hotels / culture / shops/ sights / activities / restaurants
- 2016 -
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welcome to Dubai the contents 3
The basics for your arrival plus a calendar of what’s on when.
Managing Director Victoria Thatcher
Editorial Director John Thatcher
Unpack your suitcase at one of Dubai’s best abodes, from beach resorts and city slickers, to blissful desert escapes.
Editor Chris Ujma
Features Editor Annie Darling Art Director Andy Knappett Designer Emi Dixon Illustrator Andrew Thorpe Group Commercial Director David Wade Sales Manager Lisa Price Production Manager Muthu Kumar
Welcome to the city of shops; an endless choice of mega malls, designer stores and traditional souks.
Introducing a stellar line up of restaurants, from those helmed by big-name chefs to independent gems.
Beyond the Arabian landscape is a diverse city brimming with history and dizzying art-world icons.
Dubai is home to countless activities and is a treasure trove of brilliant days out. Prepare to be enthralled.
Dubai is renowned for its beautiful beaches, glitzy shopping malls and luxurious hotels. But it’s also a dynamic and cosmopolitan city, an exhilarating melting pot of profound traditions and futuristic vision. With fascinating heritage attractions and an extraordinary variety of entertainment bursting the seams, the city undoubtedly offers millions of tourists irresistible experiences on an unprecedented scale. So, what are you waiting for?
about this guide
From the must-dine restaurants to the latest galleries to spring up, the We Love Dubai writers have their fingers on the pulse of this ever-evolving city. They’ve put together this handy-sized guide to the best of their city, leaving you free to simply enjoy it all...
4 we love dubai
The Basics You Need To Know
The Dubai Metro has made getting around an absolute breeze. Trains are efficient and frequent: every 10 minutes from the airport stations. Should you have brought a bit more luggage, opt for a public taxi, available at the dedicated airport concourse; the fare begins at a standard Dhs25. To get around on your own steam, hire a car. Major operators are at the airport (find them at T1 and T3). Just bring your homecountry license, be over 21, and you’re away!
Dubai International Airport is the main aviation gateway, serving over 260 destinations far and wide: your arrival will be smooth, and, with refurbished terminals, the airport looks better than ever. If you prefer a more subdued (but no less efficient) route, opt for Al Maktoum International Airport, located in Jebel Ali. Set the right tone for your break by checking out the services of Maharba (maharbaservices. com), where staff will ferry you by buggy to passport control and a porter will conveniently collect your luggage. To book your flight contact dnata on +971 316 6666 or visit their site at dnatatravel.com
After a parade along JBR, the 12th edition of the competition sees players (both Emirati and International) swap turf for the soft stuff, at one of Dubai’s iconic beach locations.
One of the most important and reflective times in the annual calendar, numerous educational and cultural events will take place, as well as plenty of retail incentives to treat yourself (and your loved ones).
beach polo cup
disney live! mickey’s music Festival
For 4 days at the World Trade Centre, Mickey and his gang bring fun to this singalong packed with performances of classic, fan-favourite Disney tunes.
soloists of the bolshoi
For the first time ever, Dubai has organised a performance by the Principal Dancers and Leading Soloists from the Gala Ballet of the world famous Bolshoi Theatre from Russia.
al gaffal traditional 60ft dhow Race 2016
Tradition meets competition off the coast with more than 100 of these cultural sailing boats; for a unique vantage, watch (and snack) from upon the waves, abroad a chartered Dubai Ferry.
Ramadan in dubai
JulY 23 Jul-9 Sep
DSS is a Dubai eventstaple since 1998, as 6,000 boutiques and countless malls showcase their creativity, looking to tempt GCC residents and tourists. The fun isn’t only limited to shopping, either…
dubai music week 2016
Enjoy performances from A-list acts, musical masterclasses from maestros, and a whole host of audio delights from the Rock, Pop, Urban, Latin and Arabic genres.
cirque du soleil varekai
After a 3-year hiatus, the agile, awe-inspiring acrobats of ‘Cirque’ are back on these shores with a show that translates
5 all You need to Know This page: Beach Polo Cup.
to ‘wherever’. There are only 9 nights to catch the spectacle, so book your tickets with the speed of a trapeze performer.
dubai design week
Set in the heart of D3 (Dubai Design District), watch the boundaries of art and fashion become reimagined and reinvented. This is a 15-day celebration of regional and international creativity, with over 60 separate projects to inspire.
dubai international Film Festival
DIFF is a firm-favourite on the film-industry circuit. From Dubai to Hollywood, Bollywood and beyond, prestige and cinema graces Madinat Jumeriah.
JanuaRY 2017 1
dubai shopping Festival
Dubai is (unofficially) the Land of the Malls, and DSF promises fashion shows; discounts, live raffles where you can win cash or even a car, and the DSF hallmark: fabulous fireworks nightly.
The Motor Show, International Rally and Motor Village are three headline events that celebrate autos, and you don’t have to be a petrol-head to attend: simply admire the sleek looks and growling sounds of these high-performance machines.
omega dubai desert classic 2017
US$2.5million is the prize pot at Emirates Golf Club’s Majlis Course, which attracts some of the biggest names in golf; perhaps a ‘Tiger’ will be on the prowl…
7 We Love Dubai
7 We Love: Hotlels
boutique or branded?
