Bleu Blanc is designed around themes of a French farmhouse, with its own floor-to-ceiling herb garden and fresh bread baked on premises. An open-plan kitchen brings the action directly into the dining room, of which a wood-fired grill is designed as the showpiece. Dishes are classy and fresh (think delicate risottos, juicy grilled meat et al), and the spacious dining room also boasts views across the Dubai Water Canal.
Also located within the hotel is Italian restaurant BASTA!, described as “Roman trattoria meets Florentine steakhouse meets Neapolitan pizzeria”. Though it boasts a more industrial, urban setting, there’s once again an open-plan kitchen for diners to peer into, this time alongside a giant, hand-painted mural of legendary actress Sophia Loren. BASTA! too boasts a wood-fired grill, in addition to a wood-burning pizza oven, while the menu also offers pasta in a variety of shapes and forms, hand-made on a daily basis. And don’t miss the outdoor terrace, with its own views of the Dubai Water Canal.
BASTA!: Open daily, noon-midnight (04 512 5522). Bleu Blanc: Open daily noon-3pm, 6pm-midnight Renaissance Downtown Hotel Marasi Drive, Business Bay (04 512 5533).
If you’re looking for a chilled-out afternoon Canal-side, Café Artois is for you. The outdoor area of Bridgewater Tavern, the café threw open its doors last year in time for the cooler winter weather. It’s chilled, it’s family-friendly and it’s set right on the Dubai Water Canal, which means there’s a decent waterside view. The eatery serves up a similar food menu to the main Tavern, as well as an additional barbecue list (apparently all marinated in a secret recipe barbecue sauce).
As well as the chilled-out vibe and casual menu there’s live music on a Saturday, with previous performances by The Boxtones, making it an ideal watering hole for a lazy al fresco afternoon. Open Sun-Thu 4pm-2am; Fri-Sat noon-2am. Bridgewater Tavern, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay (04 414 0000).
This tapas-style eatery in the Steigenberger Business Bay comes from former Time Out Dubai Young Chef of the Year finalist John Buenaventura. A previous chef de cuisine at Seafire at Atlantis The Palm, the 32-year-old opened his first restaurant last year. This cool, urban eatery has industrial-style décor, and even has its own greenhouse for growing veg, while the compact menu is based on Emirati, Mediterranean and Asian-inspired tapas dishes, designed to share. Dishes are all reasonably priced (at around Dhs50) so it’s a great place to come and try a variety of flavours, which include quirky menu items such as “fake carpaccio” (marinated watermelon). Why not head to The Backyard on a Tuesday for the hotel’s winter movie night, before grabbing a bite here? Open Sat-Wed 11am-midnight, Thu-Fri 11am-2am. Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay (04 431 7816).
Long Teng This huge new Chinese restaurant has been much talked about since opening last year in the area. Set over three floors in the Ubora Towers, there’s plenty to see and loads of traditional cuisine to dig into. Specialising in seafood, there are lots of tanks dotted around. Open daily noon-2am. Ubora Towers, Business Bay (04 241 1666). Miss Tess
Quirky restaurants are all the rage at the moment, and that includes Miss Tess. The restaurant in Taj Dubai opened in September and offers up a range of Asian street food, with a side of random performance (think the Mario Brothers doing a spot of breakdancing). Dishes are inspired by flavours from Korea, Thailand, China, Vietnam and Japan, and there’s also a night brunch on a Wednesday. Expect the unexpected. Open daily 6pm-2am. Taj Dubai, Business Bay (04 438 3121).
DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Business Bay With new openings set to include Le Petit Belge and PizzaExpress (more about those later) this hotel at Bay Square is an up-and-coming hub. As well as a sports bar (Bay Club) and an all-day dining restaurant, My Square, there’s also a free shuttle to the Downtown tourist attractions and 24-hour fitness centre. Bay Square, Business Bay (04 551 1544).Renaissance Downtown Hotel The Renaissance Downtown Hotel opened in 2017 and boasts some cool restaurants and bars from David Myers. With an arty design the décor in the hotel is eye-catching and bold. The hotel has 298 guest rooms, including 65 suites, as well as several exciting new dining options. As well as those from Chef Myers, Masaharu Morimoto’s famed, eponymous restaurant, is also due to open soon.
“With the spontaneity of Renaissance, we are confident this hotel will emerge as the newest lifestyle destination for global travellers as well as local residents,” says Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director Middle East and Africa, Marriott International.
Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Waterfront This new hotel – in which soon-to-launch superclub Gotha is housed – is set to open on February 5. It boasts 342 rooms, ranging from family rooms to suites, as well as a gym, O2 Spa and both a men’s and women’s salon. Dining wise there will be three restaurants including Larder, offering up Nordic cuisine, the Fire Lake Grill House, for well, grills, or just grab a coffee at Abraj. Business Bay (04 249 7800).
Housed DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Business Bay this petite pool bar could soon be overshadowed by the arrival at the property of Le Petit Belge and PizzaExpress Live. But for now it’s a decent enough spot to while away and hour or so. The hotel is a funky property with more than a hint of personality about it, while this rooftop bar is casual hangout with a relaxed covered area and tables outside, by the swimming pool.
There’s a happy hour until 7pm and a menu filled with classic bar food dishes (think sharing boards of mezze and cold cuts). It’s a chilled-out place to enjoy a few drinks with friends, and you can get a day pass to use the pool, should you wish, for Dhs100. DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Business Bay, Bay Square (04 551 1544).
Iris Dubai This popular Business Bay nightspot may not be new, but it has seen a revamp this season. The terrace area, which boasts stellar views of the Burj Khalifa, has undergone a refurb and the bar has also launched a new line-up of events and themed nights, which will see partygoers getting stuck into the new menu and having a boogie to DJs and live musicians. As well as two new bars, a renovated terrace, a new DJ booth and lounge area, there’s now a disco night on Sundays, live music on Tuesdays and the revamped brunch on a Friday. All the more reason to visit, we say. Open Sat-Thu 5pm-3am. Fri 1pm-3am. The Oberoi Dubai, Business Bay (056 951 1442).
Poppy This trendy, speakeasy-style bar is hidden away in the Renaissance Downtown Hotel. A “secret” bar also by chef David Myers, it’s tucked away in the newly-opened hotel with wooden shutters and massive comfy chairs. It’s so secret that there are no public pictures of it, however, we’ve visited and we can attest to its coolness. It boasts filament lighting, moody décor and a menu with interesting mixed drinks. Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Business Bay.
Another that’s not a newcomer, as such, but this club was revamped in 2017 and now has an urban, subway-esque theme. There’s not a massive notable change – cool graffiti still adorns the walls and those big, bright white sofas still sit in front of the DJ box – but it’s fresh and fun nonetheless. There are still comfy booths in little nooks down the side of the venue and remains a small dark space that doesn’t get busy until gone midnight. Post midnight’s when the party cranks into gear, with a range of good deals and ladies’ nights. Open Tue 8pm-3am; Wed 10pm-3am; Thu 10pm-3am; Fri 10pm-3am. JW Marriott Marquis Business Bay (056 224 0956).
The area is massively increasing in popularity, and that’s reflected in the amount of residential space available. Prices from Propertyfinder.ae for a one-bed vary from Dhs67,000 annually to around Dhs100,000 depending on tower location, with most around the Dhs70-80,000 mark.
If you’ve been down to Marasi Business Bay recently, you’ll have noticed some interesting buildings – on the Dubai Water Canal.
Dubai had a sneak peek around the exciting new water homes recently, and they’re pretty spectacular. The area boasts one of the longest waterfront promenades in Dubai – spanning almost 12km, and set out on the water at Marasi Business Bay, the homes offer views up and down the Dubai Water Canal, with a prime vista of the yachts sailing past.
The properties were built in Finland by Admares and transported 6,000km across to Port Rashid in Dubai in shipping containers last year. They were then transported via the water and tug boats to their new home at Marasi Business Bay in September. The homes come in two-, three- and four-bedroom models, and are already on sale – although Dubai Properties won’t reveal how much they’re on the market for.
Each home has massive glass windows, state-of-the-art kitchens, huge bathrooms and a sun terrace on the water with a private swimming pool. And a berth for a yacht, of course. They also have a central unit that controls the air-conditioning, lighting and even pool temperature, making these the most modern of properties. With clean, architectural lines, the homes bear a Scandinavian design and have expansive living spaces.
There are currently nine water homes at the site, but a tenth will be arriving soon. With that will also be the arrival of a Yacht Club and a restaurant.
