The best things to do in Dubai when you have visitors in town
Time Out Dubai staff
SIGHTS, SHOWS AND ATTRACTIONS
Discover Downtown and Dubai Opera Let your guests shop for a day at the world’s largest mall and then spend the evening with them, mesmerised by the dancing Dubai Fountain – it never gets old. Follow that by taking in a show at the stunning Dubai Opera. Upcoming shows include Rufus Wainwright (Wednesday December 6), Evita (January 22-27 and January 29 to February 3, 2018) and Romeo and Juliet (April 19-21, 2018). The Dubai Mall (800 382 246 255); from Dhs250 (Dubai Opera). Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com (04 440 8888). Do “underwater” yoga at Atlantis The Palm The Lost Chambers Aquarium is well worth showing off to visitors, since it’s home to 65,000 marine animals. But for an altogether different experience, book in for “underwater” yoga class held in front of the fish. Dhs120 per class. Fri 8am-9am. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2000).
Eat at Club Vista Mare Visitors provide the perfect excuse to keep going back to this al fresco dining spot. Try Peruvian-Japanese at Ají, seafood at Breeze Beach Grill, Ethiopian at Gursha, Lebanese seafood at Ibn AlBahr, what it says on the tin at Simply Italian, craft hops, massive burgers and freakshakes at The Tap House and traditional Middle Eastern fare at Abyat. There’s something for every taste here, as well as some lovely vistas. Near Tiara Residence, Palm Jumeirah. See the incredible La Perle by Dragone This 1,300-capacity theatre combines a range of technology and creative imagination to produce a spectacular visual display. Some 65 entertainers perform aerial and aquatic stunts during the show, while the audience sit almost completely in-the-round and close enough to keep fully engaged with the action throughout. It’s as spectacular as it is mesmerising. Your guests will be blown away. From Dhs400. Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.laperle.com (04 437 0001).
See the monkeys at The Green Planet Be sure to see the twin tamarin monkeys at the bio-dome in City Walk. Set over three storeys to allow its inhabitants live as they would in the wild it’s home to more than 3,000 different fauna, flora and wildlife, so it’s a no-brainer for anyone interested the natural world. Dhs95 (adults), Dhs70 (kids aged three to 12). Open Sat-Wed 10am-6pm; Thu-Fri 10am-8pm. City Walk, Al Safa Street, www.thegreenplanetdubai.com (800 637 227). Shop Souk Madinat Jumeirah The waterways of the Madinat Jumeirah, with the Burj Al Arab looming large in the background, are one of the most stunning sights in the city, inducing gasps of awe and wonder every time. Let your guests snap some picture-perfect memories and shop the souk. Then let your hair down with a bite to eat and a cold drink at one of the area’s most popular haunts, McGettigan’s Madinat Jumeirah. After all, you’ve earned it. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, www.mcgettigans.com.
Ski indoors at Ski Dubai Just because they’re in the desert, doesn’t mean they can’t do a spot of winter sports. The world’s biggest indoor slope, Ski Dubai, is covered with snow all year round. It’s the size of three football pitches and 25 storeys high. As well as skiing and snowboarding, you can try zorbing and tobogganing and the world’s first indoor sub-zero zip line, too. From Dhs160. Open Sun-Wed 10am-11pm; Thu 10am-midnight; Fri 9am-midnight; Sat 9am-11pm. Mall of the Emirates, www.theplaymania.com (800 386).
The park’s main attraction, the Jumeirah Sceirah, has two 32 metre-high tandem slides, which will see you plummet at a speed of 80kmh. It’s also worth queueing up for the Burj Surj – two slides that casade down into a “bowl”, and Tantrum Alley, which contains three hair-raising tornado slides. Sorted. Dhs370 (adults), Dhs260 (kids under 1.1m). Open Sun-Thu 10am-7pm; Fri 10am-10pm. Jumeirah Beach Road (04 348 4444).