HoteLs we love
From architectural icons to over-water villas, and all-suite abodes to desert escapes â€“ this is a city that has it allâ€Ś
9 We Love: Hotlels
ubai is now a city of global renown, but what first put it on the map were its landmark hotels. To this day, Dubai’s skyline continues to be pricked with architectural wonders, the majority of which are five-star abodes. The two trendsetters in this regard stand a stone’s throw from one another: the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab and the wave-shaped Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Despite some fierce competition, the former remains the city’s most famous. Its eye-popping décor may not be to everyone’s taste, but the all-suite Burj has an allure to match its exceptional levels of service,
while the first stage of the muchneeded upgrade to its F&B offerings (a new bar) will open mid-2016. Family favourite Jumeirah Beach
“They’ll positively adore you if you book at another wonder, Atlantis, The Palm” Hotel is perfect for an action-packed holiday with the kids, who not only have the excellent Sinbad Kids’ Club in house but get unlimited free run of the adjacent Wild Wadi – you’ll earn extra
points as a parent if you book one of the suites which grants direct and private access to it. They’ll positively adore you if you book a stay at another architectural wonder, Atlantis, The Palm. Boasting well over 1,000 rooms and suites, the resort has enough attractions to keep you there, and only there, for the duration of your holiday. Highlights include the 42-acre Aquaventure waterpark; Lost Chambers Aquarium, which is home to 65,000 marine animals; Dolphin Bay, for the chance to swim with dolphins; and Sea Lion Point, where you can take a dip (and a
10 We Love Dubai
selfie) with a sea lion. Frazzled mum and dad will find respite in the aweinspiring ShuiQi Spa, the city’s best. Cutting into the clouds, the brilliant JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai is the world’s tallest hotel. It spans two identical towers in the Business Bay district of the city, and befitting of holding a world record, it also boasts a superb line up of restaurants and bars and spectacular suites that make the most of their impressive cloudskimming vantage point. In keeping with the sky-scraping theme, housed at the foot of Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building, full stop – is the Armani Hotel Dubai, one of only two Armani hotels in the world. As you’d expect from a hotel designed by Giorgio Armani, everything here – rooms through to restaurants – is impeccably stylish. That includes your own ‘Lifestyle Manager’, on hand around the clock to add that personal touch to your stay, including customisation of spa treatments. You’ll also love having front-row seats for Dubai Fountain.
Opening page: Park Hyatt Dubai. Previous page, clockwise from top left: The Meydan Hotel; Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa; InterContinental Dubai Marina; Anantara The Palm. This page, top to bottom: The St. Regis Dubai; Raffles Dubai.
12 We Love Dubai
Another distinctive hotel, yet one that’s truly unique, is The Meydan Hotel. A serial winner of the world’s leading sports resort crown, the hotel stands aside the race track on which The Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race, is staged annually on the last Saturday in March. Its sporting credentials are further enhanced by it being home to Dubai’s first pay-as-you-play golf course. But it’s not all about sport at The Meydan – the hotel’s luminous green façade gives way to a stellar line up of suites and beautiful rooftop infinity pool, while affording panoramic views of Dubai’s ever-expanding skyline. Raffles Dubai, with its pyramid structure, is another much-loved landmark. That distinctive façade gives way to some of the most
spacious rooms and suites in the city, each with a private balcony, while the ultra-exclusive Dubai Floor takes up the entire 14th floor and features six palatial rooms and comes with your own butler, chef and chauffeur. Of course, one of Dubai’s bestknown man-made marvels is Palm Jumeirah. It’s home to multiple grand hotels, including Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort, best known for being the only hotel in the city boasting over-water villas – they make for a truly tranquil setting at odds with the bustling city beyond, which forms a stunning backdrop. That feeling of absolute serenity extends to the resort’s stunning spa, which now features an enitre floor dedicated to its impressive, traditional Turkish Hammam experience.
“Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort is best known for being the only hotel in the city boasting overwater villas”
14 We Love Dubai Fairmont The Palm is a place the whole family will enjoy. For kids, there’s the Falcon Kids’ Club, which caters to children aged 18 months to 15 years and houses all manner of cool stuff, ranging from myriad games consoles to a splash park and climbing wall. For parents there’s the global-award-winning Willow Stream Spa, pristine beach, and some great bars and restaurants. We’d heartily recommend booking a room that permits entry to the brilliant Fairmont Gold Lounge, and all the complimentary luxuries it bestows upon you. Packing a real clout in the location stakes (from its point on the Palm you’ll look back to Dubai Marina, Burj Khalifa and all) Rixos The Palm Dubai is a great place to head with the family. While the kids enjoy all the fun of the Rixy Club, parents can relax
“Each comes with either a sizeable balcony or terrace, making it a breeze to drink in views of sunkissed Arabian Sea” in what is one the city’s best spas, or on the pristine beach, shaded in a private cabana. Here you can also go ‘ultra all-inclusive’, for a hassle-free, luxurious stay. Set on the Palm’s same western crescent, you’ll find 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. Each comes with either a sizeable balcony or terrace, making it a breeze to drink in views of the sunkissed Arabian Sea. Looking out to the Palm are the ever-popular areas of Dubai Marina and JBR. The latest hotel to open here is the very cool InterContinental Dubai Marina, home to an array of contemporary sculptures dotted throughout its interior and exterior. The hotel’s restaurants and bars prove
Previous page, clockwise from left: Vida Downtown Dubai; Al Manzil Downtown Dubai; Anantara The Palm. This page, top to bottom: Atlantis, The Palm; InterContinental Dubai Marina.