Dubai Properties says the project will “forever transform waterfront living in the emirate”, and the water homes form part of the Dhs1 billion development around the waterways of Business Bay, which is scheduled to be completed by 2023.
There’s also a new café in the area, Park House, the first to open along the Dubai Water Canal at Marasi Business Bay, and it’s now ready for business. The terrace at Park House boasts views out across the Marina (in case your yacht is too large to park next to your water home) and provides a chilled-out place to while away an afternoon. Park House, which also has branches in Barsha Park and Kite Beach, is open to both the public and to residents of the water homes, and serves up a range of coffees, teas, cakes, cookies and hot food including avocado on toast.
Once complete Marasi Business Bay will also include the Park, the Pier and the Marina, which will eventually comprise 700 berths stretching along the Dubai Water Canal, making it the region’s first purpose-built yachting hub at the heart of the city.
Dubai Water Canal
One of the city’s newer attractions, this is a great spot to explore in winter weather. The idea was announced in October 2013 and on November 9 2016 the Canal was officially opened, after 20 million hours of work. The 3.2km project winds to the Arabian Gulf from the Creek in Old Dubai, through Business Bay. The Canal itself ranges in width from 80m to 120m while it is 6m deep. There are also 7,800 million litres of water held in it, plus five new Water Canal marine transport stations, making it an easy place to get around. Perfect for a lazy meander, a run or a bike ride, there’s a 3km jogging track and 12km cycle path for those who want to keep fit (more on that in our winter running route feature on page 30). If you’re after something spectacular, don’t miss the mechanical waterfall, where the Canal meets the Sheikh Zayed Road Bridge. Made up of 80 water pumps, the waterfall can actually be “switched off” when boats travelling on the Canal approach, thanks to a sensor that picks up their proximity.
Get up early and make the most of your Saturdays throughout the winter season by heading to Business Bay’s newest market, which launched earlier in the season. It’s hosted in part by friendly neighbourhood café The Sum Of Us, and the Sunrise Market dishes up fresh, artisanal breakfast dishes as well as hot-from-the-oven baked treats (provided by Rise&Dawn Bakehouse). But it’s not just about the food, there are tonnes of local arts and crafts vendors too, with Dubai Garden Centre (see Garden Souk later) joining up with a range of boutique brands. There’s even a free fitness class every Saturday week. Sat 8am-11am (fitness classes at 7am). Ongoing. Burj Al Salam Tower.
The Farmer’s Market
This market is held every Friday and Saturday and is a great place to pick up some fresh produce for the week ahead. Now in its ninth season, The Farmers’ Market on the Terrace returns to the same location – Bay Avenue at Business Bay every weekend. This season for the first time the market, which is run by Baker & Spice, runs on both a Friday and Saturday due to popular demand and sees farmers from all over the UAE heading to the weekly market to sell their freshly-picked organic produce. Fri-Sat 8am-1pm. Ongoing. Bay Avenue, Business Bay. www.bakerandspicme.com/farmers-market.
The world’s tallest hotel
Dubai doesn’t just have the world’s tallest building, it also has the world’s tallest hotel. Standing at 355m, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, which was completed in 2013, is the proud holder of bars, restaurants, and, of course, a world record. However, the hotel is soon to be knocked off its top spot, as a new Dubai property, The Gevora Hotel, on Sheikh Zayed Road, which is due to open soon, will overtake the mighty height by just one metre. The Gevora will consist of a whopping 75 floors and measuring 356 metres tall. JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay www.jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com; Gevora Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road www.facebook.com/gevorahotel.
Elevation Fitness With two branches in the city – in Business Bay and JLT – Elevation Fitness promises to be the place to go “to get fit”. Offering up a range of personal training, boxing and more, it’s an urban space designed for results. Basically, ideal for January. Call for times. One by Omniyat Tower, Business Bay (04 369 9940).Urban Yoga This cool, warehouse-style space offers yoga with a view. The massive, high-ceilinged studios have huge windows affording amazing vistas out across Downtown Dubai. With a range of cool classes, including some especially for men, there are also weekend workshops and rooftop yoga sessions, making it all-in-all a pretty trendy place for exercise. Call for times. Executive Towers, Business Bay (04 369 7882).The Trip by Les Mills
Love spinning but don’t feel like you’re going anywhere? The Trip by Les Mills is for you. This exciting new version of exercise is a virtual reality spin class, where riders immerse themselves on a fast-paced, digital journey. It’s designed to be a high-intensity workout, combining bursts of sprints with periods of rests as you prepare for the next part of the journey. Don’t fancy that? There are loads of other classes at GFX from Zumba to Body Pump, swing yoga and Tabata to get you breaking a sweat this month. The Trip from Dhs85. GFX, F52 Bay Avenue, Business Bay (04 425 5940).