Tackle the rides at Aquaventure The big attraction here is the Leap of Faith, a 27.5m vertical plummet that shoots riders through a shark tank (albeit enclosed inside a Perspex tube). There are also lots of other slides varying in fear-factor, many of which link to a huge lazy river, so you don’t even need to get out of your rubber ring. The park also boasts a large beach, aquarium, plenty of cafés and restaurants, a kids’ area, dolphin experiences and even diving. Dhs260 (above 1.2 metres), Dhs215 (below 1.2 metres), free (kids up to two years old). Open daily 10am-sunset. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 0000). Take on the tamer LEGOLAND Water Park If your visitors have little ones in tow, this is ideal. LEGOLAND is the only UAE waterpark designed specifically for kids aged two to 12 and their families – not that this place is small. With more than 20 waterslides to enjoy, you’ll need to check a map to make sure you tick all the LEGO boxes. There’s a lazy Build-A-Raft River, Joker Soaker playground water shooters, a wave bowl and any number of slides for the little ones and older thrill seekers. Dhs235 (adults), free (kids under three). Open daily 10am-6pm. Dubai Parks and Resorts, Jebel Ali (04 820 3123).
This is the world’s largest indoor theme park and will keep visitors of all ages occupied. It’s fully temperature-controlled and home to some pretty epic rides. Highlights include the high-speed Velociraptor roller coaster, which reaches 100kph in 2.5 seconds. There’s also the gravity-defying Predator, featuring a 35-metre “beyond vertical” drop. Dhs245 (adults), Dhs225 (kids under 1.2m), free (kids under 1.05m). Open Sun-Wed 11am-9pm; Thu-Sat 11am-10pm. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (04 403 8888).
Get your game on at Hub Zero Set up in collaboration with gaming companies Electronic Arts, Capcom, Konami, Microsoft and Square Enix Space, this centre has activities for all ages. It houses 3D and 4D cinema experiences, and for a retro take on things, you can even indulge in some pinball. Or there’s a full-on laser tag battle to take part in. For more serious gamers there’s a LAN (or Local Area Network to novices) gaming area, with 70 stations. If your guests are more into Pac-Man and Space Invaders, don’t worry, they’ll be well-catered for, too. From Dhs160. Open Sun-Thu 5pm-midnight; Fri-Sat 3pm-midnight. City Walk, Al Safa Street, www.hubzerodubai.com (800 637 227). Let the little ones loose at LEGOLAND Dubai Again, this one is a park for visitors who have little ones with them, but let’s be honest, it will be just as much fun for the parents as it will be for the kids. There are more than 40 rides, shows and attractions set in six themed lands crammed with 15,000 LEGO models and more than 60,000 LEGO bricks. Dhs235 (adults), free (kids under three). Open Sat-Wed 10am-6pm, Thu-Fri 10am-8pm. Dubai Parks And Resorts, Jebel Ali (04 820 0000). Try out Bollywood movie-themed rides at Bollywood Parks This family-friendly theme park is designed in the style of a Bollywood movie set. The park is split into five zones inspired by legendary blockbusters. Highlights include the Sholay, a 3D interactive dark ride in which you are armed with laser guns to take out villains from the hit movie of the same name, and the Dabangg stunt show, which is an explosive spectacle you won’t forget in a hurry. Dhs175 (adults), free (kids under three). Open daily 4pm-12am. Dubai Parks and Resorts, Jebel Ali (800 262 9464). Take a trip to Tinseltown thanks to Motiongate Dubai This Hollywood-inspired theme park showcases themed areas and attractions, including everything from The Hunger Games to Kung Fu Panda. There are immersive motion simulators, roller coasters, live shows and water rides. Take a studio tour with some friendly Smurfs, or brave your way through an abandoned zombie apocalypse, where your only escape is to plummet from an 82-metre drop tower. Dhs235 (day ticket). Open daily 11am-10pm. Dubai Parks and Resorts, Jebel Ali (800 262 9464).
