Magazine

My City: Dubai

Travel Inspiration

Dubai resident Jessica Hudson takes us on a tour of her beloved city and uncovers its hidden gems from a restaurant looking out into an aquarium teeming with sharks and manta rays, to a traditional Bedouin camp for an evening under the Arabian stars.

Dubai is a foodie's dream with the world's best restaurants on your doorstop.

Zuma in the DIFC is the place to see and be seen, with a buzzing bar every evening and fantastic Japanese cuisine. Nobu at the Atlantis Palm Jumeirah is another excellent Japanese dining experience, serving melt-in-your mouth Black Miso Cod, with the Atlantis Aquarium teeming with sharks, manta rays and 65,000 exotic fish, as a backdrop.

La Petite Maison is also hugely popular and serves delicious French fare in a stylish setting with both indoor and outdoor seating.

Eau Zone at the One&Only Royal Mirage is a beautiful beachside setting with tables on platforms floating over the water and an Asian Fusion-inspired menu. Head to the One&Only Arabian Rooftop for after-dinner drinks under the stars.

For a more local experience, Al Nafourah in Emirates Towers is renowned for its delicious Arabic cuisine and the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed, is a regular diner. Reem Al Bawadi on the Jumeirah Beach Road is another must-see for a tasty Lebanese meal and an evening of local culture. Try the Halloumi Manoush, Shish Kebab and Fattoush Salad, and delicious Shisha, which comes in every imaginable flavour.

Wake up to one of the world's most iconic buildings, the Burj Khalifa. Marvel at the changing skyline with views over the dancing fountains below and the world's biggest shopping mall with over 1,200 shops. For a 360 view of Dubai, walk down to the Burj Khalifa's At The Top viewing deck located on the 124th floor and gaze at the 'old' and the 'new' Dubai using powerful telescopes. On a clear day you can see all the way to Iran and across the desert to the Omani mountains.

For those with an adventurous streak, skydive over the Palm Jumeirah for incredible views over the world famous Palm and along the Dubai coastline. Prince Harry and Actor Will Smith are two recent skydivers.

The beaches are beautiful with powder white sand and turquoise clear waters, and sun worshippers and watersports enthusiasts you can happily spend a morning by the sea paddle boarding, kite surfing, jet skiing or snorkeling. What makes Dubai so unique is that one can go from sand to snow in a matter of minutes and turn up at the Dubai Ski Dome in your flip-flops before being kitted out in ski gear and racing down a black run or tobogganing with penguins.

The Old Dubai is certainly worth a visit. The 21st-century architecture of downtown Dubai and the Palm are a striking contrast to Dubai Creek where you will be transported into a different world of ancient dhows sailing past, brimming with bags of aromatic spices and wares from India. Wander through the windy alleyways of the historic Bastakiya and visit the local art galleries and boutiques selling calligraphy and traditional craft. A fresh lemon and mint drink makes for a refreshing stop at the Majlis Gallery Café before continuing your explorations and a trip across the creek on a traditional Abra water taxi to the famous Gold Souk of Dubai.

Of course a visit to Dubai isn't complete without a desert experience and after a morning by the Creek, you can be collected by a driver and taken out into the rolling sands of the desert to try your hand at 'dune bashing' and see the Camel Farms and Date Plantations out in the wilds of the desert. Sundowner drinks at sunset on top of a sand dune is a magical experience, surrounded by the endless dunes and quiet of the desert. You will then be driven to a traditional Bedouin camp for an evening under the stars with belly dancing, camel riding, sand boarding and traditional mezze, for a true Arabian experience.

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