What's On 45th Anniversary Issue

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15 mins drive from Jebel Ali No Liquor License No Retail Tax WINDMILL Offers the best Prices in the UAE! 50 % OFF UP TO *On selected items More than Products on OFFER! Always worth the drive! 056 538 9582 Exit - 399, Dubai-Abu Dhabi Motorway Ghantoot, Abu Dhabi, UAE WindmillCellar Follow us on WINDMILL Cellar 800+ PROMOTION SPECIAL



readers tell us what they love most about living in the UAE
What’s On team share their highly rated plates Page 81 Spectating goals - the best spots to watch the Euros 19 71



The best things to do in the UAE this month


We hype check the UAE’s latest fads


Checking in to the One&Only new place to stay in Za’abeel


Our stunning website is packed with news, restaurants, culture, shopping, sport and spas. It’s your online destination for stuff to do in the UAE. Get clicking.


Just how well done is new C2 steakhouse Rare?


Are the bougie buns at Abu Dhabi’s Beau Burger just better?


Celebrating a birthday? TWINNING! Here’s where to get your UAE party essentials


A nationwide spotlight on the biggest concerts and festivals happening this month


The roadmap for how the UAE plans to change the world in the next 45 years


From day tripper to skipper. How to learn sailing skills in Dubai


Skip the tourist traps for these off-beaten path alternates

On Digital Your essential guide to what’s happening in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is also available on the App Store.

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Photo credit: Getty Images, Unsplash and supplied Find us on social WhatsOnDubai WhatsOnAbuDhabi
Cover: Sheila


Why The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert is the ultimate UAE escape

Found amongst the storied sands of a 500-hectare nature reserve, The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert rises above the dunes as a wellspring of Bedouin-inspired luxury.


This family-friendly resort invites you to journey deep inside the Al Wadi Reserve, allowing you to reconnect with nature and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the UAE.

For those seeking adventure, there’s a regal range of alfresco activities to enjoy including horse-back riding, archery, falconry, cycling, stargazing, wildlife feeding, nature walks, camel rides and more.


This palatial escape is comprised of 108 private villas, nestled amongst the calming rise and fall of desert dunes. Far away from the frantic pace of the city, The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert is a sanctuary of calm and serenity.

Each of the villas comes with a private pool that opens out onto the rare splendour of the Arabian desert. Themes of wilderness and the timeless allure of the Bedouin spirit translate into elegant interiors. The resort’s dining portfolio extends to four restaurants, lounges and bars – the warmly-lit Farmhouse is a feast of wild meats, homegrown vegetables and other fresh ingredients. And all-day diner Kaheela invites gourmands to graze on delicacies from the Middle East and India.


Guests will also find an equestrian centre, adventure centre, and falconry school. Should your preferred vacation path be focused on rest and rejuvenation, you’ll find extensive spa and wellness offerings on site. Journeys such as The Rainforest, a hydrothermal experience, designed to enhance and harmonise functioning of mind, body and skin. The Rainforest combines European hydrothermal culture with Middle Eastern bathing rituals.


There’s a great package available exclusively for families too. The Family Adventure provides inclusions such as luxurious stays for three per room; daily breakfast at Kaheela and a family dinner for two adults and two children; complimentary stay and dining for kids under six; and access to Al Wadi Experiences including wildlife feeding, camel rides, stargazing, and more.

The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert. Tel: (0)7 206 7777. ritzcarlton.com/alwadi

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Obaid Humaid Al Tayer




GROUP EDITOR – WHAT’S ON Alice Holtham alice.holtham@motivate.ae

DEPUTY EDITOR, DUBAI Miles Buckeridge miles.buckeridge@motivate.ae

DEPUTY EDITOR, ABU DHABI Dinesh Ramanathan dinesh.ramanathan@motivate.ae


ONLINE REPORTER Aarti Saundalkar






ART DIRECTOR Sheila Deocareza


Laura Coughlin


PUBLISHER David Burke davidb@motivate.ae

GROUP SALES MANAGER Varsha Bhatia varsha@motivate.ae

GROUP SALES MANAGER Violeta Popescu violeta.popescu@motivate.ae

REGIONAL MANAGER – ABU DHABI Taran Singh taran.singh@motivate.ae










Annual Subscription UAE Dhs180 • GCC and International US$130 (inclusive of postal charges)

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+971 4 602 1105 | www.twiggy.ae Park Hyatt Dubai Lagoon Opening Timings: 10am - sunset



Set in white, Chic Le Frique Dhs648, chiclefrique.com

I’m a sucker for a celebration. My own birthdays are typically marked with a week of drawn-out events, much to the reluctance of my long-suffering husband. But I also love the joy that celebrating the birthdays of my nearest and dearest brings me. As I’ve gotten older, and it’s increasingly challenging to align diaries with my friends scattered across the globe, it’s typically birthdays that bring us together. And so that time becomes all the more meaningful.

But the birthday I’m referring to here, is that of What’s On. The first issue of What’s On was published in June 1979, making us 45-years-old this month. So to mark our milestone 45th, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to the UAE’s leisure, entertainment and dining scene. From top homegrown brands, restaurants, nightlife hotspots and stays, to cultural stars and unmissable attractions, each edit features 45 standout names and places contributing to making the UAE the greatest place on the planet. Consider this your complete UAE bucket list – and find it from p25.

I might be biased, but I think we’ve aged rather well. When What’s On launched, the UAE was unrecognisable compared to the thriving global metropolis that it’s now proudly known as. You can read all about how the adventures of What’s On began on p11, where our founder Ian Fairservice revisits the first issue and those brilliant early days of the brand.

And as the UAE has evolved, so have we, reaching millions of residents and visitors every month across print, digital, and social media. As our readers are such an integral part of our story, we invited you to share what you love about the UAE with us via social media. The responses, from people of all ages and from all corners of the globe, renewed my belief in how truly lucky we all are to call this wonderful country home. Read 45 of our favourites from p19.

Enjoy the issue,

Petra sunglasses in light pink, Philo Dhs825, philoeyewear.com

Glow Serum, Novu Rituals Dhs250, novurituals.com

Seeker passport cover in pumpkin, Native Dhs225, nativedubaionline.com

Gold clutch, Dazed & Engaged Dhs359, dazedandengaged.com


I never planned to launch a magazine. When I moved to Dubai in 1978, I had accepted a position as assistant manager at the city’s second five-star hotel, which had just opened. Although I had never been to Dubai before, my deep-rooted interest in the Middle East was enough to have me board a one-way flight.

But I realised after a short time that there was almost no media in the UAE. And as such, nowhere to promote the hotel and its restaurants, nightclub, and roster of live acts. So I gave up my job in 1979 to create a platform where hotels, restaurants, and event organisers could promote what they were doing. And so the first English language magazine, aptly named What’s On, was born in June.

In the beginning, I was helped by a couple of dear friends, Brian and Daphne Adams. We put the first few issues together in their Design Studio office using a pot of cow gum and cold metal

galleys from the printer. I wrote much of the early issues myself, including a food column, What’s On Eats Out, which continued for the next 15 years.

To fund the magazine in those initial years, we relied heavily on the Dune Beat Disco, a mobile discotheque that I brought across from the UK. We played all over the emirates, so it made sense to also have a regular back page feature called The Dune Beat Trail, which covered the events, as well as sharing some of the month’s most popular records. For issue one, that included Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, Tragedy by the Bee Gees, and Village People’s dancefloor-filling, YMCA. As an ode to The Dune Beat Disco, you’ll find our playlist of 45 epic tracks that chart the years of What’s On, on p110.

On the decks during my Dune Beat Disco days


Getting fresh faced with an… Emface treatment

I love being a guinea pig for new treatments, and one of the latest to land here is Emface Submentum, available at Dr Minal’s Minal Medical Centre in Jumeirah. It’s a non-surgical procedure to give more definition to the chin. It uses radio frequency heat and muscle stimulation to tighten the submental area. I’m one session in, and I’ve already noticed a change. @minalmedicalcentre

– Alice Holtham, Group Editor

Welcoming my weekend by watching… Frasier

This weekend, I’m planning on staying in and watching one of my favourite TV series – Frasier. I’ve seen the show from start to finish more times than I can count, but it never fails to make me laugh. Plus, with the launch date for the second revival series still a little way off, binge-watching the OG again will fix my Crane-vings…

– Aarti Saundalkar, Online Reporter

Pretend furniture shopping at… West Elm

I’m officially moving out, which means that I need to furnish an entire flat, and whilst it’s expensive, it’s also fun. Over the weekend my man and I wandered into West Elm. It might be out of my budget but I can’t get over how comfy the couches are. I’m trying to manifest an apartment that will look like a West Elm collab, a long shot… but a girl can dream. @westelmmena

– Shelby Gee, Junior Reporter

Getting all starry eyed in… Aya

Aya Universe, the interactive entertainment park in Wafi Mall, has just added a new attraction to its cosmos of immersive wonder. Star Pool is a massive ball pit surrounded on all sides (and ceilings) by a space-themed digital art show. It’s galactically good family fun, but beware – the time dialation of interstellar travel means you could lose hours in there without realising it.


– Miles Buckeridge, Deputy Editor, What’s On Dubai

Taking a tour of… the BAPS Hindu temple

Escaping to another time with... Heeramandi

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Heeramandi is a cinematic universe filled with lavish worlds, high ceilings, chandeliers, regal costumes, and heartbreaking stories of love and loss. The show, available to stream on Netflix, is set in the lanes of Heeramandi, once a hub for courtesans it now exists as Lahore’s shadowy underground. @netflixmena

– Manaal Fatimah, Junior Reporter

After months of hearing about it, I finally had the opportunity to drop by this beautiful new addition to Abu Dhabi’s never-ending list of architectural marvels. You’ll gape in awe at the attention to detail and design of this temple, and feel a wave of calm come over you as you stroll around the premises. Pick the coolest time of the day and head over this weekend, because it’s only getting warmer. @abudhabimandir

– Dinesh Ramanathan, Deputy

What’s On Abu Dhabi

Escaping the city with a day trip to… Musandam

Last weekend, I decided to road trip to Oman for the day to explore the natural beauty of Musandam. It takes three hours to get there, and we booked a full day boat tour for Dhs150 per person. The tour includes dolphin spotting, snorkeling through crystal-clear waters and a delicious Omani lunch. We spent a magical afternoon jumping off the boat, and exploring the underwater life in the fjords. Well worth the 5.30am wake-up call. @omanadventuresofficial

– Tamara Wright, Online Reporter

A sanctuary in the heart of the city +971 4 379 8963 book@eugeneeugene.ae


Stay Longer to Save More

Unlock savings of up to 30% o and exclusive bene ts during your extended stay at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates this Eid al-Adha.

Bene t from access to the world-class shopping destination, savour cuisines from around the globe, and experience lively entertainment options for the whole family at Dubai's only ski resort.

Terms and conditions apply.

For reservations, please call +971 4 341 0000 or email reservations.malloftheemirates@kempinski.com



When: Daily

Kai Beach at Saadiyat Island has reopened its doors for sun seekers to once again dip their toes in the sand. Day pass rates are Dhs125 for weekdays and Dhs200 for weekends. Ladies’ Day runs every Thursday and Friday for Dhs150.




When: June 8 and 9

Monster Jam, the world’s most action-packed motorsports experience, returns to Abu Dhabi this June. Think 5,500kg monster trucks, huge tires, and flying dirt. The family event will see these mean machines wrestle it out in the mud to see who comes out on top. etihadarena.ae


When: June 6 to 8

Based on the iconic Sister Act movie, Abu Dhabi Choral Group is bringing Sister Act: The Music to life live on stage at The Red Theatre at The Arts Center at NYC Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi Choral Group is the capital’s long-standing community theatre institution and has staged over 75 shows which include Footloose!, Little Shop of Horrors, and Spamalot. nyuad-artscenter.org



When: June 15

Stay cool and keep fit in the summer with this indoor run at Ferrari World Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. You will begin inside the theme park, run around Yas Mall and the Italian Village before racing back to the finish line.



When: June 15 Zuma is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in the capital and foodies can discover exclusive dishes until June 15. On the menu there’s octopus tempura, grilled scallops and spiced pineapple.



When: June 17 to 19 (to be confirmed)

Eid Al Adha is set to be a long weekend for most of us, and there will be plenty of fun activities from fireworks, and staycation deals the whole family will enjoy. Make sure you stay tuned to whatson.ae for confirmed dates and the best things to do in the city over the long holiday.


When: Daily 3pm to 6pm Enjoy art and afternoon tea at Sultan’s Lounge. It features art pieces from the 7 Art Gallery’s bear collection, so expect chocolate bears alongside sweet and savoury bites. From Dhs280. @jumeirahzs


When: June 22 and 23

This paint in the dark workshop takes place under black lights with neon paints and canvases that seem to glow. You create your entire painting from scratch with music and laughter to keep you company. paintinthedarkexperience.com


When: June 28 to Sept 1 High temperatures getting you down? Dubai Summer Surprises will perk you right up with plenty of cool deals and experiences throughout the 65-day run. Stay tuned to whatson.ae for the best deals and sales.



When: Throughout June L’ÉCOLE has opened a School of Jewelry Arts in Dubai offering online and in-person courses and talks. Prices per course start from Dhs400. lecolevancleefarpels.com

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Take a plunge on Fridays at WET Deck and beat the summer heat with unlimited beverages and bites. Soak in the city skyline lights and groove to the beats of our resident DJs.

Starting from AED 350 per person for house beverages (inclusive bites)

Friday, 14th and 28th June 7PM - 10PM

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We asked UAE residents why they love this country. This is what they said...



Desmond from Cameroon YEARS IN THE UAE: 6 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: The hospitality and security make the UAE the place for me.

Karen from Philippines YEARS IN THE UAE: 15 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I love the UAE because it provides a wide range of opportunities, safe environment and excellent amenities.

Greyzie from Philippines YEARS IN THE UAE: 8 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: The UAE has provided a space for me to put ideas into action, to meet and collaborate with diverse people.

Fatima from Philippines YEARS IN THE UAE: 18 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: It makes me feel safe no matter where I go. It is a country with great leaders who care for the well-being of their people regardless of nationality.

Ryan from India

YEARS IN THE UAE: 33 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: The safety, progressiveness, leadership and the way the country evolves with the times.

Cian from India

YEARS IN THE UAE: over 23 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I’ve been here my whole life and have fallen in love with the UAE. It has everything. From safety to the hospitality hotspots and it also has a gorgeous nature aspect to unwind in. There’s no place I’d rather be.

Alba from India

YEARS IN THE UAE: 30 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: Seeing it change over the years, the growth story and the culture.

Lousin from France


WHY I LOVE THE UAE: We decided to move here when we found out our son had a terminal illness. Because his life expectancy is short, we decided to give him the best possible life and create memories, and we are so grateful that Dubai is the place where we get to do that. It’s the best place on earth.

Thalia from Philippines YEARS IN THE UAE: 24 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: The UAE is more than just skyscrapers and gold souks. It’s always changing and I’m proud to have grown up here. With Ras Al Khaimah’s mountains, Fujairah’s wadis and Dubai’s deserts, I love that we get to explore so many different landscapes.

Ryan from Philippines YEARS IN THE UAE: 17 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: Everything here is worth the life, it’s the safest place.

Dianne from Phillipines YEARS IN THE UAE: 3 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: The UAE has opened so many doors for me. I have seen another version of myself, I have learned so many things and I am excited to learn more in this beautiful country.

Lakshmi from India YEARS IN THE UAE: 23 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: Growing up in the UAE was a special experience and gave me the chance to form connections and grow alongside friends who are beautiful inside and out.

Caroline from India YEARS IN THE UAE: over 10 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: The country gives me everything – safety, education, career prospects, and opportunity for entrepreneurial endeavours. Our kind rulers always think about the people and welcome every nationality.

Deepa from India

YEARS IN THE UAE: 55 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: It’s my home. Born and brought up here, I’ve seen the city grow from desert to a modern city with world-class safety and luxury. My entire life through to my retirement, what more can I ask from my homeland, not on paper but in my heart.

Selma from France YEARS IN THE UAE: 14 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I consider the UAE as my forever home. I love it for the safety, the opportunities and the fact that we can all live peacefully together.


Monika from Slovakia YEARS IN THE UAE: 1 year

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I love the city vibe, the opportunities, the people and of course the food.

Lynden from Canada YEARS IN THE UAE: 3 months

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I love the safety, the culture, the food and the people here. I love how beautiful the country.

Nouran from Egypt YEARS IN THE UAE: 11 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: It’s full of activities and you can never be bored in the UAE. From nightlife to luxurious resorts, it lacks nothing.

Melek from Turkey YEARS IN THE UAE: 7 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: For the past seven years my focus has been me and my personal growth because the UAE takes care of the rest. Everything is in order in this country.

Selma from Germany YEARS IN THE UAE: 10 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: Kindness, generosity, and compassion are all key components of the UAE, and I love being able to contribute a little to spreading kindness.

Mariam from Pakistan YEARS IN THE UAE: 14 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: The inexplicable sense of belonging to this beautiful country.

Romy from The Netherlands YEARS IN THE UAE: 15 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: The weather and nature are gorgeous, the Arab culture is so welcoming and the food is delicious.

Elnara from Azerbaijan YEARS IN THE UAE: 15 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I love the UAE and the comfort that it brings.

Wajiha from Canada YEARS IN THE UAE: 27 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: The attention to progress is immaculate, the focus on just being better at everything is part of the air in the country. The feeling of landing at Terminal 3 is unmatched, it’s a like a sigh of relief when you’re entering your home.

Lara from Canada YEARS IN THE UAE: 7.5 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: For me, it’s actually the simple things I love the most. The freedom to walk around as a woman, to choose how we spend our days. Everyone is welcome and embraced with open arms and leave their mark on the city.

Mila from Ukraine YEARS IN THE UAE: 2 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I am grateful for the country’s services and safety.

Susan from Australia YEARS IN THE UAE: 9 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I love the UAE for its supportive business environment that allowed us to launch our own business successfully.

Mahvish from Pakistan YEARS IN THE UAE: 10 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: It’s diverse and vibrant.

Ulyana from Russia YEARS IN THE UAE: 2 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: Everything. I love the city, the sea, people and the hospitality.

Pio from Sri Lanka YEARS IN THE UAE: Less than a year

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: The opportunities it provides.

Hoda from USA YEARS IN THE UAE: 8 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I appreciate the safety measures and the country’s ability to handle every situation adeptly. I am truly grateful to be here and raise my family in Dubai.



Terje from Estonia YEARS IN THE UAE: 10 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: It’s always warm and super safe.

Anon from United Kingdom YEARS IN THE UAE: 15 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: The safety, ease of life, lots to do and see and it is multicultural and diverse.

Amaka from Nigeria YEARS IN THE UAE: 22 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: The chance to embrace your own culture more deeply while also learning about 200 other cultures. Tasting any cuisine imaginable and becoming a better member of society.

Zara from United Kingdom YEARS IN THE UAE: 16 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I’ve grown up here and met friends who I still talk to even after we all went our separate ways for university. Even when I’m outside the UAE I still feel connected to it, and obviously the sunny days are a plus.

Rochelle White from United Kingdom YEARS IN THE UAE: 7 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: The mix of nationalities, everyone being in the same boat and supporting each other. The amazing lifestyle we have, being able to go to beach after work or explore hidden gems.

Megan from South Africa YEARS IN THE UAE: 9 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I love the country because it’s safe.

Serge from Lebanon YEARS IN THE UAE: 10 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: The UAE is the land of convenience and peace of mind. It’s like they’ve got a special sauce that makes life easier and more chill. The infrastructure game is on lock – getting around is a breeze. We have world-class everything at our fingertips.

Bruna from Brazil

YEARS IN THE UAE: 10 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: Because of its ‘biggest in the world’ lifestyle and the endless choices of entertainment all year round.

Kritika from India YEARS IN THE UAE: 24 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I moved to the UAE as a one-year-old and have seen the country transform into what it is today.

Zainab from Nigeria YEARS IN THE UAE: 7 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I love the comfort that the country brings.

Liezil from South Africa

YEARS IN THE UAE: 10 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I love the safety and security the country provides and the freedom to travel just about anywhere in the world as it’s a good travel hub.

Michelle from Zimbabwe YEARS IN THE UAE: 4 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I am enamoured by the kindness and passion of its people, who warmly welcome visitors. The government is forward thinking and the strong sense of community fosters truly remarkable connections and belonging.

Nisha from India

YEARS IN THE UAE: 48 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: My birthplace. My entire education has been in this country and the same even for my husband. We met at school in Dubai and have now settled here.

Farida from Canada

YEARS IN THE UAE: 23 years

WHY I LOVE THE UAE: I find tremendous inspiration across the emirates. From hiking trips to Fujairah, fabric shops in Satwa and art-filled events in Abu Dhabi inspire me. The UAE is more than my home, it is my life.


Top reasons why

38% of people mentioned safety

22% talked about opportunity

20% talked about community or multiculturism

16% referenced food



Embark on a serene beach break at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach where privacy, luxury, and natural beauty reign supreme…

If you’re dreaming of a getaway with gorgeous golden beaches, alluring turquoise waters, and blissful relaxation, then stop searching and start booking. Few places in the UAE really offer supreme privacy quite like The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach. A fusion of traditional grandeur and modern indulgence, this sensational seaside resort is made up of just 32 exclusive private villas with private pools. The villas are inspired by bedouin tents but injected with luxurious aesthetics in the form of monocrhome furniture and four poster beds. But the outdoor space is where this property reigns supreme, and each villa – complete with direct beach access – comes with an expansive outdoor terrace, where a private pool, outdoor shower, and tub make it near impossible to tear yourself away from your impressive digs.

But when you do, this coastal paradise has much more to offer. Whether you prefer adventures on land or sea there’s plenty on offer: Water-based activities range from snorkelling the local reefs to fishing and kayaking the sparkling sea; while back on land, the adjacent Al Hamra Golf Club offers 18 championship holes of scenic golf by the sea. Dreaming of the desert? The resort’s sister property, The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert unrolls against the backdrop of a sprawling nature reserve, and guests can enjoy access to myriad experiences within the rolling desert dunes, from falconry to dune bashing.

Then there’s the pampering spa, an invitation to envelope in indulgent relaxation. With picture-perfect views to the horizon, where sky blues meld into the endless shades of the sea, the entire space is a tranquil ode

to the serene setting. Locally inspired treatments harness the power of regional flowers, spices and natural ingredients, and are offered in warm and inviting treatment rooms, as well as beautiful waterside pavilions, where you can bliss out to the sound of the gently lapping waves.

On the foodie front, Shore House is a nautical themed all-day restaurant serving a wealth of tasty international dishes. You can always order room service too, which can arrive on a floating tray to enjoy in the comforts of your pool.

To maximise your stay, the resort presents the Ultimate Beach Experience, designed for two adults and up to two children. You’ll get an overnight stay in a villa with private pool, breakfast, lunch and dinner included plus a duo of activities. There’s 60 minutes of kayaking or archery for a bit of family fun, and a 15-minute foot massage to end your stay with a little pampering. Room rates start from Dhs2,327, use code D60.


AED 169 Soft Package


AED 249 Premium Beverage Package including draught brews & bubbly

Keep the Saturday groove alive! Enjoy live jams with Chady & the Band, feast on delicious live cooking stations, and mix your own beverages like a pro. Plus, you could win prizes so amazing, they will make your friends jealous. Join us for a brunch that’s anything but basic! Because why should Fridays have all the fun?
189 House Beverage Package
T: +971 4 438 0069 / +971 55 415 2623 | E: hotel.jumeirahlakestowers.fb@movenpick.com | @ubkdubai

This month, What’s On turns 45. We’re not expecting a cake or any presents though. This country has already given us so much. Instead, we’re dedicating these pages to thank you letters. We’re passing the parcel and unwrapping the best of the UAE in the present. These are 45 of our favourite places and spaces in the UAE right now



All Things Mochi

Born in the UAE, designed in Amsterdam, Mochi is easily recognisable for its beautiful, printed clothes combined with vintage-inspired designs. The female-focused handmade pieces are made to make you feel more confident to express yourself.


02Apotheca Beauty

Apotheca Beauty, founded by three Kuwaiti sisters with a passion for beauty, is committed to bringing customers a curated assortment of niche and effective beauty brands, tried-and-tested. From make-up to skincare, hair products to body, Apotheca Beauty launched as an online distribution platform in 2013 and has since opened a store in Nakheel Mall where you can shop brands such as The Nue Co., Tatcha, Anastasia Beverly Hills, and more.


03 Below Farm

Born in the wake of the pandemic, this vertical farm grows up to 120 tonnes of mushrooms a year, without taking up as much as a square metre of arable land. With sustainability and self-sufficiency at its core, this new age movement is reimagining mushrooms, to deliver nutritious produce, contribute to a circular economy and promote sustainable innovation across sectors. Mushroom fanatics can purchase fresh mushrooms, mushroom powder, as well as grow it yourself mushroom kits. @belowfarm


Beach City

One of the leading destinations for partywear, Beach City set the benchmark for homegrown fashion brands in the beachwear/ brunchwear space when it launched its online store. Now, in addition to the weeklyupdated online range, you can visit Beach City’s pair of stores in JBR and Palm Jumeirah, where the selections include swimwear, resortwear, partywear and a new collection –bridal. @shopbeachcity


Boon Coffee

Boon Coffee was founded by Orit Mohammed, an entrepreneurial Ethiopian woman who has a passion for coffee and helping the community. The organic coffee roaster prides itself on its 100 per cent pure single-origin coffee from Ethiopia, providing some of the finest, freshest, and skillfully roasted beans in the region. They serve coffee with a conscience by working with non-profits to support agriculture in developing nations. Try their cold brew at one of their five cafés or shop the beans online to recreate the unmissable coffee experience at home. @booncoffee


The Botanist



Cancer survivor Lama Riachi created the urban clothing line BLSSD with the intention to bring more than just fashion to the world. She’s out to make a positive impact, curating ethical and sustainable fibres. Purchases at BLSSD are guiltfree, with much of the proceeds going to causes that pay for cancer patients’ treatments and contribute to their holistic and family wellbeing.


Many of us now ask ourselves, ‘how can I be more eco-friendly?’. When Ruby Giroux moved to Dubai, she found this very difficult. Like a true female boss, she took matters into her own hands and started to create home and cleaning products. Her brand embodies sustainability by using natural ingredients to create her masterpieces that are packaged in refillable bottles. These products are available in multiple locations across the city such as Spinneys and Waitrose.





Bouguessa is a standout in the UAE’s fashion scene, embodying modern elegance with its minimalist yet luxurious designs. Founded by Dubai-based designer Faiza Bouguessa, the brand seamlessly merges traditional Middle Eastern influences with contemporary aesthetics. From impeccably tailored abayas to ready-to-wear collections, Bouguessa takes an eco-friendly approach to create timeless pieces that capture the essence of understated chic.



Lifestyle influencer and table designer Léa Sfeir is the founder of chic tableware brand, By Léa Sfeir. Having worked in the fashion industry in Paris and Milan, Léa’s passion for dressingup and attention-to-detail is evident not just by the clothes she wears but in her dinner tables she sets. From candleholders and napkins to hand-painted plates and glasses, her beautiful timeless pieces allow you to recreate your own sophisticated tables with love at home. @byleasfeir


Chic Le Frique

Founded by entrepreneur Sara Rahbari, Chic Le Frique is known and loved for its trendy linen two-piece sets that ooze summer style, with pieces inspired by Dubai’s cosmopolitan look and feel. From humble roots in the region, Chic Le Frique is now an internationally embraced name. @chiclefrique_official


Co Chocolat

Founded by two health-conscious sisters in Dubai, Co Chocolat is the first farm-totable chocolate factory in the Middle East. After huge success online with its healthy chocolates and drinks, the factory first opened to visitors just over a year ago in Warsan Third. Included in the 90-minute tour, visitors can try fresh cacao, over 10 different chocolate flavours, and create their own chocolate from over 20 toppings. The pod tour is available from Thursday to Sunday, priced at Dhs135 (introductory offer) for adults and children aged five years and above.



Coco Swim

Designed in Dubai and made in Bali, Coco Swim is on a mission to create swimwear that flatters all body shapes. Coco Swim focuses on highquality pieces that are elegant and durable, there are three designs to choose from with sizes that go up to 2XL. The high-waisted bikinis and shapely swimsuits come in a range of colours, from baby pink and sapphire blue to a striking red and classic black.