Fly in a gyrocopter One of the best ways to see Dubai is from the air. Skyhub by Skydive Dubai offers one of the most exciting ways to do this, with a 20-minute two-seater gyrocopter tour, allowing your guests to marvel at some of Dubai’s most impressive structures, including the Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina, from above. It’s a truly breath-taking experience. Dhs999 (20-minute flight). Daily 11am-5.30pm. Skydive Dubai, Dubai Marina (056 406 9630). Live the Bedouin life with Platinum Heritage Appreciate what life in the UAE was like before its meteoric rise, with the Overnight Desert Safari from Platinum Heritage. The experience includes falconry, a safari, dinner, traditional dancing, henna, shisha, camping and breakfast with a Bedouin. You’ll spot Arabian oryx, gazelles and a wide variety of desert flora in the desert and get to enjoy a traditional Emirati dinner, too. Dhs895. Pick-up from locations across Dubai, www.platinum-heritage.com (04 440 9827).
Play a round of floodlit golf There are plenty of courses to play a round on in the UAE, from the pristine fairways of Dubai Creek & Yacht Club to the recently opened Trump International. But for an experience like no other, head out at night to play a round under the floodlights. The Faldo Course at Emirates Golf Club and the nine-holer at The Track, Meydan Golf, allow you to continue the game well past dusk. Faldo Course: Dhs280 (nine holes), Dhs450 (18 holes). From 4pm. Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Living (04 380 1234); The Track, Meydan Golf: Dhs355 (nine holes), Dhs550 (18 holes). Daily 4pm-11pm. Nad Al Sheba (04 381 3733). Take on the Via Ferrata at Jebel Jais
If your guests are thrillseekers take them to Ras Al Khaimah to try the 470-metre-long zip line, one of the most exhilarating outdoor activities in the UAE. There are three courses along the rocky facades of Jebel Jais in the Hajar Mountains. And if they’re over in the new year, they could take advantage of the world’s longest and highest zip line. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for prices. www.jebeljais.ae/book-now.
TOP RESTAURANTS TO TRY
Aseelah Having won the Best Middle Eastern & North African title at the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards this year, Aseelah is the perfect choice to introduce your guests to the nation’s cuisine. Order the Arabian lobster. It’s a stunning dish, beautifully presented and a real showcase of Emirati flavours and ingredients. Open daily 12.30pm-4pm, 6.30pm-11.15pm. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek (04 205 7033).
It’s not only quirkily named but also offers creatively concocted cuisine, a fun atmosphere and inventive, eclectic décor. Its sense of playfulness extends to the food, too, but we’ll let you discover those surprises for yourself. Portions are huge, so it’s great value for money. Open daily noon-3.30pm, 7pm-11.30pm. Burj Daman, DIFC (04 559 7893). Demoiselle by Galvin If your guests have yet to experience Michelin star-quality dining, take them to chef brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin’s City Walk restaurant. It’s chic, dainty, demure and bright, casual by day, with lower lighting setting the mood for an evening meal. Try the braised wagyu beef short rib with truffle crust and mushroom cream. It’s a truly decadent, yet delicate dish that will get you all seeing stars of the Michelin kind. Open daily 8am-11pm. City Walk, Al Safa Street (056 534 7912).
Il Borro Tuscan Bistro Bringing a thousand years of history to the 45-year-old UAE, Il Borro blends its rich heritage with the ultra-modern setting of Jumeirah Al Naseem seamlessly. The menu is as authentic and traditional as the venue’s origins, featuring such classics as bresaola, carpaccio, ossobucco, pastas and pizzas, using ingredients such as imported stracciatella cheese, olive oil and Italian Chianina beef. The food is stunning. Open daily noon-3.30pm, 7pm-1am. Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 559 7869).
