The New Dubai neighbourhood is starting to make its presence felt
Until recently, the area nestled next to Downtown Dubai had been in the shadow of its glitzy neighbour, whose high-profile tenants include the Burj Khalifa, Souk Al Bahar and The Dubai Mall. But take note – the majority of construction has finally ceased and Business Bay is coming into its own. Today it’s home to the highest hotel in the world (JW Marriott Marquis), Time Out Dubai’s Best New Bar, (The Oberoi’s Iris), an inviting landscaped park, Byky bike rentals and a smattering of interesting dining and grooming spots. Bay Avenue, which runs along the cluster of Executive Towers, has got the makings of an inner-city JBR and families flock here on the weekends and evenings to enjoy the outdoors and catch a meal on the walk. Don’t know where to start? Here are some of our best finds.
Iris Bar The winner of Time Out Dubai’s Best New Bar, this elegant rooftop venue is fast becoming a hub for suits and midweek sippers. The décor is sleek and contemporary, glass windows provide shelter from the elements, but the clever design means it still feels as if you’re sitting outside. Clean woods and simple, cubist-style industrial overhanging lights add to the cool factor and the signature mixed drinks, while not cheap, are rather impressive. The Oberoi, Business Bay (04 444 1444). The Vault The world’s highest hotel bar sits more than 70 floors up and offers two levels of elegance and unrivalled views of the city. Imposing bank safe-style doors occupy the entrance, but you’ll need only bottomless pockets not a secret password to enter this refined establishment. Drinks are Russian-inspired and the full-length windows and vertigo-inducing panoramic view are certain to keep the conversation flowing. JW Marriott Marquis, Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay (04 414 0000). La Terrasse This rather slender-looking open-air rooftop lounge has some sparkling views of the city, with vistas of Downtown Dubai, DIFC and the Burj Khalifa all on tap and at their salubrious best during sunset. Lounge seating is spread across the wooden deck, from where you can lie back and enjoy a mix of old-school 1980s and 1990s tunes wafting from the DJ’s decks or watch your food being cooked in the outdoor tandoor oven. Radisson Blu, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Business Bay (04 450 2064).
Oz Pizza Make your way to Bayswater Building, behind The Oberoi, to check out this small fast-food style Aussie pizza shop, identifiable immediately with the national flag not-so-subtly hanging in the window. Those familiar with fast-food Aussie street pizza will appreciate this venue’s likeness to the Turkish-Aussie run joints routinely frequented at the end of a night out. Menu options include the Ned Kelly and a satay chicken offering, plus they also offer lunch deals for nine-to-fivers. Bayswater Building, Business Bay (04 431 3533).
Ebony Interactive Restaurant Interactive dining is a relatively new concept to Dubai, as is Sudanese cuisine, so it’s only appropriate (if not a little off kilter) that the two come together at this venue. Diners peruse the menu on touch-screen dining tables and make their orders, which they can then watch being prepared on the ‘chef cam’. The dishes consist of a mix of Arabic and traditional Sudanese delicacies, such as dalee or deep fried lamb leg and okra dish bamya mafruka. F17, Mezzanine Floor, Bay Avenue, Business Bay (04 368 8015).
Donner Express Restaurant Those hankering for a slice of UK fare should head to this Executive Towers eatery specialising in British doner kebabs. Putting the humble shawarma to shame, the pita bread kebabs are packed with lamb from the rotisserie, salad and various sauces of your choice, including garlic mayo and chili. They also do meal deals, such as a doner and chips or doner and rice. Order take away and grab a seat outside. Shop G83, Bay Avenue Mall, Executive Towers, Business Bay (04 421 4252). Ming Bowl Chinese In a city where decent, inexpensive Chinese cuisine is hard to come by, this offering in Executive Towers is worth checking out. Prices are not dirt cheap and the menu isn’t strictly Chinese, but you’ll find Peking duck for Dhs53, tom yum soup for Dhs22, kung pao chicken for Dhs34 and Singapore noodles for Dhs30. G33+G33A, Garden Side, Executive Towers H, Business Bay (04 421 4962).