Cole and Cinder

This stunning Dubai-based ceramics brand began as a passion project, much like many other great homegrown brands. Founded by Nicole Farrelly, it offers a unique selection of vases, bowls, mugs, candleholders, and more. Delicately handcrafted in Dubai, the products are inspired by the hypnotic shapes of nature’s forms, mirroring the beauty of the world in all its imperfections. You can now shop the pieces online as well as at the studio, Oka Ceramics in Al Quoz. @coleandcinder

14 Crank

For a high-intensity heart-pumping workout, look no further than Crank. This homegrown workout zone, located in Alserkal Avenue in Dubai and Sheikha Fatima Park in Abu Dhabi, has an inspiring and diverse team that is ready to push your body to new limits. Their Ride sessions consist of a spinning class, which will get you to pedal through heavy climbs or powerful sprints, while their Shape classes are a full-body workout, which aims to burn and shape your muscles. @crank.uae

CTZN Cosmetics

Founded by three sisters, CTZN Cosmetics stands out in the UAE’s beauty landscape, offering a diverse range of makeup products that cater to all skin tones and types. Reflecting the multi-cultural landscape of the UAE, CTZN Cosmetics ensures every product – from vibrant lipsticks to eyeshadow palettes –is both luxurious and accessible. @ctzncosmetics



Dima Ayad

Dubai-based Lebanese designer

Dima Ayad launched her elegant and timeless fashion brand in 2010 and has since taken the inclusive fashion scene by storm in the Middle East and beyond. The multi-functional wardrobe pieces are designed to make you feel your best with minimal effort, comfortable silhouettes, and metallic elements. @dimaayad



Design Lab

Enso Design Lab is a Dubai-based accessories brand rooted in minimalist design focusing on sustainability, craftsmanship, simplicity, functionality, and high-quality materials. Explore their collection of women’s and men’s jewellery pieces as well as sunglasses, haircombs, and more.


FIX Dessert Chocolatier


Made in Dubai in 2021, Fix Dessert Chocolatier has the most delicious and creative chocolate flavours such as the viral Can’t Get Knafeh Of It and You Karak Me Up. It’s famous for its unique dessert-filled chocolate bars that you can get your hands on with next day delivery in Dubai. @fixdessertchocolatier


Fyne Jewellery


Dive Campus

Dive Campus, located in Al Quoz, holds the region’s largest indoor ‘Dive Tank’, made with upcycled shipping containers. With 220,000 litres of fresh water, the tank measures four metres deep, 12 metres long, and five metres wide. The homegrown concept started back in 2021 as an online shop and has since become a certified PADI training academy and a home for Dubai’s burgeoning community of diving enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and ocean lovers. @divecampus

Aya Ahmad launched lab-grown diamond jewellery brand, Fyne Jewellery, to shine a light on sustainable and ethical diamonds that are guaranteed to be conflictfree. Purchasing sparkling brilliance at Fyne Jewellery means that land, wildlife and local communities will not have been displaced. Packaging is recyclable, vegan and crueltyfree, using soy-based inks, acid-free paper and compostable mailers, to minimalise Fyne Jewellery’s carbon footprint. @fynejewellery


The Giving Movement

One of Dubai’s biggest homegrown fashion success stories is The Giving Movement. The streetwear label launched in 2020, creating hyper trendy, eco-friendly athleisurewear on a mandate to ‘give back’, with Dhs15 donated to charity for every item sold. Their affordable garment line (Dhs199) includes fits for ladies, gents and children. @thegivingmovement

22 goshá

Dubai’s homegrown florist, goshá, is what floral dreams are made of.

Founded by Natalia Shustova in 2020, the poetry-inspired florist and ceramics studio has an array of beautiful statement bouquets and unique arrangements that have transformed the way people perceive and experience flowers. From everlasting arrangements to fresh designer bouquets, you can order online or visit the studio in Al Quoz, with prices starting from Dhs450 for small. @gosha.flowers



The Happy Tribe

Co-founded by Gillian and Jess, two fabulous female businesswomen in Dubai, The Happy Tribe adds a little wow-factor to everyday items. From the vibrant-hued products to the personalised patches available on every purchase, each item is madeto-order and can be totally bespoke. Their original range of pouches for everything from packing to cosmetics has now expanded to include tote bags, backpacks, pyjamas and more. There’s now even a store in Motor City where you can go and pick out your products and watch them get personalised right infront of you. @thehappytribe.ae


Kaleidoscope by Mimi


Huda Beauty

Beauty blog turned billion-dollar business, Huda Beauty is a UAEborn cosmetic phenomenon. Founded by Huda Kattan in 2013, the brand’s products became global bestsellers. Recently, in partnership with sister Mona, the pair launched a new fragrance brand, Kayali.





Kinki Swim

Kinki Swim aims to bridge the gap between high-quality and sustainable swimwear, with expertly crafted boho chic designs. Most pieces are convertable, with matching, sustainably made silky satins coverups.


This vibrant brand encompasses the vast travels of founder Mimi Shakhashir, a girl boss who truly embraces her love for worldwide cultures through fashion. Kaleidoscope by Mimi keeps a sustainable ethos at the heart of this brand, utilising eco-friendly methods, as well directly sourcing materials from the communities that hand craft her pieces. Ladies can feast their eyes on dresses, kimonos, kaftans and more, that boast vibrant colours and hypnotic patterns.


Dubai-born LC was founded by resident Lyndsay Doran who found a gap in the market for high-quality athleisure wear that fits all shapes and sizes. Putting fashion to fitness, classic LC sets of gym shorts and leggings can be paired with sports bras in neutral and signature colours, but they also introduce seasonal collections, and have recently added menswear. @lcofficial



LOCH is a family-owned, homegrown UAE brand focused on stylish and sustainable hydration. Once you try one of their insulated stainless steel water bottles, you will never go back. The water bottles keep liquids cold for 24-hours, hot for 12-hours, and have an easy-sip straw lid. It’s an easy way to stay hydrated, be more environmentally friendly, and look good while you’re doing it. @loch.life


The Matcha Club

The Matcha Club is a boutique padel club and wellness studio with three locations in the UAE: Al Quoz, Meydan, and Al Bateen ladies’ club. The Matcha Club is an escape from the frantic pace of city life. The design-led club – with terracotta courts, burntorange fencing, olive trees, and Mediterranean aesthetic – swiftly became an iconic lifestyle hub. From yoga and meditation classes to hip restaurants and cold-water pools, it is the place to be for padel pros, wellness enthusiasts, yogis, digital nomads, and stylish young families. @matchadxb

Megumi Matcha

Rie from Japan started Megumi Matcha one-year ago, selling ceremonial grade matcha and hosting tea-making workshops in Dubai. From the farm in Kyoto to the packaging, Megumi is completely run by women. Noticing a lack of good quality matcha in the UAE, Megumi Matcha brings the authentic matcha experience from the farm in Kyoto to your cup. Shop their ceremonial grade matcha and matcha kits online. @megumi_matcha

WHATSON.AE | JUNE 2024 29 30



From roasting cocoa beans to hand-wrapping bars, this homegrown bean-to-bar chocolate factory is a mustvisit for chocolate aficionados. Inspired by the UAE’s history, the name comes from the Arabic for ‘herald’– it’s a star that used to signal the start of the summer winds and, as such, the ripening of the dates. @mirzamchocolate


Pirates Surf Rescue


United in a mission to empower children, this company believes in fostering a like-minded community that encompasses good, moral, and hardworking athletes. The popular water sports and lifestyle programme is for children of all fitness levels, abilities, genders and ages. Created by Candice Fanucci in 2011, Pirates Surf started with five children on Kite beach, and has since taken the region by storm with over 1,000 children and teens. @pirates.surf



Homegrown brand Natrl box water sells a 10 litre bagin-a-box of New Zealand mineral water, that use 90 per cent less plastic. It comes with a 7.5pH level that is completely in sync with our bodies to aid digestion and hydration. Plus the boxes are 100 per cent recyclable and an eco-friendly choice to stay hydrated while you’re on the road. @natrlwater


Nuaimi Collective

Emirati designer Huda Al Nuaimi is the brain behind this luxury print and product design label. With several gorgeous eco-friendly fabrics to choose from, anyone can purchase these designs and utilise them for their own personalised creation. Whether you want a dress, shirt or scarf made, your item will be totally unique. Shoppers can also purchase their iconic coral take-everywhere tote bag, an item that will elevate any outfit. @nuaimi_collective



Founded by Elle Sawyer, this Pilates studio debuted on the Palm in 2022 with a second location launching in Downtown later this year. Whether you’re looking for a leg-shaking workout or a more relaxing, meditative one, Posture promises a mind-body-soul experience. They offer reformer, Cadillac, and mat Pilates for all levels in a zen-like setting. The studio honours the original style of Joseph Pilates and focuses on form and core, rather than burning calories, and an emphasis on strength and mobility in all their signature classes. @thisisposture


Pure Born

This UAE-born sustainable baby care brand has rapidly expanded across the globe. Hannah Curran, CEO and founder, started her business when she became worried about the environmental toll traditional nappies and baby wipes took on our planet. Pure Born provides products that are safe for babies and the planet. Using organic, compostable, vegan and cruelty-free materials such as bamboo pulp. This brand is now being sold in over 10 countries and is available in major retailers in the UAE.



The Rume

Homegrown candle brand The Rume was founded in 2022 by British expat, Elise Kerr. Making the perfect gift, each of the candles is made from a 100 per cent toxin-free blend of coconut and beeswax. Choose from six stylish and decorative scents each one embodying its own personality, including Floral Storm, Liquid Disco, Wake-Up Call, and Wild Side. Not sure which candle is for you? Take The Rume’s online personality test to find out which candle matches your aesthetic. @the.rume



Samadhi Wellness

Samadhi, Jumeirah’s zen wellness space, features two types of yoga studios, Reflect, with infrared heaters; and Connect, which extends into the garden in the cooler months. Plus there’s a sauna, stunning pool, ice bath, hair therapy rooms, sanctuary garden, wholesome café, and a shop. At Samadhi you know you’re in safe hands… the wellness space is the brainchild of Samar Al Salem, a Kuwaiti architect and yogi on a mission to help others live a better and more fulfilled life.



Sand Dollar

Sand Dollar is the brainchild of businesswoman Lucy Gibson, beloved for its impressive curation of resortwear brands, collections for women, men and children, and lastminute-outfit-saving threehour delivery. Shoppers can peruse a collection of 100 luxe brands all known and loved for their breezy style. From beautiful beachwear to flattering swimwear, the brands available include cult swimwear brands Hunza G and Melissa Odabash; as well as creators of the perfect holiday pieces, Never Fully Dressed and Love Shack Fancy. @sanddollardubai

40 Shimis

Stretch your stress away at this unique yoga studio, found in the heart of Al Quoz. Shimis was created by Simona Stanton, who wanted to combine her passions for both fitness and mindfulness. This studio has two workout areas, The Box Studio, which is a carefully curated dark room, heated to the ideal temperature of 34 degrees. Or The Green Room, with lots of natural light and plants incorporated into the design, helping all yogis to feel grounded. @shimis.dubai


Suited & Booted

This British-owned, bespoke tailors began solely in suiting for men, but now with locations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, they offer suits for ladies and gents whether it’s for workwear, weddings, or special occasions. But the Suited & Booted empire has also expanded into more casual fits, and the brand also sells more relaxed shirts, chinos and even swimwear at their Al Quoz store and studio.


42 Suncillo

Founded by Ludmilla Laradi, Suncillo is a Dubai-based Ibizan-inspired swimwear and resortwear brand created to give women the feeling of being comfortable and confident even when they’re not fully dressed. Combining the finest fabrics with vibrant colours, and unusual cuts, the pieces maintain comfort while being sensuous. @suncillo

Surf House

Surf House opened in 1992 and has been a hub for the water-loving community ever since. They offer all things surf related, such as lessons, equipment, surf school and SUP hires. This surfer’s paradise, located in Jumeirah, also has a cafe, serving healthy eats and piping hot coffee as well as a shop selling homegrown brands. Surf House invites people to come and use their space to work and you can even bring your fourlegged friends. @surfhousedubai




Tabchilli is a homegrown gem located in Dar Wasl mall run by Maher, who is greatly passionate about all things spicy and fermented. It offers an array of fermented products as well as weekly workshops. In the two-hour slot, guests will be guided through the fermentation process before making their own kimchi and chilli paste. If you’re an avid spice lover then you need to make your way down to this workshop.



Thrift for Good

This enterprise puts Dubai’s old clothes to good use: re-homing preloved items to reduce waste. Thrift for Good welcomes all clothes as they are committed to repairing or recycling old items or materials. Go to any of their outlets to find your perfect thrift find or to donate clothes you have been hiding at the back of your cupboard. All profits go to helping children around the world, in partnership with Gulf for Good.






Representing the rare majesty of the Balkans, the name 21grams comes from the theorised weight of the human soul (based on the results of a controversial experiment). It’s also a nod to the fact that if you trace the 21º line of latitude on a map, you’ll eventually find the Balkan heartlands. This female-led restaurant rose to Dubai fame initially for its breakfast spreads, but there’s far more depth to the menu than their admittedly graceful pastries. Elsewhere you’ll find all the authentic fire and flavour, stews, ragouts, meats and pies that make up true Eastern Europe soul food. @21grams.dubai 02



Al Ustad Special Kabab

If you’re not willing to take our word for it (odd choice of reading material but you do you), the fact this local legend has been around (just) longer than What’s On (since 1978); and that it counts royals and international A-listers (many of whom are plastered pictorially across the venue) amongst its devoted patrons; should help to persuade you of its worthiness for carrying ‘Special’ as its middle name. It represents incredible value, delivers outstanding meaty feasts, it’s consistent and a saj-wrapped, nostalgia-steeped, delicious dose of local history. @ostadi_1978

An, at first glance, unassuming eatery along the waters of Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, 3Fils was one of the first homegrown Dubai restaurants to really capture the awe of respected international good food guides. It began life as a chef Akmal Anuar project – and continues to serve an incredible range of innovative, modern Asian dishes with ovation-courting sidesteps (see: triple cooked chips, charcoal, and mean leaf). @3.fils


Avli by tashas

Located in DIFC, this Greek epic proposes an odyssey of authentic Athenian tastes and textures that reflect the Hellenic capital’s unique charms and elegant allure. Founded by locally-revered restauranteur

Natasha Sideris, the restaurant honours her philosophy of beautiful food, stunningly appointed environments, and warm hospitality. @avlibytashas


Arabian Tea House

There are now multiple locations of Arabian Tea House across the UAE, in Egypt and even one with the unlikely foreign assignment of Montenegro. But nothing beats the Al Fahidi OG – a cinematic microcosm of times goneby, with a picturesque tree-shaded courtyard, flowing drapery and turquoise wooden benches. The kitchen is also responsible for enchanting tales and heritage trails – through its nourishing catalogue of Emirati and wider Middle Eastern delicacies. @arabianteahouse



Bait Maryam

Bait Maryam’s chef-owner Salam Dakkak often says that she wants people to treat her restaurant like a family home (which is where the Bib Gourmand eatery derives its name). The irony is of course, if families had this sort of cooking at home, they’d never eat out. It’s a JLT masterclass of Middle Eastern cuisine with ancient recipes faithfully retold and remastered for the soul-food-seeking palate. Keep your eyes peeled and your saliva slick for the imminent opening of her first fine-dining restaurant, Sufret Maryam, soon.




This grand dame of the Dubai dining scene will never go out of fashion. There’s barely a day that goes by where I don’t think about their butterflied tenderloin steak frites robed in the audaciously lascivious signature sauce. And it’s clear we’re not alone, the dining area rarely features anything less than a vibrant hum of contented datenighters, swirling Bordeaux and fizzing with polished rizz. @couqleyuae


Chez Wam

I know we’re not supposed to pick favourites here, but this Dubai-menu-touting, rooftop stunner fronted by the mercurial genius of chef Hadrien Villedieu, would breeze into the top five without a single glance back. Dancing across the atlas of global cuisine, the food that lands at your table is like a dog-eared postcard from a treasured past holiday. It’s bold, completely uninterested in your preconceptions, and delivers across an infinitely dense stack of layers. Add to that an eclectic, bangerpacked playlist, gorgeous ‘back-to-mine-for-theafters’ interiors and a unique cocktail collection, and you have a rare specimen indeed friends. @chezwamdubai


Dampa Seafood



Estiatorio Milos

Chef Costas Spiliadis takes the helm at Atlantis

The Royal’s Milos, presenting his lauded take on high-end Hellenic food, wine, and hospitality. Forgoing the traditional taverna feel that can be seen in many of the Greek restaurants here, the main dining salon is a magnificently large space, with a double height ceiling, a standout show kitchen, and rows of tables that lead out to the terrace. Every dish from the freshly caught fish and Greek wild oysters to the ceviches and tzatziki are presented in their purest form, with ingredients promising the freshest flavours.


What’s all the fuss about? Why does Dampa enjoy such a cult-level of impassioned devotion? It’s a masterful delivery of an uncontrived idea. The signature dining experience at Dampa, comes via the medium of buckets or ‘dumps’ of seafood. Giant baskets of freshly grilled shrimp, crab, mussels, clams and sweetcorn cobs, which are heaved theatrically onto your table. You’ll then need to dissect the huge chitinous mountain, peeling off perfectly cooked morsels of sea-meat. The flavours sing in operatic verse, of spice, and smokiness and just a semiquaver of sweetness.


Fusion Ceviche

What’s On’s Homegrown Restaurant of the Year 2023, Fusion Ceviche is an authentic Peruvian eatery in JLT. It’s a tropical cyclone of electric Latin flavours, with special attention paid – as the name hints – to citrus-cured fish dishes. The beautiful mind behind this restaurant is Penelope Diaz, a self-taught Peruvian chef whose journey to Dubai restauranteur began with a circle of trust supper club out of her apartment. A destiny that was always meant to be made manifest.



@dampaseafoodgrill 12

Gaia is the brainchild of the charismatic, Midas-touch chef, Izu Ani. It’s a gorgeous Greek Mediterranean restaurant found in the hyper-competitive culinary crucible of DIFC, where being anything less than consistently exceptional means being promptly chewed up and spat into the napkin of what-could-have-beens. Gaia has thrived though, courting rave reviews and packed-out tables since it opened in 2018. All of which contributed to an inevitable intercontinental expansion, and London’s Mayfair now has its own seats at the Gaia table.




High Joint

‘How dare you put a burger restaurant in the 45 best restaurants list?’ Is the sort of thing I’d expect to hear from someone who’s never eaten at High Joint before. This homegrown chain emerged from humble hole-in-the-wall Al Manara origins to become a superpower in Dubai’s casual dining sphere. The menu incorporates secret techniques and tweaks inspired by a global search for the perfect burger and frequently features feverdream specials. But their staple smash –the High Burger is one bun you don’t want to shun. @high.joint


Iki Sushi


Il Borro

Il Padrino, The Godfather of Italian restaurants in Dubai. Led by chef and culinary admiral, Stefano Giovannetti – Il Borro takes a daily voyage through the broil and passion of Tuscan delicaseas whether you’re on board or not. But you really should be. Exceptional service; a big menu of expertly rendered Italian cuisine (try the worldclass pappa al pomodoro); fine dining interiors that positively bait you into hand-gesturing wildly; all staged in Jumeirah Al Naseem’s turtle lagoon.

@tuscan bistrodubai


We’d argue homegrown, multi-award-winning restaurant, Jun’s is very much an authentic representation of Dubai. Not because it serves Emirati cuisine, it doesn’t in any traditional sense, but because its holistic offering is such an amalgam of international influences and styles, it captures the essence of this, our cosmopolitan city that so thrives on diversity. The man behind the menu is Chef Kelvin Cheung, a proud ambassador of third-culture cooking who infuses his dishes with personality, skillfully intertwining nostalgia, innovation, and stories from his childhood, to create culinary masterpieces. @junsdubai

17 Kinoya

This under-the-radar omakase experience emerged from Lowe’s (who can take this as a nod for their own inclusion) private dining room and, short of asphyxia-induced hallucinations, is the closest you’ll get to experiencing Osaka in Dubai. It’s a place for people “who know their sushi”, a boutique set-up with scant seating that drives an intimate mode of dining. The decorative elements are a Kurosawa film still – dark wood, Japanese steel and a kitchen area cloaked by a downlit white drape, emblazoned with the inked ‘Iki’ character. A shrine of sufficient sanctity to host the revered art of authentic sushi making. @iki_sushi_dubai

If you’re looking for homegrown Dubai culinary success stories, you should probably start and stop here. In the seven short years between 2017 and now, chef Neha Mishra has taken her enterprise from an underground supper club (A Story of Food); to a bricks-andmortar Dubai restaurant (Kinoya) in 2021; and onto international expansion with a 20-seater eatery in the world’s most iconic food hall, Harrods of London. It’s not luck that’s got chef Neha there, it’s an almost otherworldly talent in layering taste experiences, it’s a tireless commitment to innovation and an anmatched drive for perfection. @kinoya.ae


Lila Wood-Fired Taqueria

This family-run Jumeirah jewel from chef Shaw Lash (Lila) and her husband (Tarek) has cut right to the heart of what people really want. Tacos. Their version of what I firmly believe is the solution to most, if not all, of life’s problems, benefits from documentarylevel authenticity. The menu majors in these DIY tortillas filled with flashes of fire, spice, citrus and rice, but extends will beyond it. It’s an operation that prioritises sustainable production and locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.




The MAINE Oyster Bar & Grill

Everyone remembers their first time at The Maine. Those emblematic monochrome tiles and glitzy chandeliers, the precision-mixed cocktails, seductive seafood ensembles, and Parisian brasserie-tier steak – it just vibrates with Maine character energy. It’s seven-years-old now, but still feels impossibly fresh, welcoming in a loyal crowd every night of the week. @themainedxb



Staged in Eden House, Satwa –Moonrise is a bit of a wild one.

There’s no a la carte. There’s only one table with space for 12 diners but if we were ranking this list in order of where serves ‘the best food in the UAE’... I think you’d have to place Moonrise near, if not at, the top. Chef Solemann Haddad is a genius, the grand wizard of thoughtful sauce-ry. His 12-course love letter to growing up in Dubai is nothing short of an opus. And his 90s Alfredo might be the most brilliant piece of food creativity in Dubai. @moonrise.xyz


Mimi Kakushi

There are a lot of reasons why it’s easy to fall in love with Mimi Kakushi, beyond its very obvious physical beauty – there’s the menu of outstanding Japanese cuisine; the exemplary service; the jazz-enriched soul; the industryleading, top-tier brunch; the intelligently composed and expertly crafted cocktails; and the wagyu and foie gras gyozas, which like the restaurant it’s served in, are a pure example of delicately wrapped decadence. @mimikakushi


Mythos Urban Greek Eatery

Dubai’s Mythos compendium is now several titans of Greek cuisine strong, with the original location still looming large in JLT and a newer outpost of the empire bossing City Walk’s C2. I’m focusing here on the 2.0, a controversial move but it’s a work of true aesthetic harmony and the rewards for investigating its menu are Homeric in their poetry. Mythos perfectly demonstrates why there seems to be a disproportionate number of Greek restaurants on this list – simple, quality food, that’s prepared to high and consistent levels, using authentic methods and ingredients.




Underrated and unashamedly Gallic to the core, Odeon is a Jumeirah Beach Road villa-turnedFrench food haven with a fresh food market/fromagerie/ patisserie downstairs and refined restaurant upstairs. Owned by a dynamic husband-and-wife team who manage the kitchen and FOH respectively, its traditional French cuisine, served with zesty verve and palpable joie de vivre. @odeondubai


Orfali Bros. Bistro

The super Orfali brothers really are some of Dubai’s best respected homegrown restaurant heroes. And for good reason, take a look at the award-winning, Michelin Guiderecognised menu of their Wasl 51 Mall restaurant. It shows off creativity, craft and range applied to both Middle Eastern cuisine, and international dishes. The locally inspired fare is so good in fact that it’s almost a crime to order the burger. Even if it’s very possibly the best one in Dubai.




Put an aquarium in a restaurant and you’d think that might end up being the biggest talking point. Not at this one. Carved into the belly of Atlantis – one of Dubai’s hardest-working, and most excitingly inventive chefs – Grégoire Berger has been given carte blanche to take you on a thalasso-themed 10,000 league joyride through the expeditions and adventures of his past. There is not a single dish on his tasting menu that doesn’t seem as though it’s been snatched from a distant future. It is holistically, individually and aesthetically – a work of the purest art. @ossianodubai




Pierchic is the sheer peak of Dubai venues with a view, a fine dining pearl spun out on a 100-metre-or-so wooden pier attached to the stately, Jumeirah Al Qasr. And it stands there with 360º vistas of the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah coastline and the vanishing horizon. It’s all paired with entries from Chef Beatrice Segoni’s dalla nonna back catalogue, covetous carbs, fish dishes, and, ovviamente... tiramisu.



Row on 45

The crowning jewel in star chef Jason Atherton’s tripod of culinary experiences at Grosvenor House is Row on 45. On every level: setting, atmosphere, service, cuisine, wine pairing – it excels. The 17-course modular, multisetting menu is nothing short of a sensorial safari. A broadly European menu enhanced by masterful Asian side steps, along the way guests are invited to ruminate on evoked palate snapshots from chef Jason’s exotic kitchen expeditions, absorb the theatre of precision detail presentation, and the operatic choreography of service par excellence. @rowon45dubai

Ravi Restaurant

Justly admired as a Dubai institution, Satwa’s Ravi Restaurant has been serving generous portions of top quality, incredible value Pakistani and Indian food for close to half a century. Best enjoyed from a Karachi tapas angle – with sharing portions of authentic chicken tikka, kebabs, lamb chops, biryani, daal, and mutton kadai. Freshly baked naan and roti should be subbed in for cutlery. They say variety is the spice of life, but spice in its many Ravi varieties, is also life.



San Wan Hand Pulled Noodles

JLT has a standalone canon when it comes to the UAE’s culinary cosmos. Within it, a heaving swarm of stars pull diners into their orbit through happy experiment and wordof-mouth gravitas. There’s a healthy choice of excellent Asian restaurants there, so for their light to shine brightly enough to stand out amongst the background glow, you need something special. That’s San Wan. Small menu. Fastidious attention to detail. The most incredible bowl of biang biang you’ll find in the Middle East. @sanwan.dxb


Tasca by José Avillez

Ahhh Tasca. It’s difficult to remain unbiased about places you fall in love with so helplessly, and completely. But Tascan evangelism will make sense to all those who have experienced the restaurant. It’s currently neck and neck with Ronaldo for the most valuable Portuguese export to the Middle East – the tuna cones, the beef cones – the arroz de carabeinero, those travel brochure sundowner views. It is, in my opinion, the greatest date night spot in Dubai bar none.



Tresind Studio


TakaHisa An omakase experience that comes with a famously luxurious price tag, but when you have masters (sushi and beef) of Japanese cuisine sabering through cuts of A5 grade BMS 12 wagyu, you cannot in all sound sanity expect streeteat prices. Their commitment to quality extends to the surf element too, with TakaHisa’s seafood flying into the country (presumably first class) from the renowned Toyosu fish market. This is pure Dubai bucket list dining. @takahisa_dubai

Two Michelin-star fine dining Indian restaurant Tresind Studio is a testament to Dubai’s homegrown culinary scene. The restaurant, a former What’s On Restaurant of the Year recipient, has long been considered the best, most organic retelling of the burgeoning flavours laced within Indian cuisine. A reward for its intimate dining experience, charming homegrown clout, a humble head chef with genius ambition, and an ever-evolving menu that elevates modern Indian cuisine into the stratosphere.




Some names carry a certain weight of expectation with them. Having your reputation precede you, invites a thief to the banquet of surprise and locks you into a life of unslippable standards. Japanese restaurant Zuma fits this profile with aplomb – part of a global network of gushedover, gentle fusion, gastronomic outlets, you don’t visit expecting mediocre. You visit expecting ‘wow’. It scores highly on quality, on variety, on consistency, range and every other culinary credential you’d care to consider.





99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant

A Japanese fine dining establishment with roots in the culinary crucible of Madrid. The Abu Dhabi outpost is located inside the Four Seasons Hotel on Al Maryah Island, Dubai’s is housed in the Address Downtown. The menu is a masterwork. The restaurants are some of the few in the region that deliberately dare to do things differently, and they manage to pull it all off with immaculate flair.




We’re all probably going to have to agree to disagree on where to find the best UAE pizza. But Antonia has my vote (as does their no pineapple rule).

