining experience like no other. The Act Dubai is the only venue in the region to offer a dinner and theatre show, and due to its incredible popularity is now open five nights a week, Sundays through Thursdays. Tuck into sumptuous haute Peruvian tasting menus while you drink in the incredible stage shows, which change every few weeks. As of April 9, the theme will be ‘Toys in the Attic’. Monday to Wednesday, the venue offers the dinner and theatre show concept. Sunday and Thursday evenings, meanwhile, offer dinner, entertainment and nightlife until 3am. Located on the 42nd floor, it’s the highest theatre in the world, with amazing views of Dubai - if you can tear your gaze away from what’s happening right in front of you, of course. For reservations call 052 811 9900 or email


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curry, Mangalorean-style chicken curry and Butter tossed lobster in Malai curry). Is your mouth watering yet? In the same hotel you’ll find Prime 68, a restaurant offering divine cuts of meat with a view to match. For laid-back fare, say ciao to the hotel’s Italian restaurant Postiano. The passion and vitality of the Amalfi coast comes alive on your plate here. On the subject of steaks, Dubai has this concept nailed. Ruth’s Chris Steak House continues to win awards for the delectable cuts served from its two sites in Dubai – the H Hotel Dubai and the Address Dubai Marina. Dine here and expect to eat like a king – side dishes come supersized, meats cut like butter, and the desserts are like works of art. The resident butcher at West 14th on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah slices and dices some of the emirate’s finest steaks. With all the hallmarks of a stylish New York steakhouse, this standalone restaurant occupies a plot in the Oceana Beach Club. Not too far from here is Atlantis, The Palm, home to a rather delicious steakhouse, Seafire. Best described as a carnivore’s playground, meat dishes sit alongside a variety of seafood and vegetarian options. In the same hotel you’ll also find Nobu, which serves outstanding Japanese cuisine to a sophisticated crowd, and Ronda Locatelli, an authentic Italian eatery by celebrity chef Giorgio Locatelli.



Clockwise from top left: CLAW BBQ; Seafire; Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar.

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Locatelli isn’t the only celebrity chef to bring culinary finesse to Dubai. A number of well known and Michelin-starred chefs continue to cook up a storm in the emirate. The Meliá Dubai, in the Bur Dubai area of the city, houses Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor. Indian speciality dishes have been given a contemporary twist at this beautifully decorated restaurant. Over in Festival City you’ll find Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire in the InterContinental Dubai Festival City. Its slightly-out-of-town location means you can dine without distraction and take your pick from an ever-changing menu of never-fail dishes. Michelin stars twinkle, too, in Dubai Marina’s Grosvenor House, where Richard Sandoval’s Toro Toro, a swanky pan Latin restaurantcum-bar, has been a huge hit in the area since swinging open its doors A hop and skip from here, in Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, you’ll find another Sandoval outlet, Maya Modern Mexican Kitchen + Lounge and Gary Rhodes’ Rhodes Twenty10. Expect edgy tapas-style dishes at the former, and European classics served in polished surrounds in the latter. Don’t forget to pull up a chair on Maya’s al fresco terrace, which offers uninterrupted views across the Arabian Gulf. There’s plenty of dining options for the active holidaymaker or UAE resident, too. Take Dubai’s golf courses, for example. At the Els Club Dubai you’ll find winning examples of South African classics at the Big Easy Bar & Grill, while at Emirates Golf Club there’s Le Classique, the award-winning French restaurant where your main course options cover both the land and sea: slow cooked lamb, côte de bœuf and pan fried sea bass are some of the standout hits. Then there’s Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, home to old favourite Legends, renowned for its great steaks. Speaking of old favourites, Shang Palace at Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai is where you’ll find the finest Szechuan, Huiayang and Cantonese dishes in the city - the dim sum are a particular delight. That’s also the case at Bã Restaurant & Lounge at Fairmont The Palm, Dubai where master chef Lau cooks up a storm of bold flavoured regional Chinese dishes. Looking to combine fine food with an authentic Arabian experience? Head to Souk Al Bahar, an Arabic-inspired shopping mall Restaurants

This page: TOKO. Next page, from top: Don Alfonso 1890; Cappelli di pasta at Don Alfonso 1890.

