Much like ‘charm’ or ‘essence’, style is something that can’t be pinned down. Those who have it, flaunt it; those who don’t have it, want it. Wherever you stand in the style stakes (and we’re firm believers that everyone has their own special strand), we hope you’ll enjoy reding the third issue of Time Out Style, included with this issue, as much as we’ve enjoyed crafting it. It’s loaded with information and cool products, ranging from the latest geek-chic specs to hot new dishdasha and abaya styles, and is further proof of Dubai’s distinct and fast-evolving style.
To celebrate the new mag, we’ve rounded up the most stylish locations in Dubai, alphabetically, chosen on the basis that each is unique, aesthetically pleasing and exudes its own kind of cool. We’ve also scouted out four chic individuals to impart their own style tips. Now there’s no excuse not to embrace your inner style icon… 101 Dining Bar & Lounge: There are few spots in Dubai that are as effortlessly cool and calm as this sleek bar and restaurant. Perched at the end of a wooden walkway on the furthest tip of The Palm’s West Crescent, it feels like you’re at the end of the world (in a good way!). The decor somehow manages to be opulent and understated all at once, and the outdoor deck exudes a Saint-Tropez vibe, while offering spectacular views of the Dubai Marina skyline. One&Only The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 440 1010).
Ahasees Spa: Having been completely refurbished and rebranded in late 2011, the Grand Hyatt’s spa is one of the most chic we’ve visited. Not too big (in the way many five-star spas are), or too design-oriented (in the way of others), this wooden-floored, low-lit spot is calming in the way every spa should be. The relaxation room is our favourite – a small, low-ceilinged affair where you can enjoy super-stylish flowering tea before and after your treatment. Grand Hyatt Dubai, Oud Metha, www.dubai.grand.hyatt.com (04 317 2333).
Alfie’s:Even non-smokers will appreciate the old-school sophistication of Alfie’s cigar lounge, which boasts luxurious leather chairs, a small library and, most importantly, a place where a discerning modern gentleman can spend time with his thoughts over a stylish mixed drink. Jumeirah Emirates Towers Boulevard (04 319 8785).
Armani Hotel Dubai:The height (no pun intended) of sophistication in Dubai takes residence in the world’s tallest building. Italian designer Giorgio Armani’s monotone space is minimal, sci-fi-inspired and in line with the sleek fashion label. It’s also home to a number of ‘see and be seen’ venues, including fountain-side Armani/Hashi and slick nightspot Armani/Privé. Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3888).
Basta Art Café: The boho feel of this leafy courtyard café and store makes it a hotspot for literary-loving residents and travelling hippies. Sip on a smoothie before checking out the exhibitions at Bastakiya’s other galleries, such as XVA Art Hotel (04 358 5117) and the nearby Majlis Gallery (04 353 6233). Al Fahidi Street, Bastakiya (04 353 5071).
Boutique 1: If you’re anyone who’s anyone and have cash to splash, there’s little reason why you’d shop anywhere other than this Middle East retailer. As well as designer labels, unique accessories and men’s products, the store stocks hard-to-find cosmetics such as Essie nail polish. Various locations including Mall of the Emirates (04 395 1200).
Calabar: With its sleek circular design, moody lighting and glowing gold blocks, Calabar is already one of the coolest nightspots in Dubai. But then there’s the exquisitely positioned garden offering stunning views of the Burj Khalifa, a welcome refuge from the chaos of downtown and a top spot to catch great DJs. The Address Downtown Dubai (04 436 8888).
Gaucho: Cow-print is usually a no-no when it comes to style, though somehow Gaucho Dubai pulls it off to magnificent effect. The slate-black environs are punctuated with the aforementioned pattern, while glinting chrome, astute lighting and a couple of magnificent, arched dining booths round off one of the city’s most aesthetically pleasing venues. DIFC (04 422 7898).
Hakkasan: While it could be argued that Hakkasan’s prevalence across the world has diluted its claim to cool, there’s no denying that, wherever they are, these restaurants look great. The combination of traditional, dynasty-style furnishings and electric-blue mood lighting sets the tone perfectly, while the food is faultless. The Jumeirah Emirates Towers venue also boasts what has to be one of the best al-freso terraces in town. Jumeirah Emirates Towers Boulevard (04 384 8484).