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Orchid Palace Wellness Spa Yassat Gloria Hotel & Apartments, Sheikh Zayed Road, Tecom, Dubai, UAE +971 4 381 8887 & 8886 & 8885 / firstname.lastname@example.org
17 We Love: Hotlels
This page; JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai.
as much of a draw as its impeccably attired suites and magnificant pool area, which looks down on boats cruising gently through the Marina’s winding waterway. As Dubai continues to grow, so to does its number of hotels. At the tail end of 2015, the splendid St. Regis Dubai opened its gilded doors at the newly-created Al Habtoor City, revealing a stunning interior modelled on the beaux-arts architecture of the original St. Regis in New York – the grand staircase as you walk in is particularly striking. Like other St. Regis hotels, you’ll find the service here impeccable, the restaurants a cut above, and the suites spectacular. You’d expect nothing less than
extravagance from a hotel bearing the name Versace, and that’s exactly what you get at Palazzo Versace. Cue a building reminiscent of a 16thcentury Italian palace, vaulted ceilings, and enough gold fittings to have you reaching for your sunglasses. You can’t come to Dubai and not shop. But if that’s your sole purpose for coming here, make sure you book to stay at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates. Elegant, luxurious and housing the uniquely brilliant Ski Chalets amongst its accommodation offerings – one side of the chalet looks out to the city, the other to the snowcovered slopes in Ski Dubai – this is a hotel rubbing shoulders with the best. A handful of fine restaurants (Salero
18 We Love Dubai
Tapas & Bodega in particular) and the fact that staff members never fail to wear a smile, makes sure of it. The other ‘big’ mall (the world’s biggest, in fact) is The Dubai Mall, which guests of The Address Dubai Mall are granted direct access to. Book a ‘Burj View’ room here and you’ll also get to peer out on stunning views of the world’s tallest tower – you won’t get two-for-one on world record buildings during a shopping trip elsewhere. Sheikh Zayed Road remains the main artery running through the city, and holding the prestigious address of Number 1 Sheikh Zayed Road is The H Hotel. Befitting of its location, this is a sleek, stylish hotel, which pulls in the cool crowd thanks in part to it housing some of the city’s chicest restaurants. It’s also home to the UAE’s only Mandara Spa, and what is, hands down, our favourite suite in all of Dubai – The Duplex Sky Suite. A short distance along the same road is the Sheraton Grand Hotel, another modern, stylish retreat which has a brilliant rooftop pool and bar area, looking through the skyscraperlined Sheikh Zayed Road. It’s a view you can also drink in from many of the hotel’s faultless rooms – book a Club Room and you’ll also get access to a private lounge to enjoy complimentary food and drink throughout the day. Home to the world’s tallest tower, largest mall, and biggest fountain,
Downtown is the showpiece centre of the city. Two boutique hotels - a rarity in Dubai – steal the show here. First up is the funky Vida Downtown Dubai. Modernity rules here with technological quirks in each of the sharply attired rooms and a couple of standout restaurants – among the city’s best – to boot. Flanked by
“At the foot of Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building – is the Armani Hotel Dubai, one of only two Armani hotels in the world. As you’d expect, everything here, rooms through to restaurants, is impeccably stylish”
cabanas, the hotel’s flame-lit pool area is enchanting at night. The same can be said of The Courtyard at Manzil Downtown Dubai, a wonderful alfresco space that’s alive with chatter at night. The pick of the modern Arabic-designed rooms here is the Burj View Suite, which affords guests what its name suggests. It’s the perfect backdrop for a holiday selfie. Across the other side of the city, down by the historic Creek - Dubai’s true heart where the seed from which the city has grown was planted - is the beautifully tranquil Park Hyatt Dubai. All rooms here offer up instantly calming views across Dubai Creek from their balconies and terraces, but what makes this a true standout hotel are its Spa Rooms. The first of their kind in the whole of the Middle East, all eight of these glorious rooms afford guests the freedom to enjoy a full-on spa experience without
“Great Night’ s Stay ”
AT THE CENTRE OF NOW
Overlooking Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Dancing Fountains, each stay at Ramada Downtown Dubai is truly inspiring.
For reservations, please call: T: +971 4 330 7 330 | F: +971 4 330 7 300 email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | ramadadowntowndubai.com
YOU DO YOUR THING. LEAVE THE REST TO US.® © 2015 Ramada Downtown Dubai. This property is operated by R Hotels (a member of R Holding) under a franchise agreement with Wyndham Hotel Group.