Sitting pretty on the ‘it’s giving Riviera’ Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Antonia is an uncontrived licensed Roman restaurant, with the chief menu proposition of pizza al taglio (pizzas ‘by the slice’). It’s all very simple, leaving the menu to take centre stage. This spot is all about pizza – and their 72-hour fermented Italianprovenance sourdough base is a masterpiece. It’s light and airy, puffed up with self-appreciation of its layered earthy flavour. @antonia.uae



Found in the cultural epicentre of Abu Dhabi, Al Hosn – this ode to Emirati cuisine deserves to be taken very seriously. Not only is it an ambassador for an underappreciated culinary flame – it’s a proud innovator, taking beloved local delicacies to a new level of refinement with internationally inspired nuances. The chic interiors are arguably the restaurant’s main course, but if you dine out too heavily on those – you’ll miss the Margooga ravioli. @erth.uae


José by Pizarro

Conrad Abu Dhabi

Etihad Towers’ casa of continental cuisine, José by Pizarro is a bijoux, 46-seat tapas bar and restaurant. It’s a concept from international cheffing icon José Pizarro –tapas tzar and poster boy for the globalisation of Iberian gastronomy. Does it serve the best paella in the UAE? Possibly. But it offers top-tier tapas, too. @josebypizarro

38 LPM

In truth, this entry stands for both the Abu Dhabi and Dubai venues – but a double inclusion just feels gluttonous. Al Maryah Island’s little piece of Parisian paradise is a handsome property – the interiors are every bit the upmarket Haussmann Bistro, with white tablecloths and art deco detailing on the walls. Outside the scarlet petal awning on the terrace flaps noncommittally in the breeze.

How French. The menu offers diners a chic promenade along the boulevards of European cuisine and so audaciously authentic we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to discover it holds a full French passport.




This low-fi Mina Zayed eatery was brought to life by father-son duo, Raj and Sebastian Dagstani. The achingly cool, endearingly cosy restaurant hosts guests at just eight tables indoors alongside several more on the outdoor patio. That level of intimacy is manifest on their menu too, which has evolved to an apex line of just five pizzas and a selection of focaccia. Marmellata really shines in the topping department, many of their gourmet scatters have been given a local touch with mushrooms plucked from a UAE desert farm and figs from Liwa. @marmellatalove


Talea by Antonio Guida

Found in the regal splendour of Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Talea is an Italian job that’s primed to blow the doors off your expectations and straight into the Tiber. You have of course a selection of pasta, pizza and risotti that will theatrically sate your carbohydrate cravings – but if you look beyond the usual suspects and Tuscan sunsets, you’ll find some of the best and most interesting European food anywhere in the UAE. @taleauae





Chef Reif Othman’s adventures in Sharjah are channelled through this conduit of fine Asian cuisine. You’ll find it in the Chedi Al Bait, plating up an ensemble of Japanese and Korean delicacies. Amongst them you’ll stumble upon some Chef Reif classics with a little bit of additional Sharjah razmataz. But if you’ve not experienced any one of his numerous restaurants before, our insider tip is – always opt for the wagyu sandos. @nomani.ae



Casa Mikoko

You don’t hear a lot about Umm Al Quwain, it’s the emirate that keeps itself to itself – quietly brooding in the corner with that aloof, cool-in-high-school smoulder. And it has reason to, sitting on such stunning leisure gems as Kite Beach. It’s here you’ll find Casa Mikoko, a barefoot-if-youfancy diner with a seafoodpacked menu that’s as nonchalant as its Africaninspired surrounds. @casamikoko.uaq


Sonara Camp Al Wadi

44 Aquario

Inside sumptuous coastal retreat, The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah, Aquario routinely makes candle-lit culinary waves at its beachside location. On the table, a bounty of sustainably-sourced Mediterranean fare is fired and finessed for discerning diners. There’s a strong selection of crudo and caviar, seafood, meat, Italian mains, and sartorially dressed sweets. @oberoialzorah 45



Likely not the best-known restaurant on our list – but we wanted to ensure we show each of the seven Emirates some love, and when in Fujairah – it has to be Drift. The blue hues of sea views abound, and that theme carries on through to the menu, with an Atlantian trove of fresh seafood available to the dining public. A stately jewel in InterContinental Fujairah Resort’s crown. @drift.fujairah


For evenings with a blizzard of bedouin glamour, Sonara Camp should be your guide. Between a carpet of glittering grains and a moon-speckled sky – an evening of luxurious desert dining unfolds, complete with a climactic fire show. It’s an experience that is truly more than the sum of its parts, but it’s the banqueting that steals the spotlight, a Middle Eastern feast that goes so much harder than any desert safari needs to.



Words: Dinesh Ramanathan



Al Jahili Fort

One of the largest forts in the emirates, the Al Jahili Fort reflects the importance of Al Ain to Abu Dhabi’s ruling family, and is perceived as a symbol of history, heritage, and power in Al Ain. Construction on the Fort was completed in 1898, after the late Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa ordered construction of the fort and used it as his summer residence. Early restoration work was done in 1985 and more recently, major renovations were carried out on the fort. It’s now a beautifully preserved icon of UAE culture.


CLYMB Abu Dhabi

Reach new heights at CLYMB Abu Dhabi, where you can get into stunt performer mode with activities such as indoor skydiving and wall climbing. The Yas Island indoor adventure hub is home to multiple Guinness World Records, including the world’s largest indoor skydiving flight chamber and the region’s tallest climbing wall. Your Mission: Impossible ambitions just might come true here. Need a day of thrills so you can let loose and enjoy? This is it. @clymbyasisland


Emirates National Auto Museum

Abu Dhabi’s pyramidshaped Emirates National Auto Museum is an unmissable pit-stop for any car lover, home to over 200 fantastic automobiles owned by HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan. This attraction, located in Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra region, will have you snapping away even before you enter the facility, with a retired aircraft and the world’s largest model SUV greeting you at the entrance. Once inside, classic American muscle, rugged off-road machinery and a prized Mercedes rainbow collection await.


Etihad Towers

These iconic towers take prime spot in the capital city’s skyline, with the five towers featuring in most images and footage depicting Abu Dhabi. Awe-inspiring architecture comes to life at the Etihad Towers with the complex welcoming residents and visitors to stay, dine and shop amid panoramic views of the emirate. The complex is also home to the Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers Hotel, and Tower 2 includes the Observation Deck at 300 on Level 74, so you can treat your eyes to a vista of the city like you’ve never seen before. @etihadtowers_ official


Jebel Hafeet


Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s own island of thrills brings the flavour of one of the most iconic automobile brands in the world, Ferrari, to the capital. Experience the fastest roller coaster in the world, the Formula Rossa, as you hit speeds of 240 km/h. Indoors, you’ll be able to experience the history of Ferrari, on a fun, educational experience, and get on thrilling rides, some of which incorporate VR. If you’re feeling up to it, you can also rent a Ferrari and do a lap of Yas Island. @ferrariworldyasisland


Hudayriyat Island

Abu Dhabi’s adventure hub boasts several attractions such as the Hudayriyat Leisure and Entertainment District, Circuit X skate park, splash park and OCR Obstacle Course. You’re also spoiled for choice with endless attractions such as their parks, the public beaches and an overwater cycling track. If you plan to stay the night, book yourself a nice stay at the Bab Al Nojoum Hudayriyat, whose gorgeous new overwater villas will have you living in the lap of luxury amid glittering waters.

Few spots in the UAE offer incredible sunrise and sunset views as Jebel Hafeet does. Make your way to the top at an altitude of 1,249m and take in stunning views of the garden city, and depending on who you speak to, you’ll be told this is both the “best driving road in the country” as well as “the most dangerous.” Bordering Oman, the area also includes the Jebel Hafeet Desert Park, which preserves the area’s rich history and unique biodiversity, and whose list of laurels includes being recognised by the UNESCO as being a vital component of the World Heritage Site of Al Ain, the UAE’s first World Heritage Site.



Jubail Mangrove Park

Worlds away from the bustling city life of the capital lies Jubail Mangrove Park, Abu Dhabi’s own hub of beauty and biodiversity in a gorgeous, green setting. If you’re trying to get your little ones better acquainted with the environment, a stroll here will ensure that happens. This unique, selfcontained, educational and nature facility is also home to several marine and avian species in the capital. There are many fun activities you can enjoy. You can take a guided walking tour at the Jubail Mangrove Walk, which will take you on a trip through the dense mangrove plantation and is ideal for the whole family, ages five and above. @jubail_mangrove_park


Saadiyat Island

One of the most picturesque locales in the UAE, Saadiyat Island brings a gorgeous slice of the Maldives to the shores of the UAE. Stroll along the beach and lose yourself to endless views of turquoise waters and soft white sand. The island is also home to several stunning hotels, including Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort and Saadiyat Rotana as well as prized beachside dining concepts such as SAL and White. Speaking of culinary offerings, don’t forget to take a walk along the Mamsha Al Saadiyat strip, home to some of the capital’s top eateries. @saadiyatae


Warner Bros. World

Abu Dhabi

Get ready for a dose of nostalgia as some of the most iconic characters from your childhood greet you at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. This tourist attraction features iconic characters from Warner Bros. franchises including Looney Tunes, DC Comics and more, and includes a 200ft high water tower inspired by the California original. With 29 rides, numerous shows and attractions spread over an area of 1.65 million square feet, this is a theme park lovers’ paradise. @wbworldyasisland


The National Aquarium

Al Qana’s The National Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the Middle East. Housing 46,000 creatures over ten zones, it provides live experiences, engages the community, and is heavily involved in preserving local biodiversity and heritage. It is also involved in animal rescue, and strives to educate through its many endeavours. Look out for their interesting exhibits, featuring fish, stingrays, jellyfish and turtles. @thenationalaq


Yas Waterworld

Make a splash at Yas Waterworld, where you can get your thrills on over 45 rides and slides, as you cool off at the capital’s own amazing water-based Adventureland. With ladies’ days, neon nights, and a tech-powered underwater VR experience, you have plenty to choose from, and if you have lofty aquatic ambitions, you’ll be thrilled to know the facility is poised for an expansion slated for completion in 2025. Among other things, that means a total of 60 attractions to choose from. Water you waiting for? @yaswaterworldyasisland


Yas Bay Waterfront


Yas Marina Circuit

This roaring sports location is home to one of the most iconic races in the sporting calendar, the Etihad Airways Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Aside from drawing millions of eyeballs during race weekend, the Yas Marina Circuit offers year-round programming, hosting drift days, drag racing and karting. Designed by Hermann Tilke – the mind behind several other Formula One circuits, Yas Marina also allows you to to get behind the wheel and test some seriously heavy machinery. @ymcofficial

Overlooking the sparkling blue waters of the Arabian Gulf, Yas Bay Waterfront has rapidly become one of Abu Dhabi’s premier dining, leisure and entertainment destinations. Steps away from the Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island the exciting Etihad Arena, this strip is a must-visit when you’re on Yas. Enjoy gorgeous sunset views sat on a terrace, with several indulgent concepts such Siddharta Lounge, Central, Lock, Stock & Barrel and Daikan Izakaya playing the perfect host. During Ramadan, there’s the Yas Bay Waterfront Nights, which will have you immersing yourself in local heritage, handicrafts and more. Come events season, it’s home to world class UFC and NBA events, as well as leading performers from around the world. @yasbayuae




Al Zorah Natural Reserve

For a taste of serenity that feels worlds away from the city, sleepy Ajman’s mini but mighty tourism offering includes one of the most expansive natural reserves in the emirates, Al Zorah Natural Reserve. Set across a sprawling one million square feet, it’s the home of some 58 species of fauna and wildlife, and the perfect destination for nature lovers. Enjoy a stroll along the winding pathways, or try your hand at one of the myriad watersports on offer, like kayaking or paddleboarding.



Al Shindagha Museum


Ain Dubai

Keeping an eye on it all is the Ain Dubai, the world’s highest observation wheel. While it’s been out of operation for the last couple of years, it’s expected to start turning again in the coming months. Located at Bluewaters Island, the Ferris wheel will have you enjoying 360-degree views of the Dubai skyline, while it shatters records and stands at a staggering height of 250m. It’s also surrounded by several attractions, and the wheel’s base serves as a world-class entertainment zone with a large LED screen mounted on it. @aindxbofficial

With all of its urban wonders and a never-ending index of booming, futuristic addition to all of Dubai’s attractions, don’t forget to take a stroll through Old Dubai and discover its attractions from yesteryear. Al Shindagha Museum is one such attraction, and you’ll find yourself wandering through a structure that’s as interesting and cultural as the area it is located in. Speaking of which, the Shindagha area is Dubai’s most prominent historical area, and has witnessed the various stages of the city’s development over the years. @alshindaghamuseum



Built as part of the Atlantis complex on Palm Jumeirah, Aquaventure is the world’s largest waterpark and home to over a hundred record-busting rides and water-based attractions that are a perennial favourite with both Dubai residents and the hordes of visitors that pack the UAE every year. This is no ordinary water park: it wows with everything from recreational slides and rides to marine mammal encounters to opportunities to enjoy your favourite watersports. Aquatrek experiences and a journey to the Lost Chambers aquarium, home to over 65,000 marine animals, will have you coming back for more. @aquaventuredubai


Burj Khalifa

Inaugurated in 2010 to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the Accession Day of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as the Ruler of Dubai, the Burj Khalifa has contributed towards putting Dubai and the UAE on the map like few other achievements. A universal symbol of a city that never ceases to amaze, the 200-plus storey structure with astounding architecture includes 160 habitable levels, and it is the tallest manmade structure in the world. It holds other skyhigh world records, including having the highest number of stories in the world, highest occupied floor, and highest outdoor observation deck. @burjkhalifa

20 Dubai Aquarium

If you’re in Downtown Dubai, you can check a tonne of the city’s leading attractions off your must-see list. That list must include Dubai Aquarium, which lies on the lower level of The Dubai Mall, as a 10 million litre tank, making it one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world. Thousands of exotic animals belonging to over 140 aquatic species live in the Dubai Aquarium, which has a depth of 20 metres. Sharks, rays, clownfish, they’re all here, and you can get a memorable glimpse from up close. @dubaiaquarium



Dubai Frame

The Dubai Frame was inaugurated in 2018 in Za’abeel Park. The observatory, museum and monument holds the title of being the largest frame in the world, with dimensions of 150 x 95 metres. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of Dubai’s glittering skyline from the Dubai Frame – of both old Dubai and yesteryear, as well as futuristic views of the city’s modern skyscrapers and glittering skyline.



Dubai Mall


Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai residents and world travellers alike would argue that if you don’t have a picture posing in front of the Miracle Gardens’ heart-shaped tunnel up on your ‘gram, your trip to Dubai is indeed, incomplete. True to its name, this garden of miracles is home to over 150 million flowers over an area of 72,000 square metres, and the world’s largest natural flower garden hosts excited visitors and flora fans as winter begins to set in every year.


If it weren’t for the Burj Khalifa, we’d be tempted to call this the centrepiece of the Downtown Dubai nexus, and likely be right in claiming so. The world’s largest mall in terms of surface area, the Dubai Mall is home to 1,200 stores, and the Dubai Aquarium, as well as a cinema, numerous entertainment zones, and even an e-karting track. The Dubai Mall is also the ideal family destination, home to Play DXB, a high-spec indoor playground. Glide on the mall’s ice skating rink, take countless pictures by the indoor fountain or shop ‘til your drop. Whatever you do, make sure you visit – and watch the hours fly by.



Inside Burj Al Arab

This iconic, sail-shaped structure became an instant icon when it opened in 1999 and at one time, even adorned license plates in the city. An all-time jewel on Dubai’s architectural crown, the Burj Al Arab stands on a 280m island, and includes 199 exclusive suites including the Royal Suite, often featured on lists of the world’s most expensive hotel suites. It’s the latter that you get to discover on the Inside Burj Al Arab tour, which also includes the opportunity to discover its history and innovative design, a chance to snap incredible pictures, and view the city from their observation lounge. @insideburjalarab


Expo City Dubai

This exhibition and trade centre, described as the “human-centric city of the future”, includes several attractions, restaurants, events, wellness facilities, camps and more. This smart, sustainable addition to the UAE’s neverending catalogue of eyebrowraising, standardshattering attractions welcomes visitors at the world’s largest 360-degree projection surface, to a fully immersive experience that can be enjoyed from both inside and outside the dome.



Jumeirah Mosque

This iconic mosque on the gorgeous seaside stretch that is Jumeirah Road is one of Dubai’s beloved architectural delights and has rightfully been featured on scores of calendars, postcards, adverts and on television. Gifted by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum to Dubai’s ruler, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Jumeirah Mosque is capable of accommodating up to 1,500 worshippers. Built out of yellow-pink sandstone and featuring Syrian and Egyptian architecture, the mosque is available for private and public tours, which shed light on Islamic practices.



Kite Beach

Whether you’re looking to fly your kites high or just flop down on the sand and enjoy the beautiful sea views, a visit to Kite Beach is a must on your list of things to do and attractions to experience in the UAE. While beachgoers may opt to enjoy water sports such as kitesurfing, windsurfing and surfing, you could just opt to keep it simple by flying a kite.



Madame Tussauds


If it’s a big deal out there, it’s got to be here. The Madame Tussauds brand is globally synonymous with life-like wax replicas of prominent personalities, and the Dubai iteration is no different. Located on brilliant Bluewaters Island, it includes over 60 immaculate wax replicas, honouring high-achievers from the worlds of music, cinema, sport and more. The 23rd outpost to be opened in the world, you’ll see everyone from Queen Elizabeth II, to the Beckhams to Marilyn Monroe to Dua Lipa immortalised here. @tussaudsdubai


Museum of the Future

Architecture? Calligraphy? What catches your eye when you look at the Museum of the Future on Sheikh Zayed Road? This ingenious addition to the city’s catalogue of attractions will have you peering into the future like you never have prior. It welcomes people of all ages to see, touch and shape a shared future. Your mind-boggling experience includes the chance to view life in space in 2071 and concludes with a look at solutions to contemporary issues faced by the world.



Real Madrid World

Dubai Parks and Resorts added a new string to its bow in 2024 with the arrival of the first ever Real Madrid World. Take a selfie, or five, with life-sized version of your favourite Real Madrid legends, and relive their history-making milestones as your excitement reaches fever pitch at this sports-themed experience that will have you enjoying electrifying moments without having to wait for La Liga to commence.



Ski Dubai Chill out (truly) for a second and forget you’re in one of the warmest regions on earth, with a visit to Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates. Here, you’ll be greeted by everything from snowy slopes offering skiing and snowboarding opportunities, to Gentoo and king penguins flown in from overseas.



The Dubai Fountain

The world’s largest choreographed fountain system set on the 30-acre, manmade Burj Lake, the Dubai Fountain is part of a jaw-dropping complex of worldfirsts at the heart of Downtown Dubai. The captivating water, music and light spectacle is the world’s tallest performing fountain, and at a length of 900 feet, performs to a selection of popular melodies, including several traditional ones that reflect the essence of the region while showcasing Dubai to the world as possibly the greatest place to live on the planet. With over 6,600 WET Superlights, the fountain fires over 80,000 litres of water into the air as it performs to a musical array that includes Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, and Andrea Bocelli.





Dibba, located in Fujairah, has a longstanding reputation and role as an important site of maritime trade. Studies have even established ancient links between Dibba and the Roman empire. Enjoy a selection of water-based activities in this gorgeous little spot known as much for its scenic waterside views as for the mouthwatering Dibba Bay oysters that make the menu at several renowned seafood restaurants in the UAE. Fan of water based activities? Snorkelling, scuba diving, dhow cruises, it’s all here for the picking.


Fujairah Adventure Park Spanning 20 hectares, Fujairah Adventure Park has tonnes of activities for the whole family. From expertly designed bike and hiking trails to wall climbing and kayaking, there are plenty of fun fitness activities, which both adults and children can enjoy while admiring the majestic views. Don’t have your own gear? Don’t worry, you can rent it at the venue.

@fujairah adventurepark

35 Masafi

The quaint village of Masafi is around 30 minutes away from Fujairah and the scenic drive makes it well worth the trip. There’s a daily ‘Friday’ market selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to carpets (haggling is a must). Stop by cute gem Cafe De La Ville for refreshing and affordable sips and smoothies.


Snoopy Island

Named after the cartoon dog, which the island is said to resemble in shape, Snoopy Island is a marine paradise offering some of the best snorkeling in the GCC. Turtles, fish every colour of the rainbow and even little white-tip reef sharks have made this sparkling cerulean sea their home. On a day trip to Snoopy Island, you can go snorkelling or scuba diving, or stay above the surface with an afternoon of paddle boarding or kayaking. The gear for all of which can be rented from the shore.



Al Qassimi Palace

Well, okay... it probably isn’t as mysterious (read, spooky) anymore, not since the four-storey property has been ‘officially’ open to the public. Before this, the mysterious building lay vacant for 35 years and no one really knows why. It was rumoured that the family of the late Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Humaid Al Qassimi who it was built for, moved out after one night claiming the property was haunted. Inside you’ll venture around the 35 rooms, which have been designed with marble floors, glass chandeliers and a few peculiar artworks. There’s also a room with a huge pyramid structure that sits at the top of the mansion.


Jebel Jais

A testament that the UAE is a winning choice for its natural wonders as much as it is for its manmade marvels, Jebel Jais is a cloud-puncturing peak amid the emirate’s mighty Hajar range, and packs in a plethora of adventure-laced, adrenaline-drenched activities that really cement Ras Al Khaimah’s growing standing as the adventure emirate of the UAE. Pause and watch in amazement as the sky morphs into breathtaking hues if you prefer a slower-paced time at Jebel Jais. Otherwise, pick from activities including sky tours, hikes and the world’s longest zipline. @visitjebeljais


Suwaidi Pearls Farm

Located in the quiet fishing village of Al Rams, the Suwaidi Pearls Farm is one of the adventure emirate’s iconic attractions in the vicinity of the famed Hajar mountain range. The world’s only Arabian pearl farm, it allows you to delve into one of the oldest occupations in the region. You get to learn about the history of pearling and understand the life of a pearl diver and the trade itself, as you immerse yourself in a journey that digs deep into the cultural and commercial significance of pearling. @suwaidi_pearls


Wadi Shawka

If you’re looking to get your steps in in the great outdoors, Wadi Shawka has several varied routes including paths great for beginners. You can choose from a quick ramble or make a day of it and include the Shawka pools, too. Whichever you pick you’ll enjoy impressive, panoramic views. Head to the Shawka Dam and take the stairs directly to the summit or choose one of the trails, easily visible from the parking area. The trails are well marked out, so you won’t get lost and it’s safe for families.




Al Qasba

This waterside promenade in Sharjah with its own Ferris wheel is a long-adored component of any Sharjah resident’s experience in the emirate. With a wide range of cuisines available across its many restaurants, grab a seat by the picturesque Qasba Canal and take in the sights of the emirate. Ride on the Ferris wheel as high as 60m or pick from a selection of activities including a spa, water karts, bouncy castles and bicycles. @alqasba



Located on the Gulf of Oman, the city includes Khorfakkan Bay, Khorfakkan Beach and a beachfront promenade against the scenic backdrop of the jagged Hajar Mountains. Find yourself exploring the Portuguese Fort ruins, or the Wadi Wurayah, a biodiverse area with waterfalls and natural pools. There’s plenty to marvel at as you can enjoy the the sight of the Khorfakkan falls, or pick from a range of activities including a visit to the Al Rafisah Dam, a hike on the Al Rabi trail, a refreshing visit to the Khorfakkan Waterfalls, kayaking, and much more. For long time residents of the UAE, Khorfakkan spells ideal family road trip. @khorfakkanbeach



Dreamland Aqua Park

This locally renowned waterpark might not be as shiny new or super-sized as some of its UAE counterparts, but for no-frills fun, it’s a great option. Home to more than 25 attractions, spend the day getting your thrills on the aquaticthemed rides, bobbing around the plunge pools, drifting down the lazy river, or getting dizzy on the kamikaze ride. With plentiful dining spots, it’s a great place to enjoy a leisurely afternoon or if you prefer, there are camping areas for an overnight stay.



Kite Beach


Mleiha Mleiha includes archaeological sites, a museum, activities including trekking and horseback riding, wadi caves and artefacts dating back to the first movement of humans from Africa 130,000 years ago. At Mleiha Archaeological Centre, learn about life in the region in years gone by; or embark on one of their more adrenaline-fulled activities including a self-drive buggy adventure or a UNIMOG tour. @discovermleiha

Primarily a kitesurfing school, Kite Beach Umm Al Quwain is the stunning spot bringing Bali-vibes to the UAE. Mismatched sun loungers are made from solid wood planks and sit under traditional thatched beach umbrellas. Up-cycled doors placed in the sand offer a dream Instagram backdrop and guests can rent a beach hut for the day to enjoy the beach in style. Hire a kayak, work up a sweat at the ‘Tarzan Gym’ or book in for a surf lesson and make the most of the waves. You need to pay for access, which starts from Dhs45 in the week and Dhs75 on weekends.



Pool & Beach open daily, 10am - sunset



Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa

An hour out of Dubai you’ll find Al Maha. This stunning desert oasis is home to 42 villas complete with private pools, a main resort area where you’ll find all-day dining restaurant Al Diwaan, and a relaxing spa featuring single and couple treatment rooms. Guests can spend the day at their private pool, or head to the picturesque main swimming pool that faces the sprawling desert. Check in for a luxury stay here, and don’t be surprised to greet your neighbours – Arabian Oryx and gazelles – as you enjoy breakfast on the terrace. @almaha_resort


Al Seef Heritage Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton

If you want to experience Dubai’s yesteryear, book a stay at the Al Seef Heritage Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton. It overlooks the Dubai Creek – an integral part of the city’s history. The hotel is spread across 10 bayts (Arabian homes) and combines traditional and contemporary designs. Think old-style telephones, vintage radios, and photos of Old Dubai. Pick from a Dubai Creek or Souq view, and spend your evenings strolling Al Seef for a taste of Dubai history.


Anantara World Islands

Thai-born luxury hotel brand Anantara debuted the first World Islands hotel in late 2021, complete with villas with private pools and tropical island vibes. It’s perfect for drop-and-flop beach breaks and action-packed itineraries. There’s a lagoon-style pool at the centre of the resort and loungers lining the seafront. Guests can book pedalo trips, jet skiing or banana boat rides. Don’t miss a trip to the spa for a Lomi Lomi massage – best enjoyed at the beach under a spa cabana. @anantaraworldislandsdubai



Damani Lodges, Hatta Resorts

The Damani Lodges in Hatta are perfect for fun-filled, family getaways, dotted throughout the Hatta mountains and overlooking the adventure-packed Hatta Wadi Hub activity park. Each has a private terrace with amazing hill-top views, and there’s three categories to choose from, ranging from the entry level to the more plush suites, with all available to sleep up to two adults and two children. But these getaways are more about what’s going on outdoors rather than inside, with paragliding, horseback riding, ziplining and more all part of the Hatta adventure. @visithatta



Atlantis The Royal

This glittering gold palace at the top of the Palm Jumeirah oozes quintessential Dubai luxury. A seaside showstopper of modern architecture, five-star service and restaurants backed by star chefs like Heston Blumenthal, José Andrés and Nobu Matsuhisa, every inch of this soaring 43-storey property is about the wow-factor. Couple that with a dazzling infinity pool, Cloud 22; a modern Awaken Spa; and access to the world’s largest waterpark, Aquaventure, next door, and you’ve got yourself one of Dubai’s most luxurious, all-encompassing stays. @atlantistheroyal


Banyan Tree Dubai

Say hello to a new era of luxury stays on Bluewaters, with the recent arrival of Banyan Tree Dubai. Once you’re within the hotel, the blue hues of sea and pool, the serene greens of blowing palm trees, and terracotta-white candy stripes that adorn the textiles of the main pool complex subtly communicate wellness-focused luxury. Banyan Tree Dubai’s star attraction is the sprawling infinity pool deck, but a trip to the luxurious spa shouldn’t be missed either. @banyantreedubai

FIVE Palm Jumeirah

Few hotels have helped put Dubai on the global party circuit map more than FIVE Palm Jumeirah. With its instantly recognisable design, impressive collection of highenergy dining and party spots, and top-tier villas that make for the ultimate party pad, few do it better when it comes to hedonistic stays in the emirate. But what truly sets this Palm resort apart is its regular roster of events, which range from international DJ sets at rooftop hotspot The Penthouse, to all-out festivals on the sand at Beach by FIVE. @fivepalmjumeirah


Hatta Terrace


Arguably the most luxe place to stay in Hatta is Hatta Terrace. A jaw-dropping villa set amongst the mountains, this modern abode sleeps up to eight adults, and comes with five-star facilities including a heated pool, terrace with sun beds and a BBQ area, cosy living spaces, and three large double bedrooms. It’s all backdropped by panoramic mountain vistas, so when you’re looking to retreat to nature but don’t want to rough it by camping out, this is the place to book. @hattaterrace 13


JA The Resort

Since opening in the 1980s, JA The Resort has been drawing families in their droves to Jebel Ali for getaways that promise something for everyone. Over the years, the resort has continued to expand, and is now a selfdescribed ‘experiential resort’ split across three hotels, 25 restaurants and bars, and more than 40 experiences, including a shooting club, 9-hole golf course and 800 metre private beach. It’s impossible to be bored. @jatheresort

On the fringes of an enclave of luxurious Jumeirah Resorts that dot Madinat Jumeirah is Jumeirah Al Naseem. The most recent addition to the Jumeirah portfolio saw the brand migrate from its traditional Arabian aesthetic to something altogether more modern for the opening of Jumeirah Al Naseem in 2017. The resulting property is contemporary, understated luxury across beautifully landscaped grounds laced with swimming pools, an impressive array of room categories, and one of the city’s top restaurant collections at the Turtle Lagoon, where meals at Il Borro and Flamingo Room shouldn’t be missed. @jumeirahalnaseem 08


Jumeirah Al Naseem

The Lana Dubai, Dorchester Collection

Dorchester Collection’s debut Middle Eastern property is a striking 30-storey tower that houses 225 ultra-luxury guest rooms – 126 of them suites – all oozing contemporary-chic with triple height ceilings, plush furnishings in gold, beige and olive and deep-soaking bathtubs. The Lana is a foodie playground with eight dining concepts to tuck into. These include Michelin-lauded chef Martín Berasategui’s debut restaurant in the Middle East, Jara, presenting a bold menu of the finest Basque recipes; and acclaimed French chef Jean Imbert’s dazzling Mediterranean restaurant, Riviera and rooftop bar, High Society. Adding to the wow-factor, a Dior Spa that opened in April gives a designer touch to this quietly luxurious address.



