The best Dubai events and other things to do in Dubai in December, including deals at Dubai restaurants, bars and spas, cinema, concerts and festivals.
There may well only be one thing on your mind this month, and who can blame you? But while December 25 may be the undisputed highlight - closely followed by New Year's Eve - there is still much to enjoy in the run up to the big day.
This lavish, award-winning show was created by Russian performance artist Slava Polunin and has taken the world by storm. It’s full of breath-taking special effects, including a blizzard that leaves the audience knee-deep in snow.
City Walk in Jumeirah is hosting the exhibition Hareem Al Sultan, based on the popular historical Turkish TV series. The show first ran between 2011 and 2014, telling the story of Ottoman Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, Turkey’s longest-reigning Sultan. It went on to be a worldwide hit, with an audience of some 400 milion.
The exhibition is running until the end of the year, so if you’re a fan of the show, head down to view the authentic costumes you will have only seen previously on TV. Even if you’ve never seen the show, the exhibition still provides an interesting insight into Turkish history, with a great representation of what Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace would have looked like in all of its splendor. It’s an impressive, must-see show. www.citywalk.ae/play/hareem-al-sultan.
TopKapi palace Fans of the show will recognise replicas of sets, as well as genuine props from some of the show’s biggest scenes, as they’re taken on a tour of the Topkapi Palace. The whole exhibition is spread out across 14 rooms and over 1,300 square metres, and took 36,000 hours to put together.
Travel back in time
The exhibition has been designed to be as immersive as possible, scents having been piped in to take you back to the Ottoman era. You’ll even be able to try sherbets and sweets while you hear snippets of the Sultan’s poetry.
Meet the characters
You’ll be able to meet some of the show’s stars – or models of them, technically. There are 12 handmade, hyper-realistic sculptures of key characters, including the Sultan and his wife, Huyam Sultan, all wearing costumes from the show.
The exhibition’s gift shop has more than 200 exclusive items on offer, which were specially designed for it, and all inspired by the show. As well as clothes and jewellery, you can bag yourself some perfume and stationery.
Hailed as the ultimate obstacle course for amateur athletes, the grueling adventure race will take over the Hamdan Sports Complex on the weekend of December 9 and 10.
Founded in 2010 as a 10-12 mile military-style obstacle course race, it has developed into the standard bearer for an 'fun' endurance races, while diversifiying to include five0mile courses and even a World's Toughest Mudder which lasts 24-hours.
With a slogan of ‘Probably the toughest event on the Planet’, it puts teamwork at the heart of everything. And you'll need it, with obstacles such as ‘Arctic Enema 2.0’, ‘Electroshock Therapy’ and ‘Block-Ness Monster’.
More than 2.5million people have taken part in events all over the world, with 120 different races scheduled to take part in 2016.
Speaking at the launch of the UK race in 2012, James Corcoran, a veteran of the London Marathon, said: "Let's face it, running is boring. Tough Mudder, though, allows you and your fellow Mudders to test yourself while, weirdly, enjoying the various obstacles thrown at you."
Sam Baker, who has completed the Virgin Active London Triathlon and the Paris Marathon, added: "The atmosphere and novelty aspects make the event the sort of 'fun younger brother' of traditional marathons. I can't really imagine running a 'normal' marathon or race."
The Dubai installment of the race, which is untimed, will feature two distances, an 8km and 16km course, which they say will appeal to the super fit as well as the casual athletes. There will also be a du Mini Mudder for 7-13 year olds raced over 1.5km.
Early bird registration exclusively for du customers is now open at www.toughmudder.ae and registration opens afor all prticipants on Wednesday 20 July. MORE AMAZING PICTURES FROM TOUGH MUDDER AROUND THE WORLD
Andy Murray is the headline name at The Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi this year.
The world number two will feature at the ninth annual event, which he has won twice, alongside Milos Raonic and a number of other stars yet to be announced.
The world class event will run from December 29-31 in the capital the International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City.
The Mubadala World Tennis Championship always serves up some amazing action and memorable tennis for the Middle East. The competition has become renowned for its star-studded line-ups and hard-hitting tennis, and as a perfect campaign-opener for any player going into the new season.
The victor will claim $250,000 in prize money.
If you can tear yourself away from the action on centre court, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship will feature plenty more attractions including a Tennis Village with family-friendly activities, as well as daily autograph sessions with the players, giving fans more access than any other tournament. For sports fans in the UAE, this is an event not to be missed.
The first shots have been fired in the New Year's Eve party battle after Swedish duo Axwell and Ingrosso were confirmed as the headline act at Meydan.