MORE SPACE FOR
A premier City Resort at the heart of The Walk in Jumeirah Beach Residence, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham offers spacious rooms and suites, surrounded by a variety of family-friendly options for dining and leisure. Our latest room types offer more space for convenience and maximum comfort. It is a short walking distance to the Jumeirah Beach, Dubai Marina Mall and other major Dubai attractions, and a 45-minute drive from the Abu Dhabi, the UAE Capital.
For inquiries and bookings, email email@example.com or call +971 4 399 9979 and look for our reservations department Extended Stay. Extended Comfort.SM The Walk / Jumeirah Beach Residence | P.O. Box: 120253 | Dubai, U.A.E. | hawthornsuitesdubai.com © 2013 Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham. This property is operated by R Hotels (a member of R Holding) under a franchise agreement with Wyndham Hotel Group.
21 We Love: Hotlels
Previous page, clockwise from top: Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates; Fairmont The Palm Dubai; Armani Hotel Dubai. This page, clockwise from right: Jumeirah Beach Hotel; Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa; Atlantis, The Palm; The Meydan Hotel.
having to set foot beyond their door. You’ll eventually want to venture out however, if only to sample the fantastic food at Traiteur. Spacious rooms are also a feature of the all-suite, self-catering Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Dubai, JBR. These well-furnished apartments encompass one or two bedrooms, housing up to four, and whichever you choose you can make the most of the venue’s hotel-worthy facilities and sea-side location. It’s the same all-suite set up at the Ramada Downtown Dubai, though at this
dry hotel you’ll be aside Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain, and The Dubai Mall – perfect for all the family. Lastly, but actually near the top of our must-stay list, is Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa. We’ve kept this place ‘til last as it offers something entirely different to the city-based hotels – chiefly, a stay amidst the rolling sand dunes. The resort itself is a low-rise oasis and is a prime place to relax. Once suitably chilled, you can then enjoy activities ranging from a desert drive to horse rides. Who needs the big city?
23 We Love: Shopping
Shopping we love Dubai has it all within sleek malls, though donâ€™t forget to go-rogue and sniff out a treasure in its souks
This page: Mall of the Emirates
25 We Love: Shopping
lmost every brand you can think of can be found in Dubai so get your credit card at the ready and make sure you set aside plenty of time for retail therapy. The first stop has got to be The Dubai Mall. As the world’s largest mall this place really does have it all. Even if you aren’t someone that loves to shop, it’s a sight worth seeing – not only are there over 1,200 stores, cafés and boutiques, it’s also home to a giant King Croc and life-size dinosaur skeleton! If you’re seeking a taste of New York, head to the region’s first Bloomingdale’s for designer clothing, stunning jewellery and – for when you’re flagging - delicious Magnolia cupcakes. Or for a slice of Paris, Galeries Lafayette brings Gallic cool to Downtown Dubai. Fanciful French brands fill Lafayette’s storefronts and the strong Parisian vibes resonate right through the store. Also within The Dubai Mall, shoe aficionados will be impressed with Level Shoe District, the world’s largest shoe store, which stocks every designer brand you can think of. At the other end of Sheikh Zayed Road
is Mall of the Emirates, a definite must-visit. Home to Dubai’s only indoor ski slope, the first Apple Store in the Middle East and the region’s
“The first stop has got to be The Dubai Mall; this place really does have it all” only Harvey Nichols, a luxurious department store from the UK, it’s a shopping haven. Having recently undergone a huge expansion, fashion forward fans should head here for their fix of Fendi, Christian Dior and myriad other high-end designers. If high street shopping is more your forte, there’s plenty on offer with over 500
stores including the likes of Massimo Dutti, Reiss, Topshop and Zara, as well as Modell’s for any sportswear you may need. There’s also an enormously impressive Vox Cinema boasting 24 screens and the ThEATre experience by award-winning British chef Gary Rhodes. For high-end luxury, BurJuman packs in the highest concentration of couture stores in the city. Chanel, Valentino and Jimmy Choo, among others, all have boutiques here and Saks Fifth Avenue is heaven-sent for fashion worshippers keen on the latest looks from the USA. Dubai Festival City – fresh from an expansion – is a good port of call for a variety of high-street stores, coupled with a great line up of of restaurants, a lot of them waterside. Hailing from New York, Serendipity 3 gets our vote for best mid-spree pit stop.
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Famed Arabian explorer Ibn Battuta is celebrated at the Ibn Battuta Mall. Each ‘court’ in the mall is inspired by his travels to a different land, so take a step back in time and wander around the likes of China, Persia, India and Egypt. The shopping, however, is very much up to date: expect high-street labels like Topshop, Debenhams and H&M in this quirky emporium. Dubai Marina Mall, meanwhile, is a great place to sample some the best of the big malls in one manageable location. Find fashion staples like Aldo, New Look and Reiss complemented by a whole host of waterside restaurants and cafés. For boutiques and vintage shops aplenty, head to Jumeirah Beach Road, one of the coolest places to shop. For pre-loved designer luxury, check out Garderobe near the Offshore Sailing Club, while West LA Boutique inside Sunset Mall has a great US west coast vibe. Cruise a little further down the strip and you’ll find Mercato Mall, a unique shopping destination designed to look like a Mediterranean Renaissance town. Dubai is also home to a number of local designers. Star of the moment, Madiyah Al Sharqi, daughter of the ruler of Fujairah, is celebrated home and abroad for her statement pieces, feminine separates and dresses. Pick up a Sharqi staple from Symphony in The Dubai Mall or Saks Fifth Avenue in BurJuman. 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 LA in Sunset Mall. Dubai fashion star, Rami Al Ali, whose couture collections have appeared at Paris Fashion Week, can be found in villa 697, Al Wasl Road. Meanwhile renowned superstar designer Ezra, best known for his extravagant gowns, creates his masterpieces from his atelier in Dubai’s Jumeirah 3 in Villa 746, Al Wasl Road. With Britney Spears and Michelle Rodriguez for clients, Ezra is
Opening page: Mall of the Emirates. Previous page, left to right: The Dubai Mall; Jimmy Choo, Mall of the Emirates. Clockwise from right: City Walk; Mercato Mall; Level Shoe District, The Dubai Mall; Box Park.