The Nest by Sonara For an elevated glamping experience that reconnects you to the desert, book a stay at The Nest. The accommodation is built straight into the desert dunes, creating a cool hideaway within Dubai Conservation Reserve. Brought to you by Nara Desert Escapes, the team behind luxury desert restaurant, Sonara Camp, there are 14 desert nests to enjoy. Each Nest comes with a bedroom area, private en-suite bathroom, an outdoor majlis for enjoying the sunset and a mini bar. Get involved in activities like falconry, sandboarding and astronomy, or enjoy a bespoke cinema in the sand set-up with a movie under the stars. @sonara_camp

Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai

In a city where hopping between five-star hotels is common for pool days, drinks, and dining, there’s something undeniably special about Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai. It oozes subtle splendour in everything from its design, to its gourmet and leisure offerings, and its service. This is a hotel that’s been meticulously thought out to ensure every guest gets to embrace the best Dubai experience, whether for a meal at one of the signature restaurants, or a weekend escape. @mo_jumeira


Nikki Beach Resort & Spa


Nikki Beach Resort & Spa is the epitome of blissful beachfront luxury. Tucked away on the dreamy and secluded Pearl Jumeira island, it feels a million miles away from Dubai. While the brand may have built on high-octane hedonism, at this beach retreat, wellness and relaxation are as much the focus as the regular rotation of parties that take place at the beach club next door. Check-in to the sumptuously spacious, oceanic-inspired guestrooms in endless shades of white, enjoy a long leisurely lunch at Bungalo34, then get pampered in the pictuesque spa, before rounding out the perfect day with sundowners at Soul Lounge. @nikkibeachdubai


One&Only The Palm

If we were rich and famous, we imagine One&Only The Palm to be the Dubai hotel we’d check-in to. It has an aura of exclusivity few of its luxurious can replicate, because it’s less about the flashy Instagram moments, and more about best-inclass service. There’s a peaceful serenity about the place that means nowhere feels crowded – whether you’re relaxing in the magnificent spa; reclining poolside at the adults-only pool, Safina; or dining on the delightful seafood on the terrace of one of Dubai’s most romantic restaurants, 101. @oothepalm


Park Hyatt Dubai

On the banks of Dubai Creek, Park Hyatt Dubai is a long-standing escape that consistently gets it right in terms of service, facilities, and dining. The Mediterraneanmeets-Moorish aesthetic feels worlds away from the bustle of the city, particularly when checking-in to garden and Creek-facing rooms. Highlights include sunsoaked days during winter at dazzling Twiggy beach club, and sundowners overlooking the yachts bobbing in the marina at NOEPE, a breezy, Cape Cod-inspired alfresco bar.



QE2 Dubai

Dubai’s first and only floating hotel, the QE2 Dubai is a slice of regal history docked at Port Rashid. The legendary ocean liner arrived in Dubai in November 2008, where it underwent a decade-long makeover before opening as a hotel in 2018. It’s been carefully restored to offer the same refined experience as it did when it was sailing. Dine as the Queen once did at Queen’s Grill, take in a show at Theatre by QE2, or go on an illuminating heritage tour.



W Dubai – Mina Seyahi

If you come for the location, you’ll stay for the actual hotel. W Dubai – Mina Seyahi cuts a distinct figure on the Dubai skyline – a 31-storey building shrouded in sleek lines, glass architecture and smooth curves that wrap around the stylish guestrooms. The design-led lobby is striking in an old-world charm way, with something interesting to look at around every turn. Much of the culinary action happens around vibrant Ginger Moon, a playful all-day eatery that extends onto the pool deck. But you shouldn’t miss dinner and drinks at rooftop hotspot, Attiko, either. @wdubaiminaseyahi


XVA Art Hotel

Forgoing the gilded glamour that many of its counterparts in Dubai favour, XVA Art Hotel stands out from the crowd on the city’s hotel scene for lacing heritage and history throughout the entire guest experience. Located in heart of Al Fahidi, the hotel is located on the site of the former home of the renowned Seddiqi family. Each of the guest rooms is unique in its design and finish, but all are quaint and cosy and filled with interesting design and creative touches. On site, guests can while away days at the café, art gallery, or boutique, but a stay here is more about basing yourself in the heart of the action of Old Dubai, so exploring the maze of traditional shops, cafes and creative spaces right on your doorstep is an unmissable part of staying at XVA. @xvagallery




Anantara Qasr Al Sarab

Hidden among the sea of rolling, flame-orange dunes of the Empty Quarter, Anantara Qasr Al Sarab is one of the UAE’s best-loved Arabian escapes. A secluded desert oasis, there are 140 rooms, 14 suites and 52 pool villas on offer, all decorated with traditional arabesque touches with endless vistas out across the dunes. Separated from the main resort, the rooms are described as ‘secluded desert sanctuaries’, and the collection of swish villas each come with their own private pool. @anantaraqasralsarab


Anantara Al Yamm

Sir Bani Yas Island makes for the sort of staycations that dreams are made of, with its beautiful beaches, expansive desert, and nature reserve home to 14,000 exotic animals. There’s three Anantara resorts to choose from on the island, but for a luxurious beach escape, you’ll want to book the Anantara Al Yamm resort. This 30-key, all-villa sanctuary is designed to look like an Emirati fishing village, and invites guests to enjoy the likes of beach horse riding and snorkeling, as well as all other animal-tastic activities. Don’t miss navigating the island’s wilds with safari experiences, nature walks and bike trails. @anantarasirbaniyas


Bab Al Nojoum Hudayriyat

One of Abu Dhabi’s original glamping experiences, Bab Al Nojoum Hudayriyat encourages visitors to unleash their inner explorer and embark on a wealth of fun-filled family entertainment. Tents right on the beach with private plunge pools make the ideal stay for adventurers, while nomads can check-in to the vintage vans. But for the ultimate in luxury stays on Hudayriyat, you’ll want to book the newer ocean view or overwater villas, that come with private pools, sun decks, and gorgeous views. @babalnojoum_ hudayriyat


Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort

Dubai-born Jumeirah’s expansion into Abu Dhabi’s resort market made an instant impact for all the right reasons. Flanked by the crystalline waters of Saadiyat Island, it’s an expert lesson in subtle seaside luxury, with its nautical shades, natural light and impressive culinary array that’s all arranged to make the most of the stunning setting. Poolside SAL is the latest addition to the offering, but beachside dining at Mare Mare and sips on the shorefront should also make up your Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island itinerary. @jumeirahsaadiyat


Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental

Abu Dhabi staycations don’t get much more decadent than Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental. A grand dame of Abu Dhabi’s leisure scene, the regal address at the top of the Corniche is unapologetically luxurious, home to dazzling facilities like Michelin-pedigree restaurants, grand guest rooms, inviting swimming pools, and a sumptuous spa all navigated through boulevard-sized, gold-flecked, art-strewn corridors. You can ride camels along the beach at dusk, play tennis or padel or beach volleyball, do yoga, have a bonfire brunch at a pool bar or just go for a meditative stroll through the gardens. @mo_emiratespalace



Liwa Nights

This seasonal glamping experience welcomes guests to live like the Bedouins (albeit with a few little luxuries) each season from October to May. Unrolling against the backdrop of the flame-hued desert dunes on the edge of the Empty Quarter, it’s an open invitation to disconnect and fully immerse in desert dwelling. Bed down in air-conditioned tents that all come with an ensuite, dine on Emirati home cooked meals, and embrace the locale with activities like camel rides, dune bashing, and visits to nearby date farms. @liwanights


Telal Resort Al Ain


Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi

Along the sun-drenched shores of Saadiyat Island, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi sits on its own private stretch of sand, inviting guests to enjoy blissful relaxation on one of the world’s best beaches. There’s an untamed allure to this resort, which gives the feeling of remoteness despite its proximity to a string of restaurants and cultural attractions both on Saadiyat, and in the surrounding city. Within the extensive collection of 306 luxurious rooms and suites, there’s a collection of one-, two- and a three-bedroom royal villa, where next-level comforts include a large terrace fitted with a private plunge pool.



The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort

Set on one of the world’s best beaches, this St Regis hotel is one of the top stays on Saadiyat. Mediterranean and Middle Eastern aesthetics harmoniously marry at the property, which is grand without being gaudy. The eight-floor resort is built in smart sand-hued stone, giving it a Mediterranean mansion feel from the outside. Once inside, plenty of marble, glass and oceanic shades ensure everywhere feels bright and breezy. A truly outstanding array of restaurants range from Southeast Asian specialities at Sontaya, to pan-Asian plates served in the stunning beachfront setting of Buddha-Bar Beach. @stregissaadiyatisland

This rustic-luxe resort in Al Ain overlooks a natural conservation area, with uninterrupted views of the desert planes providing postcard-worthy backdrop. Decor is Emirati-inspired and guests can look forward to traditional artwork, arabesque touches and timeless local details across the rooms, villas and suites. Accommodation ranges from deluxe rooms to a three-bedroom villa with private pool and jacuzzi. For a relaxing stay, book a treatment at the spa or kick back in the cosy library. Those with a passion for adventure can enjoy ATV drives, ziplines or a desert safari. @telalresortalain


The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton For fun-filled family getaways, few compare to The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hiltonis the world’s first Warner Bros. Hotel, suitably situated on Yas Island a mere cape-twirl away from the spandexclad wonderland of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. But it’s more than a launchpad for Yas Theme Park adventures, the hotel comes with an exciting collection of new restaurants and recreational facilities; it plays curator to a museum-load of props and exhibits from Warner Bros.’ vast entertainment dynasty; and with a generous schedule of character visits, it offers kids the opportunity to come faceto-face with costumed heroes. @thewbabudhabi




Anantara Mina Al Arab

Bringing a slice of the Maldives to the UAE, this 174-key resort stands out thanks to its first-of-its kind overwater villas. These abodes are designed out on stilts over the water, and come complete with a thatched roof, rustic aesthetic and even a private pool. Guests can dine around the vibrant flavours of Southeast Asia at Mekong, and enjoy grilled fish and seafood by the beach at Beach House. If relaxing is at the top of your agenda, you’ll be able to unwind in the stunning luxury Anantara Spa, complete with seven treatment rooms and a Hammam room that looks fit for royalty. @anantararasalkhaimah

31 Bear Grylls Explorer Camp

Picture this: a weekend out in the wild with a group of your closest friends or family and your four-legged pal, exploring the mountainous area surrounding you. There’s wild goats, barbecue facilities and comfortable bunk beds that sleep up to three. That’s what you’ll find at Bear Grylls Explorer Camp, where you pair learning survival techniques with sleeping in a rustic-luxe container, and socialising after dark as you cook around the campfire. @beargryllscamp


Banan Beach

A no-frills, pet-friendly camping retreat in Ras Al Khaimah, while the aesthetic may give Cyclades chic, make no mistake this glamping retreat is firmly rooted in local traditions and experiences. Set on a beautiful beach, facilities designed to encourage you to meet and mingle include infinity pools, a bar and a restaurant, plus a self-cooking barbecue area. On the accommodation front, for big groups there are three-bedrooms chalets with private pools, as well as spacious loft tents with waterside terraces, and colourful small tents. As the sun goes down, the bonfire lights up and guests can enjoy a movie at the cosy outdoor cinema. @bananbeach



Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra


Few places in the UAE really offer supreme privacy quite like The RitzCarlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach. Made up of 32 exclusive private villas with private pools, the boutique hotel is the kind of spot where you can just hideaway in the comforts of your villa all weekend long. The villas are inspired by bedouin tents – if bedouins had impeccable taste and were partial to chic monochrome furniture. The outdoor space is seriously wow, with a private pool, outdoor shower and bath tub, as well as a long path leading towards the beach, and a sundeck at the end to watch the sunset. @ritzcarltonalhamrabeach




Part of the rustic, Zanzibar-inspired Kite Beach Umm Al Quwain is Casa Mikoko, a glamping experience of five chalets set against the backdrop of the mangroves. The chalets all come with thoughtful amenities like a tea and coffee bar, hairdryer and slippers, and plenty of privacy too, all while looking out over the calm natural waters. Three of the five come with their own plunge pool – serving as a delightful spot to start the day with a floating breakfast, and all boast an African inspired aesthetic that offers a tropical, instant on-holiday feel. @casamokoko.uaq


Vida Beach Resort

A seaside retreat that’s got all the ingredients for an idyllic stay in quaint Umm Al Quwain, this Vida property is painted in Vida’s signature white colouring, with palm trees and an open terrace that lead down to the pool and beach. Rooms offer either sea views or city views, and range from entry-level deluxe rooms up to the executive one-bedroom suite. For the ultimate luxury, book the two-bedroom beach chalet. There are plenty of facilities at Vida Beach Resort, from a fitness centre to a spa, tennis court, swimming pool, water sports, kids’ club and even some pet-friendly rooms. @vidahotels



Address Beach Resort Fujairah

Emaar Hospitality’s Vida, Palace and Address brands have set themselves up well in the Northern Emirates, bringing a modern spin on Emirati hospitality to lesser-known parts of the emirates. That includes on Fujairah’s east coast, where you’ll find Address Beach Resort. It’s all about framing the locale – and everywhere you look sea, or mountain views are instantly calming. As for the aesthetics, the rooms are adorned in blue, beige and white hues bringing an extension of the outdoor natural elements to the interiors.


37 NAAMA Beach Villas & Spa, Fujairah Unrolling against the backdrop of the Hajar mountains and west coast of the Indian Ocean on Fujairah’s East coast, Naäma Beach Villas & Spa is a stunning new stay upping the luxe in Fujairah. Ideal for romantic retreats for two as well as big group getaways, the 44 villas are finished in calming shades of caramel and cream, and range in size from oneto four-bedroom, and all come with private pools. To cater to guests’ every whim, dedicated butler service ensures every stay is five star.

@naaamabeach villasspa


Sandy Beach Resort

A firm favourite with long-standing UAE residents, Sandy Beach Resort has been the base of choice for families seeking a no-frills beach retreat, party people heading over for the regular Snoopy Beats music festivals, and watersports enthusiasts alike. Facing Fujairah’s unmistakable Snoopy Island, its simplicity is part of the appeal, and after checking-in to one of the rooms or bungalows, head straight to the shorefront for a dip in the infinity pool, snorkelling around Snoopy Island, or sundowners with your toes in the sand. @sandybeachresort



Fairmont Ajman


In sleepy Ajman, the regal-looking Fairmont hotel is one of the most popular spots for retreating to the beach for laidback relaxation. The hotel’s décor might be a little tired, but it’s all part of its charm, and there’s an instant on-holiday feel to the guest rooms that come with balconies that gaze out towards the sea. For leisure, enjoy strolls along the hotel’s 200-metre private beach, then cool off in the expansive pool at the heart of the resort, where you can enjoy refreshing serves at the swim-up pool bar. @fairmontajman

40 The Oberoi Al Zorah, Ajman Ajman’s most sophisticated stay comes from one of India’s most storied hotel brands. Perched on the edge of an 18-hole Championship golf course, The Oberoi is perfect for couple’s and families seeking a luxurious beach escape. Entry-level rooms boast secluded gardens or sea-view terraces, while the premium villas come with private pools. Modern Italian architecture is a striking contast to Ajman’s leafy landscapes, which is where you’ll find much of the hotels leisure experiences, including watersports and a stretching swimming pool.



Al Faya Retreat by Sharjah Collection

Nestled in the dunes of Mleiha desert, the retreat is a luxuriously converted area that was originally built in the 1960s and offers guests the opportunity to explore the famed archaeological site and its fascinating history. Those looking for a little less adventure can embark on a journey of wellbeing at the unique, hands-free spa complete with a herbal room, salt pool and tropical shower walk; or laze away the day at the swimming pool. There’s just five guest rooms, all fitted with a skylight for stargazing at night, and all are close to the on-site fire pit, primed for recapping the day’s many desert camping adventures. @alfayaretreat


The Chedi Al Bait

In the UAE’s cultural capital, The Chedi Al Bait embodies Arabian splendour, with the 65-key, five-star hotel in the heart of Sharjah spread across seven heritage houses. An ambitious historical preservation project, it’s added luxury touches to the former homes to ensure its deserving of its five-star status, while keeping the brand’s historic design DNA across all elements. The resulting property is a refined take on traditional Emirati hospitality.



Kingfisher Retreat by Sharjah Collection Retreat by name, retreat by nature, this rustic-luxe escape nestled among the mangroves in sleepy Kalba on Sharjah’s East coast is only by private boat and is smack dab in the midst of some of the UAE’s most exotic wildlife. It’s a great break from the city, shunning the traditional five-star UAE stay for an offering that embraces its beautiful natural locale but still feels five star. Opulent tents with private pools and bespoke diningit’s as luxurious as it gets.



Moon Retreat by Sharjah Collection

The family-friendly Moon Retreat unrolls against an expansive desert plain, and is home to 10 single-bed domes, two units of onebedroom tents and four family tents. They all come with views of the Al Faya Mountains and the desert, a terrace where you can barbecue - and most of them have temperature-controlled pools. At the venue, you won’t find any cafes or restaurants, but the gas-fired BBQ is there to encourage you to cook and converse in a social, alfresco setting. @moon.retreat


Nozol Al Rayaheen, Khorfakkan

Embrace a slower pace of life on the UAE’s east coast, where the breezy seaside town of Khorfakkan feels worlds away from built up city life. The area is emerging as a sought-after spot for daycations, but if you’re looking to make a weekend of it, check-in to Nozol Al Rayaheen. Split between 20 terracotta heritage houses which have been restored into the quaint four-star hotel, it offers a boutique feel of just 35 rooms. Outdoor seating areas, majlises and landscaped gardens are peaceful spots to enjoy a moment of quiet, or use your stay to explore the beaches, shops and hiking trails on your doorstep. nozolalrayaheen.com





One of a kind, this small but mighty nightclub is known for its high-spec light and sound system and epic nights out – 1OAK is a club that has a banging Tuesday ladies’ night. The club has hosted a roster of A-List performers, including Kid Ink, Rema, Fat Joe and plenty more. @1oakdxbofficial



Attiko is a sleek rooftop bar that offers brilliant views of Palm Jumeirah and beyond from the 31st floor of W Dubai – Mina Seyahi. On the menu, guests can expect a range of modern pan-Asian dishes as well as an extensive menu of interesting and refreshing handcrafted cocktails. Open each evening, guests can enjoy tasty bites and drinks in a vibrant atmosphere, with DJs spinning deep, soulful, energetic music. @attikodubai

03 Barasti

A long-standing icon on Dubai’s party scene, Barasti is a no-frills beach club where you can take a dip in the pool, laze on the beach, fuel up in the restaurant, and party into the night on the sand while listening to live music. There’s always something going on at this popular Mina Seyhai spot, and it regularly draws a crowd thanks to its free entry policy and the rotation of pool parties, ladies’ nights and drinks deals.



Be Beach

On the sun-soaked shores of Dubai Harbour, Be Beach is an unmissable pool day experience. Whether you’re sipping cocktails by the pool or grooving to the latest beats under the stars, Be Beach will bring a sanctuary of rhythm, relaxation, and revelry to Dubai. The beach club has it all: breathtaking views, delicious food, refreshing beverages, and a stunning infinity pool surrounded by swaying palm trees, plush day beds and private cabanas. @bebeachdxb


Blind Tiger

Located within the Jumeirah Al Naseem Lagoon, Blind Tiger is a modern-era speakeasy that brings a little after-dark amusement to the Jumeirah Al Naseem restaurant roster. The luxurious venue features emerald green hues with warm hints of Japanese opulence, complete with an outdoor terrace to make the most of the beautiful winter weather. Offering an array of immaculate drinks and mouthwatering bites, the menus have been carefully curated by expert mixologists who are on hand to replenish your drink at all times. @blindtigerdxb


Bla Bla

Bla Bla is the hottest day to night destination on JBR. With 21 bars, a restaurant dedicated to international cuisines and one huge beach club all in one place, you won’t need to go anywhere else. Spend the day by the sparkling azure pool and Bali-style beach bar, then head on over to The Tent, which has plenty of ultra-cool themed bars all under one roof.




Caña Dubai

Caña Dubai is nestled on the beachfront at JBR, meaning visitors are treated to incredible sea views and the Ain Dubai. While you’ll book the restaurant for Latin American flavours, beyond that the circular beach bar, Caña, has its own DJ booth and is the perfect spot for sundowners. @canabeach


Canary Club

Tropically inspired Canary Club added a little bit of California cool to JLT when it opened at the Banyan Tree Residences. While dinner here is always a good idea, to enjoy the fusion of Latin American flavours, it’s also become a firm favourite on the drinking circuit, popular for its brunches, after-brunch parties and sell out ladies’ night that takes over the rooftop, Tiki’s. @canaryclubdxb


CouCou’s is perched 52 stories high on the top floor of the Palm Tower, where it pairs mesmerising views with lively vibes, sparkler shows and live DJ sets. Whether you’re perched up at the grand marble bar sipping cocktails, catching up with friends over dinner in a dimly lit booth or kicking back on the plush leather chairs in one of the comfy lounge areas, you’ll be able to drink in the scenic views from every spot. @coucourooftop


February 30



The iconic Singaporean sky bar has an outpost here in Dubai that is equally iconic. Boasting uninterrupted views of the Burj Khalifa and the surrounding Downtown Dubai area, sit on the terrace of the 54th floor and bask in the gorgeous views while you delight in incredible cocktails, and a sushi menu that is inspired and unique. @celavidubai

February 30 is the ultimate spot to enjoy a beach day, sunset drinks, or a night out on the sand. February 30 Dubai greets guests with a soundtrack of tropical house beats, from both the restaurant tables and beach loungers. The best place to toast to the sunset is sitting up at the circular bar out on the beach. @february30dubai


Galaxy Bar


Galaxy Bar, an offshoot of the upscale Avli by tashas in DIFC, carved the way for a slew of secret bars-withinrestaurants to open in Dubai. But as the original, Galaxy Bar remains a cut above the competition. Under a constellation of stars, this sapphire-adorned bar is a beautifully intimate cocktail bar that’s drawn international attention. The bar is distinctive with an ambience that is amplified by the celestially lit ceiling, soft velvet seating, and an incredible marble bar. @galaxybardxb

February Galaxy Bar



When it comes to the best cocktail bars in Dubai, few are as grand as Gilt. You’ll have to pre-book if you want to snag a reservation at this lavish bar in the Burj Al Arab, but you’ll be rewarded with maximalist interiors, slick service, and a mixology menu befitting of the iconic setting. The best seats in the house for watching the masters at work are at the bar, although the coveted window seats prove popular for those looking to enjoy drinks with a view.



Goose Island Tap House

This award-winning tap house invites you and your mates to the ultimate craft beer experience. This homegrown hangout spot is the perfect place for sports lovers to gather and enjoy a few drinks while also getting in on the snooker and pinball action. You can also find this elevated gastropub at newly opened FIVE LUXE, where it also features pool tables and VR darts.

@gooseislanddxb / @gooseislandjbr


Honeycomb Hi-Fi

Honeycomb Hi-Fi is an intimate speakeasy-style venue in Business Bay. To access it, you’ll need to slip behind the wall of a cosy vinyl record shop inside the Pullman Downtown. Once inside, a bespoke sound system immediately commands the ears, whilst the warm lighting brings a honey hue to the perforated wooden wall panels. Guests can expect anything on the turntables from electronica to jazz.




Located in Meydan, Iris serves up freespirited energy with expertly crafted cocktails, delicious dishes and varying live acts throughout the week. Singers, DJs and dancers this stunning cocktail bar also has gorgeous views of Dubai while hosting a killer party brunch on Saturdays offering a prime view paired with all of the best entertainment the city has to offer. @irisdubai


Irish Village

A venue that has been around for as long as most residents can remember, Irish Village in Al Garhoud has been open and thriving since 1996. Known for its extensive beers, as well as countless live performances throughout the years, and the adorable ducks that wander through the outdoor area, it’s a quintessential Irish pub and live music venue that’s old and gold. @theirishvillagedubai



A Grecian paradise from hospitality giants Rikas Group, this stunning beach club is perfect for a chic day in the sunshine on Palm West Beach. On Maldivesimported sugary sand there’s an infinity pool lined with plush sunbeds and cabanas, where guests can enjoy a Mediterranean fusion menu of bites designed to compliment a day of soaking up the sun. There’s also an alfresco restaurant where guests can indulge in long, lazy lunches with their toes in the sand.




A quintessential Irish pub, McGettigan’s is loved UAE-wide. Their roster of quiz nights, brunches, roasts, and afterbrunch parties is known for being a hotspot and buzzing venue that will never disappoint you.




Mercury Rooftop

This glamorous rooftop bar atop Four Seasons Resort at Jumeirah Beach is a sophisticated, celestial spot for drinks alfresco. Perch up in one of the burnt orange sofas and enjoy 180-degree panoramas, while basking in the beautiful moonlight and sipping on one of the refreshing signature cocktails.



21 Nikki Beach Dubai

One of Dubai’s best beach clubs brings its globally renowned roster of events to the Pearl Jumeira every Tuesday to Sunday. With a huge swimming pool split with a white catwalk, and day beds lined with orange towels that spill onto the beach, it’s a lively spot for a pool day with a fabulous soundtrack and a fun-filled atmosphere.





Overlooking the Dubai Creek, this whitewashed bar has a laidback-luxe vibe to boot. Offering stunning views of Old Dubai and the beautiful creek, the venue has an extensive and creative cocktail menu while serving up Nikkei style bar bites. An ideal date night spot, or the perfect place to catch a gorgeous sunset, it’s beautiful and delightfully intimate.


Playa Pacha

Set at the heart of newly opened FIVE LUXE, Playa Pacha, a Dubai iteration of the iconic Ibizan outpost, features a splitlevel swimming pool lined with plush day beds and loungers, and a regular rotation of resident and international DJs spinning the decks, all oozing Ibiza flair.

On the food front, you’ll enjoy Mediterranean dishes to graze on as you tan, and refreshing sips.




A perennially popular alfresco spot on the sundowner circuit is Shimmers. With a neutral colour scheme and simple, yet luxurious setting, this place lets the view of the Burj Al Arab, and beyond, do the talking. Tuck into traditional Greek cuisine from the sun-dappled restaurant, set out under a whitewashed canopy, or sit yourself on a bean bag on the beach and admire the waves.



Soho Garden

A club inside a club, inside a club –Soho Garden Meydan is a nightlife destination unlike any other. If you’re after afrobeats and urban music, Black is for you; if you’re more of a techno head, check out The Code and The Hive where the likes of Solomun, Camelphat and countless other DJs have performed.






One of the few remaining superclubs in Dubai, SKY2.0 is a guaranteed top-quality night out. With three distinct nights on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays hosting the likes of Kasango, Central Cee, French Montana and plenty more, SKY2.0 has a little bit of everything for everybody. Go early for a bite to eat and watch as the night unfolds.


