EAT: “Would you like a view with that?”, then book a table at Al Dawaar, the revolving restaurant at the top of the Hyatt Regency hotel. Or do you prefer watching the ski-bunnies at play? In that case, there’s international cuisine, from dim sum to pizza, at the Sezzam food court in Kempinski Mall of the Emirates with windows overlooking the indoor ski resort. Michelin-star chef Vineet Bhatia rustles up contemporary Indian dishes at Indego restaurant in the swanky Grosvenor House Hotel.
SHOP: To say that Dubai has some shops is like saying the Atlantic is a bit wet. If you want to haggle, visit the downtown gold and spice souqs and pick up some traditional tourist goodies, from coffee pots to handmade rugs. Deira City Centre mall is home to familiar names such as Debenhams and Next; Mall of the Emirates is where you’ll find Harvey Nichols, Zara and Paul Smith; the up-market Wafi City Mall with its Tiffany & Co. and Versace outlets is where you can splash some serious cash. Ibn Battuta, named after a legendary Arabian explorer, has six different shopping courts, each themed after a different country. Leave some time before jetting home again to explore Dubai International Airport, one of the best in the world for Duty Free shopping.
DRINK: For people watching – the Buddha Bar at Grosvenor House Hotel. For cocktails – the open-air rooftop bar at the One & Only Royal Mirage. For mingling with the beautiful people – the opulent Moulin Rouge-esque Boudoir at the Dubai Marine Beach Resort (order a Martini or Manhattan). For lychee martinis – Ginseng at Wafi Pyramids, Wafi City Mall. For sightseeing – Vu’s Bar on the 51st floor of the Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel has views over the city and 200 cocktails on the menu.
SLEEP: The Palace, in the newly-built Old Town, boasts Arabian architecture, a great spa and a fab location near Dubai mall – it’ll be the largest mall in the world which a purse-shattering 1200 stores, when it opens this August. If you’ve got the bucks, there’s always the bling-tastic Burj Al Arab, the self-styled seven-star hotel, and tallest all-suite hotel in the world, shaped like an enormous sail (leave space in your suitcase to bring home the full-size Hermès toiletries). In the city, the Shangri-La’s Horizon Club floor (www.shangri-la.com) has a cool infinity pool and sun deck. Forty minutes from Dubai city, the Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa is the first ecotourism resort in the United Arab Emirates.
THE SIGHTS: Book a city tour or grab a seat in a 4×4 and go dune bashing then watch a belly dancer do her thing under the Arabian night sky as you puff on a hookah water pipe on a desert safari, which also takes in a camel ride, with Arabian Adventures (www.Arabian-adventures.com). For the best shopping sights, book a day with Scottish ex-pat, and Dubai’s best personal shopper, Kelly Lundberg (www.divine.ae), she can whizz you round the textile souq or go straight to the malls. Book a ski lesson or go tobogganing at Ski Dubai, the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort. Head into the desert for a buffet and musical light show at the Al Sahra Desert Resort or put your name down for a game of camel polo (yes, really) at Dubai Polo Club. Dress up and enjoy a night at the races at the Nad Al Sheba Club for evening horse racing
Images provided by The Government of Dubai, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.