27 We Love: Shopping
a must-visit boutique for ladies looking for high-class couture. Emirati sisters Reem and Hind Beljafla are the creative masterminds behind DAS, a Dubai-based label that has given a new lease of life to the traditional abaya by introducing new materials and cuts. The showroom is located in Jumeirah 3, villa 16, Umm Al Sheif Road; or find their designs at Symphony at The Dubai Mall. Also at Sypmphony is French-Algerian designer Faiza Bouguessa who takes western trends and transforms them into an abaya. If you want to take advantage of the weather, al fresco shopping awaits at the brilliant Box Park and CityWalk. The former has a funky shipping container concept and boasts boutique stores including Imaginarium – the prettiest toyshop in town – and OnePiece – an iconic Norwegian
brand. CityWalk is still expanding and once complete will span 10 million square feet of outdoor shopping. With Cath Kidston and Karl Lagerfeld stores coupled with Michelin-star pedigree restaurants and al fresco cafes, this shopping destination exudes European vibes. For a hidden gem in Dubai’s shopping fabric, check out The cARTel, a fashion showroom in the Al Quoz area. Packed with exclusive pieces from local and international designers, this place combines art with fashion and specialises in one-off pieces. Another shopping secret, although not quite so well kept, is the Dubai Outlet Mall, located on the Dubai-Al Ain Road, about a 25-minute taxi ride from Downtown Dubai. Housing out-of-season goods from over 800 of the world’s top fashion brands at discounted prices.
“if you want to take advantage of the weather, al fresco shopping awaits at the brilliant Box park and CityWalk. The former has a funky shipping container concept”
28 We Love Dubai
Fit For a Feast
restaurants we love Such has been the rapid rise in quality and breadth of Dubai’s restaurant offering, that all gastronauts should look forward to seeking out the city’s culinary charms. Strap yourself in, it’s time for lift off…
29 We Love: restaurants
ubai’s melting pot of cultures stirs its ever-impressive restaurant scene. Quite simply put, it’s possible to enjoy high-quality delicious examples of myriad cuisines, from Slavic to Spanish and Peruvian to Persian. But where better to start than at the top, and that means a trip to the world’s tallest hotel, JW Marriott Marquis. It’s home to a star-studded line up of restaurants, headed up by the Michelin-star toting Atul Kochhar, whose impeccable Rang Mahal wins the award for the city’s best high-end Indian, hands down. Don’t look beyond the grazing menu here, which allows you to sample a range of delectable dishes at an equally palatable price. Elsewhere inside the JW you can enjoy signature Thai curries like creamy
“rang Mahal wins the award for the city’s best high-end Indian, hands down ” Panang Kung with tiger prawns and Gai Phad Ka-Prao with chili and hot basil at the brilliant Tong Thai, where the décor, a riot of red and orange hues, is almost as colourful as the dishes. Or for a slab of succulent steak, Prime68 is as good as it gets. We’ve already mentioned Atul Kochhar, and he’s one of a number of celebrity chefs who attach their names (and reputations) to restaurants in Dubai. Best known – not only for his food – is Gordon Ramsay, who has the Bread Street Kitchen & Bar at Atlantis, The Palm. Gastro-pub style dishes – think tamarind chicken wings – are served up in what can be a wonderfully atmospheric setting when full. But if the weather suits we’d always point you to a seat on its terrace. We’d do the same at Marina Social at InterContinental Dubai Marina, helmed by the current top dog of British gastronomy, Jason Atherton, where you should treat your tastebuds to a supremely creamy truffle risotto. Boasting a fistful of Michelin stars – the maximum three were awarded to her restaurant, Enoteca
30 We Love Dubai
Pinchiorri, in Florence - Annie Féolde arrived in Dubai in March, bringing with her traditional recipes, superior ingredients and an unrivalled mastery of cooking skills to The Artisan by Enoteca Pinchiorri, a superb restaurant at Burj Daman, DIFC. If you’re fan of Italian food, this is how it should taste when done exceptionally well (and time honoured). Best of the bunch, however, is Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire at InterContinental Festival City, which has remained one of the city’s finest restaurants despite many new openings over the years being eager to take its crown. 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. Most high-end hotels in Dubai are endowed with a high-end steakhouse, and it’s something the city excels at. We’ve sang the praises of Prime 68 elsewhere, so to the list of best steaks in Dubai you can add J&G Steakhouse at the St. Regis Dubai, where nothing is left to chance in the quest for perfection - so much so that exclusive cattle are raised only for this restaurant. You’ll also get to savour fabulously high quality cuts of meat (wagyu and all) over at the aptlynamed Prime Steakhouse in the grand Meydan Hotel. Here with the kids in tow? 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 family feed. 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 is one of Dubai’s more interesting recent openings. Helmed by Tom Aikens, 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 scrumptious lobster mac and cheese). Breathing in the sea air may well put you in the mood for the ocean’s
33 We Love: restaurants
Opening page: Zuma. Previous page: Al Hadheerah. This page, clockwise from above: Bateaux Dubai; Prime 68; Rang Mahal; OKKU.