Since it opened in early 2019, SoBe has fast-tracked itself to be one of the most popular bars in Dubai for guaranteed sunset views. From its position on the fifth floor of the W Dubai – The Palm hotel, you’ll be able to stare as far as the eye can see from the outdoor terrace, with panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf surrounding the Palm as you sip your favourite serves. @sobedubai


Surf Club

Known for its iconic nights hosting DJs from around the world, and Sunday brunches that offer a relaxed beachy vibe, Surf Club is the ultimate Palm West Beach spot. Grab a seat out on the terrace or the beach and toast to the evening with picture-perfect views of the sunset and the iconic Dubai Marina skyline. @surfclubdubai



The Penthouse

A rooftop hotspot that’s as popular as it is for sunset sips as well as huge nights out, The Penthouse is a quintessential Dubai experience. Stellar views, incredible DJs and an all-around good vibe await. @thepenthousedxb



A venue that has stood the test of time in the city, [u]bk has been a local hotspot for families and friends alike. The JLT neighbourhood local has become a household name that makes you feel like a kid in a candy store. We’re talking karaoke, pool, arcade games, foosball tables and more. Drinks come at special deals throughout the week. You’ll struggle to find a reason to leave.



Twiggy by La Cantine

This ultra-chic beach club and restaurant by the Creek is known and loved for beach days, DJ sets, and dining alfresco. There’s the multiple award-winning Mediterranean menu, effortless cool Côte d’Azur vibes, picturesque lagoon, faux bleached-sand beach, craft mixology and dreamy skyline views.



Zero Gravity

One of Dubai’s most longstanding and popular beach clubs, Zero Gravity is famed for its poolside brunches and fabulous views. It is an iconic and legendary venue that offers guests a roster of events happening every single day, from ladies’ day deals to sunset happy hours and weekend brunches.


33 Annex

The kind of spot you can book in for sundowners and stay until the early hours, Annex is a three-floor Abu Dhabi hotspot that ups the tempo as you descend each level. Sip mixed drinks against the backdrop of Al Bateen Marina at the open-air rooftop, then head to Annex Lounge on the second level for light bites, pool and a social vibe. Those looking to keep the party going can enjoy drinking and dancing into the night at the ground floor club, where a regular rotation of DJs spin.



Bar Perlage

A newer addition to the soirée scene in Abu Dhabi from the culinary masterminds at tashas Group, Bar Perlage is a plush and ultra-luxe Champagne bar tucked inside The Galleria’s Flamingo Collection, that is sure to up the romance on your next date night. Lucious and bathed in velvety red accents, the dimly lit little sister of Dubai’s loved Galaxy Bar has a certain je ne sais quoi, ideal for a dreamy tipple or two.


35 Café del Mar

An icon in the Ibiza and global beach club scene is Café del Mar, and it’s no less iconic in the UAE capital. Set against the backdrop of Yas Bay, the main swimming pool benefits from live DJ sets and dance shows, while the VIP cabanas come with their own private jacuzzi’s overlooking the action.

@cafedelmar abudhabi



Dragon’s Tooth

By the 1920’s Shanghai Jazz revolution that had Chinese nightclubs swinging to a hybrid rhythm, you will chance upon this “hidden” bar found in the ‘Tea Room’ of Rosewood Abu Dhabi’s Dai Pai Dong. Plush leather seating, an Asian-inspired beverage menu, and the opportunity to stir and shake your own signature cocktail are all part of the experience.




With an unmistakable feel of Ireland and screens aplenty, this is a great spot in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi to catch your favourite games and get a real feel for proper Irish craic. The walls are adorned in traditional signs and artefacts, a weekly rotation of live music entertains guests, from big bands to acoustic solo artists, and the menu is the kind of pub grub you crave on a Sunday. @mccaffertysyas

38 Penelope’s

Penelope’s serves up unmistakably Riviera vibes, a red hot Mediterranean menu, suitably chic cocktails and actual jazz music. Penelope’s has some particularly glittery marrow in its bones, it’s owned by locally-based hospitality legends Layla Kardan and Hamdan Al Khafaji, and is a concept conceived by Eddie Ghazal. And the mark of this All-Star trio is already clearly stamped into sparkling design touches across the venue. @penelopes.ae



Saadiyat Beach Club

Saadiyat Beach Club takes the noise to the next level with exciting entertainment and pretty parties for when you want to have an outdoor bash to remember. Enjoy shoreside views alongside a 9-kilometre stretch of beach and simple luxury at their lovely food and beverage outlets, including Safina, De La Costa, and Cabana 9. @saadiyatbeachclub

40 Shala

Derived from the Sanskrit, meaning ‘home,’ this venue at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi offers exactly that to the capital’s free-spirited wanderers. Here, sea views are paired with plush cushions bearing macrame cotton tassels, ornamental feathers, a fire pit, soft linen banquets and natural wood finishes. The design of this Abu Dhabi beach bar taps into that same beach-shack soul that you’d expect to find in bohemian haunts like Tulum, or the Ibizan town of Playa d’en Bossa. @shalaabudhabi


Lava Beach Club

You can find this gorgeous beach club on the sunny shores of the Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort. For all your daycation trip to the Eastern Emirates needs, Lava is your spot. Delight in a range of pan-Asian dishes, soak up the sun and enjoy all that this gorgeous spot has to offer.


41 Siddharta Lounge

The Trilogy by Buddha Bar is a three-tier bar complex comprised of Siddharta Lounge Bushra and Zeera, found at Yas Island’s culinary destination, Yas Bay. It’s perhaps fair to say that the spear prong of this bang-on-trend trident is Siddharta Lounge, the Dubai version of which enjoys a reputation for effortless class. The Abu Dhabi iteration – one of the capital’s best bars – repeats that same lightning strike of laidback luxury with charismatic rooftop views and a menu filled with big contemporary flavours. @thetrilogyby buddhabar


Lumi Beach

Located at The Beach Hotel in Umm Al Quwain, Lumi is a laidback beach club that’s perfect for cool and fun-filled beach days. In a space of white and cream macrame with wooden accents all around, choose to opt for a private pool to rent or sink your toes into the sand and make the most of a stunning daycation. @lumibeachuaq



Neo Sky Bar

Ras al Khaimah’s first rooftop bar, Neo Sky Bar brags extraordinary 360-degree views of the twinkling city and the glistening ocean. Neo offers guests delicious light nibbles and Mediterraneaninspired dishes with a selection of curated wines you can enjoy as you relax in the bar’s upbeat yet chilled atmosphere.




With an outpost on Palm Jumeirah and another in Ras Al Khaimah, this chic beach retreat has a restaurant, pool, sun loungers and an idyllic bar at both venues where you can relax with the sun setting in the distance and a drink in hand. There’s a whole roster of deals to enjoy, from ladies’ nights to beachside breakfasts, and the kind of design that deserves to be photographed.

@uladxb / @ulabeachrak


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ARTE Museum Dubai

Located within The Dubai Mall, Korean-born ARTE Museum takes visitors through a journey beyond time and space with its ‘Eternal Nature’ exhibition, traversing across 14 zones filled with stunning works and powerful elements of nature. As you move through the galleries, you will be surrounded by blooming camellia flowers, beautiful waves, lush forest landscapes and tranquil starfields stretching around you. Visitors can also stimulate all their senses for a truly engaging experience by interacting with the ‘Live Sketchbook’ exhibit. @artemuseum_dubai

Bait al Banat Women’s Museum


Located near the Gold Souk in Deira, the Bait Al Banat Women’s Museum is all about shining a spotlight on the power of the female in this region. Offering an insight into the history of Emirati women and their role in the country’s development, exhibits in the museum cover the lives of individual women including artists, activists and scholars via images, interviews, personal items, letters and diaries. There is also an art gallery displaying the work of contemporary female artists from the UAE, with regularly updated exhibitions.


Cinema Akil

This stylish theatre is the only independent art house cinema in the GCC and champions local, regional and classic film. The ethos aligns with the cinema’s ongoing commitment to being the platform where the untold stories of the region are told loud and proud. Located in Alserkal Avenue, this is a full-blown vintage cinema and regularly screens stunning work by local and regional talent to give them a space to shine at a time when the bigwigs get the big names. @cinemaakil


Courtyard Playhouse

This is the passion project of two residents and started out as a partitioned office space, which they renovated over a period of a year. Slowly, it turned into Dubai’s first independent theatre set in the gorgeous surrounds of The Courtyard, Al Quoz. It’s a true success story, and shows how expats come to make this city their home. Now, the space holds acting workshops, improv shows, comedy shows, plays, play screenings and more.

@courtyard playhouse


Dubai Opera

This iconic showhouse is a sanctum of art, culture and convergence, bringing to Dubai some of the best artists, the most iconic performances, the most revelled stories and a wealth of performing arts from the past and the present. The sprawling theatre has a capacity for 2,000 audience members and is set over 650,000 sq ft. Ballet, opera, plays, musical performances, concerts, stand-up – you name it, they have it.



Etihad Museum


Dubai Gold Souk

The Souk is a landmark of great importance in the city and remains traditional, complete with eager vendors who butter you up for a sale. There’s a gold market and a spice market to explore, and also some shops with trinkets and souvenirs. The tiny lanes are all open air and some of them have rustic wooden archways. It’s a wonderful glimpse into a different face of the city, away from all the glitz and glamour. Dubai’s old town stands firm and proud to this day, as a symbol for the humble beginnings of this city.

The Etihad Museum documents the founding story of the UAE and is most appropriately located next to the Union House, where the the signing of the treaty establishing the UAE took place in 1971. Keeping up with the theme of history, the structure is designed in the shape of a manuscript, with seven columns built into the museum to resemble the pens used to sign the original declaration. It’s a lovely dose of history and heritage combined.


Words: Manaal Fatimah


Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

There are museums galore in the Al Fahidi Neighbourhood. Housed in Al Fahidi Fort, the Dubai Museum is the oldest existing building in Dubai. The fort was built in 1787 and has now been converted into a walkable museum displaying all the history and heritage of the city, from the way the people lived to the way they fought wars and did trade. Witness antiquities and artefacts from before the oil boom. There’s also the Dubai Coffee Museum, for all things local sources of caffeine, the Coin Museum in Bur Dubai, and the house of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum.


The Fridge


Hatta Heritage Village

Hatta is wellknown for its mountain ranges, glamping activities and thrilling sports adventures at the Hatta Wadi Hub. But there is also some pretty impressive history and heritage to the town. Head to the Hatta Heritage Village, set around the majestic Hajar mountains and shrowded in gorgeous date palms, and be transported back in time. Over 30 structures have been refurbished and you will be able to wander around and picture what life was like back in the day.


The Fridge in Alserkal is a welcome-to-all creative space, hosting world-class events, concerts, cultural programming and festivals. There’s always something fun and creative happening at The Fridge, which is why it attracts creatives and artists from all over. It’s all about live events and the performing arts at this one. Think talks, workshops, concerts, poetry, open mics, stand-up and much more. @thefridge.me

Heritage Express


Take a tour of Dubai’s best known cultural sites on this charming trolley. The Heritage Express is a history lesson on wheels. Departing from the Sheikh Mohammed Centre of Culture and Understanding, the Heritage Express will show you the hidden collection of cafes, museums and art galleries among the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. Learn about the local culture, dress and customs, and the Emirati way of life – the foundation of local society. These tours drive past the city’s most precious cultural landmarks, while guests listen to songs and hear stories passed down through generations. @heritageexpress



Immersee is more than just a pretty art space – it has one very important message: sustainability. It is all set to educate the audience through its immersive art experiences, large-scale multimedia installations and performances. It feels like you’ve walked into walls full of paintings. The building itself is cuttingedge and is a net zero emissions building operating solely on solar energy. Immersee combines art projections, visuals, narrative, sound and technology to send out its powerful message. It’s a great way to bring attention to an important cause and make it more interesting to learn. @immersee


Iranian Mosque

A gorgeous structure of Islamic significance, the Iranian Mosque is a must-see attraction in Dubai. Founded by the local Iranian community, built in 1979 with the support of the Iranian Red Crescent, and is also called the Imam Hussein Mosque. The design takes inspiration from quasi-Fatimid and Persian influences, with the outside covered in tiles of blue and other bright colours. The mosque has a library with over 14,000 books of diverse topics and languages including Arabic, Persian, Urdu and English. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding runs four weekly tours, during which nonMuslims visitors can visit and explore.



Jameel Arts Centre

Jameel Arts Centre is an independent institution dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art to the public and engaging communities through learning, research and commissions. Located in Al Jaddaf Waterfront, the dynamic art space champions primarily contemporary and modernist art, and also has a library, co-working space, sculpture park and gardens. The space pioneers educational initiatves and supports local artists to help them grow. @jameelartscentre


Leila Heller Gallery

The brand’s first international outpost outside of New York, the Leila Heller Gallery in Alserkal Avenue has gained much recognition across the globe over three decades, known and loved as a pioneer in promoting creative dialogue and cultural exchange between Western artists and Middle Eastern, Central and Southeast Asian artists. Here in Dubai, at 14,000 square feet, it is the largest art gallery in the UAE with three exhibition spaces and regularly plays host to the best of the best in the local art world for art enthusiasts and beginners alike to immerse themselves into. Head over now to venture into a unique brand of art. @leilahellergallery


Mohammed Bin Rashid Library

This is one structure you won’t miss when you drive by it. The Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is located by Al Jaddaf Waterfront and is designed to look like a book on a giant rehl, which is the wooden stand that holds the Quran when it is read – quite appropriate for a library. This is another hub of knowledge and learning, intersected with culture and creativity, because not only does the library have probably the best, most expansive collection of books in the city, but also co-working spaces and a regular programme of events.



Quranic Park

Located in Al Khawaneej, the Quranic Park is designed to give a better understanding of Islamic heritage, while still being a fun place to visit for children, families and those looking to learn. The 64-hectare park offer visitors an intelligent insight into several areas of the Holy Quran and has a few attractions. Entry to the park is free, but you pay Dhs5 for entry to The Glass House and the Cave of Miracles.


Al Safa Art and Design Public Library

Located on Al Wasl Street, Al Safa Art and Design Library is a haven for creatives and art enthusiasts, where they can come together, research and collaborate. This dynamic platform shines a light on Dubai’s collective effort to become a more inspired, and creative city. The library holds a collection of over 62,500 books, surrounded by art exhibits and photos. There are also coworking spaces for designers, and artists to collaborate in. @dubaipublic libraries



A quaint slice of Dubai history, the neighbourhood of Satwa feels like a bubble suspended in space - somewhere between historic Old Dubai and the sky-skirting skyscrapers and glittering lights of the Sheikh Zayed Road. It’s something like a portal, through which you can watch your surroundings transform in real time. If not Satwa itself, we’re fairly certain you’ve seen the wall-climbing, larger-than-life graffiti art on many of the buildings in the area. It’s a pop-culture symbol of the space, and these characters are the perfect mascots of what the neighbourhood stands for –young heritage.


Al Shindagha Museum

Before the UAE was a big, bustling metropolis, it was a desert land. The evolution has been swift and surreal, and the halls of the museum will take you through that history of change and development. Inside the museum, visitors are transported back to the 19th century, where they learn it all, from the pearl diving, the oil era, cultural practices and the major significance of the Creek on trade. You’re sure to leave with profound knowledge and insight into the country’s rich past.




Theatre of Digital Art

TODA has long been a hub for combining art and technology to champion a different kind of creativity. The UAE’s first 360-degree space to enrich the local technological art landscape, TODA showcases all forms –from classical masterpieces to NFTs and new media, from music to theatre. They’re trying to demolish the narrative that digital art lacks soul, the human touch and the same tenderness and emotion that other forms have. Expect digital shows, 360° live music nights, wellness sessions and more.



XVA Gallery

The XVA Gallery is located inside the XVA Art Hotel. The refined art gallery stocks contemporary pieces that are up for sale, perfect to add to or start a fine art collection. They even offer art consultancy services, and host regular exhibitions. It’s a great space to soak up some culture while absorbing the charm of the old city. It’s a solid starting point to explore Al Fahidi Historical Neigbourhood, which will take you back in time to the charms of Old Dubai.



Al Ain National Museum

Unlike many of the other museums in the country, this musuem takes you back to the begin of the civilization in the area. The city of Al Ain was chosen to build this museum due to the numerous and diverse archaeological sites it houses, dating back (5,000) five thousand years. The museum contains a myriad of exciting artefacts, discoveries and more from the Neolithic Age, Bronze Age, Hellenistic age and the pre-oil era. It’s a fascinating visit, understanding how people lived here that long ago, and winessing the evolution.

24 Al Ain Palace Museum

The Al Ain Palace is one of the best reinstated palaces in Abu Dhabi, and was the home of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE and the first President of the UAE. He lived here with his family untill the late sixties, when he moved to Abu Dhabi. The palace and private residence provide insights into the lives and culture of both the ruling family and the community until the country’s transformation after the discovery of petroleum. The oldest building in the palace dates back to 1937, to give you an idea of the history.



The Arts Centre at NYU Abu Dhabi

This is the performing arts centre of the New York University Abu Dhabi campus and is a space of culture, connection and the joy of performance. Here, the education and the creativity flow together, and enrich not just the university but also the community it functions in. The showcases include music, theatre, dance, film, poetry, family programs and every measure of genre and discipline. Not only is it a great platform for the students, but also locally and internationally renowned artists to bring their best. They always have something buzzing here, so keep an eye out for the updates.



BAPS Hindu Mandir

Four years of meticulous work by artisans in India and the UAE have come to fruition in Abu Dhabi’s Abu Mureikha area. The temple has been built out of pink sandstone and stunning white marble, atop 27 acres of land, and features seven stunning spires, each symbolising an emirate to adorn the mighty structure. Ripe in detail and religious relevance, the structure has been intricately carved by 2,000 artisans out of 5,500 tonnes of white marble and 14,500 tonnes of pink sandstone. The temple is open to the public on certain days, so you can visit to learn more about the history and heritage. @abudhabimandir

Abrahamic Family House

In a wonderful sentiment of solidarity, we have at the heart of the Abrahamic Family House: Imam Al-Tayeb Mosque, St. Francis Church, and Moses Ben Maimon Synagogue. Elegant and minimalistic, the mosque’s exterior is made up of seven arches, reflecting the importance of the number seven in Islam. In addition to the three individual sites of worship, there are communal areas such as the serene and reflective peace garden. To make the most out of the experience, book online in advance to secure yourself one of the expert ‘storytellers’. Entry is free of charge. @abrahamicfh



Bassam Freiha Art Foundation

This stunning art space is the newest addition to the capital’s art and culture scene, where art fans can discover rarely seen works of art drawn from private collections locally, regionally and internationally. The whole space is a philanthropic institution brought to life by established art patron and collector Bassam Said Freiha. The best part is that it is free and open to all. The venue is located at Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island and stands out with a white façade, which looks like it is floating above the water element below.

@bassamfreiha artfoundation


Hili Archaeological Park

This is the site of Hili Tombs, which are recognisable by their domed shape. Hili Archaeological Park is one of the best known archaeological sites in the UAE and is part of the Hili Cultural Site. This site is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al Ain. It contains Bronze Age (3000-1300 BCE) and Iron Age (1300300 BCE) villages, burial grounds and agricultural infrastructure. The Umm an-Nar period is when the Hili settlement expanded, in the period between 2500 and 2000 BCE. The largest collection of tombs and buildings from this period in the UAE is at Hili.


The Founder’s Memorial

A space to learn about the Father of the Nation, the centrepiece of The Founder’s Memorial is a monumental public artwork called ‘The Constellation’, a dynamic three-dimensional portrait of the late Sheikh Zayed. It can be experienced differently from viewing points around the memorial. The artwork consists of 1,327 geometric shapes –polyhedrons or platonic solids – suspended from 1,110 cables. At night, the geometric shapes of The Constellation shine like stars. The remaining experience is a walk-through interactive museum.



Hafit Tombs

The beehive tombs of Jebel Hafit date back to the Bronze Age and are present in the hundreds at the base of the second-tallest peak in the UAE. They reflect a 5,000-year-old history of the region of Al Ain, built in stone and housing the dead. The tombs are made of rough, uncut rocks and have a domed shape, thus the beehive moniker. Each tomb is believed to have held two to five graves. Artefacts have also been found in the tombs, including Mesopotamian pottery, beads, spears, daggers and vessels.


Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi is the certified hotspot of all things art, history and culture in the capital. The first international outpost of the famed Louvre in Paris, France, this show-stopping hub of the arts is always buzzing with happenings – exhibitons, showcases, workshops, talks, performances, art history walks and more. They also regularly bring in masterpieces from France and around the world for limited periods for art enthusiasts to see. The stunning dome is the highlight of this location, offering a rain of light as you walk the grounds.



Qasr Al Watan


Qasr Al Hosn

Qasr Al Hosn has seen Abu Dhabi grow from the ground up, being a constant witness of the transformation of the capital. This fort stands as a national monument from the 18th century and is one of the oldest buildings in the capital. It was built in 1790 and houses the city’s first permanent structure – the watchtower. In its time as the centre of the community, the commanding structure overlooked the coastal trade routes and protected the growing settlement established on the island, the first communities to move to this area. It has been home to the ruling family, the seat of the government and a consultative council.


Housed within the Presidential Palace compound in Abu Dhabi, this stunning landmark is Arabic for ‘Palace of the Nation’, and is a working palace that hosts official state visits and summits. Apart from admiring the stunning Arabian architecture, visitors to the landmark will gain a deeper understanding of the UAE’s governing traditions and values, and explore a vast collection of historic artefacts and manuscripts. The Palace is white in colour which was picked to symbolise purity and peace. Tickets are purchased at the visitors centre at the main entrance to Qasr Al Watan, after which you’ll take a short bus ride to the palace.




Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The largest mosque in the UAE, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is easily one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. With a total of 82 domes and over 1,000 columns and surrounded by reflective pools, it’s a stunning sight and beautiful white vision. From marbled halls to goldplated chandeliers, mosaic artwork to amethyst-and-jasper-embedded columns, the place of worship a tribute to the local culture. Sheikh Zayed Mosque was the vision of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE. Its open-door policy welcomes visitors from all over the world and up to 50,000 worshippers daily. @szgmc_ae


Al Wathba Fossil Dunes Reserve

A bit of natural history for you, and quite a spectacular one at that. The Al Wathba Fossil Dunes Reserve is located 45 kilometres outside Abu Dhabi city and is home to more than 1,700 fossil dunes. The stone structures were formed with the force of wind and sediment deposits over four million years, according to experts. The reserve itself is visitor-friendly, with trails, benches, shading, light and sound shows and an amphitheatre. If you’re looking to explore the natural history of the country, this is a good place to start.



Al Majaz Amphitheatre

This is the performance art hub of Sharjah, and brings together some of the best plays, musicals, community events and concerts across a broad range of genres. It’s a melting pot of arts, culture and heritage, and features a stunning edifice – an open-air theatre inspired by the Roman-style Amphitheatre and designed in a semicircular shape. At 7,238 square metres in area, the theatre can accommodate 4,500 spectators. There is a large stage mediating Al Majaz Amphitheatre where artists can present their performances. It’s located on a little island out in the water at the Al Majaz Waterfront. @almajazamphitheatre


Al Noor Mosque

Al Noor Mosque is Sharjah’s only mosque that is open to non-Muslims with free one-hour tours at 10am every Monday and Thursday. Dominating the emirate’s skyline and overlooking Khalid Lagoon, the mosque has a classic Ottoman design with 34 domes and the interior of the mosque is etched with intricate calligraphy of verses from the Holy Quran. As a popular tourist destination, the mosque offers free traditional Emirati dress upon entry as well as Arabic coffee or gahwa. It’s hard to miss because of it’s beautiful façade – the lighting really catches your eye.


Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjah Art Foundation is all about uplifting culture, highlighting the arts and giving a platform to admirers, enthusiasts and creators of it. The space regularly hosts galleries and exhibitions, as well as several programme runs in the year, featuring highly talented, passionate and incredible artists to showcase their craft at several locations in restored heritage houses and art spaces across the city. They have permanent collections as well as guest ones and a whole lot of history to explore as well. Participate in their regular programming anmd workshops and get your creative juices flowing. @sharjahartfoundation


Ajman Museum

Perhaps Ajman’s most interesting heritage experience is the Ajman Musuem. The restored 18th century fort houses a large collection of archaeological artefacts. Check out the exhibition of an excavated graveyard discovered near Ajman City Centre; some of the jewellery and pottery found there dates back as far as 3,000 BC. Some of the oldest civilisations have passed through this region, so it only makes sense to discover more about them.




Dhayah Fort

Dhayah Fort in Ras Al Khaimah is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. It is the only hill fort remaining in the UAE and dates back to the Late Bronze Age (1,600 to 1,300 BC). While visitors head to the fort now for the history, heritage and stunning views, back then it was used by the locals for fortification. The monument is of historical importance and is the place where the battle between the British troops and local Qawasim tribes took place in 1819. At the base of the fort, visit the large Wadi Souq tombs, which date between 2,000 to 1,300 BC.

Al Jazeera Al Hamra



Umm Al Quwain National Museum and Fort

Being more towards the rural side, there is a wealth of history and heritage in Umm Al Quwain. The second smallest emirate has much culture to offer. Its National Museum showcases its treasured heritage which dates back to 1768. This fortlike complex is located in the Old Souq area, with a turret standing tall, matching the traditional look and feel of the surrounding buildings. To enter, you will only have to pay Dhs4, and children under 15 can enter for free. It’s a fun family day out, and at the end of it, you’ll learn something new about the UAE’s history.


This stunning heritage village is the only remaining historical pearling village in the entire Gulf region; the rest were demolished with the discovery of oil. The neighbourhood features key landmarks like a fort and watchtowers, mosque, souq and extensive courtyard houses of various designs. There is a variety of construction styles from small, simple houses, courtyard homes and two-story buildings to a large courtyard residence where the wealthy pearl merchant lived. At the turn of the century, the village had some 500 houses and was occupied by the Zaab tribe.



Al Bidya Mosque

This mosque is located a little outside Fujairah in the village of Al Bidya and is chock full of cultural significance. Considered one of the oldest mosques in the country, it is believed to be constructed sometime between the middle of 15th and 17th century - around 600-years-old. Nonetheless it is still a completely sound, standing structure and hosts daily prayers even today, despite being a tourist attraction. The building itself is a small space, with little cut-outs in the walls for windows and a rudimentary design put together with materials that were available then. The mosque features on the World Heritage List compiled by UNESCO.


Fujairah Historic Fort

There is so much history in the lesser known areas of the country. Fujairah is one such place and this fort is one is for history lovers. Built in the 16th century, Fujairah Fort is one of the oldest forts in the UAE and the largest castle in Fujairah. The top of the tower is elevated around 20-metres above sea level offering incredible views over the city while the fort is known for its significant role in resisting invasion and bombardment by the British Royal Navy. Entry is free, so head over to explore.


We asked the What’s On team to share their favourite five dishes in the UAE right now

Reading our magazine you might get the impression that all we do at What’s On is swan around the emirates, stuffing our faces and leveraging our audience (you) in order to do fun stuff, pausing only occasionally to write a little report on it. And you’d be absolutely right. We’ve taken on the noble mandate of experiencing the best of What’s On offer in the UAE, evaluating it, and feeding back to you – with our opinions on what’s hot and what’s tepid at best. As part of this peculiar privilege – we’re exposed to a lot of very very good food, and because we’re not the type to plate-keep, we’re sharing with you 35 must-try dishes in the UAE right now...



Truffle tagliolini from Alici (Dhs165)

Alice Holtham GROUP EDITOR

I fell instantly in love with Alici when it opened on Bluewaters in 2019. It was the year my love affair with Italy began, and the Amalfi-inspired interiors and stunning sea views from the first floor terrace meant it went straight to the top of my Dubai restaurant bucket list. I always order the impossibly light fritto misto and the juicy red prawns, but my all-time favourite dish is the ‘tagliolini al tartufo’. The fragrant truffle, the perfectly cooked ribbons of pasta, the delicate shavings of parmesan… it’s three simple parts that make a standout dish.



Dulce de Leche fondant from Sucre (Dhs70)

Among a sea of globally renowned restaurants in DIFC, Sucre doesn’t get the airtime it deserves. Personally, I think it’s one of Dubai’s most underrated restaurants. I love the way the dining room faces the open kitchen, the décor of exposed brickwork and shades of burnt orange and crimson, and the menu’s focus on fire cooking that traverses culinary borders. But the thing I love most about Sucre is the Dulce de Leche fondant. Worth every single calorie, it’s rich, sweet and totally indulgent, balanced with finesse thanks to a side serving of vanilla ice cream. @sucredubai


Warm prawns from LPM Restaurant & Bar (Dhs82)

This sleek city ode to the Cote D’Azur is a stalwart DIFC restaurant that ticks all the boxes in terms of food, drink, ambience, and service. But the way you know a restaurant brand is really good is through consistency. And having also ticked off its outposts in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, I can vouch for the fact that LPM Restaurant & Bar gets it right every time. There’s plenty of must-tries on the menu, like the Tomatini cocktail, the escargot, and the salt baked seabass. But my death row meal would have to include the crevettes tièdes a l’huile d’olive: warm prawns served in a delicate dose of olive oil and zesty lemon. @lpmdubai, @lpmabudhabi, @lpmriyadh



Garlic knots from Pitfire Pizza (Dhs32)

“But the pizza is so good”, I hear you cry. And I concur. But on good days and bad, the dish I always turn to from Pitfire Pizza is the garlic knots. This baked-to-order box of breadbased beauties is everything you want from an indulgent treat. The perfect balance of crispy outside and spongy, still-warm centre, each knot is dipped in garlic butter and dusted with parmesan cheese, and is best enjoyed with a hefty dunk in the pot of black truffle cream that comes with it.