Yoga Hub at Marasi Business Bay
This free-to-attend yoga hub was launched last year and is the city’s only outdoor swing yoga centre. There are various classes a week, all of which are complimentary “with the aim of motivating Dubai’s residents and visitors to make fitness and exercise an integral part of their everyday lives”. Dubai Properties has teamed up with Piloga to host the sessions.The opening coincided with last year’s Dubai Fitness Challenge, and now classes run Monday morning from 7am to 8am and Wednesday evening from 7pm until 8pm.
The outdoor swing yoga area, a pergola-style steel structure that can hold up to 15 swings at a time, comprises natural stone-inspired seating, cosy lighting and a lawn that can accommodate up to 150 yogis.
Spanning 3,000 sq m of green space, the all-new recreational zone is located along the Dubai Water Canal in proximity to RTA’s Marasi water taxi station with easy access from Al Abraj Street and Marasi Drive, meaning there’s no excuse not to visit. Grab your yoga mat and head along. Al Abraj Street, Business Bay.
A new restaurant in JW Marriott Marquis? Last year saw the demise of Morah, based on the 71st and 72nd floors of the hotel. With 360-degree panoramic views across the city, this is surely a space that will be snapped up. When Morah closed in October 2017 it was promised that a new concept would set up home here. We eagerly await that news… JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay, www.jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com.
Gotha Club Dubai
This brand-new superclub is set to open soon. Located at the soon-to-open Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Waterfront; Gotha Club Dubai is “set to change the game in the UAE’s nightlife scene”, so says the team behind it.
The club was founded by Patrick Tartary and David Barokas in 2011 in Cannes and is certain to be chic and trendy.
“Hosting the most sophisticated events and providing completely original productions and entertainment, Gotha Club Dubai will offer a unique and animated clubbing experience combining elements from a classic night club and a live entertainment venue, equating to what can only be described as a generation X superclub,” says the team.
The décor at the club is set to be super slick, with designs such as gold panther heads, commissioned by contemporary French artist Richard Orlinski.
The 14,000 sq ft club also houses a 15m bar, eight VIP areas and 47 VIP tables.
It’s also promising a line-up of A-list stars and with names at the French version including Wiz Khalifa and Martin Solveig, they’re sure to be good ones. Watch this space… Coming soon. Open daily 11pm-3am. Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Waterfront, Business Bay, www.gothaclubdubai.com (055 193 6936).
Grand Millennium Business Bay Grand Millennium Business Bay is set to open its doors early this year, too, offering breath-taking canal views and a promises to be a “trendy city location for business and leisure travellers alike”. Expect 251 rooms and suites, seven restaurants including a Mexican rooftop restaurant Toca Madera. Arribe. Opening soon. www.millenniumhotels.com
Le Petit Belge
This Belgian bar and restaurant has a strong following in JLT. Not least because of its great deals including ladies’ day on Wednesday, and happy hours, as well as friendly service and a hearty, tasty Belgian food menu. This new branch at the DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Business Bay was due to open at the start of the year, and we are still eagerly anticipating its launch. With the same deals and menu promised as at JLT, we’re sure this branch is going to be popular too. Opening soon. DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Business Bay, Bay Square (04 551 1544).
ME by Meliá Spanish hotel brand Meliá is due to open its second hotel in Dubai this year, and it sounds great. ME by Meliá, has hotels in London, Miami and Ibiza, and this Dubai one is part of the Opus development designed by the late architect Dame Zaha Hadid. ME Dubai has 93 rooms and suites across 19 floors and it’s also set to make waves in the dining scenes, as the hotel will house 15 restaurants – including ROKA the super-trendy London Japanese robatayaki restaurant. We can’t wait. www.melia.com
PizzaExpress Live This is another new opening that we can’t wait for. Here at Time Out Dubai we love Jazz@PizzaExpress, and this new version therefore comes with expectations. Live music, delightfully garlicky buttery dough balls and an American Hot? What’s not to love? Opening soon. DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Business Bay, Bay Square (04 551 1544).