finest catches. If so, crack open a crab at Aprons & Hammers. 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. The guesswork is also removed from the question of which type of cuisine is best served at Eat Greek, but the hard work comes with trying to decide which of the delicious authentic dishes to try. There are other dining places worthy of your attention, particularly if your kids are that little bit older. Crab Tavern at Media One Hotel in Dubai Media City is one. Crab, you’ve guessed it, is the house speciality
34 We Love Dubai here, and it comes served many ways – best of all, the soft-shell variety comes in a burger laced with red pepper jam. Of the same ilk is Claw BBQ in Souq Al Bahar, although it’s a tad more raucous than Crab Tavern thanks to its eating competitions and live band. 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 good-value independent restaurants as you saunter past the skyscrapers, serving up everything from gourmet burgers and American classics at Ashton Kutcher-owned Ketchup to the home-style cooking at Fümé Neighborhood Eatery at Manzil
“It’s been a must-do for many a year, yet the charm of Bateaux Dubai never wanes ” Downtown Dubai, but its home-style cooking is the real crowd charmer. But if you want to spend big when Downtown, there are a couple of standout restaurants: La Serre, at Vida Downtown, offers great service and even better food. Meanwhile at Armani/Hashi, housed at the foot of Burj Khalifa in Armani Hotel Dubai, you’d be hard pushed to find seafood as good as that served here anywhere you care to mention. The fact that many of Dubai’s restaurants are based within hotels means the atmosphere can be a little staid at some. If you find that’s the case, check out one of the following always-buzzing venues: Zuma, in DIFC, where the outstanding Japanese food is best ordered to share; Le Petite Maison, also in DIFC, which uses produce from local UAE farms in a number of its sublime dishes; Lobster and Burger, at Burj Daman Building, where your choice is whole lobster, lobster roll, or beef burger, each served with chips and salad, each a winner; Famed Lebanese import Em Sherif, which in addition to its
These pages, clockwise from top right: Armani/Hashi; J&G Steakhouse; Traiteur; Tong Thai; Le Petite Maison; Marina Social; Fümé.
35 We Love: restaurants
36 We Love Dubai
fine food also affords superb views of Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain from its terrace; OKKU, a homegrown concept which serves immaculate Japanese dishes in low-lit environs backed by Balearic beats; and Catch, at the Fairmont Dubai. Hailing from NYC, if you only have time to eat out once or twice while you’re here, make this contemporary American seafood restaurant a must-dine. Speaking of the ocean, at RIVA Ristorante, part of the Riva Beach Club, you can feast on seafood platters piled high with the freshest crab, oysters and langoustines. An increasing number of venues are now offering a live performance to accompany starter, mains and dessert. Top billing goes to Ibiza’s legendary
club Pacha, which now has a holiday home in Dubai, at Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Your enjoyment of Pacha Dubai’s high-energy stage show is heightened by a winning menu of delectable dishes, our pick from which is the Chilean sea bass. The Act, perched on the 42nd floor 43rd 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) with its Tuesday and Wednesday dinner shows. Another dinner show takes place amidst the sand dunes at Bab al Shams Desert Resort, where a celebration of Arabian culture awaits you at Al Hadheerah. Here, within the
walls of a traditional fort, you take your pick from a huge spread of authentic Arabic dishes against the backdrop of a live band, falconry display, camel caravan, and dancers. It’s been a visitor must-do for many a year, yet the charm of Bateaux Dubai never wanes. It’s a wonderfully atmospheric boat cum restaurant which gently floats down Dubai Creek, past the city’s oldest landmarks, as you feast on fine dining dishes like oven-roasted duck breast topped with a beautifully-balanced mushroom, beetroot and rosemary sauce. Boarding is at 7:45pm nightly on the Deira side of the creek, opposite the ENBD Head Office. Staying with the Creek, Casa de Tapas at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht
37 We Love: restaurants
“an increasing number of venues are now offering a live performance to accompany starter, mains and dessert”
These pages, clockwise from far top left: Catch; Burger & Lobster; OKKU; Bread Street Bar & Kitchen; Prime Restaurant.