World Traveller // We Love Dubai

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and dining destination located next to The Dubai Fountain. New gourmet residents at the Souk include American barbecue and seafood restaurant CLAW BBQ, which gets crowded and rowdy (in a good way) at the weekends. Once your food has settled, make a beeline for the bucking bronco residing at the back of the restaurant. Dubai is also attracting a number of international theatre-cum-restaurant venues, such as The Act, a theatre, dining and club venue which swung open its doors on the 42nd floor of the Shangri-La last year. Here, acrobatics and performing arts entertain the crowds while they dine. Not too dissimilar is the supperclub from Amsterdam, which you’ll find next to Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on The Palm Jumeirah. Start the night be chomping your way through an European-infused menu – watching out for the aerialists – before the waiter swaps your dinner table for a cocktail table. You won’t be home till the wee small hours. A hop and skip from here is famed Beirut club MusicHall. A series of artists and musicians take over the stage while diners work their way through the food and drink menus. Dining with a view is something Dubai does very well. Pair that with the city’s fondness of superlatives and you get the world’s highest restaurant. At.mosphere is perched on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and serves up fine food as a succulent accompaniment to the breathtaking views. It should be noted that the Burj is also

Dining with a view is something Dubai does well

home to the Armani Hotel, which in turn houses yet another high-end Japanese restaurant in the shape of Armani/Hashi. You can’t write about Dubai’s Japanese restaurants without citing OKKU. This stylish stalwart is as popular for its delightful cuisine as it is for its cocktails. Don’t leave without ordering the king crab legs. For sweeping views of Dubai’s skyline head to over-water restaurant 101, found at One&Only The Palm. Accessed via car


World Traveller // We Love Dubai

or boat from its sister property in Dubai Marina (One&Only Royal Mirage), this stylish Mediterranean restaurant offers a vast menu spanning most parts of the Med: pastas, paellas, charcoal meats, seafood and salads. And with a choice of large plates or tapas, 101 is perfect for couples and large groups. Also on the Palm is RIVA Ristorante, Bar & Beach. Grab a table on the terrace – overlooking the Burj Al Arab – and indulge in the flavours of the Italian Riviera. Sticking with waterside dining for a moment and Al Mahara in the Burj Al Arab offers a rather unique dining experience: tables here are dotted around a floor-to-ceiling aquarium. So while you tuck into your freshly hooked sea bass, or Wagyu beef depending on your conscience, admire the hundreds of fish swimming about in this magnificent tank. Perhaps the most spectacular restaurant over water is Bateaux Dubai, a dinner cruise that meanders along the Dubai Creek, while diners work their way through a generous set menu to the sound of a live pianist. A magnet for Dubai’s beautiful people is the DIFC, the city’s dining epicenter. From the excellent Japanese menu, hip environs and buzzing atmosphere at Zuma, to the Frenchinspired food, décor and outstanding service at La Petite Maison, the DIFC is a culinary gem in Dubai’s crown. Famous steakhouse Gaucho has found a home in DIFC and is notable for its standout interiors, sizeable steaks and glitzy clientele. Close by you’ll also find Roberto’s, a characterful Italian restaurant, boasting a vast menu conjured up by long-term Dubai restaurateur Roberto Rella and his team. Over the road from here is Jumeirah Emirates Towers. On the ground floor of these glittering skyscrapers you’ll find famous London export The Ivy – equally as British and delicious as the London outlet – and Hakkasan – an expert in contemporary Chinese cuisine. For modern British cool, head to Alfie’s by Dunhill, a restaurant in the same building serving Britclassics to a business-minded crowd. For something altogether different, book a spot on the Frying Pan Adventures food pilgrimage. This four-hour food frenzy takes gourmands around one of Dubia’s oldest neighbourhoods, Deira. Your taste buds will be taken from the UAE to Iran, Jordan, Yemen and back again. Bon appétite! Restaurants

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For modern British cool, head to Alfie’s by Dunhill


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CULTURE we love

Look beyond the skyscrapers and malls and you’ll discover Dubai has a surprisingly rich cultural heritage, and flourishing art scene. Here’s where to look…



World Traveller // We Love Dubai

hile the glittering Dubai of today has only existed for a couple of decades, the city has an interesting history that blends Bedouin, Persian, Islamic and Emirati culture and traditions. For a quick introduction, head to the Dubai Museum in the impressive Al Fahidi Fort, built in 1787. The museum displays artefacts dating way back to 3,000BC, interesting photographs of old Dubai and a multimedia presentation that charts its evolution from tiny trading port to shiny mega city. Nearby in the atmospheric old quarter of the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding offers walking tours, an Emirati feast combined with a crash-course in local traditions (advance booking is required), and tours of the impressive Jumeirah Mosque (including a no-holds-barred Q&A session on Islam). Mosque tours take place every Saturday to Thursday at 10am. No reservation is required, but visitors are asked to dress modestly. To get a sense of the city’s origins as a bustling seaport, take a stroll along Dubai Creek and hop on a traditional abra (stations line the waterway). Alternatively, take a deeper dive into Dubai’s past (literally) and spend a day pearl diving from an authentic dhow, under the supervision of real-life pearl divers. The experience includes lunch, a brief lesson

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in pearl diving technique, and the chance to keep any pearls you pluck from the seabed. For details, call +971 4 406 8828. Back on dry land, explore the city’s newest art hub, Alserkal Avenue in the creative district of Al Quoz. The complex is home to 10 of Dubai’s best contemporary art galleries, including Grey Noise, which focuses on emerging and established artists from South Asia, the Middle East and Europe, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, which exhibits some

Opposite page, from top: Abras along Dubai Creek; Madinat Theatre. This page: Ayyam Gallery.