The pair, formerly of the Swedish House Mafia, are being brought to town this December by the same team behind last year's massive Martin Garrix shindig at the same venue.
Acts of this size are certainly hard to come by on what is the biggest party night of the year, and it remains to be seen who will try to top this exciting line-up.
Officially a duo since the split from Steve Angello backin 2013, Axwell Λ Ingrosso are two of the biggest names in EDM, and will be ably 'supported' by awesome views back over Downtown Dubai and the world famous fireworks display come midnight.
Fans can expect to hear tracks like ‘Can’t Hold Us Down’, ‘Something New’, and 'Sun is Shining’ fused with their usual high-energy house music.
Tickets for the gig are already on sale, priced from Dhs299 (inclusive of unlimited beverages only) right up to the VIP Table Deck, where private areas on an elevated platform are available for the first 1000 people. An early bird deluxe ticket is priced at Dhs799.
Most of us have been forced to attend a work get-together. But this is not your average office party. No awkward conversations with Jim from Accounts, no cowering in the corner as you try and avoid your overly chatty boss and no trying to slope off early while no-one is looking.
What if your next work do could be outdoors, racing against rival firms for medals and prizes? Enter the Dubai Dash, the corporate relay race taking place at The Els Club on Wednesday December 7. This charity event will see teams race over ten 1.5km legs, with the addition of an “elite” race for sports clubs who impressed on the track last year.
This year, a wide range of companies have already signed up to compete. Among them are law firm Pinsent Masons. “We entered the Dubai Dash 2015 and were delighted to win the (self-proclaimed) title of Fastest Law Firm on the Planet,” says Masons senior associate Luke Tapp. “Our team for this year is a mix from across the offices and is the perfect balance of speed and the will to win (and network). We want to retain our title.”
Among the firm’s challengers are Standard Chartered. “We have experience because each year we participate in the Dubai Marathon,” says the global finance firm’s Benjamin Philip. “We have two teams this year and one of the gang said she’d run while pushing her newborn baby in a stroller. So we might have to relay baby-watching duties instead!”
Like many organisations taking part, business management consultancy Ethos Integrated Solutions has factored the race into its own corporate wellness programme. “Ethos recently launched a healthy initiative called ‘Super October’, which motivates staff to be healthier, so the invitation came at the right time,” explains Hannah Gatdula of its HR team. “The team includes top performers in football, swimming and running. So basically, we’re in good shape, but moreover, we’re always ready!”
A first-in-the-region pop-up party is coming to Dubai on Monday December 5.
Hip Hop Karaoke will take over the Story Rooftop Lounge at Holiday Inn Express in Internet City, giving you the chance to channel your inner Kanye, Snoop, Missy or Nicki.
Already a popular attraction in New York, London, Toronto and Tokoyo, the international brand is looking at setting up something permanent in Dubai, with a second event already planned for December 19.
Festival heads who have been to Glastonbury and Ibiza Rocks will already know all about the show, which comes with instrumentals of more than 600 of the biggest old and new school hip hop bangers.
But unlike traditional karaoke where the tune is played through the speakers via MP3, Hip Hop Karaoke lays it down with a live DJ.
So if your social life has 99 problems, karaoke is definitely not one, so go ahead and Lose Yourself in the moment and Ride Or Die on the beat.
The Address Dubai Mall’s Urban Retreat package offers a day of exercise, shopping, pool time and food for you and your family. Spoil yourselves. Dhs1,799 (two adults, two kids), Dhs1,699 (two adults, one kid), Dhs1,499 (two adults). Daily 10am-6pm. Until March 31, 2017.
Head to Honey Island, Mahiki Dubai’s ladies’ night, every Tuesday. Ladies who turn up before 10pm get free sushi from the new menu, as well as free mixed drinks until 1am and cupcakes from Project Cupcake Dubai. DJ Adam Graca is on the decks providing the soundtrack for the night. Free. Tue 7pm-3am. Ongoing.
The Anthropocene, a new exhibition at Gulf Photo Plus, features works by the British photographer Richard Allenby-Pratt, who has spent 16 years documenting the UAE. There are more than 30 photographs on show, which depict how the country’s landscape has changed thanks to us humans, and how fragile it is. Free. Sun-Wed 10am-7pm; Thu and Sat 10am-6pm. Until December 31.
Treat yourself (or someone else) to themed spa sessions at SensAsia this festive period. Treatments include the Let’s Get Nostalgic package (Dhs699 for 120 minutes), which features a maple, cinnamon and sugar body buff, followed by a warm syrup and spiced milk body wrap, invigorating massage and a mulled mixed drink to finish. Festive treatments from Dhs395. SensAsia Urban Spas, various locations.