La Petite Maison Put simply, La Petite Maison is the stellar French restaurant in the city and in the top five restaurants full stop. Light and cool by day and dimly lit and romantic by night, it’s also a restaurant for all seasons. The quality and experience never falters here. Go for the burrata (still the best in town), lamb cutlets (also probably the best in town) and grilled tiger prawns. But whatever you order will be op-class. Open daily noon-3.30pm, 7pm-11.30pm. Gate Village 8, DIFC (04 439 0505). Marina Social The modern British and Mediterranean restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton is stylish and un-shouty, allowing the remarkable cooking to speak volumes. There’s little that doesn’t delight; slivers of sweet, crunchy snow pea salad, delicate parcels of chicken leg angolotti with crispy chicken skin and delicious, enormous tiger prawns. Our Best European restaurant of 2017 is innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. Open daily 7pm-midnight, Fri 12.30pm-4.30pm (brunch). InterContinental Dubai Marina (04 446 6664). PLAY Restaurant & Lounge
Our Restaurant of the Year exudes luxury, so you’ll want to put this high up on your itinerary. From the slick, dark interiors to the stunning 36th-floor views that will leave a lasting impression, the experience is a super-high-end one. The cuisine is “Mediterrasian”, a blend of light, fresh Mediterranean flavours with the bold, powerful tastes of Asia, and the kitchen does this tremendously. Definitely one to book. Open Sun-Wed 6pm-2am; Thu-Fri 6pm-3am. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 336 4444). RÜYA
For many, the menu will be fairly unfamiliar, as some of these dishes date back 3,000 years. But thankfully chef Colin Clague and his team know their stuff. The salty feta cheese in filo (borek) is the best we’ve tried, but the cheese and egg pide is the humble star. Cheesy, crispy, chewy dough topped with a slow-cooked egg. Take in the Dubai Marina skyline from the stunning terrace bar outside, too, while you’re there. Perfection. Open daily 6pm-1am. Grosvenor House Dubai, Dubai Marina (04 399 9123).
CLASSIC PUBS AND BARS WITH A VIEW
360˚ An al fresco club on a private pier directly alongside the iconic Burj Al Arab would top lists of must-visit venues on location alone. The fact that it regularly offers happy hour deals and hosts a crowd as attractive as the setting is just a bonus. Make sure you show it off. Open Sun-Wed 5pm-2am; Thu 5pm-3am; Fri 1pm-4pm, 7pm-3am; Sat 5pm-3am. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim (04 406 8999).
At.mosphere Lounge Take your guests to see the sun set from the world’s loftiest restaurant and it will be the making of their trip. The lounge is as pretty as the vista, and though the prices can seem a little elevated, it’s worth splashing out here for the chance to gawp out of the window. Dhs320 per person minimum spend. Open daily 5.30pm-2am. Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3828).
Barasti An institution in Dubai, no guest’s itinerary is complete without a visit to Barasti. By day, sunseekers line its beach, while party-lovers flock to the bar at night. Barasti welcomes its customers with open arms and entrance is free all year round. Sit on a high stool, watch the sun set with a chilled mixed drink or recline on a sofa. We love it, no doubt your guests will, too. Open daily 11am-1.30am. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh (04 318 1313). Lock, Stock & Barrel The Barsha Heights venue is a favourite for good reason – this year it won Best Bar Food and Bar of the Year. And there’s now a new one to show off. Lock, Stock 2.0 in JBR is massive (almost twice the size of the original) and should also be on your hit list. There’s a huge bar area downstairs with pool tables, plus a separate bar at the back, overlooking the Rixos pool. The upper level houses a casual dining area with lots of food truck-style options to keep you all happy. Open daily 6pm-3pm. Rixos Premium Dubai, The Walk, JBR, www.lsbdubai.com/jbr.
Sea views, sand between your toes and fresh fish. Take a seat overlooking the beach and you’ll definitely feel like you’re on holiday. Service is excellent – polite, friendly and efficient – which matches the food. Try the grills, especially the salmon steak, which comes perfectly cooked and served with grilled veggies for a healthy and satisfying main. If you’re eating at lunch take a stroll back along the beach and make like you’re a visitor, too. Open Sun-Fri noon-11pm; Sat 1pm-11pm. The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, The Walk, JBR (04 318 6150).
QD’s Famous for its shisha and impressive Creek views, this is a stunning waterside venue that deserves to be on your must-see list. The resident DJ and guitarist will keep you and your guests entertained long after the sun sinks below the horizon. Open Sun-Wed 5pm-2am; Thu-Sat 5pm-3am. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira (04 275 9055).