Urban Yoga Exposed brickwork and polished cement floors form the edgy interior of this loft-inspired yoga sanctuary on the 37th floor of Aspect Tower. Elongated windows and high ceilings add to the urban vibe and if it weren’t for the iconic Dubai skyline outside you could be fooled into thinking you are saluting the sun in a Manhattan skyscraper. The studio offers everything from Rhythmix Flow, which is taught with uplifting electronic beats as well as Ashtanga, meditation and yoga for athletes. 37th floor Zone A, Aspect Tower in Executive Towers, Business Bay (04 369 7882). Tips & Toes The pampering chain is a whiz at efficient mani-pedis that don’t compromise on quality and while they accept walk-ins, you’ll need to book ahead to ensure a spot at this busy venue. The outlet offers the usual waxing and massage services as well as in-chair on-the-spot treatments, but it’s the standard and Gelish mani-pedis that most women flock here for. Shop G18 Executive Tower, Garden Side Bay Avenue, Dubai Between Aspect Tower and Bay Avenue (04 369 7371).
Feet Lounge This hole-in-the-wall pampering spot offers services for both men and women (through separate doors) which are centred around reflexology and Thai massage. The Thai import uses natural, organic products and its signature remedy is a herbal ball compress, which involves the use of steam to heat up the balls before they’re applied to the muscles. A foot massage will set you back Dhs100 for half an hour. Block C, G93 Bay Avenue, Business Bay (04 452 2259). M&Sams Gents Salon Undergo some serious manscaping at this bright and airy salon which features crisp, white floors, full-length mirrors and an Islamic art-style motif on the ceiling. A wash and haircut will cost you just Dhs55, while it also offers keratin treatments from Dhs850 as well as mani-pedis for Dhs120. Executive Towers, Bay Avenue Mall #F23 Mezzanine level (04 435 7290).
Milena Fashion Situated in a less frequented area of Business Bay, hidden away behind a stationery store, this large boutique is a rare find: it stocks a range of beautiful Italian-designed beachwear (some on the rather skimpy side) and garments. As well as bikinis and one-pieces we spied sequin booty shorts, sandals, kaftans and flirty dresses from labels including Pin-Up Stars and Borsalino. Damac Tower, Al Abraj St, Business Bay (056 261 9160).
Tatiana Tailoring If you’ve bought something at Milena Fashion and it doesn’t quite fit right, take it next door to this chic women’s tailor, offering bespoke garments of high quality as well as alterations. It can create everything from business suits to dresses and skirts and eveningwear. Damac Tower, Al Abraj St, Business Bay (056 261 9160).
Florista Flowers Occupying a decent space on the street-facing ground floor of U-Bora Tower, this florist specialises in beautiful floral arrangements and gaudy vases. Among their collection you’ll find a large selection of faux and fresh flowers including roses, tulips, carnations and orchids. U-Bora Tower, Al Abraj St, Business Bay (no number).
Bay Avenue Park This long, immaculately landscaped stretch of green runs along one half of Bay Avenue and Executive Towers and holds gym equipment as well as a bouncy jogging track. It’s the perfect size for young families, but if you’re a serious runner, you’ll want for something a little more challenging. As well as a children’s playground, there is a smallish cement skatepark packed with young skaters throwing high fives as they try and execute nollies and kick flips while impressing their friends and passersby. Bay Avenue Park, Business Bay (no number).
Be a By-dweller
How much does it cost to live in Business Bay’s Executive Towers? Average annual rent provided by www.propertyfinder.ae Studio Dhs85,000 One-bedroom Dhs120,794 Two-bedroom Dhs157,756 Three-bedroom Dhs194,387 Four-bedroom Dhs375,000
Three residents share the HIGHS and LOWS of living in business bay
Ritu Raizada, 38, entrepreneur. In Dubai for 11 years and Business Bay for three. What’s the best thing about living in this area of town? This place is beautiful but the rents have recently got expensive beyond belief. I love the serenity and especially the unobstructed view of the sunset from my 18th floor residence. I never get bored of waking up to a landscape view of the sea every morning and watching the sunset from a relatively big balcony. We have plenty of restaurants here and I am now spoilt for choice in terms of grocery stores offering home deliveries.
Sanna Kontinen, 34, behavioural therapist. In Dubai for nine years and Business Bay for two. What’s the downside of life in Business Bay? The lack of roads leading to the area, it creates terrible traffic jams at peak hours. Taxis can still be quite difficult to get hold of as well.
What would you like to see more of in the area? There are very few shops apart from the minimarts attached to the apartment blocks. The area definitely needs pavements and some more trees and grass. Many people go for their evening jogs around the area and run on the road, which can be very dangerous indeed.
Farah Meyhar, 25, PR executive. In Dubai for more than two years and Business Bay for eight months. What else would the neighbourhood benefit from? The neighbourhood definitely needs a big supermarket, not the small Spinneys that is already there, but a big one such as Carrefour in Mall of the Emirates.