Padrón peppers from Tagomago (Dhs38)

In my line of work, I don’t often return to the same restaurant twice, simply because there are so many new ones popping up all over town. So when I do, it’s because I really love it. And I’ve been to few places in the last 12 months more than Tagomago. A sun-drenched ode to one of my favourite places on the planet, Ibiza, this Spanish-Mediterranean spot on the beachfront oozes the laidback luxe feel I love. Whether I’m there for a beach day, sundowners or dining in the restaurant, I always order the padrón peppers. Simply seasoned with rock salt, I could happily inhale three bowls full. @tagomagodubai

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90’s Alfredo from Moonrise (part of a Dhs950 tasting menu)

For me, food is at its finest when it connects with memories and emotions. Hastily shovelled mouthfuls that send shockwaves through your synapses, shaking off the dust and projecting big screen reenactments of a time now passed. 90s Alfredo is your invite to share in chef Solemann Haddad’s nostalgia of growing up around the eclectic canteen scene in 90s Dubai. It’s a fuzzy snapshot of lobster and jalapeño ravioli, with a parmesan rind sauce so uniquely wellconceived that it performs the Inception-level mind trick of downloading chef Solemann’s own memories directly into your brain. @moonrise.xyz


Tantan Men from Tomo (from Dhs65)


If I could eat just one meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of my life – it would be ramen. Call me a monster if you wish but I’d have absolutely zero problem waking up first thing and tucking straight into Kinoya’s spicy duck mic drop, or Daikan’s shoyu ramen, my palate is not a slave to circadian rhythms. I can tell you the moment I fell in love with it as a dish, it was one of the first times I tried it, about 10 years ago – in this Dubai institution at the top of the Raffles pyramid. Sparks flew. As they have for every visit since. @tomodubai


Steak frites from Couqley (Dhs139)

This is my Roman Empire. I think about it at least once a day. Like whether it was steak frites, such as this, that inspired Julius Caesar’s raging fixation for conquering Gaul. Its beauty is in its simplicity, it’s (Lebanese) French bistrology 101 – a butterflied tenderloin, fries, salad and a house sauce Cleopatra would have 100 per cent bathed in. @couqleyuae


Lobster pani puri from Jun’s (Dhs130)

I’m fully aware that there are many wonderful examples of pani puri found throughout the UAE at a fraction of the cost. But this one is special. I once described it as ‘how I think Goan sunsets would taste if you could somehow sneak a bite’. And I stand by it. It’s an expatriate mash-up of layered celestial glow – butter-poached lobster, achari, coconut and a tamarind gel. @junsdubai

Tiger prawn rice from Tasca (Dhs300)

Dubai certainly doesn’t suffer from any dearth of rice dishes. Byrianis, risotto, mandi, nasi goreng – steamed, boiled or fried – if it’s grown in a paddy field, you’ll be able to find it somewhere in this city. My personal favourite is the warming brothy Portugese seafood aroz at Tasca. It’s the perfect example of that European genre of traditional ‘peasant food’, going through the full Eliza Doolittle treatment, sat on a throne and robed in the finest aioli and lemon zest. @tascadubai

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Escargots de Bourgogne from LPM Abu Dhabi (Dhs110)

The snails with garlic butter and parsley. It’s on LPM’s hors d’ouevres menu, and anyone that’s been, will tell you they love it – and that it’s worth visiting just to try this one dish. Scoop and scoop some more, no shame. Everyone around you likely is, as well. @lpmabudhabi


Pepperoni pizza with spicy honey from Marmellata (Dhs80)

Dinesh Ramanathan DEPUTY

Sit at their terrace flanked by views of the Arabian Sea and a hulking liner as you chomp into this masterpiece by Raj Dagestani and co. This really is a flavour explosion, a smorgasbord of tastebud-awakening ingredients, fresh and irreplicable, no less. And there’s one that they include in everything they do at Marmellata – heart. Chat with the staff while you’re there, they’re one of a kind, too.



Tomato sofrito from Mika (free)

While you’re polishing off the bread basket, the real star is the accompanying tomato sofrito with green chilli paste doused in olive oil. When we visited, we were left wishing they sold it in take-home bottles. Funnily enough, diners around us requested multiple servings as well. @mika.abudhabi


How ‘Bout Them Apples from Perlage (Dhs75)

I’m always a big fan of a classic - especially ilvinobuono- they take a second to show up, and they’re guaranteed to impress. But at What’s On, we’re in the business of unravelling the coolest new concepts in town, so I’m also all about what’s new. Perlage, The Galleria Al Maryah Island’s sultry bubbly bar, serves up this innovative beverage. The first time I saw this on their red-velvet menu, it took me back to Paul Walker’s line in 2 Fast 2 Furious. While it’s on the sweeter side, it is a taste you’ll be back for.



Cannoli di ricotta from Café Milano (Dhs70)

Leave room in your tummies for this one, readers. While this flavourful treat packs the calories, it’s all about indulgence. And when you dine at a spot like Café Milano, you’re usually treating yourself or celebrating something. So I can confidently recommend this one. Enjoy guilt free.


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Parma sando from Slaw (Dhs44)

It is so hard for me to say no to a burger from Slaw. Hungry or not, if someone around me is ordering from Slaw, I will be adding a sando to the order. My favourite has to be the parma sando, with fresh fried chicken with that irresistible crunch, parma sauce, and grated parmesan cheese. The classic sando is just as good, but I am not a pickle fan. That Oh Yeah sauce however is pretty delicious. Oh, and I won’t ever say no to the truffle fries either. An extra Dhs28 well spent.



Yoko chicken special from Yoko Sizzlers (Dhs63)

Aarti Saundalkar ONLINE


Yoko Sizzlers in Karama has been around since 1998, and if you pass by on weekends, you will find nearly every table booked. It serves up over 60 different sizzlers from vegetarian to chicken, steak, fish and more. My personal favourite? The Yoko Chicken Special. The sizzling plate comes with two spicy melt-inyour-mouth fillets of chicken on a bed of rice and vegetables and fries topped with a lipsmacking spicy sauce. And the sizzling plate isn’t just for theatrics, it keeps the food warm for a long time, so don’t rush and savour every bite.



Seabass ceviche from SushiYaki (Dhs79)

Until now, I have not come across an order of seabass ceviche that has let me down, but SushiYaki takes this dish to a whole new level. The seabass is fresh and tangy from the bright orange rocoto sauce with hints of spice from the black chilli oil. If you smothered your bite in the sauce, you will be left with a surprising but mild coallike note on your palette from the black charcoal cassava. The chulpi and choclo corn also adds another layer of texture to each bite.



Wok fried lobster with almond brittle from Din Tai Fung (Dhs178)

Din Tai Fung may be known for its dumplings, but the wok-fried lobster with almond brittle is an absolute star. Now, I am not a huge fan of seafood, but it was highly recommended by other What’s On team members, so I had to try it. Created especially for the Din Tai Fung Bluewaters branch, the lobster is perfectly spiced and crispy, and topped with a slightly sweet almond brittle to counteract the fiery notes. It is a triumph of form and flavour, one cannot afford to leave without trying, seafood fan or not.



Papaya salad (Som Tum) from Siam Restaurant (Dhs30)

A salad? On Team What’s On favourite dishes? I know, I too was just as shocked when my list whittled down to include this humble dish I sampled from the Flayva food hall. But it packs a punch. And I am not a salad fan, not even close, but this Thai fusion delight is like a mini firework on the palette bursting with cool and spicy flavours, and the bite is made even better thanks to the mix of textures. You can’t help but reach out with your chopsticks for more. It’s so good that ordering seconds is an easy choice.


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Lamb ‘al pastor’ gringa from Lila Wood-Fired Taqueria (Dhs75)

Homegrown, family-run, and authentic wood-fired taqueria, Lila has become renowned for its genuine Mexican flavours quality locally sourced ingredients, warm atmosphere, and, not to mention, its iconic homemade corn tortillas made daily from Mexican heirloom corn. I could quite happily add at least five dishes from the menu on this list – from the tuna tostadas to the churros – but the spit-roasted lamb tacos I could eat every day for the rest of my life. Marinated lamb, creamy green salsa, and sliced radish comes wrapped in a large tortilla with a coat of salty, burnt cheese. It’s worth every bite.



Oven baked falafel fatayer from Mama’esh (Dhs24)

If we’re talking about the places I’ve eaten at most regularly, Palestinian restaurant Mama’esh is my go-to comfort spot. I live just across the road and it’s still not close enough. Whether for a weekend breakfast spread or a school night dinner when I don’t have time to cook, the atmosphere is homely, the aroma of freshly baked breads fills the air, and it’s consistent, delicious home-cooked food. One of my favourites is the soul-warming oven baked falafel fatayer with a non-negotiable order of Palestinian hummus and fresh pomegranate juice.



Rainbow heirloom carrots from Jun’s (Dhs84)


Miso butter eggplant from Kinoya (Dhs45)

Kinoya holds a special place in my heart. Whether it’s a dinner for one with a comforting bowl of ramen or a wine-fuelled catch-up with friends, there’s one dish that is a must-order on every visit; their miso eggplant served with bonito flakes and toasted sesame seeds. The warmth and depth of flavour – a perfect blend of umami, smokiness, and sweetness – is truly showstopping and the eggplant is so tender it practically melts in the mouth.


Every dish on the flavourpacked menu at Jun’s comes with its own story and nostalgic narrative which makes the dining experience all the more memorable. The famous heirloom carrots are no exception. A clever interpretation of chef Kelvin Cheung’s mothers’ favourite dish growing up in North America, a smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese, chef Kelvin has recreated a sophisticated, vegetarian version. Featuring smoked labneh, candied walnuts and charred rainbow carrots served with homemade sourdough, chef Kelvin manages to trick our tastebuds using the power of texture and flavours. It’s so moreish and so fun.



Tuna tartare pizza from La Spiaggia (Dhs160)

Currently ranked number six in the 50 Best Pizzas in the world (2023), Rome-import SEU Pizza Illuminati serves its cult-followed high-end pizza at Bulgari Resort’s casual beachside eatery, La Spiaggia. With its authentic fragrant dough boasting an airy, puffy crust, coupled with high-quality ingredients and creative toppings, these pizzas are truly dream-worthy. My personal favourite creation, and something I probably think about a little too often, is the tuna tartare pizza topped with creamy Stracciatella cheese and pistachio.


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Mushroom truffle rice pot from Kata Dubai Mall (Dhs80)

I am a lover of all things carb. So it’s no surprise that a ricebased dish features on my list. I know how some people feel about mall dining, but Kata represents fine dining food at a reasonable price. Exotic mushrooms, delicious truffle butter and a whole lot of tableside mixing before serving. @kata.ae


Chicken sandwich melt from Bonbird (Dhs45)


When I said I was a carb lover, what I really meant was “I am a lover of all things carb, and cheese.” Enter the little sister of the burger fiends, Pickl’s Bonbird. When I first tried this sandwich, I watched as the melted cheese fell all over my fingers and I fell in love. It might just be one of my favourite items to order when I don’t know what else to order. Dine-in is obviously best, but it travels really well too. Plus, their fries with chicken salt are a winner. @bonbird.mena


Ravioles de Royam from Odeon (Dhs90)

It sounds very fancy but this ravioli pasta (see, told you, carbs) sings to me on a cosmic level. My grandma’s favourite cheese is a good comte and I had never delved into its world until I tried it for the first time at Odeon. A gorgeous French restaurant in Jumeirah, it’s beautiful from floor to ceiling with a family running it that makes you truly feel the love. The tiny little bites of pasta pillows in a buttery sauce topped with chives, it’s just perfect. @odeondubai



The bread and butter from Couqley (free) If a restaurant can’t get something as humble as bread and butter at the beginning of a meal correct – it’s an instant red flag to me. Which is why it comes as no shock at all that Couqley nails it every time. The bread is warm and soft, but the crust is crunchy (and not the “shred the top of your mouth” kind.) The butter, perfectly salty, glides across the bread like a figure skater. @couqleyuae

The whiskey tart from CÉ LA VI (Dhs90)

I’m a party girl at heart but I can appreciate a refined cocktail. This is one of those cocktails and it actually sparked my love for the Whiskey Sour. CÉ LA VI does it in their own special way, much like most items on their menu. And it is divine. The cinnamon mixed with the honey and the whiskey is a gold star concoction. Egg white might be a bit of a wild card for you in a drink – but think of it as a mild meringue that sits atop the earthy nectar. @celavidubai

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Traditional Biang

Biang noodles from San Wan (Dhs41)

This hidden gem in JLT has found a deep place in my heart, and the traditional bowl of hand pulled noodles with chilli oil deeper still. Just the authenticity of the noodles, how fresh they are, how welcoming the space is, and of course, the flavours - everything screams heart, soul and goodness. It’s a simple dish, but sometimes simple is best. Douse it with chilli oil and it’s golden.


03 Peshawari mutton from Ravi (Dhs22)


This is one I grew up eating, and I love going back even now. It’s a traditional Pakistani delicacy I’ve had elsewhere, but Ravi just does it better, and consistently too. The curry is sharp, peppery, tomato-y and the mutton just melts in your mouth. It’s hearty and filling, and eating it straight from the kadhai is the only way to do it. Incredible with some naan dippage. It’s just so nostalgic and reminds me of simpler times. Always good.




Roast duck from Demon Duck (Dhs690)

I never stop talking about this dish, and I’m not planning to anytime soon (my apologies, my fellow teammates).

The crispy duck by the genius that is Chef Alvin Leung is the best one I’ve had in Dubai. Perfectly crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, with a fluffy bun and a myriad of super flavourful sauces to make yourself a little pouch of deliciousness, and it’s just such fine cooking.



Turkish halwa and ice cream from Helvaci Ali (Dhs22)

Also lesser known, but my mother and I discovered this spot by Kite Beach a while back, and we visit every time we feel like a treat. The concept is foolproof – sugar topped with more sugar. Turkish vanilla ice cream, topped with steaming semolina and lashings of ghee/butter/some sort of fatty goodness. The halva comes in different flavours like chocolate, pistachio and Lotus, but in my opinion the OG is the best. It feels like a little secret I share with my mum and I like that. @helvaciali1900

Seared tuna crudo from Rare (Dhs96)

This one is fairly new to the scene, but Rare really won my heart. The seared tuna crudo is one of the starters, but I could have that and only that for the whole meal. It’s a combination of flavours and textures I can’t explain – the tuna is chewy, the brown butter bearnaise is warm and nutty and the anchovy soy is salty. It all comes together in a delightful bite. I just love Rare because you can taste the time, effort and passion put into every dish on the menu and this one is a winner.


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Catch the best of the football action at these sports bars

EURO 2024 WHATSON.AE | JUNE 2024 81

C. Mondo

If you find yourself in the ADNEC area, witness all the action from EURO 2024 unfold at Centro Capital Centre by Rotana’s C. Mondo. The popular Abu Dhabi sports bar will have you experiencing every thrilling moment, from start to finish on their big screens, as you round up the squad and head on over to enjoy super European sporting action. Enjoy a wide selection of bar bites and drinks in this comfortable setting, with deals including a burger and hops for just Dhs75, a snack bucket and two pints at Dhs90, and a snack bucket coupled with a hops tower for Dhs150. Whether you’re a passionate supporter or a casual fan dropping in to see what all the noise is about, C. Mondo is guaranteed to be a safe bet. C. Mondo, Centro Capital Centre by Rotana, ADNEC Area, Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (0)2 409 6515. @centrocapcentre


Cooper’s at the Park Rotana Abu Dhabi will be showing all the EURO 2024 action live, so make sure you come down and feel the football spirit at this high-energy sporting spectacle. They’ll be streaming the games on several huge screens at the venue, and in addition to watching some super action unfold on the pitch, you can also take part in their Predict and Win competition which could give you the chance to win a bucket of refreshing beverages. Catch all the action at Cooper’s from June 14 to July 14. Cooper’s, Park Rotana Abu Dhabi. Tel: (0)2 657 3325. @coopersabudhabi

Ray’s Bar

Ray’s Bar, at the Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers, is located amid one of the capital’s most distinguished landmarks, and will be setting up a memorable, fun-packed fan zone during EURO 2024. All month long, you can get ready for an exciting experience, as one side of the bar gets transformed into a space dedicated to all the football crazy fans that will descend here. Throughout the 30 days of the tournament, you will also be able to enjoy happy hours and other exclusive deals that serve up tasty food and refreshing beverages while you soak in the sporting action. For those that want to stay beyond game time, Ray’s will continue to host their popular themed nights, such as the ladies’ night and the wine and cheese night.

Ray’s Bar, Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (0)2 811 5666. @raysbarabudhabi

C. Mondo Stills Ray’s Bar Cooper’s


Stills, at the Crowne Plaza on Yas Island, is a great sun-lit spot for an afternoon out at your local pub with great eats and refreshing drinks. Throw in some highoctane European football action and you have the perfect mix. During the entirety of the tournament, they have an exciting offer that will have you enjoying four bottles of hops, or a flight of four draughts for only Dhs99, or a signature Polynesian burger, one of our favourites, and hops for Dhs119. As well, keep an eye out for their exciting new campaign that will have you scoring big with every visit.

Stills Restaurant & Bar, Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (0)2 656 3066. @stillsyasisland


One of Yas Bay’s liveliest venues is known for being a good time, all day, every day, seven days a week. So it should come as no surprise that EURO 2024 is slated to be just that and more. Descend on one of the capital’s leading Irish bars and sit down to catch all the footall action this summer with screens aplenty. If the Six Nations was anything to go by, you’ll want to make a reservation and also get there early, because this bar is spacey and capable of accommodating up to 500 football-mad fans that will have energy levels at fever pitch.

McCafferty’s, Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (0)58 598 3623. @mccaffertysyas


Bridges, one of the capital’s favourite sports bars at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, has you covered during EURO 2024 season, and whether you opt to pre-game or prefer to wait until play begins, you can elevate your gameday experience with a host of refreshing beverages and sports bar eats, as you enjoy elite football action. Special offers will be up for grabs all tournament long, and you will be able to enjoy them during game time with a super menu of bar bites and beverages.

Bridges, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Khor Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (0)2 654 3238. @fairmontbabalbahr


Another of the capital’s leading Irish pubs, McGettigan’s at Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi will be showing the football action live, all month-long during EURO 2024. Look out for exciting offers that will combine tastefilled bar bites and selected beverages from their menu, as well as daily scratch cards and prizes.

McGettigan’s, Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi. Tel: (0)2 698 8137. @dusitthaniabudhabi


Get set to be swept away by the excitement of EURO 2024 at Porter’s this summer, where tournament-themed decorations, flags, and banners will set the stage for your experience. With big screens, extended happy hour timings, special rates on gourmet food and selected beverages, as well as exciting prizes to be won such as free food and drinks, staycations and more, the excitement at Porter’s is about to reach an all-new high.

Porter’s, Grand Millennium Al Wahda, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (0)56 685 0539. @portersabudhabi

EURO 2024
Bridges McGettigan’s

Bai Bar & Terrace

Watch the Euro 2024 games while indulging in all your favourites from a special menu. For drinks, you can get a draft beer for Dhs35 or opt for a beer bucket for Dhs190. You can also get a burger and beer for Dhs99 or opt for the Euro sharing board for Dhs199. For a dash of fun, if the team that bar mascot Billy the Badger roots for loses, supporters of the other team win a round of drinks. There are raffles with great prizes to be won, too. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Canal View. Tel: (0)56 995 8210. @bai_bar_terrace

Barasti Beach

The iconic and well-loved beach club Barasti Beach is screening the games across all screens at the venue. Expect great deals, including a happy hour, which runs from 12pm to 8pm from Monday to Friday. If you don’t want to miss a second of the action but still want to enjoy all that Barasti has to offer, head over before the game for a dip in the pool or to laze on the beach. Post match, you can party into the night on the sand listening to live music. Barasti, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, Al Sufouh, Dubai. Tel: (0)4 318 1313. @barastibeach

Bedrock DXB

Bedrock Dubai at Pier 7 is the big kid playground with darts and a golf simulator. Book ahead and arrive early to get a game in before the football action begins. There are 20 screens across the venue and all of them will be showing the football action. You can also enjoy daily happy hour prices from 12pm and more daily deals.

Bedrock DXB, Pier 7, Dubai Marina. Tel: (0)4 578 1668. @bedrockdxb

Belgian Cafe at Dubai Festival City

Belgian Cafe is offering two ways to see EURO 2024. Pick from an air-conditioned tent with multiple screens, pub grub, drinks and shisha. Or head to Belgian Cafe, where you can watch the matches indoors or outdoors on the terrace, featuring a massive HD screen. Pair your match with food and beverages and views

of the Dubai skyline and the creek. Belgian Cafe, Crowne Plaza, Dubai Festival City, Dubai, Tel: (0)4 701 1127. dubaifestivalcityhotels.com/belgiancafe

Boom Battle Bar

This popular haunt hailing from the UK is always a buzzing spot to be in Dubai, but come football season, expect to hear the support of screaming fans. Inside, there will be multiple screens lining the venue alongside a whopping 150-inch high projector. Go a la carte, or enjoy the special deals including the happy hour or the drunch package for Dhs225 with sips and popular Boom Battle Bar bites. There are also private screenings with soundproof rooms good for 15 guests. Don’t forget to book your spots.

Boom Battle Bar Dubai, DoubleTree by Hilton JBR, The Walk. Tel: (0)4 585 7357. @boom.dxb

Buffalo Wings and Rings

This casual pub has two branches in town, and both serve up some great deals, game night or not. Whether you head to the venue in JLT or DIFC, you can watch the EURO 2024 action on screens around the venue while tucking into some great bites and sips. Every day over the matches, enjoy beer deals from Dhs29 all day long, or you can enjoy their long happy hour

Bai Bar & Terrace Goose Island Tap House garden on 8 Boom Battle Bar

daily from 12pm to 8pm.

DIFC – Level C, Liberty House. Tel: (0)50 247 1226/(0)4 359 6900; JLT- Lake Level, Cluster U. Tel: (0)50 961 8122/ (0)4 321 6112. @buffalodubai

Ernst Biergarten

With the games being held in Germany, you can bet your visit to Ernst Biergarten will be an unbeatable spot to watch the games – especially if you’re rooting for Germany. Expect a three-litre tower of brew, bucket beers, and more. Want bites with your sips? Expect great food deals showcasing German delights such as half ribs, currywurst and more with your favourite stein.

Ernst Biergarten, 25Hours Hotel Dubai One Central, Trade Centre Street. Tel: (0)4 210 2511. @ernstdubai

Fanzone by McGettigans

The Fanzone by McGettigans is heading indoors to showcase the EURO 2024 tournament at The Agenda at Dubai Internet City. Expect the same electric atmosphere as you may have witnessed during the World Cup games. There are multiple seating options available from standing to premium and VIP.

To kickstart the matches on day one, Veteran Glaswegian pop-rockers, Deacon Blue are jetting in for a crowd-warming pre-match concert. Tickets for the match and concert combo are priced at Dhs195 (which includes a drink), or Dhs55 for match-only access. Doors open at 7pm, the concert starts at 8.30pm and the match kicks off at 11pm.

The Agenda, Dubai Internet City. Tel: (0)4 580 9159. @fanzonebymcgettigans

garden on 8

Media One Hotel is coming to life thanks to the ultimate fan zone at Dubai OG, garden on 8. The venue will welcome some of the biggest football fans in the city with special deals on food and beverages. Order a bucket of beers, or get a cool deal on a burger with hops for just Dhs99. Over the quarter and semi-finals, there will be a DJ at the decks pumping out those tunes between the games.

Garden on 8, Media One Hotel, Al Falak Street. Tel: (0)52 144 7438. @gardenon8dxb

Goose Island Tap House

FIVE Jumeirah Village’s award-winning pub, Goose Island, which is also now at the newly opened Five Luxe not only covers all your craft beer needs, but come the EURO, it will be showcasing all of the live games on large screens across the venue. Tuck into elevated pub grub, and enjoy all your favourite beverages as you watch the footie action. At JVC, you can get a burger, fries and two bottles of beer for Dhs145, or just opt for a bucket of six beers for a starting price of Dhs199. Need a break from the screen? You can enjoy a game of pool, darts, and arcade games.

FIVE Jumeirah Village, JVC. Tel: (0)4 455 9989; FIVE LUXE, Beach Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai Marina. Tel: (0)4 275 9999. gooseislanddubai.com


HuQQabaz Dubai and HuQQabaz Garden are both showcasing the games on big screens, so you won’t miss a moment of the action. HuQQAbaz Dubai is an all-day dining concept that welcomes the whole family. There’s a kid’s play area to keep little ones entertained, while you watch the game with drinks and bites such as pizzas, nachos, sliders, and more. At HuQQabaz Garden, you can watch the games in the garden outdoors under a bougainvillaea canopy while enjoying sharing starters, wraps, sliders and more.

HuQQabaz Dubai, Jumeirah Street, Dubai, @huqqabazDubai; HuQQabaz Garden, Mall of the Emirates. @huqqabazgarden

La Baie

Now this is one way to watch the football championship: Cheering for your team as you swim in the adults-only pool. It’s Dhs200 per person, but it’s fully redeemable on food and beverages.

La Baie, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, JBR, Dubai. Tel: (0)4 318 6150. @labaiedubai


Icon Bar and Lounge

Root for your team while you tuck into a limited-time menu showcasing small plates and beverages inspired by the topcontending countries. For one dish, it’s Dhs39 but if you want to wet your whistle opt for a food item and a drink for Dhs69. If you’re really hungry, get three dishes for Dhs99. Icon Bar and Lounge, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City. Tel: (0)4 366 9111. radissonhotels.com

Catch all the EURO games indoors or out on the terrace with views overlooking Dubai Creek and the championship golf course. On the menu, expect hearty, delicious food, including the famous allday English Breakfast. For drinks, a sunset special deal is available daily from 5pm to 9pm, where you can get sips from Dhs30. Lakeview, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Port Saeed. Tel: (0)4 602 1524. @lakeviewdubai

Lock Stock & Barrel

Across all of LSB’s venues, you can catch the football games for free, and party on until 3am once the game is done. On the menu, there are beers and ciders, signature cocktails, spirits, wine, and more. Pair your sips with popular bar bites such as calamari, chicken tacos, sliders, flatbreads and even sweet treats. Lock, Stock & Barrel, Rixos Premium JBR. Tel: (0)4 423 8307. @lockstockuae. ALSO: Barsha Heighs and Business Bay

HuQQabaz Icon Bar and Lounge


Exclusive offerings, thrilling competitions, a menu packed with Scottish delights and great drink deals await at Makar. You can indulge in a beer and burger for Dhs99 or get a sharing board for Dhs199. Just want drinks? Get a brew for Dhs24, six pints of draft for Dhs190 or a beer bucket for Dhs180.

Makar, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront, Business Bay. Tel: (0)56 995 8210. @radissonbludubaiwaterfront

Movenpick JLT

[u]bk is one of JLT’s most fondlyregarded, longest-serving, best-equipped entertainment venues, and it’s been pouring great times, perfect pints, strong snacking classics and all the vibes for over a decade now. And of course, they will be showing the live footie action with some great deals to ensure the electric vibes don’t stop. You will be able to get one food item and a pint for Dhs109, or pick a food item and get a bucket of five beers for Dhs189.

[u]bk, Mövenpick Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster A, JLT. Tel: (0)4 438 0000. @ubkdubai


With a name like Offside, you can bet this popular pub at JA Ocean Views Hotel in JBR will be screening the games. Expect food and drink deals plus happy hour during the matches – perfect to keep your strength up as you cheer on your team. The pub will also be giving away some big prizes during the games, so stay tuned. Offside, JA Ocean View Hotel, The Walk, JBR. Tel: (0)56 522 0219. @offsidedxb

Phileas Foggs

Offering up a casual pub atmosphere, live music, and epic golf views, this casual pub at the Montgomerie Golf Academy will be screening all the live footie action. Phileas Foggs, Address Montgomerie, Emirates Hills. Tel: (0)4 572 4477. @phileasfoggsdxb


This legendary sundowner spot offers some unrivalled views of the Creek and Dubai skyline and when it’s football season, you can enjoy the matches in an airconditioned tent. Pick from snack platters and refreshing drinks as you cheer for your team.

Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Dubai Creek. Tel: (0)4 295 6000. @qdsdubai


Riva has several great food and drink combos to ensure you are not hungry (or thirsty) during the game. For Dhs195, you can get a bucket deal with wings or edamame, or for Dhs79 you can get draught beer with two sliders, or for Dhs99 indulge in wings or nachos with a pint. Just want drinks? Get a bucket of beer for Dhs139.

Riva Beach Club, Shoreline Building 8, Palm Jumeirah. Tel: (0)4 430 9466. riva-beach.com

The Irish Village

This Dubai institution is going big over EURO 2024, showcasing all the live matches on screens across the venue. Walk-ins are welcome but you can make table reservations for Dhs200 per person, which is redeemable on food and beverages. And of course, you can expect some hearty grub to help you stay fuelled throughout the match. Matches will be screened at both the Al Garhoud OG branch and Studio One Hotel.

The Irish Village, Al Garhoud. Tel: (0)4 282 4750; Studio One Hotel, Dubai Studio City. Tel: (0)4 241 8444. theirishvillage.com

The Underground Pub

The award-winning sports bar will transform into an arena-like ambience, complete with indoor and air-conditioned outdoor seating. There are weekly raffles where fans can win free beer for a year, TVs, rugby tickets and more. There is a VIP package for Dhs10,000, which includes food and beverage credits that can be used throughout the EURO tournament. The card comes loaded with Dhs15,000 and as a bonus, you will also get more chances of winning the raffles. Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Al Sufouh Road, near JBR. Tel: (0)4 408 4257. habtoorgranddining.com


Wavebreaker has put together a special EURO 2024 menu to keep your spirits alive as you watch the match. There’s a burger and beer combo for Dhs99, a nacho and beer combo for Dhs79, and a chicken wing and beer combo for Dhs89. There’s also a five-bottle beer bucket for Dhs175. Wavebreaker, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, The Walk, Dubai. Tel: (0)4 318 2319. @wavebreaker_jbr

EURO 2024
Makar [u]bk Offside Wavebreaker
belgiancafedubaifestivalcity For bookings or further information, please email reservation.dfc@ihg.com or call +971 (0)4 701 1127/28
Get Your Game On! Experience the football season like never before and get the chance to win exciting prizes. One Event | Two Venues Belgian Café Dubai Festival City Massive HD screen Terrace and indoor seating Pub favourites and Belgian hops #2 Football Deck by Belgian Café Air-conditioned tent Multiple HD screens Pub-grub and drinks #1
taran.singh@motivate.ae | richard.halaby@motivate.ae
mario.saaiby@motivate.ae |
Why we’re raving about Rare The City Walk steakhouse needs to be on your radar PAGE 92 LEGACY VENUES p90 BEAU BURGER p95 SHOP p96 EAT | DRINK | SHOP

Words: Laura Coughlin


As we celebrate 45 years of What’s On, here’s a look at some legacy venues that have stood the test of time alongside our wonderful magazine. From heritage hotels to retro beachside cabins, these iconic UAE establishments continue to leave an indelible mark on the country...


Radisson Blu Hotel

Dubai Creek (Formerly InterContinental Hotel Dubai)

Opened in: 1975

Dubai’s first five-star property, this landmark hotel opened its doors in 1975, offering unparalleled views of Dubai Creek and setting the standard for luxury hospitality in the emirate. While the name has changed, its timeless design and iconic restaurants like The Fish Market continue to make it a cherished hotel.


Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort, Abu Dhabi Corniche (Formerly Hilton Abu Dhabi)

Opened in: 1973

Opened in 1973 by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, this hotel represented a new era as the first international chain in Abu Dhabi. According to The National, the hotel “introduced foods that had not appeared in the emirate before, such as iceberg lettuce, smoked salmon and avocado. French food dominated the menus and everything had to be flown in from London. The hotel also played a role in the internationalism of the city, hosting discos, DJs and stars such as Tina Turner from the late 1970s on.”


Carlton Tower Hotel Dubai

Opened in: 1977

Since its inauguration in 1977 by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the first Prime Minister of Dubai and the first Vice-President of the UAE, Carlton Tower has had a legacy of 40 years of sophisticated hospitality by the Dubai Creek. Like the Creek, which has been the lifeblood of Dubai, Carlton Tower has been the lifeblood of many amazing experiences of the thousands of guests who have enjoyed the hotel’s warm hospitality, and it continues to attract guests seeking a taste of old-world charm.



Dubai Sheraton Hotel

Opened in: 1978

This iconic hotel has been a fixture of Dubai Creek’s skyline for as long as What’s On has been in circulation. One of the first five-star hotels to open in the city, it remains a beloved destination to this day, and despite being dwarfed by many surrounding newer architectural wonders, the hotel retains its distinctive silhouette looking as fresh as it did in 1978.


Dubai World Trade Centre

Opened in: 1979

Opening its doors in the same year that What’s On was launched, the Dubai World Trade Centre has been a hub of commerce and culture for over four decades. From international conferences to world-class exhibitions, it continues to play a vital role in shaping the UAE’s global reputation.


Sandy Beach Hotel & Resort, Fujairah

Opened in: 1978

Nestled along the pristine shores of Al Aqah, this coastal resort has been a sanctuary since 1978. Initially a haven for divers renting one of the 10 private chalets, Sandy Beach has maintained its original charm and despite the modernisation around it, remains true to its roots, offering guests a unique experience defined by the beauty of the outdoors and a commitment to minimalism. With its laid-back atmosphere and stunning natural surroundings, it continues to be a resident favourite for a charming and retro staycation.


Le Meridien Abu Dhabi

Opened in: 1979

Welcoming guests since 1979, this beachfront hotel has been a cherished destination for residents and visitors seeking sun, sand, and relaxation. While a little worn around the edges, Le Meridien Abu Dhabi embodies a charm that long-standing residents hold dear.


Hyatt Regency Deira Dubai

Opened in: 1980

Only a few months younger than What’s On, Hyatt Regency Deira marked the arrival of the Hyatt brand in the UAE and set a new standard for luxury accommodation in Deira. With its iconic revolving restaurant and panoramic views of the city skyline, it remains a busy hotel and a solid option for those keen to base themselves near the port.


JA Beach Hotel, Jebel Ali

Opened in: 1981

OK, so we’re a couple of years older than JA Beach Hotel, but we had to include this gem. Originally known as The Jebel Ali Hotel, the sprawling resort opened in 1981 and has since become a cornerstone of Dubai’s hospitality landscape. With its expansive gardens, private beach, and world-class amenities, it continues to captivate guests looking for a familyfriendly retreat.


Words: Manaal Fatimah



At this steakhouse, the dishes are served with a side of soul...

C2 is swiftly turning out to be the foodie gift that keeps on giving, with one fine venue after the other opening doors and making our lives very difficult with the gift and the curse that is choice. First-world problems are generally obnoxious and that’s probably the most obnoxious one to have, but Rare is an easy pick – a steakhouse that is so well done, as stated by a dear friend. That’s the kind of irony you’re looking for.


As you step through the doors, the first thing you’ll see is the stunning bar. Everything is draped in shades of red, crimson and brown, from the ceiling to the wood walls and the deep velvet seating to the curtains. It’s edgy, and glamorous with low, warm lighting and carefully curated greenery. But I really like the two concrete pillars – standing bare and strong. They make me feel like I’ve seen the heart and soul of the place.


tomato and peach salad (Dhs59). The crudo is one of my highlights, a myriad of flavours that I don’t want to end, with the chew of the fish, the fat of the brown butter bearnaise and the salt of the anchovy soy. The salad is a delightful jig in your mouth with a smoked peach you won’t see coming, and bright tomatoes that offset the richness of the cheese.

lively flavours with a hint of spice from the chipotle butter – the ricotta agnolotti (Dhs128) and the wagyu striploin (Dhs245). The stuffed pasta is pleasantly subtle, with cheese inside, outside and all over, and some black pepper to cut all that. The star of the show however, is the steak – a premium cut, which you would expect they cook right (this is a steakhouse, after all) but the innovation is the wasabi cream, which I suggest they sell by the bottle. Perfectly salted meat, no grey, bland bits and all the kick from the wasabi.

Just as we’re getting settled in, we are served our first round of starters, seared tuna crudo (Dhs96) and the heirloom

The bone marrow on toast (Dhs48) is an umami bomb, served with mushrooms and pickled onion. There’s a sweetness in the bread which offers balance and it’s great, but is a bit of an acquired taste. Everything is remarkable, except the chicken skewers (Dhs86), which while delicious, are standard kebabs topped with salsa roja. For the less experimental, perhaps.


For the mains, we have king prawns (Dhs165) –


While we demolish the desserts – whipped burnt cheesecake (Dhs58) and soft chocolate (Dhs67) – the brain behind the beef, Sahil Anand, tells us tales about cheesecakes in blenders and what makes a good Italian, and I feel a little bit like I’m in an episode of The Bear. As I chow down the delightful experiments of textures, like everything else at this spot is, of course.

C2, City Walk, Sun to Thurs, 12pm to 1am, Fri and Sat, 12pm to 2am. Tel: (0)4 287 4604. @theraredxb


Just go to Rare. That’s all.





French flair meets Japanese flavour at Abu Dhabi’s newest eatery

While Abu Dhabi’s famed culinary destinations such as Yas Bay, The Galleria Al Maryah Island and Mamsha Al Saadiyat never fail to deliver when it comes to creating an impression with eager diners, culinary enthusiasts, and food critics, how often have we discovered a gorgeous new dining concept in the city centre that really hits the spot and makes a mark?

The latest chapter in the story is Le Bistro by Salmontini – a seafood restaurant born in Dubai – taking up residence inside Le Royal Meridien, which is perhaps not the most well known destination for foodies in the capital. We arrive for their all-you-can-eat evening (Dhs139) and are immediately drawn in by the sight of a vintage Vespa greeting diners out front. Once seated inside by friendly staff, we begin with the spicy crispy salmon salad served in two

neat lettuce cups. What makes a seemingly unassuming starter an instant hit is its condiments – togarashi seasoning, with a septet of Japanese spices, spicy mayo, and tempura crumbs making this so much more than your average starter.

Next, we’re served the signature smoked salmon. We bite in with high expectations. These paper-thin, near see-through slices are barely smoky – ideal for the true salmon connoisseur. For our next course, we’re served the Suzuki sea bass and a side of salmon carpaccio. The Suzuki is a nice and tasty sea bass dish, while the carpaccio of thin slivers of yellowtail features a welcome kick of despacio sauce.

Warmed up with the Suzuki, we’re inclined to try more rolls. Enter a serving

of the Salmontini roll, and with it, a burst of flavour. Truffle, we’re looking at you. Also a part of the cast are avocado, tenkasu and you got it, smoked salmon. The volcano maki, on the other hand, packs apple, mango, cucumber, tuna, and yellow tail with a dash of unagi sauce. Did we mention this was all-you-can-eat?

For beverages, Le Bistro by Salmontini stocks a great selection of wines and classic cocktails, but we opt for the Mango Mule. A fruity spin on the classic from Russia, this mocktail is also served in a metal mug, and makes for a refreshing sip that’s ideal for summer evenings.

Le Bistro is charming in its aesthetic: simple, classy, narrow, and steps away from the heart of the city, but secluded just enough so the buzz doesn’t interfere with your evening.

Le Bistro by Salmontini, Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi, Al Danah, 8am to midnight, daily.

@lebistro_ bysalmontini


These guys play an allround game really well, whether it is salmon, steak, or sushi you seek.

Dinesh Ramanathan

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Is this Abu Dhabi’s best new burger spot?


“L’amour triomphe toujours”, the outlet proudly proclaims, which translates to “Love always prevails”. And by the end of our dining experience, it’s clear they were predicting our sentiments about the food. At Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall, chef Vincent Le Moal has brought his smash-hit upscale Dubai burger joint to the capital. Fluffy, cloud-like potatoes, soft-as-silk brioche and fresh-asdaisy patties are only a few ingredients that make Beau a standout on the casual dining scene.


The Beau experience begins before you’ve even entered the restaurant, where a roaming cab with Beau branding picks you up from the mall’s retail space and brings you to your dining destination. Walk in and you’re greeted by minimalist, clean white interiors, simple font, and no flashy logos.

Chef Vincent tells us Beau’s Jumeirah location was planned to resemble a Parisian apartment, initially only able to seat 18 diners. In Abu Dhabi, hotel-inspired interiors include a luggage trolley and an Instax if you wish to freeze moments of your experience.


Beau’s menu features everything you’d pull up for at a drive through – chicken patties, smash burgers, several styles of potato sides… and gourmet-style appetisers.

We know things are about to take an interesting turn, just one bite into their house-made brioche buns. We order the original smash burger (Dhs55), with double Angus beef, Elysée sauce, caramelised onions, and pickles. Enjoy the softest, most flavourful patty but keep an open mind for their sauces. The spicy grand chicken (Dhs50) brings a welcome dose of flavour to the table, with marinated and fried chicken complemented

beautifully by a hint of spicy seasoning. And for those of you that want to feel healthful about your indulgence, a lettuce wrap is available on these pristine patties. But take it from us when we say you’ll be missing out on unbelievably tasty brioche buns in doing so.

For sides, we’re served the cheese potato balls (Dhs30), a trio of spheres served with a generous dose of truffle. But our star for the evening is their long potatoes (Dhs25), also served in a truffle variant (Dhs30). These potato pulp fries practically melt in the mouth, lightly salted and served with parmesan and honey lime mayo.

Not that you’ll ever feel like anything at Beau lacks taste, but they’re all about the sauce with varieties like spicy truffle, creamy herb, and honey mustard available at Dhs5 each. Our pick? The Pepper Mayo.

Beau Restaurant, Abu Dhabi Marina Mall, Marina Road, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Thu 10am to 10pm, Fri and Sat 10am to midnight.

Tel: (0)2 441 0722.



Parisian luxury and welcome minimalism are the sidebars to this refreshing spin on fast food.

Words: Dinesh Ramanathan

Words: Laura Coughlin

Let’s party!

Celebrating a birthday like What’s On is this month? Here’s where to shop for all your party necessities…

Tall Floral Birthday Candles from BoxFetti

How much: Dhs48

These cake decorations are the perfect finishing touch to your party or celebration. The mixed pack contains 12 pink, peach, yellow and floral candles at various heights, with candle holders. boxfetti.ae

Pastel Dream Box from BoxFetti

How much: Dhs399

Balloon Arch Kit from Party Camel

How much: Dhs179

It’s not a proper Dubai birthday bash unless you have a balloon arch, and this sage, nude and white option from Party Camel serves as a cool focal point for your birthday bash. The comprehensive kit ensures easy assembly, providing everything you need to create a wicked balloon backdrop in no time. partycamel.com

This fabulous Dubai-based online store is a one-stop shop for pretty party essentials, and the Pastel Dream Box is a good starter kit for birthday celebrations. Inside you’ll find pastel mixed paper plates and cups (enough for eight guests), plus posh mint green paper plates, pastel rose napkins, wooden cutlery and a DIY-style balloon garland kit. boxfetti.ae


Balloon Mosaic from Party Camel

How much: Dhs246

Set the scene with this epic P-A-RT-Y balloon mosaic stand – a fantastic centrepiece for any celebration, which can be matched with any balloon colour scheme to fit your theme. partycamel.com

Salted Caramel Cake from Varak Edible Luxury

How much: Dhs130 to Dhs440

This homegrown brand is fast becoming one of the best dessert shops in the city, selling delicious cakes and other sweet treats. Their celebration cakes in particular are to die for. Give the salted caramel cake a whirl, with silky butter caramel wrapped around chocolate cake, spruced up with sea salt flakes and layered with rich ganache. varakedibleluxury.com

Let’s Party Neon Sign from Pretty Little Props

How much: Dhs250 (hire only)

How much: Dhs299

Dover White Cake Stand from Crate and Barrel

Birthday cakes deserve to be put on their own pedestal and this lovely cake stand from Crate and Barrel features perfectly imperfect lines texturing the base to create the look and feel of artisan ceramics. Designed to fit 9” to 11” cakes. crateandbarrel.me

Rose Gold Customisable Bunting from BoxFetti

How much: Dhs54

Leave a fun birthday message with this personalised birthday banner in rose gold from BoxFetti. Each pack contains everything you need to create a one-trip-around-the-sun day banner, including a whopping 84 rose gold letters and fourmetres of rose gold string. boxfetti.ae

This portable LED neon sign –from party hire company Pretty Little Props – proclaiming “Let’s Party”, is the perfect lively touch to any birthday celebration. It sets a

fun tone for your event. prettylittleprops.com

White Classic Roll Top Bathtub from Pretty

Little Props

How much: Dhs850 (hire only)

Essential? Okay, no, not really. But can you imagine the Instagram pics? Whether you fill up the tub with ice and drinks, soft-play plastic balls, or leave it empty for silly social media posts, it’ll be a hit – and someone is bound to fall asleep in it. prettylittleprops.com



Party brunches are forever in style

If you keep up with our magazines, then you will know that in the last issue, we argued that the buffet brunch is a thing of the past. I am entirely inclined to agree with this statement. But a style of brunch I think will never end is the party brunch.

We have plenty of incredibly festive brunches across the city that tick the boxes for a suitably raucous (in the best way) brunch. Enter Iris. The venue has stood the test of time and will continue to do so with its live entertainment nights, incredible ladies’ night deals and its iconic party brunch.

Every Saturday the venue is flooded with the likes of me, a partygoer who also happens to love food – and we all huddle in and fill the space, ready for a drink, a dance, and some delicious food.

Sat at the table we watch as the people start to flood in – yes, we’re keen and have

arrived a bit early. Espresso martinis all around, it’s time for the day to begin, sipping and catching up on the week that has graciously passed. The brunch starts out slow, with a happy hum all around, everybody getting into the vibe, sussing out the energy of those around them. The DJ John Bowtie is starting us off with some deep house, and people are starting to sway a little to the beat.

Somewhere between the chips and guac, the arancini and sushi platter, we decided to swap out the espresso martini for Bellini’s and their lemon margarita –always a fantastic idea. The volume of the venue is starting to pick up and from the ceiling, bubbles begin to fall, my inner child beaming as I begin popping the bubbles in my immediate vicinity.

It’s time for the main course, although at this point, I’m not sure there are many

foodies that are too bothered by the food, as the tables begin to mix and the dancing has already begun. Pasta dishes arrive, a joyous carb that is always welcomed with a smile – a ravioli with a tomato sauce is the top choice around the table and another order of the pasta pillows is made.

Before long, the food is not a focus, dessert has been enjoyed and we are all bouncing around to the beats of John Bowtie when confetti cannons go off across the whole venue and in unison the group cheer and continue to dance to his beat.

Meydan Racecourse, Meydan Grandstand, Nad Al Sheba, 1pm to 5pm, Saturday, Dhs275 soft, Dhs375 wine, Dhs475 house, Dhs735 premium.

Tel: (0)4 334 3355. irisdubai.com


Are you really going to a party brunch for the food? No. But the vibes at the Iris brunch will forever be unmatched.

Words: Shelby Gee

Monday to Friday

12 pm - 4 pm


3-Course menu

5-Course menu

AED159 per person AED209 per person

Explore authentic Turkish flavors For Reservations: 04 456 1760 058 582 7092

Words: Tamara Wright

JUNE 2024

What’s Trending:


The perfect spot for after-work drinks, LPM’s iconic cinq a sept menu, featuring Dhs48 cocktails, has one of the finest selections of bar bites. Do as the Parisians do and order vol-auvents d’escargots and pissaladière with anchovies and olives washed down with the Elle cocktail. @lpmdubai


Rare is a new restaurant in City Walk that is fast becoming one of our favourite spots. The homegrown steakhouse is somewhere between a vibrant New York bar and an art deco Parisian brasserie with a stunning open kitchen, outdoor terrace, and a seductive bar. Everything on the menu is spectacular but you can’t leave without trying the fried olives, tuna crudo, Wagyu striploin, and crispy Brussel sprouts. @theraredxb


For those seeking a unique Dubai stay with an intimate atmosphere and personalised level of service, the quaint Emirati-owned Arabian Boutique Hotel, located in the Al Fahidi neighbourhood just off Dubai Creek, will make you feel like you’re miles away from the busy city. @arabianboutique.hotel


This year has a lot in store for Dubai, so we’ve broken it down with a month-by-month guide to what’s trending and what’s not. From the dishes you should be eating to the places you should be staying…

Masterclasses are perfect for groups of friends or a fun date night idea. Every Friday, Attiko is hosting a cocktail masterclass in collaboration with Japanese whisky brand, Nikka. Priced at Dhs295 per person, guests will learn how to make three signature cocktails while nibbling on delicious canapes.



The city’s wellness scene just got even more exciting with the arrival of HWH Studio, a stunning new yoga haven nestled inside the iconic Burj Al Arab Hotel. Located 18-floors up, HWH Studio is led by world-renowned yogi Adrienne Everett. The gorgeous light-filled space boasts magical views over the Palm Jumeirah and the sparkling Arabian Gulf – the perfect backdrop for an immersive “inthe-zone” wellness experience.



Famous for its dreamy merveilleux meringue cakes, French patisserie Aux Merveilleux de Fred is found inside Mall of the Emirates. The must-try dessert is made up of layered meringue, whipped cream and select toppings.


What’s (NOT) Trending:


Dear restaurant owners, please stop marking up the price of water. It really should be a requirement for all restaurants to serve complimentary filtered water. Charging anything over Dhs30 for a bottle of water – whether it’s sourced from a glacial plateau in the majestic French Alps or not – is madness.


For some, plant-based eating isn’t just a January trend. That’s why I can never understand why some restaurants leave zero vegan options on their menu. Not only is the vegan friend missing out, but the meateaters in the group will also have to find a place that can accommodate everyone. It makes no sense. It’s 2024—shouldn’t we be a bit more inclusive by now?



Into the future What will the UAE look like by 2070? PAGE 105 JUNE EVENTS GUIDE p113 RUSSELL KANE p116 MATILDA p118


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We produce - Drone Light Shows and 3D Models for Digital Twins and Virtual Production




UAE mega projects that will change the world in the next 45 years (and beyond)

The pace of the UAE’s rise to prominence on the world stage is impressive by any measure. It was a feat made possible, at least in part, by the clarity of vision behind the drive to build and thrive. And it’s a vision that has itself evolved, along with the country’s shifting set of skylines, with a focus now firmly aimed beyond the horizon.


Kicking things off with ‘a giant leap’ for the UAE’s space story – the UAE should, by the end of the year, have completed work on a 100 per cent Emirati-made lunar rover and sent it all the way to the moon. This lunar mission will include a direct research component as well as an opportunity to test space tech and stand as a sort of a dry run for a manned mission to Mars.

Words: Miles Buckeridge

The roadmap, reveals a phased blueprint – with aimed completion dates attached to key milestones. All of which will be made possible by the UAE’s continued wise and adaptive governance, by remaining at the forefront of the future tech revolution, and through the strategic fostering of native and international talent.



Expected to open with Saadiyat’s cultural district in 2025, The Natural History Museum promises to illuminate the universe’s 13.8 billion years of origin story through interactive exhibits. Amongst the flagship collection of objets d’awe, we find Stan, a 67-million-year-old tyrannosaurus rex skeleton; and the seven-billion-year-old Murchison Meteorite. In the same year, and same Abu Dhabi neighbourhood –we’re also expecting to see the doors of the Guggenheim, and Zayed National Museum open.



It feels like there’s been talk of flying taxis coming ‘within the next two years’, for the past 10 years. And here we are, our skies still unlighted by swarms of drones choppering in to ferry us over the E11 rush hour traffic. But back in February 2023, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai confirmed that models of aerial taxi stations had been developed by the RTA. And more than that – the emirate is on track to see these 300kph sky taxis taking off by 2026.



The Dubai Reef project, the world’s largest marine reef development, will roll out 600sqkm of artificial coral structures stretching across Dubai’s coastal waters. Once finished in 2027, there are expected to be 20,000 purpose-built reef modules of various sizes, creating a protected marine habitat where aquatic life can thrive.

WHATSON.AE | JUNE 2024 105


Slotting together nicely in Ras Al Khaimah, Wynn Al Marjan Island is all set to be the UAE’s first “integrated gaming resort in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region”. Its tower will peak at an impressive 300 metres above the sea. To give you a sense of scale, the tallest building on Palm Jumeirah, Palm Tower, is 240 metres high – and its views are absolutely mesmeric. Private vacationing space extends to 1,542 rooms and suites, along with 22 private villas and the projected specs suggest a portfolio of “22 dining and lounge experiences”.


In a project that sounds eerily similar to the plot of Armageddon, the UAE’s next grand space adventure in 2028 will involve a five-year, 3.6 billion-kilometre interplanetary yomp. The destination? An asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The objective? To land a spacecraft on an asteroid. If achieved, it will mean the UAE becomes just the fourth nation to have ever achieved that particular goal.


Construction is already well underway on Sharjah’s ambitious megaproject, Aljada. It will be home to hotels, schools, a shopping mall, a business district, an observation deck, an entertainment complex designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, and much more. Described as the “Downtown of New Sharjah”, it is set for completion by 2028.



There’s something deeply romantic about rail travel. Getting your ticket punched and powering through grand panoramic vistas, the rhythmic sway of carriages rocking you towards your final destination. And it’s this misty-eyed reverie that’s at the heart of one of the UAE’s most ambitious travel projects... the 1,200km long Etihad Rail network. The endeavour will stitch the seven emirates together before extending beyond our borders into the rest of the GCC. Whilst the freight component is already live and pushing ahead full steam, there is no firm completion date for the passenger service, other than we’ve been told it’s on track to be transporting 36.5 million passengers annually, by 2030.


The “largest single-site solar park in the world”, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is on schedule to reach a massive 5,000 MW by 2030 (enough to power roughly four million homes).



The Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy is shooting for 25 per cent of Dubai’s total transportation to be autonomous by 2030. Sideline benefits include an expected reduction in carbon emissions and accidents.



The Dubai 3D Printing Strategy began in 2017, but hopefully by 2030 – the printed fruits of the campaigns labour will be visible, with a stated goal that Dubai will become a hub for the 3D printing world.


The UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (AI) was launched in 2017 and is fixed on ensuring that all future government services, sectors and infrastructure projects will be powered by AI by 2031. To help get there, the government will invest heavily in cutting-edge AI technology and tools.



The operational mandate of the Dubai Economic Agenda is to double the economy size of Dubai (to Dhs32 trillion) by 2033, cementing Dubai’s position as one of the top three cities globally. One hundred individual transformation projects will form the backbone of this policy.


An ambitious scheme for a sometimes overlooked region of the UAE, the Fujairah 2040 Plan will improve the emirate’s roads, water barriers, ports and include new build residential complexes, healthcare facilities, and a seaport.


Also due to hit maturity in 2040, the Dubai Urban Master Plan was founded on a series of targets that will see the city double in size; as well as growing its green roots with a pledge that rural natural areas will constitute 60 per cent of the emirate’s total area. There will be a focus on developing sustainable transport infrastructure, making it easier for pedestrians and bike users to navigate the city. The land set aside for hotels and tourist activities should have increased by 134 per cent and the total availability of public beach coastline will have expanded by 400 per cent.

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A collection of individual projects – including recycling and wasteenergy endeavours – form part of the Integrated Waste Management Strategy, which is earmarked for a 2041 sign-off date.


In an ambitious move for a state so blessed with natural fuel resources, the Clean Energy Strategy will see the UAE leverage multiple forms of green and renwable energy to the extent that, by 2050, it will supply 75 per cent of the country’s energy needs.



Plans have been announced to continue the expansion of Al Maktoum International Airport, also known as Dubai World Central (DWC) in Dubai South, which will see it become the world’s largest airport. It currently has a five to seven million passenger capacity but upon completion, it will serve more than 260 million passengers. Its completion date is set to 2050, but plans are in place for Phase 1 to be complete by 2030 where it will support an annual capacity of 130 million. Phase 1 will include the completion of two more runways, Concourse 1 and the West Terminal building. The airport will also include a plethora of retail, food and beverage, relaxation and entertainment facilities.



The UAE has targeted the year 2051 for it to achieve the title of “the world’s best country in the Global Food Security Index”. This means expanding self-sustaining, technology-enhanced farming practices; firm international trade partnerships; enhancing nutritional intake and reducing food loss and waste.


This is the pledge, shared in 2017 that within a century, the UAE will have established “the first inhabitable human settlement on Mars”. It’s a huge goal, but judging by the space strides already made by the UAE and the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre, it’s entirely within reach.