Club has lovely views over the water and a large upside-down lemon tree sprouting from the ceiling. The menu is packed with classics, including Spanish omelette and garlicky steamed clams, along with more inventive dishes such as paella de fideua (made with angel hair pasta, squid ink and prawns). Post dinner drinks should be had upstairs at Cielo, a rooftop lounge with Balearicinspired blue and white décor and sensational skyline views. 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 Calicut Paragon
which serves curried Keralan seafood specialities, while the Dubai institution that is Ravi Restaurant in Satwa lays up punchy Pakistani-style curries to a returning cast of Dubai residents. Of course, you can’t leave Dubai without trying the local food or doing brunch, the latter of which has become somewhat of a Dubai institution. An enduring favourite for traditional Emirati is Al Fanar, located along Canal Walk in Festival City. You can dine outside on floor cushions at the traditional majlis or at a table in the central courtyard area that looks like a traditional Emirati home. The food is fresh, hearty and, where required, beautifully spiced. And so to brunch. A Dubai brunch isn’t just a meal; it’s an experience, and something
everyone needs to try at least once during their holiday. Long regarded as one of the best brunches in town, Traiteur at Park Hyatt Dubai is not to be missed. Overlooking the Creek, diners wander between live cooking stations serving up freshly shucked Fine de Claire oysters, spit-roast lamb and beef, grilled lobster and shrimp, as well as an outstanding selection of homemade desserts. Excellent food is also the standout feature over at Raffles Dubai, whose wonderful garden setting hosts the Raffles Roast each Friday afternoon from 1-4pm. This is a roast as good as any (including home cooked), down to all the beautifully seasoned, perfectly cooked trimmings.
38 We love Dubai
culture we love Thereâ€™s plenty for the avid historian to enjoy within and around the city, from extolling ancient heritage to marvelling at modern-day creations
39 We love: culture
ubai’s not just a futuristic, sci-fi-esque city of iconic skyscrapers, picturesque palmshaped islands and city-sized malls. Beyond the glitter and gold there’s a captivating mosaic of art and design. Over the years Dubai has emerged as a diverse hub of character, boosting its already sterling reputation as the Middle East’s exciting cultural epicentre. Contemporary art is blossoming throughout this youthful city and a significant amount of government money has been invested in cultural development. With numerous events hosted throughout the year, there’s a world of art to discover.
“Beyond the glitter and gold in Dubai there’s a captivating mosaic of art and design” Alserkal Avenue, for instance, brings together international collaborators from diverse artistic disciplines. Electronic music resonates throughout the sprawling warehouse complex that is its Al Quoz home, while arcades overflow with contemporary design, from architecture to fashion. Alongside established contemporary art galleries such as Ayyam Gallery, Lawrie Shabibi and Grey Noise, the area is also home to Gulf Photo Plus. While taking a leisurely stroll it’s not uncommon to happen upon improvised hip-hop performances, which can be watched from the handful of fantastic independent cafés that have sprung up throughout the neighbourhood, including places such as Tom & Serg and Raw Coffee. Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) also has several art galleries, including XVA Gallery, Opera Gallery, and The Empty Quarter; the latter is the city’s only space devoted exclusively to fine art photography. DIFC additionally hosts Art Nights, a lively mix of music and artistic performances,
40 We love Dubai
41 We love: culture Previous pages: An Abra Station in Dubai Creek. These pages, clockwise from left: The Dubai Muesum; Jumeirah Mosque; The Opera District.
in the Gate Village district. And don’t leave without visiting Dubai’s oldest art gallery, Majlis Gallery, which was established in 1989 in a wind-tower house in Bur Dubai. The emirate is further boosting its cultural offerings with The Opera District, a new multi-format venue that’s in its final stages of construction in Downtown Dubai. The district will house Dubai Opera, the country’s first opera house, as well as a dedicated museum of modern art. The complex will also feature luxury hotels, an elegantly designed retail plaza and waterfront promenades. Set to open late 2016, the design of the 2,000-seat venue is based on a dhow, the traditional sailing vessel of the Arabian Gulf.
To get a sense of the city’s origins as a bustling seaport, take a stroll along Dubai Creek and hop on an old-fashioned abra (stations line the waterway). Then explore Dubai’s fascinating mix of Bedouin, Persian, Islamic and Emirati culture and traditions at the Dubai Museum. Housed in the eighteenth century Al Fahidi Fort in Bur Dubai, the intriguing museum displays artefacts dating 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 Al Fahidi, the excellent Sheikh Mohammed Centre of Cultural Understanding offers walking tours, cultural meals combined with a crash-course in
“At Dubai Museum, explore fascinating Bedouin, Persian, Islamic and emirati cultural tradition” 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. Afterwards, visit the nearby Street Art Gallery; Dubai’s first gallery dedicated to promoting street art in the Middle East. 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 top-notch 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 (dubomedy.com) website for details of performances by local comedians and The Laughter Factory (thelaughterfactory.com) to chuckle along to international acts.