Reform Social & Grill This pub is nestled in The Lakes, surrounded by greenery and is a tranquil spot for a drink or two. Reform also has plenty of deals, from curry nights and steak nights, to roast dinner offers at weekends. And with a daily happy hour, as well as a ladies’ night on Tuesdays, your visitors (and your wallet) will thank you in the end. Open Sun-Wed 8am-midnight; Thu-Sat 8am-1am. The Lakes, Emirates Living (04 454 2638). Scape This chic venue on the terrace of the Burj Al Arab is well worth a visit. Serving Californian fusion food that draws inspiration from Latin America, the Mediterranean and Asia, booking in for a meal is a real treat. The views are spectacular, the service spot on and the resident DJ provides the ideal, chilled out soundtrack as you watch the sun go down. Oepn daily noon-3.30pm, 6pm-11pm (food), 6pm-1am (drinks). Burj Al Arab, Umm Suqeim (04 301 7600).
The Irish Village Twenty-one years young, The Irish Village’s appeal is as enduring as it ever was – we crowned it Pub of the Year in 2017, and it’s more than worth a visit. With its rustic, dark wood interiors and sprawling patioed (and pet-friendly) garden, punters continue to pour in week after week for great-value pints of the black stuff and classic pub grub, from Irish stews to hot, tasty toasties. Service is great, too. It’s a fine hangout at which to while away any afternoon or evening. Open Sat-Wed 11am-1am; Thu-Fri 11am-2am. Garhoud (04 282 4750).
A quaint, cosy spot, when you first enter Uptown, it may not feel overwhelmingly impressive, but keep walking towards the terrace door. Once you see the Burj Al Arab through those vast panes of glass, you’ll begin to perk up. The rooftop terrace is the main attraction. From here, soak up views of Jumeirah and out towards the rest of the city. It looks as though Dubai is sprawled at your feet. Open Sat-Wed 5pm-2am; Thu-Fri 5pm-3am. Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim (04 406 8999).
THINGS TO DO FOR DHS100 OR LESS
Check out The Courtyard Playhouse There are any number of plays, stand-up comedy nights and even National Theatre screenings to see here. If your guests are culture vultures, their appetites will be satisfied at this local gem. Wednesdays are improv nights, when you’ll get to see the local talent. Al Quoz, www.courtyardplayhouse.com (050 781 2257).
Eat at Ravi Restaurant You won’t find fine dining here, but what you will find is excellent, extremely affordable Pakistani food. The dahl fry is amazing as is the mutton peshwari (spicy and a little sweet, with tender meat, full of flavour). Naans, crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, are the perfect way to make sure you get every drop of the delicious sauce, and it’ll set you back less than Dhs100 for two. Winning. Open daily 5am-2.30am. Satwa (04 331 5353).
Enjoy seafood at Bu Qtair For casual beachside fare facing the Burj Al Arab, you can’t get much better than Dubai institution Bu Qtair. It’s not haute cuisine, simply a fuss-free seafood spot. What you get is the catch of the day, or prawns, in a curry sauce. Simple, fresh and delicious. Open daily 11.30am-11.30pm. Near Burj Al Arab, Umm Suqeim (055 705 2130).
Feast on eggs at Raju Omlet As you’d guess, Raju Omlet serves eggs done every which way and flavoured with all sorts of Indian spices and ingredients from garlic, ginger, masala and chilli to coconut. It’s the breakfast dishes that you really want to go for. They’re cheap as chips so you can order several different dishes and the bill still won’t set you back more than Dhs100. Open daily 8am-11.30pm. Karama (04 388 5522); Al Quoz (04 437 1699).
Go watch a camel race Watching a camel run is one of the great joys of the world. There’s much fun to be had at Al Marmoum camel racetrack without handing over a small coin purse for it. It’s off the smiles per hour scale, as far as we’re concerned. Dubai Camel Racing Club, Al Marmoum Racetrack, Dubai-Al Ain Road, www.dcrc.ae (04 832 6526). Practise yoga on the beach Regular yoga sessions can be a pain in the bank manager’s neck. Free yoga, however, we have a lot of time for. Down on the sands at 7am you can participate in all the stretches, lunges and sunrise serenity you want. Devoted yogis (devogis?) can enjoy free sessions. Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat from 7am. The Beach, JBR, www.thebeach.ae (800 637 227).