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A 45 track musical retrospective on the life and times of the UAE’s first English language magazine

It’s our birthday, so we get the Bluetooth privileges. That’s the rule. And we’ve put together a 45 song playlist, with one massive track from each year between our birth and 2024. We’re paying special attention to the artists that have graced our covers, pages, Party in the Park stages and URLs over the years – and to those who we’ve been lucky enough to see perform here in the UAE. So put the headphones on, and turn the volume up – this is What’s On, our playlist.

1979: I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor

1980: Another Brick In The Wall, Pink Floyd

1981: Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, The Police

1982: Hungry Like The Wolf, Duran Duran

1983: Billie Jean, Michael Jackson

1984: Hello, Lionel Richie

1985: Take On Me, A-Ha

1986: Holding Back The Years, Simply Red

1987: Never Gonna Give You Up, Rick Astley

1988: Sweet Child Of Mine, Guns ‘N’ Roses

1989: The Best, Tina Turner

1990: Dub Be Good To Me, Beats International

1991: Set Adrift on a Memory Bliss, PM Dawn

1992: End of the Road, Boyz II Men

1993: Cryin’, Aerosmith

1994: Basket Case, Green Day

1995: Protection, Massive Attack

1996: Insomnia, Faithless

1997: Stand By Me, Oasis

1998: Viva Forever, Spice Girls

1999: Scar Tissue, Red Hot Chilli Peppers

2000: Fill Me In, Craig David

2001: Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, Kylie Minogue

2002: Without Me, Eminem

2003: Crazy In Love, Beyonce

2004: Unwritten, Natasha Beddingfield

2005: Feel Good Inc., Gorillaz

2006: A Little Less Sixteen Candles, Fall Out Boy

2007: Grace Kelly, Mika

2008: Viva La Vida, Coldplay

2009: Day N Night, Kid Cudi vs Crookers

2010: Pass Out, Tiny Tempah

2011: Moves Like Jagger, Maroon 5 Ft Christina Aguilera

2012: Candy, Robbie Williams

2013: What Would You Do?, Bastille

2014: Gecko, Oliver Heldens & Becky Hill

2015: Photograph, Ed Sheeran

2016: Sorry, Justin Beiber

2017: Green Light, Lorde

2024: Hind’s Hall, Macklemore PLAYLIST

2018: It Makes You Forget, Peggy Gou

2019: Vossi Bop, Stormzy

2020: Cherry, Harry Styles

2021: Cold Heart, Elton John (with Dua Lipa)

2022: Spitting Off the Edge of the World ft. Perfume Genius, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

2023: Sprinter, Central Cee x Dave

110 JUNE 2024 | WHATSON.AE
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Words: Laura Coughlin


From Big Top Circus antics in the capital to musical legends in Dubai, here’s a look at the biggest events happening in June across the UAE

[JUNE 8 + 9]

Sister Act: The Musical

[JUNE 1]

Hans Zimmer Live

It’s your last chance to see Hans Zimmer, the multi Academy Award-winning Hollywood film music composer and his 45-piece orchestra perform at Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena. Zimmer’s musical legacy, marked by the creation of memorable movie scores, secured him two Academy Awards and four Grammy Awards, along with nominations for three Emmys and a Tony. With an impressive repertoire, he has composed the music for movies including Interstellar, The Dark Knight, Gladiator, Top Gun Maverick, The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, and most Dune and Dune: among other iconic movies.

Coca-Cola Arena, City Walk, Dubai, Sat June 1, 8pm, from Dhs679. coca-cola-arena.com recently Part 2 8pm, from Dhs679.

[JUNE 1]

Garage Nation

For music lovers with a passion for garage, grime and drum ‘n’ bass, Garage Nation is the ideal mini music fest. Headlining this onenight-only event is the godfather of garage, Scott ‘It’s a London Thing’ Garcia, plus sets from the ‘Queen of vocal UK garage’ Kele Le Roc, MC Vapour and MC Ultra alongside Whitley Ruchea and Professor X. Tickets start at Dhs100 with VIP tables from Dhs3,000. P7 Arena, Media One Hotel, Dubai, Sat June 1, 8pm, Dhs100. @garagenationdxb

Adapted from the beloved film, Sister Act: The Musical captures the story of Deloris Van Cartier, who finds sanctuary in a convent following a brush with danger. Infusing the choir with her lively spirit and musical flair, Deloris breathes new life into the cloistered community, filling it with infectious energy and harmony. Abu Dhabi Choral Group, renowned for their commitment to musical excellence in the capital, brings this musical tale to life. The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, Thur June 9, 7pm, Fri June 10, 7pm, Sat June 8 2pm and 7pm, Dhs55. abu-dhabi.platinumlist.net

[JUNE 8 + 9]

Monster Jam

Let the carnage commence as Monster Jam rumbles into Abu Dhabi this month. Meet Grave Digger, the D-Molisher, and El Toro Loco, 5,500kg monster trucks that will tear it up at the Etihad Arena and crush some metal in the process. The competition will see the sport’s top competitors go head-to-head in three divisions: racing, two-wheeled skills, and freestyle. This is the ultimate family event with an exciting interactive element enabling fans to vote live after each stunt, to help crown the show’s overall winner.

Etihad Arena, Yas Bay Waterfront, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, June 8 and 9, various timings, from Dhs155. abu-dhabi.platinumlist.net


[JUNE 14 + 15]

ABBA Tribute

Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of ABBA’s Eurovision triumph with the acclaimed ABBA tribute band, ABBA Reunion, gracing the QE2 stage this month. Through a spectacular live performance, ABBA Reunion celebrates all things ABBA, captivating audiences with stunning costumes and choreography transporting fans back to the disco era where ABBA’s unforgettable hits ruled the airwaves. Theatre by QE2, Port Rashid, Dubai, Fri June 14, 8pm, Sat June 15, 3pm and 8pm, from Dhs105. dubai.platinumlist.net

[JUNE 15]

EarthSoul Fest Part I

With a commitment to entertainment infused with purpose, EarthSoul Fest returns for another thrilling installment on June 15. Leading the charge is renowned artist Jason Derulo, sharing the stage with Shae Gill, Bollywood funk maestro Benny Dayal, Emirati soul crooner Akram, and Dubai’s own Celinedee Matahari. Expect an immersive experience of music, art, and culture, all underscored by a message of sustainability.

Coca-Cola Arena, City Walk, Sat June 15, 8pm, from Dhs199 to Dhs399. coca-colaarena.com

[JUNE 19]

The Ocean

Right off the back of a sixmonth world tour, the Berlinbased atmospheric post-metal juggernaut The Ocean performs live at P7 Arena. Transcending boundaries with their dynamic soundscapes and relentless energy this is unmissable experience for rock and metal fans.

P7 Arena, Media One Hotel, Dubai, Weds June 19, 7pm, Dhs199. livenation.me


JUNE 20]


Lebanon’s acclaimed Cirque Du Liban works its Big Top magic bringing a oneof-a-kind aquatic show to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island. Inside, aerialists, motorcyclists, trapeze artists, musicians, dancers and singers take to the stage as part of Fontana, the Middle East’s first travelling water circus. The two-hour show takes place inside a fabulous custom-built aquatic theatre with a musical, dancing fountain, complete with water jets and colourful lights.

Fontana Circus Tent, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, until June 20, timings vary, from Dhs100. abu-dhabi.platinumlist.net

[JUNE 22]

EarthSoul Fest Part II

EarthSoul returns the following week with headliner French Montana on June 22. Alongside the Moroccan-American sensation, Turkish star Mustafa Ceceli, Filipino pop group December Avenue, and Lebanese vocalist Amanda Maalouf are set to grace the stage.

Coca-Cola Arena, City Walk, Dubai, Sat June 22, 8pm, from Dhs199 to Dhs399. coca-cola-arena.com



Words: Laura Coughlin



“If you ever have trouble opening a bottle of Champagne, my advice: hit it with a ship. I’ve seen people do that. It works.”



unstoppable force of Russell Kane hurtles into Dubai with his new HyperActive tour

Watching Russell Kane on stage feels like a workout. One minute he’s cracking a joke about lazy people who refuse to do a Google search, the next he’s doing the running man on the stage or jumping off it. He’s high-energy, high-octane, and hyper-active, which, incidentally, is the name of Russell’s latest tour making a stop in Dubai on June 2. Here’s a brief look into the psyche of comedy’s most highly-strung funny man…


“There’s only one thing that matters, and that’s attuned energy. Every

couple has one hyper one, and a chilled one. One person is intense, like me, bouncing out of bed with loads of energy, paying the bills, fixing the dish washer, and taking the kids to school. The person next to you is horizontal.”


“Is there anything more annoying than people who can fall asleep anywhere, anytime? I’m not an insomniac, but I need absolutely perfect conditions. Twenty-three degrees. Blackout curtains. Complete silence. If I hear a pin drop, I’ll be thinking about rising interest rates for hours. A full panic attack ‘til 5am.”


“She’s what I call real feminism, which is not caring what men or anyone else thinks. She’s a woman who’s just turned 70. She doesn’t give a t*ss. She fries Spam, she’d eat cat food with a fork if she wanted to. She doesn’t want to exercise. She can’t be ar*ed to live longer. She makes a noise with every move and a jet of [urine] with every laugh. She’s my idol.”



“I’m incapable of going on a show where I can’t talk all the time. I’m worried that I love being funny so much that if I couldn’t do it with my voice, I would start to do it with my pelvis. I would definitely disrespect the Viennese waltz hard with some comedy thrusting.”


“Energy. Most people are just knackered. They love to laugh and be energised. Delivery, funniness is as important as the words are.”

June 2

Russell Kane: HyperActive at Theatre by QE2, Port Rashid, Dubai, doors open 6.30pm, from Dhs180. dubai.platinumlist.net

116 JUNE 2024 | WHATSON.AE

Words: Laura Coughlin


Matilda The Musical stomps and skips its way into Etihad Arena this month

oald Dahl’s timeless creations have transcended generations, enduring various adaptations, both good and bad. His enchanting tales, such as The Witches, The BFG, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, and James & The Giant Peach, consistently champion the underdog while condemning bullies. In essence, they reassure children that embracing uniqueness is an integral part of growing up.

That’s at the heart of one of Dahl’s most beloved children’s stories, the 1988 novel Matilda, a story about a little girl, unloved by her parents. She joins a school run by the wicked Miss Trunchbull, a headmistress that thrives on abusing all the schoolchildren. But Matilda is a genius with magical telekinetic powers, which she

118 JUNE 2024 | WHATSON.AE

uses (with the guidance of her kind form teacher Miss Honey) to lead her classmates to liberation and to help them stand up to their bullies. It’s a wonderful story that’s inspired generations of fans, teaching important life lessons about how to find your voice and use it, and that chosen family is just as valid as your birth one.

It’s no wonder then, that in 2003 – seven years after the release of Danny DeVito’s fabulous film adaptation starring Mara Wilson – the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) began work on the idea of a musical based on the book, bringing on playwright Dennis Kelly, Matthew Warchus as director (Warchus incidentally also directed the December 2022 Netflix film version), and the radical Australian comedian, and composer Tim Minchin to write a delectably clever score.

Matilda The Musical premiered at the RSC’s Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in November 2010 to great critical acclaim, immediately playing to sold-out audiences. It then transferred to London’s West End, receiving more rave reviews, a slew of awards, including Best Performance in a Musical at the Theatre Awards UK 2011, and Best New Musical at the

Whatsonstage.com awards. In Spring 2013, the production opened on Broadway, where it played for four years, going on to win four Tony awards, before it began touring the world.

In total, Matilda The Musical has travelled to 91 cities and won over 100 international awards. More importantly, it’s won the love of its audiences, be they adults or children. So far, over 11 million people have seen the show worldwide. More than a decade on, the production continues to delight audiences of all ages. Don’t be naughty – get your tickets now… June 20 to 23

Etihad Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, various timings, from Dhs150 to Dhs850. etihadarena.ae


Our favourite songs from the stage soundtrack by the legendary Tim Minchin


With clever lyrics that interchange the two meanings of revolting, and a fantastic ensemble singalong about the power of the collective, Revolting Children is a great reclamation of control by the students of Crunchem Hall.


Wordplay at its best, School Song is delivered through the repetition of the alphabet – and serves as a warning to Matilda that Crunchem Hall is a terrible school. The ingenuity of the lyrics makes it one of the best songs.


Minchin is quoted for saying that Quiet is his favourite song from the musical, which has become as much a springboard for neurodiversity awareness, as an emotional musical anthem.


The opening song for the musical celebrates the miracle of life, while simultaneously highlighting Matilda’s parents’ disdain for her ever being born. It’s fun and dark in equal measure.


Softer than Minchin’s other songs, My House is a beautiful yet heartbreaking song sung by the caring Miss Honey, who manages to find the light in the dark no matter her circumstances.

WHATSON.AE | JUNE 2024 119







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Is the weather getting too hot to handle?

Come on in…

It’s that time of year when air-conditioning units are your very best friend. From recordbreaking indoor climbing walls to brand new neon courts, here’s our pick of the best undercover fun in town.

Make it Mario Time!

Challenge your friends to a few laps around Chaos Karts, the brand-new, indoor augmented-reality karting experience that takes place along a projected track, allowing you to hop in a virtually noiseless electric kart and live their best Mario Kart lives. Al Quoz, next to Al Serkal Avenue, Mon to Wed and Sun 10am to 10 pm, Fri to Sat 10am to 12am, from Dhs179. chaoskarts.ae

Padel indoors

Have a wicket night

Step into Tiger Strikes, the latest adults-only entertainment haven making waves in Dubai. Go bowling or play digital darts but what truly sets Tiger Strikes apart is its innovative addition: WIKIT, the augmented reality cricket simulators. Players face virtual bowlers alongside real-time graphics, offering an indoor experience never seen before in Dubai.

Tiger Strikes, Megaplex Dubai, Grand Hyatt Dubai, from Dhs30. @tigerstrikes.dxb

Sanddune Padel Sports Club has all the markings of a good padel centre. Easy access. Plenty of parking. Professional coaches. Racquet rental. Valuable additions include free water refill, free towels, and luxury washrooms and lockers.plus a neat little café, five indoor courts and two private courts. Prices start from Dhs240 for 60 minutes.

Sanddune Padel Sports Club, Tel: (0)4 251 8584. @sanddune_padel_dxb

Rock climb inside

Dubai’s climbing community has it good in Dubai all year round thanks to Mountain Extreme. The indoor climbing and bouldering facility is the largest of its kind in Dubai, with 129 bouldering problems, some 127 top rope routes and 14 auto belays, they offer something for everyone from beginner to advanced climbers. If you haven’t tried it yet, use the summer to take up a new sport. The drop-in rate is Dhs125. Mountain Extreme, Al Quoz 3, Dubai, Mon to Fri 10am to 10pm, Sat and Sun 9am to 6pm. Tel: (0)4 236 6040. mtnextreme.com

WHATSON.AE | JUNE 2024 123
Words: Laura Coughlin ACTIVE // TAKE IT INSIDE

Tackle a bouncy obstacle course

We’ve been fans of Bounce’s X-Park Adventure Challenge for years. The indoor obstacle course has 16 different elements – think bouldering walls, trampolines, a zip line and more. It’s American Ninja Warrior, on trampolines – what’s not to love?

Al Quoz, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thur 10am to midnight, Fri 9am to midnight, Sat 9am to 8pm, Dhs80. Tel: (0)4 321 1400. bounce.ae

Ride a rollercoaster

Located in Dubai Hills Mall, The Storm Coaster is the fastest vertical indoor rollercoaster which launches riders over 50m up into the building. The whole experience is rather quick and only costs Dhs65 per person.

The Storm Coaster, Dubai Hills Mall. Tel: (0)4 448 5016. @thestormcoaster

Shuttle in the dark

With neon lights on the floor and walls, pulsing electronic beats, and a glowing red shuttlecock bouncing back and forth, this neon badminton court – the first of its kind in the city – evokes a sci-fi movie set. Book out your court at Pioneers Badminton Hub for Dhs150, where white amplifies the glow-in-the-dark effect. Neon not your thing? Regular badminton courts are also available. Pioneers Badminton Hub, 22nd street, Al Quoz, daily 6am to 12am, Dhs150 for one court.


Play football indoors

At purpose built indoor football centre Allstar Sport, there are fivea-side and seven-a-side football pitches, made of FIFA -approved turf imported from Europe. Book a pitch with friends or join in on one of the tournaments.

All Star Sport, Umm Suqeim Road, Dubai, from Dhs420 for one hour. Tel: (0)50 200 9989. allstarsport.ae

Just keep swimming

Avoid those harsh summer rays, but don’t forgo your daily swim at this eight-lane, 50-metre Olympic size swimming pool – surrounded by a grandstand for spectators to cheer you on. The day pass costs Dhs158. FitRepublik Sports City, Dubai, Sun to Fri 5.30am to 11pm, Sat 5.30am to 9pm. Tel: (0)4 556 1800. fitrepublik.com


Savour a diverse culinary journey where each experience unfolds uniquely – from the legendary Irish vibes of PJ O’Reilly’s, to themed nights at Café Palmier, and comforting Italian recipes at Amalfi Ristorante. Enjoy coffee bliss at Latitude 24, farm-to-table dining at Market Kitchen, and the refined atmosphere with breathtaking sea views at Stratos Revolving Lounge Bar & Grill, home to the city's only revolving steakhouse with the signature Josper Grill.

For enquiries, please call +971 800 101 101 or visit leroyalmeridienabudhabi.com



Words: Tamara Wright


Sailing in Dubai is becoming more affordable and accessible thanks to the Wind Rises community, and here’s how our first time went...

If you want to learn an exciting new hobby with friends or make the most of the stunning Arabian Gulf from a unique perspective, then Wind Rises’ sailing experience is a great place to start. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or dipping your toes into the world of sailing for the first time, this experience promises thrills, stunning views, and a whole lot of joy.

Located in DP World’s Port Rashid Marina, Wind Rises o ers a ordable and accessible sailing lessons for groups of two to six people, led by expert instructors, starting from just Dhs200. No exclusive yacht club membership is required.

Before summer kicks in, my good friend (who is a non-swimmer) and I decided to push our limits and explore the outdoors in a way we never had before. The marina, with its range of facilities including cafés, washrooms, and change rooms, also makes for a dreamy spot to watch the sunset post-sail.

Before we hit the water, we had a quick brief to learn the ropes (quite literally) from our experienced and passionate instructor. Naturally we had some questions, and understandably, one was, “can the boat tip over?”, to which our instructor assured us that it is impossible for this particular boat, a Fareast 28R keelboat, to capsize.

Life jackets on, we set sail, wind in our hair and sun on our faces, through the marina and out into the crystal blue waters. In no time at all, we were sailing along at high speeds, tacking (changing direction) by ourselves, hoisting up the jib, and sitting carefree on the edge of the heeling (tilted) boat.

As we zoomed across the horizon, oating between sea and sky, I’m surprised I’ve never tried this experience in Dubai before. The feeling of adventure, the adrenaline rush, the lapping of the waves, and the skyline in the backdrop – it’s something you can’t forget easily.

In that moment, I realised that I hadn’t thought of the stresses of day-to-day life since we left dry land. Sailing forces you to be fully present and that’s a rare nd in today’s world. It’s an escape and an adventure, and I love the sailor version of me.

Wind Rises, Port Rashid, weekdays from Dhs200 per person, weekends from Dhs380 per person, from Dhs1,020 for a full boat. Tel: (0)58 106 5026. @windrisesdubai

WHATSON.AE | JUNE 2024 127
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Destination dupes For lesser-known summer sojourns PAGE 130 STAYCATION SPOTLIGHT p138

Words: Tamara Wright

‘destination dupes’


Maldives, Amalfi Coast, and Mykonos are some of the world’s most beautiful destinations. However they are also often crowded, overpriced, and overrun by tourists. Enter one of 2024’s biggest travel trends: ‘destination dupes’. What if we told you that there are more affordable and less crowded alternatives that are every bit as beautiful and memorable as the well-known destinations…


Copenhagen instead of Amsterdam

Swap the Dutch capital for some Danish hygge this summer. Copenhagen offers a delightful alternative for those seeking a charming European city break, boasting picture-perfect canals, colourful buildings, a buzzing cultural scene, tasty food, and more. While it may not necessarily be the cheaper option, you can enjoy cycling around the city, indulging in delicious pastries, and exploring hip neighbourhoods –minus the crowds.

Piran instead of St Tropez

Looking for a chic coastal getaway without the hefty price tag? This Slovenian gem offers a laid-back vibe reminiscent of St Tropez but with a fraction of the crowds and costs. Picture-perfect streets, charming cafes, and stunning sea views make Piran a true hidden gem. While there are no sandy beaches in Piran, you can still enjoy plenty of sunshine and seaside fun from jumping off the many piers and swimming in the calm and crystal-clear shores. If you’re willing to swap the glitz for some old-world charm, Piran is the ideal coastal escape.

Palermo instead of Lisbon

For travellers seeking a Mediterranean adventure, Palermo, the vibrant capital of Sicily, offers a stunning alternative to Lisbon. With its rich history, diverse architecture, and coastal beauty, Palermo provides a similar backdrop for relaxation and exploration (without the price tag and crowds). Whether you’re savouring Sicilian delicacies from the bustling street food markets, wandering round the ancient streets, sipping on aperitivo at one of the wonderful trattorias and natural wine bars, and marveling at the beauty of the medieval churches, the underrated city is ready to welcome you with open arms and leave you spellbound.

WHATSON.AE | JUNE 2024 131

Montenegro instead of Amalfi

There is no place quite like the Amalfi Coast in summer drawing tourists from all corners of the globe by air, land, and sea. For an escape that effectively replicates the coastal scenery of Amalfi with fewer crowds and cheaper price tags, Montenegro is your answer. With quaint Italian-like towns, rugged mountains, crystal clear waters, as well as a more laid-back vibe, this Balkan beauty is a perfect mix of charm, adventure, and magic.

Zanzibar instead of Maldives

While we’ll never tire of the Maldives’ iconic crystalclear waters and pristine beaches, Zanzibar offers a more accessible alternative for tropical bliss, just a short five-hour flight from Dubai. With its dream-like beaches, superb seafood, and vibrant coral reefs, Zanzibar offers the perfect blend of relaxation and underwater adventure. Additionally, its rich cultural heritage, including the UNESCO World Heritagelisted Stone Town and spice plantations, provides unique experiences not found in the Maldives.


Gudauri instead of the Swiss Alps

One for the winter sport enthusiasts... Nestled amidst the rugged beauty of the Caucasus mountains of Georgia, Gudauri is one of the world’s most underrated skiing destinations for its excellent value for money, breathtaking panoramic views, uncrowded slopes, and exceptional terrain catering to all skiing levels. All at a fraction of the cost typically associated with the Swiss Alps. Its ski season spans from mid-December to the end of April, offering ample opportunities for enthusiasts to experience its snowy splendour and burgeoning food and wine scene.

Paros instead of Santorini

You can’t go wrong with a Greek island escape, but this summer, consider the friendly and more affordable island of Paros for an authentic Cycladic getaway. According to travel agency Expedia, Paros is 193 per cent less crowded than Santorini, which is also known for its sky-high prices. Lose yourself in the twisting alleys of white-washed buildings and blue-domed churches, enjoy long lazy lunches filled with delicious seafood, discover the island’s remote beaches, go surfing, and, for history lovers, Paros’ ancient marble quarries and Ekatontapiliani Church will give you just as much to ponder as Santorini’s Venetian Castle. It’s truly one of Greece’s best kept secrets.

Hvar Island instead of Mykonos

Sprawled around a harbour filled with yachts, this Croatian gem offers a similar party scene to Mykonos but with a more relaxed vibe and less of a tourist crush. After a stroll along the palm-lined seafront promenade, make your way to the hilltop castle for panoramic vistas. Wander through the charming cobblestone streets packed with rusticchic seafood restaurants and trendy cocktail bars, and don’t forget to explore the local boutiques stocking handmade jewellery and designer swimwear. Hvar offers a blend of sun-soaked fun and Mediterranean charm without breaking the bank.

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The stage is set: one of the biggest football tournaments on the planet – the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship – lands in Germany this month. From Friday June 14 until Sunday July 14, Europe’s finest players will take to ten world-class stadiums across Germany, competing to be crowned champion of the 17th annual tournament. Thanks to official partner Hisense, a world leader in consumer electronics and appliances, we’ve got two pairs of Category 2 tickets for the England v Slovenia match on Tuesday June 25. Taking place at the RheinEnergieSTADION in Cologne, the match will see two of the Group C teams put their skills to the test on the pitch in a bid to make it through to the final 16.

The prize includes two pairs of Category 2 tickets, but does not include flights, visas or accommodation. Entries must be made by Saturday June 15. T&Cs Apply

For your chance to win, go to whatson.ae/weare45

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The newest addition to the luxury hotel scene in Dubai is FIVE LUXE, which occupies a prime residential plot on the JBR beachfront. As well as all the best bits of the Palm Jumeirah property – the iconic social pool, a firm focus on high-energy dining, and a pampering spa – there are some new, high-end offerings exclusive to FIVE LUXE. With this prize, you and your plus one will check-in for two-nights, allinclusive, dining your way around the hotel’s hottest spots, soaking up the sun, and enjoying the lively atmosphere. T&Cs Apply

For your chance to win, go to whatson.ae/weare45



Dreaming of jetting off to paradise this summer? Start your holiday in style with two return flights from Dubai to Maldives with Beond. Beond offers all business class seats, replicating the private jet experience through best-in-class amenities, a stellar culinary offering, and attentive service, so your holiday starts from the moment you board. Each passenger is given Beats headphones (noise cancelling, we may add), and can set up an iPad infront of them to stream a selection of blockbuster movies, comedic series’ or listen to a podcast. T&Cs Apply

For your chance to win, go to whatson.ae/weare45

To celebrate our anniversary we’re giving away 45 epic prizes every day from June 1 to July 15. Head to whatson.ae/weare45 to enter

136 JUNE 2024 | WHATSON.AE


One&Only One Za’abeel

The One&Only hotel stay you need in Dubai

The latest offering from Kerzner Group, The One&Only One Za’abeel has been a topic of conversation since we first witnessed that record-breaking cantilever bridge in construction. The sense of anticipation only grew when the full restaurant line-up was revealed. But how does it all stack up against the other iconic properties in the Kerzner empire?


Found in the fancy zip code of Za’abeel, adjacent to DIFC, this hotel is a fitting addition to the storied skyline of that part of town. It marks a departure from the Kerzner norm though, being their first venture into the world of urban city escapes. The architecturally impressive building offers panoramic views of Downtown Dubai and stunning views of the Burj Khalifa from multiple vantage points throughout the hotel.


In a word, elegant. The drive up to the entrance is a stately cruise, and the lobby is equally regal, dressed in the robes of modern glamour. The hotel has a serene feel, with staff welcoming you on every floor but not in an overbearing way. The general essence of the resort is one of understated luxury. Varying warm beige tones are scattered around the property.


We check into the Grand Za’abeel King room and are greeted by a show-stopping view of the Dubai Skyline. It’s a crystal clear day so we can see as far as the Burj Al Arab from the 58th floor. The room is open plan with a stunning double vanity, statement bathtub, rainfall shower, and a walk-in wardrobe. The shutters are fully electronic so you only need to lift a finger to shut the blinds for the night.


On the 27th floor of the hotel you will

find Tapasake, a gorgeous pool that overlooks the city. There’s a full ensemble of fitness facilities and, because balance is important, the hyper luxe –Longevity Hub by Clinique La Prairie. The spa is beautiful with incredible treatments that are geared towards an ultra-personalised holistic experience. On the fourth floor, The Garden’s shaded pool is freely available to the hotel guests and feels like an oasis hidden amongst skyscrapers.


If you’re looking for somewhere to eat, you really are spoiled for choice at the One&Only One Za’abeel. From a highly decorated female chef to a gorgeous late-night lounge that offers up swanky vibes with unmatched views, you can choose from a wide range of cuisines. We’re talking French, Thai, Nikkei and beyond. Book in at Tapasake and enjoy the poolside vibes with world-class food. Take a seat at La Dame De Pic and prepare to be awed by their 10-course tasting menu.


A one-night stay in the Grand Za’abeel King room will cost from Dhs2,200 per night and is inclusive of breakfast at Aelia, complimentary use of the Movement Studio at Lonvegity Hub as well as access to Tapasake or The Garden pool.

One&Only One Za’abeel, Za’abeel. Tel: (0)4 666 1777. @ooonezaabeel

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Words: Shelby Gee


This summer, rejuvenate your senses in a haven of serenity. From refreshing facials and revitalising massages to romantic experiences in the signature couple’s suite, bask in a season of unmatched renewal and radiance.

Spend the day with your loved one in our one-of-a-kind Thermal Oasis, with experiential showers, ice fountain, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.

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