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43 We Love: Activities
Activities we love From singing fountains and indoor skislopes to water-parks and amazing oceanlife, Dubai harbours plenty to rouse the spirit
44 We Love Dubai
hen it comes to must-do activities in this emirate, there’s definitely something in the water: H2O is a component in so many of the Dubailights you’ll want to explore. Take the visually-impressive Dubai Fountain at the Burj Khalifa Lake, for example, which takes pride of place outside The Dubai Mall and blasts mighty jets of water 500 feet in the air with displays set to music. The fountains perform every 30 minutes from 6pm, with additional later shows on weekends. For the best views, get an early spot on the nearby bridge. In the same vicinity, Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is a universe of intrigue, education and excitement. Meet an artistic Otter,
foray into the King Croc’s kingdom and the Kracken’s Lair, or be mesmerised by 70 different marine species who live in the 10 million litre, 51 metrelong main Aquarium tank. Sticking with the water theme, Atlantis, The Palm has built an entire land inspired by the wet-stuff, so get soaked at Aquaventure – a world-famous waterpark that has 17 hectares of slides, rides and pools – or visit Dolphin Bay, hailed as one of the most sophisticated dolphin habitats in the world, where you’ll have the opportunity to swim alongside the flippered funsters. Beside the Jumeirah Beach Hotel is another waterpark stalwart: Wild Wadi, themed around a character from
45 We Love: Activities Opening page: Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. These pages, clockwise from far left: At The Top; Aquaventure; Dolphin Bay; Wild Wadi Waterpark; Seawings.
Arabian folklore and boasting rides that will blast you around then spit you out, like Tantrum Alley, Burj Surj, Wipeout and Riptide Flowriders. Those thinking water wouldn’t freeze in the desert are proved wrong(ish) with the presence of Ski Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates: one of the most incongruous sites in the region. A facility that enables world-class snowboarding and skiing, the skiresort theme is prominent throughout the whole venue, and there is even a group of real penguins, perfectly at home among the snow. Let’s dry-off, warm-up, and take in a spot of sightseeing. Top of many tourists’ tick-list is ascending the mighty Burj Khalifa, and be it day
or night, the view from the At The Top observation deck is bound to take your breath away. The world’s tallest building has opened a new observation deck that now puts you 148 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 linger as long as you like, so if you visit just before sunset, you’ll be able to enjoy the day and night time views. And those who want to marvel 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 Palm
46 We Love Dubai Jumeirah and Burj Khalifa. On solid ground, you can’t beat a good ‘ol City Sightseeing bus tour, which operates daily tours of the city. Passengers are free to jump on and off the bus at designated stops around town. Need a helping hand to help plan an action-packed itinerary? Arabian Adventures has an array of themed tours that provide a comprehensive wrap-up of every preference, like their Sundowner Dune Dinner Safari. You can rub shoulders with pure champions on a Stable Tour with Breakfast at the world-class Meydan Racecourse, or hop on a Cruising Adventure to take in the mesmerising Dubai coastline, savouring a barbeque on board your yacht or catamaran. For families travelling to Dubai, there is plenty to keep the whole
“When it comes to must-do activities, H2O is the key component of many Dubailights” clan enthralled. Be blown away by an unrivalled, multi-sensory cinematic experience as VOX Cinemas has a 4DX theatre that adds new dimensions to move-time, with rain, lightning and the first laser IMAX in the Middle East. If you like the interactive idea, another new and quirky time-filler that’s sure to test your thinking power is Brainscape Games, where teams are locked in a room and must solve puzzles to escape. Should your little ones still be very young, KidZania is great for engaging young minds as they try their hand at a variety of fun careers from being an airline pilot to a chef and every vocation in-between. In Dubai you’ll discover adrenaline rushes for every thrillseeker. Trampolines will send you soaring at Bounce in Al Quoz, a dreamworld of trampolines, and even basketball hoops to let you perform slam-dunks that would make an NBA pro jealous. Not high, or frightening, enough? Go-extreme and get the adrenaline really pumping with a visit to Skydive
This page, clockwise from left: Ski Dubai; Dubai Fountain; Kidzania; Dubai Ice Rink.
47 We Love: Activities
48 We Love Dubai
“Be it day or night, the view from the At the top observation deck of the Burj Khalifa is bound to take the breath away”
Dubai, which takes off from Dubai Marina and offers tandem jumps, under the guidance of world-class instructors over Palm Jumeirah. For selfie addicts, Souk Madinat Jumeirah is an atmospheric place to grab a bite to eat, with an authentic Arabian aura blended neatly alongside Venetian-style waterways – visual theatre is achieved with the iconic Burj Al Arab backdrop. Meanwhile, the glittering Dubai Marina attracts pedestrians, joggers, photoopportunists and culinary savants: but you can also traverse the 7 kilometre walkway around the waters by bike, or rather, ByKy, with stations located in various locations there (as well as in Downtown and at Palm Jumeirah). Simply download the NextBike app for your smartphone and off you pedal (after paying). Smooth your ruffled feathers with a pampering spa treatment; Dubai has so many from which to choose. One of the best is Saray Spa, tucked behind ornate carved doors at JW Marriott Marquis. Here, treatments comprise ancient healing techniques using locally sourced natural ingredients: a true taste of Arabian relaxation. A lesser known gem is Orchid Palace Wellness Spa in Yassat Gloria Hotel & Apartments. This Thai spa boasts 17 ‘his and hers’ treatment rooms (with four allocated for couples) as well as a hammam, and steam/sauna facilities: there’s all you need for a comprehensive, aromatically infused relaxation session. And as you feel your muscle pain melt away you can begin contemplating your next memorable trip back to Dubai.
This page: Bounce.
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