See the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood Visit the galleries, museums and heritage attractions of this historical neighbourhood. Majlis and XVA Gallery host exhibitions throughout the year, so it’s worth stopping by. You can also book a guided tour with the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. It includes a visit to the Diwan Mosque and Textile Souk, an abra ride across the Creek to Deira to see the Gold and Spice Souks and a cultural Q&A session over Arabic tea, coffee and dates back at the centre. Free (prices on request for a guided tour). Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Bur Dubai, www.cultures.ae.
Spend the day at Creek Park
You absolutely cannot let your visitors’ time pass in Dubai without introducing them to one of its oldest parks. Since it’s right on the edge of the Creek, you can get to it by boat, which is a bit of a novelty, too. Rent bikes for Dhs20 to Dhs40 or get around the park on a small train. Don’t forget to take a picnic, or even a barbecue – you can spark up the grills here, too. The park is also home to Dubai Dolphinarium and a cable car that runs 30 metres above the park, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the sprawling green and the Creek for Dhs25. Dhs5 (entry fee). Dubai Creek (no number). Take an abra across the Creek
If you are near Dubai Creek in the evening, take an abra across for the bargain price of Dhs1. These tiny, noisy boats are the quickest and most atmospheric way to enjoy the water, and get from Bur Dubai to Deira and vice versa. They carry about 20 people across the creek from various stations along each side, running from 5am to midnight. But it is after dark when the ride is at its most atmospheric. Dhs1 per person, per trip; Open daily 5am-midnight. Dubai Creek, Deira/Bur Dubai (800 9090).
Try Keralan cuisine at Calicut Paragon This is a Time Out Dubai favourite, and for good reason. In short, the south Indian fare is outstanding, the service spot on and the no-frills setting and family-friendly ambience inviting and relaxed. Ask for recommendations and staff will match your desires for a fish, meat or vegetarian dish. The pandanas chicken and peppery grilled paneer are full of deliciously bold flavours. It’s all to be enjoyed with some of the fluffiest, flakiest, butteriest Kerala paratha you’ll find in the city. Open daily 7.30am-12.30am. Karama (04 335 8700).
Walk along Jumeirah Corniche This 14km stretch of Dubai’s coastline, from Sunset Beach in Umm Suqeim, in the shadow of the Burj Al Arab, right down to Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa in Jumeirah 1 features a boardwalk and jogging track. At Kite Beach, you’ll also find watersports on offer, while Jumeirah Open Beach next to Dubai Marine Beach Resort also has a track for cycling. Get sporty without the prices making you sweat. Sunset Beach to Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, Jumeirah 1.
This former Restaurant of the Year winner also packs a hefty punch when it comes to brunch. With a menu packed full of Latin American flavours, try dishes ranging from takaki to tiraditos to tacos. The food is stunning and you must try the fresh guacamole made tableside. Mains consist of the house’s signature dishes and there are delightful desserts, too. Dhs328 (soft drinks), Dhs498 (house beverages), Dhs598 (bubbly). 12.30pm-4pm. Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 316 9600). Jumeirah Al Qasr This legendary brunch is one of Dubai’s most popular, serving up dishes from three of Al Qasr’s restaurants – The Hide, Al Hambra and Arboretum. So expect top-class meat and mezze. There are countless live cooking stations, plus live entertainment, too. Dhs495 (soft drinks), Dhs595 (house beverages, mixed beverages and bubbly), Dhs250 (kids aged four-12), free (kids under four). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6162).