Get a sense of the city’s origins as a bustling seaport

of Iran’s most prominent young artists, and La Galerie Nationale, which exhibits and sells contemporary and vintage furniture. It’s also home to Gulf Photo Plus, the heart of the local photography community. The centre hosts international photographic exhibitions and workshops and sells fantastic prints. Staying in Al Quoz, other galleries worth visiting include Traffic, one of the city’s most famous spaces; The Third Line with its


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Projects space showcasing up-and-coming local artists; and thejamjar where you can get your hands dirty partaking in all manner of arts and crafts. Alternatively, head to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to peruse galleries displaying everything from photography to fine art (then refuel at one of the area’s many great restaurants). Galleries of note include contemporary hotspot Ayyam Gallery, which has outposts in Beirut, Damascas, Jeddah, and London, along with a second Dubai gallery in Alserkal Avenue, and The Empty Quarter, the city’s only gallery devoted exclusively to fine art photography. Cultural projects in the pipeline include Dubai



Opera, a multibillion-dirham opera house slated to open in 2015 as part of a new 500acre cultural district close to the towering Burj Khalifa in the Downtown area. If live performance is more your thing, then head to First Group Theatre at Madinat Jumeirah, the go-to destination for everything from international ballet performances to topnotch plays. DUCTAC, in Mall of the Emirates, is Dubai’s other theatre of note, and stages local productions, as well as comedy and acting workshops. Fans of stand-up should check out the Dubomedy website for details of performances by local comedians and The Laughter Factory to chuckle along to international acts.

This page: Jumeirah Mosque.

World Traveller // We Love Dubai

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ACTIVITIES we love Dubai has everything you need to get your pulse racing. From skydiving to swimming with sharks – there’s something to be found for every kind of thrill-seeker...



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pectacular scenery abounds in Dubai, from stratosphere-prodding skyscrapers to stunning natural wadis found in the uncharted desert. There’s no better place to view it than from the air. Balloon Adventures Emirates will take you up, up and away in either a large group or a private charter. Closer to terra firma but no less of an adrenaline rush, a 4x4 Desert Safari with Gulf Ventures is a wild bounce across the dunes of Dubai in a custom 4x4; finishing at an authentic Bedouin desert camp. Take stunning photographs of the sunset, then settle back to enjoy a belly dance performance and a delicious barbeque complete with freshly baked bread, Arabic coffee and local desserts. If you’re pushed for time, you can take the Morning Activities

Dune Safari, which will show you the desert in its early morning glory, while still getting you back to Dubai in time for an early lunch. For a fun-packed day with family or friends, the latest must-try is Camel Polo. The quintessentially British sport gets an Arabian twist, using the “ships of the desert” instead of horses. A truly hilarious experience for the firsttimer, this activity will pit family or friends in groups of 8-60 against one another. You’ll start your day with a lesson on the basics, before mounting up in a competitive match. The best part is, you need never have ridden a camel (or a horse) in your life to take part. Dubai is fast becoming one of the most visited golf destinations on the planet. Dubai’s Championship golf course, The Montgomerie

Clockwise from top left: The Dubai Fountain; Penguins at Ski Dubai; Dubai Ice Rink.

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Dubai, was co-designed by Colin Montgomerie. It’s a picture-perfect course that can trick firsttimers with its deceptively difficult holes. The course at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club is a spot for water-lovers, with several artificial lakes complementing the views of the shimmering Dubai Creek. The 17th and 18th are flanked on one side by the Creek and the 18th is made even more challenging by a long bunker on the right. If you’re prone to slicing your drives, be sure to bring spare balls. For a group of mixed abilities, try Al Badia Golf Club, designed by golf course architect Robert Trent Jones II. Winding around lakes, waterfalls, ponds and rivers of sand, this course has four sets of tees provided on each hole – so the professionals



can blast the full 7,303 yards, while beginners will find 5,398 yards easier to tackle. Dubai’s shopping malls are constantly abuzz with people and activities. Huge and air conditioned, it’s more than just retail therapy you’ll find inside. Designed to keep customers occupied all day, some of Dubai’s most sensational activities can be found right inside these giant mega-malls. Head for Mirdif City Centre first: The Playmania entertainment centre is the best spot in Dubai for familyfriendly activities. For the skydiving sensation without the height (or leaping out of a plane), iFly lets you hover a few metres in the air using powerful air jets. You can also put your footie skills to the test at Soccer Circus Dubai, while

This page: Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. Opposite page: Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo.

