Traditionally a key trading port on the Arabian Gulf, since the discovery of oil in 1966 Dubai has transformed into the Middle East’s premier luxury destination. Home to one of the world’s most iconic skylines, the city’s plethora of deluxe hotels and restaurants make it a must visit. With so many enchanting places to eat and things to do, this guide will walk you through our favourite restaurants and activities in the aptly named City of Gold.
Burj al Arab
The instantly recognisable Burj al Arab hotel has consolidated itself as one of the world’s leading providers of culinary excellence following the appointment of three prominent chefs this year, with a combined total of seven Michelin stars. Its flagship Al Mahara restaurant leaves diners mesmerised by its floor to ceiling aquarium, which would not look out of place in a Bond film. New head chef Kasper Kurdahl brings with him 25 years of global culinary experience and prides himself on the attention to detail given to each of the Northern European dishes that feature on his menu. An impressive selection of fine wines has been handpicked in order to complement the exquisite, fresh ingredients on offer, which you can enjoy whilst admiring the vibrant sea life encircling the restaurant. For the full Burj al Arab experience, we recommend you start your evening with cocktails in the Skyview Bar & Restaurant, where guests look on in awe at Dubai’s dazzling skyline.
As its name suggests, Billionaire Mansion is already a favourite amongst the countless A-list celebrities who visit Dubai, despite only being established by Italian businessman Flavio Briatore in 2016. One of the main reasons for its rapid surge in popularity is its signature Sumosan restaurant, which offers a unique fusion of the best Italian and Japanese cuisine, accompanied by a stunning backdrop of performances by trapeze artists, magicians and live musicians. A stunning vine-draped terrace provides the ideal location for pre-dinner drinks, whilst no evening here is complete without a visit to the highly acclaimed Lounge Bar and Shisha Terrace. If you still have the energy, you can dance into the small hours in the Mansion’s very own nightclub.
Bedecked with stunning Swarovski crystals and host to the UAE’s most opulent VIP parties, it is not surprising that the Cavalli Club was voted Best Club in the 2017 Shortlist Awards. From the flamboyant zebra-print floor, illuminated by state-of-the-art theatrical lights, to the 24 carat gold decorations visible throughout, the Cavalli Club exudes luxury. Specialising in gourmet Italian cuisine, the Club’s restaurant provides one of Dubai’s most glamorous dining experiences. Since arriving in 2017, talented head chef Francesco Pescatore has introduced a new menu featuring mouth-watering seafood dishes, including langoustine ravioli and salt-crusted sea bass. Following dinner, the city’s best resident DJs and top international artists, including Sean Paul, ensure that guests enjoy the most exclusive nightlife experience in Dubai.
Dubai World Cup
No visit to Dubai is complete without taking in an evening of horse racing at the Meydan Racecourse. The highlight of the calendar is the Dubai World Cup (late March) which, with a prize fund of $12 million, is the world’s richest race. We recommend enjoying the exquisite Terrace brunch at the Saturday afternoon meetings (October-March), whilst there is something truly enchanting about the spectacular floodlit Thursday evening races. The Dubai World Cup itself is one of the social highlights of the year, attracting upwards of 60,000 spectators. Expect to see elegant three pieces and beautiful dresses – in fact, some of the outfits draw more attention than the racing itself. Once the nine races are completed, a breath-taking fireworks display and party brings this unmissable day to a close. The popular VIP packages are available to purchase through the Meydan Racecourse ticket office and include access to private suites and a selection of gourmet food and drinks.
Luxury Desert Safari
The Platinum Desert Safari experience is an essential part of any luxury holiday to Dubai. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure will see you whisked into the desert in state of the art Range Rovers, giving you the perfect opportunity to enjoy Dubai’s fabulous wildlife. Particular highlights are the Arabian Oryx and the stunning flocks of migrating birds. After the sightseeing you will get the chance to enjoy a stunning sunset falcon show accompanied by complimentary champagne before your personal chef prepares a sumptuous six-course dinner. The day concludes with an evening of thrilling entertainment, including a magical Flaming Sands of Arabia fire show.
The Majlis Golf Course
Golf enthusiasts will be charmed by the Emirates Golf Club’s flagship Majlis Course. Built around stunning dunes on the outskirts of the city, Majlis is the Middle East’s first grass course, making it Dubai’s most desirable location to play a round. While you are walking around the 18 holes look out for the picturesque indigenous flora and fauna that decorate the course, as well as the seven fresh and saltwater lakes that add a real sense of beauty to it. This course really is fit for the pros, who arrive en-masse for the annual Dubai Desert Classic, which has been won in recent years by the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Sergio García.
The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
The Waldorf Astoria Dubai hotel is an astonishing destination and is located on the Palm Jumeirah. It offers luxurious rooms, a remarkable private beach, and distinctive signature restaurants. The hotel offers a mix of dining experiences in its amazing 6 restaurants. Serving Arabian dishes as well as Southeast Asian tastes, the Waldorf Astoria makes sure you’re completely satisfied. Make sure you visit the Serafina Bar where you can enjoy a cocktail and enjoy live entertainment in the evenings.
One & Only the Palm
One & Only The Palm Resort is a jewel in Dubai. Located on the Palm Island, it’s the reflection of stylish and prestigious design. You can enjoy astonishing panoramic views from your suite or take a walk on the lush private beach on the Palm Jumeirah. The One & Only has elegant and spacious rooms, suites as well as villas which are perfect if you’re traveling with your friends or family. The Beach Villas offer customised service and direct access to the amazing private beach. If you’re a fan of healthy dining, make sure you book your table at the over-water Marina Restaurant, Bar & Lounge. Guests can also enjoy dishes offered by the One & Only Royal Mirage in its 7 restaurants. You’ll have to take a water taxi to get there, though.
The Ritz Carlton Dubai
This hotel is located along the famous JBR Walk and 5-minutes away from the Dubai Marina. The Ritz Carlton offers 294 amazingly luxurious rooms and suites with sea views and private balconies. It offers first-class spa facilities to all of its guests and six outdoor swimming pools for relaxation and good times. You can enjoy themed meals in the hotel’s 9 restaurants, ranging from Asian to Mediterranean dining but also healthy cuisine provided by the Palm Grill on the beach.