Nobu This brunch at the world-famous Japanese brand is ideal for special occasions. Make your way around the small buffet and choose from sushi, sashimi and salads. Then you’ll get a selection of signature dishes (including that famous black cod) brought to your table. Dhs395 (soft drinks), Dhs585 (selected house beverages), Dhs650 (bubbly). Fri noon-4pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626). The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina Chances are you will have heard of the legendary Dubai establishment that is Bubbalicious. Famous for the food and vibe, don’t miss the huge buffet complete with live stations, cold cuts and dessert room. Did we mention there are more than 100 types of cheese on offer, too? Dhs450 (soft drinks), Dhs550 (house beverages), Dhs680 (bubbly), Dhs225 (kids aged six-12), free (kids under six). Fri 1pm-4pm.King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (04 511 7139). Zuma Zuma won our Brunch of the Year in 2017. and with good reason. The Japanese restaurant does not put a foot wrong on a Friday afternoon. There’s a raw counter, hot counter and other starters buffet-style, a selection of small plates and of course the famous black cod and grilled lobster. Superb all round. Dhs450 (soft drinks), Dhs595 (house beverages), Dhs655 (bubbly). Dhs225 (kids under 12). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Gate Village 6, DIFC (04 425 5660).
Hit the beach club
Azure Beach Set in the Rixos Premium Dubai, Azure Beach offers style and sophistication with chilled-out vibes. It has its own infinity pool, equipped with private island beds, and a fun-filled kids’ club. Dhs400 (Fri-Sat), Dhs300 (Sun-Thu). Open daily 7am-7pm. Rixos Premium Dubai, The Walk, JBR (04 520 0000). El Chiringuito It’s the second branch of El Chiringuito, the first of which is in Ibiza, and this outlet brings some of the White Isle‘s spirit to Dubai. International DJs play regularly on weekends if you want to party or you can chill out on the sofas and loungers by the pool, overlooking the beach and the rest of the Palm. Dhs250 (Fri-Sat), Dhs100 (Wed-Thur). Open Wed-Sun 10am-12pm. Closed Mon & Tue. Palm Jumeirah, Dubai (04 277 9180).
On the far side of the Pearl Jumeira, away from all the hustle and bustle of the city, Nikki Beach is classy and chic, from the furniture to the buildings to the sand on the beach. The resort has the impressive ability to transport you from Dubai to a far-flung island where the beach is pristine and perfect for a relaxing day out. From Dhs150 (Sun-Thu), from Dhs200 (Fri-Sat). Open daily 11am-9pm. Pearl Jumeira (04 376 6162).
Head out on a road trip to the capital
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi Ride the world’s fastest roller coaster, the Formula Rossa. Modelled on a real Ferrari F1 car, put on your goggles and get ready to reach a speed of 240kph in just 4.9 seconds. Meanwhile, Flying Aces has the highest roller coaster loop on the planet, and the Turbo Track has zero gravity falls. The perfect hair-raising experience. From Dhs275. Open Sun-Wed 11am-6pm; Thu-Fri 11am-midnight; Sat 11am-11pm. Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com.
Yas Waterworld For an adrenaline rush, this waterpark can’t be beaten. Best of the bunch is the Liwa Loop, the only looping waterslide in the Middle East. Daredevils are locked into a capsule, and the floor just drops away, leaving you to hurtle straight down and around a giant loop that’s almost perpendicular to the ground. It’s all over in seconds, but your heart will go on racing long afterwards. From Dhs240 (adults), Dhs195 (kids under 1.1m). Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.yaswaterworld.com (02 414 2000).
Yas Marina Circuit
See the F1 track in Abu Dhabi and then drive on it yourself or experience it as a passenger. Pretend you’re Lewis Hamilton by hiring a Formula One-style Formula Yas 3000, an Aston Martin GT4, Ferrari 458 GT or Jaguar F-Type S Coupé. Unrivalled. From Dhs440 (passenger experience), from Dhs650 (driver experience). Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.yasmarinacircuit.com (800 927). Louvre Abu Dhabi The highly-anticipated museum has caused a massive buzz across the global art scene ever since the ambitious project was unveiled back in 2007 and now you and your guests can take a look inside. The architectural marvel is a must-see tourist attraction. It will boast more than 600 artworks, spanning myriad cultures and periods, including 300 masterpieces on loan from 13 key institutions, including famous works from masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Henri Matisse and Edouard Manet. Saadiyat Cultural District, Saadiyat Island, www.louvreabudhabi.ae (600 565 566).