World Traveller // We Love Dubai

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young minds expand at the edutainment centre Little Explorers, and tiny tots make a splash at Aquaplay. The Dubai Mall features the Dubai Ice Rink, an Olympic-sized rink that offers public skating throughout the week, as well as group and private lessons, and even a disco on ice. The mall is also home to the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, where visitors can marvel at 85 species of sea life, including over 400 sharks and rays. For the budding (and brave) diver, scuba gear is available to rent, enabling you to swim with the inhabitants of the watery deep. No diving experience is required.


World Traveller // We Love Dubai

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This page: Rollercoaster at Sega Republic. Next page: The Dubai Fountain.

Featuring a massive 22,500 square metres of indoor ski area, Ski Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates is one of the most incongruous sites in the region – who knew that you could find world-class snowboarding and skiing in one of the world’s biggest deserts? The ski-resort theme is prominent throughout the whole attraction, and the latest addition is a group of real penguins, perfectly at home among the snow – a real thrill for the whole family. For more sights and sounds guaranteed to delight the younger ones in your family, make the trip to the Sega Republic. A totally mind-blowing indoor themepark (with an indoor rollercoaster) and a huge arcade packed with the latest and most high-tech games. If your little ones are still very little, KidZania is a must for engaging young minds. At the Burj Khalifa Lake, a spectacle awaits that puts Las Vegas’ Bellagio fountains to shame. The Dubai Fountain shoots jets of water 500 feet in the air – the equivalent of a 50 storey building. With displays set to music, the fountains perform every 30 minutes from 6pm, with later shows on weekends. Gulf Ventures want to take you on a Traditional Dhow Cruise. Experience the ancient sights and sounds of the Dubai creek from the prow of a beautiful Arabian Dhow boat. You’ll serenely sail past the iconic landmarks of Dubai, seeing treasures old and new while enjoying a sumptuous Arabian feast. Those who want to gaze at Dubai’s skyscrapers from above rather than below should embark on a Seawings Silver Air Tour, a 40 minute “dock to dock” seaplane excursion above the Palm Jumeirah and Burj Khalifa, also available through Gulf Ventures. Back on solid ground, Big Bus Tours run daily tours of the city, and passengers are free to jump on and off the bus at designated stops around town. Getting around Dubai Marina or Downtown under your own steam has never been easier, either. The ByKy scheme, similar to London’s ‘Boris Bike’ system, means that you can rent a bike from docks around the city, and simply Activities


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replace them when you’re done. For a slightly easier method of wheeled transport, Segway Tours, starting at Emaar Pavilion Downtown will show you the sights from ground level. By day or by night, the view from the At The Top observation deck at Burj Khalifa will take your breath away. The world’s tallest building puts you 124 floors above Downtown Dubai, where you can enjoy sights and even pick up a bit of shopping – a souvenir of your time on top of the world. Open daily from 8:30am to 01:30am, here’s a tip: your ticket allows you to

The Dubai Fountain shoots jets of water 500 feet in the air

linger as long as you like – so if you visit over sunset, you’ll be able to enjoy the day and night time views. If live music is your thing then Dubai’s got a setlist you’ll love. The instantly recognisable Atlantis The Palm, Dubai is one of the hottest places in the entire UAE, with artists from Avicii to Florence and the Machine performing throughout the year. The special Sandance is a regularly scheduled, although once-in-alifetime beach party with incredible DJs galore. For theatre and other spectacle, the place to be is Dubai World Trade Centre. Astounding stage shows straight from London’s West End abound, as well as performances with a more local flavour. Get the adrenaline pumping again with a visit to Skydive Dubai, which offers tandem jumps over The Palm Jumeirah, landing air-fiends back at its Dubai Marina base. Dubai Autodrome is the destination for all motoring enthusiasts. Track days, karting and high-speed races are run year-round. After all that, it’s time to relax. Dubai’s spas are world-renowned for their ability to recharge even the most frazzled of travellers. As a final treat to yourself, then, head to Atlantis The Palm, Dubai for ShuiQi Spa & Fitness and enjoy a a sublime four-hour massage amid incredibly peaceful surrounds.



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WeLove Dubai Guide Apr'14  

Guide to the finest resorts in paradise

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Guide to the finest resorts in paradise

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