A week and half into October, I landed in Dubai with four fantastic women I was meeting for the first time. Our ‘bleisure’ trip (business + leisure), as I like to call it, was all about four days of doing absolutely everything possible in the land of endless possibilities. Loaded with new experiences and memories, I dish out a few recommendations that I can be thanked for later on! So, when in Dubai, here’s where to shop, eat and even plan a wedding.
Video credit: Author’s own
1. First things first – food
Exploring the best food outlets was a priority–there was an unspoken consensus about this. So, of all the 521 places we explored, here are the top two that made me the happiest.
1. Lucia’s, Address Sky View Hotel, Downtown
We have to have a list of the best dining spots bookmarked to kickstart this fruitful journey. I won’t think twice before recommending this incredible restaurant. There’s the Mediterranean aesthetic, unobstructed views of the Burj and scrumptious Italian food. And there’s more. It’d be a sin to not try the Rigatoni Cacio & Pepe (cheese and pepper pasta). And, of course, leave some room for the next recommendation I have.
2. Amala, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
If a royal Mughlai culinary experience is what you seek, look no further. As someone who cannot stop before adding everything to their plate at a breakfast buffet, I was full at the time of my visit to Amala for lunch. But the moment I laid eyes on their tandoori prawns, smoked lamb chops and bhindi achari, I had to go all in. Do visit the place not just for the food but also the hotel it’s located in—the magnificent Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.
2. Here for the IG Reels? Hell yes!
For a long time, my urge to experience things without wanting to record them has dominated. Enter Dubai, and I felt this beauty needed to be captured.
1. CÉ LA VI Dubai
A visit to Dubai calls for the mandatory IG post and the riches of the city are such that one need not try hard to make Reels happen. But here’s a suggestion. Perched on level 54 of the Address Sky View Hotel is a rooftop restaurant called CÉ LA VI.
Along with a breathtaking view from the top and an infinity pool that overlooks the cityscape, there’s a pretty swing setup that’d make every IG enthusiast’s heart flutter. There may or may not be a short queue to get that shot but wait it out because your feed is about to explode.
3. Wedding on your mind?
Desis are digging destination weddings and it’s about time Dubai made it to the top of our lists. There are great options for all budgets and unending possibilities for a unique wedding.
1. The Palace Downtown
Image credit: Instagram/palacedowntown
I like to do things in an order so let’s start with proposals first! Now imagine the fountain show, one of the top attractions in Dubai, taking place in all its glory while you pop the question to the love of your life. The exclusive space at The Palace Downtown can host an intimate gathering in the most luxurious and avant-garde setup you can imagine.
And if it hasn’t already crossed your mind, the CÉ LA VI swing also makes for a perfect backdrop. Now that you’ve decided what’s going to be your spot, it’s time to put a ring on it. The ring, my friend, is what you need next.
2. La Marquise
Desis would concur that Dubai is one of the best places for gold shopping. But there’s also a diamond jewellery brand here that boasts of exquisite, handcrafted designs. I visited their boutique in the Dubai mall where I ended up feeling like a kid in a candy store, bogged down by the limitations of her dry bank account.
Fortunately for newbies, the salespersons at La Marquise will assist you in getting what you really want because being sure of your life partner is one thing, but finding a ring is a different ball game altogether.
3. The Ritz-Carlton, La Brise
People are ready to go out of their way to help you achieve your vision and that’s why you could trust them to bring your fairytale wedding to life. Apart from the spacious and sleek rooms that they offer, the Ritz-Carlton has a perfect spot for outdoor weddings. A beachfront garden amid lush greenery and the smell of the ocean breeze makes it a truly romantic, elegant and Pinterest-worthy location. Moreover, it comes with the promise of Arabian hospitality.
4. In love with all things art?
All the creative folks out here would already know that this is the cool neighbourhood, the place to check out when you’re in Dubai.
1. Dubai Design District
Video credit: Instagram/d3dubai
Apart from witnessing the spectacle that was the Arab Fashion Week, I got an inside view of the designer workshops and ateliers where all the magic happens (I was lucky enough to get a quick tour from Yasmine of Maison Yeya, Zaid Farouki, Michael Cinco). Moreover, there’s an array of creative pop-ups, art installations, and chic cafes to check out.
I wished to wrap up this guide here but couldn’t do that without adding another quick suggestion. Experience a relaxing massage before the fatigue of visiting all the stunning places gets to you. Unwind like the royals at the Palace Downtown spa which has everything ranging from the finest techniques to oriental bath houses. Hashtag pure bliss.
Lead image credit: Author’s own and The Ritz-Carlton
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