Jetty Lounge: The secret of Jetty Lounge is its tone – somehow it effortlessly combines the vibe of a chic, modern bar with the kind of relaxed ambiance you’d find at a beach hangout. Chilled tunes, comfy cushions, glowing cuboid stools and twinkling candles combine to make this a must-go destination. One&Only Royal Mirage (04 399 9999).
Karma Kafé:What began as a ‘baby’ Buddha Bar has carved an identity for itself thanks to its great setting (with views of Dubai Fountain), slick interior design (the big Buddha being the focal point), fun food (‘American-Asian’ fusion) and great DJs. Souk Al Bahar (04 423 0909).
La Petite Maison:This buzzing, beautifully appointed restaurant oozes continental charm without being contrived. Pristine white-linen-clad tables pack the floor space, while regional art adorns the cream walls. La Petite Maison may have been open for over a year, but it remains a breath of fresh air in Dubai’s dining scene. Gate Village, DIFC (04 439 0505).
Lime Tree Café & Kitchen: This Kiwi-owned café and lunchtime favourite is consistently packed with an assortment of stylish folk, from yummy mummies and ladies who lunch to businessmen dropping in for a quick bite and creative types wanting to take advantage of the tasty salad selection. Various locations including Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1 (04 349 8498.
Make Business Hub: Minimalist and functional, and oh so cool, Make Business Hub is designed with entrepreneurs and freelancers in mind. There’s free Wi-Fi, comfortable workstations and a fantastic coffee bar – perfect for fuelling Dubai’s creative minds. Al Fattan Towers, The Walk at JBR (055 104 0581).
Malecon: The most densely graffitied venue in all of Dubai (and perhaps the only on-purpose graffitied spot), Malecon may be a little chilly, and the R&B/salsa a little too loud at times, but you can’t doubt its independent ‘take-me-as-I-am-or-not-at-all’ charm. The in-house band is solid, the food is decent and the battered sofas are very comfy indeed. Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, Jumeirah (04 346 1111)
Movida: It claims to be Dubai’s most exclusive club and it probably is. The lucky few who gain entry past the strict door staff can appreciate the stunning interior – the bold pinks and purples are lifted straight from the design of the club’s London Soho base. Radisson Royal Hotel Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (055 174 4449).
Okku: Sushi is always stylish, but Okku’s success can be attributed to the venue’s ability to roll a high-end restaurant, bar and nightclub all into one über-chic spot, with the class and precision of the sushi served. The Monarch Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 501 8777).
Rivaage Boutique: This three-roomed, brilliant-white boutique (which features tree trunks soaring through the entrance) is every fashion-loving femme’s favourite rendezvous. The entrance is home to fashion books, passport wallets, cupcake-shaped purses and notebooks, while the walk-in-wardrobe-style rooms on either side are laden with colourful clothing and display cases containing one-off accessories. Sunset Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 380 7177).
S*uce: This fashion boutique offers unusual designers and quirky clothes that laugh in the face of Dubai’s ubiquitous chain stores. S*uce only stocks pieces that break the mould, from up-and-coming designers and contemporary brands including 3.1 Philip Lim, Tsumori Chisato, Isabela Capeto and Alice McCall. Out of your budget? The new S*uce Lite boutique in Jumeirah offers big discounts on last season’s styles. Various locations including The Dubai Mall, www.shopatsauce.com (04 339 9696).
Salsali Private Museum: The 400-piece art collection of Iranian director (and style honcho) Ramin Salsali, comprising painting, photography, video art, sculpture and installation, is on rotation at this exclusive venue: a stylish Al Quoz loft space. Come here to mingle with spec-wearing artsy types and ogle some of the Middle East and Europe’s finest artworks. Street 8, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, www.salsalipm.com (04 380 9600).
Shelter: Zip through the glass doors of this barn-like concept space and you’ll feel as though you’ve been teleported to somewhere in design-savvy Scandinavia. The rustic-style wooden walls and grid-like bookshelf give the place an earthy feel, while the intelligently designed chairs, tables and community kitchen are quintessentially European. The sleek setting is a perfect place for you to brainstorm or pen the final act of your screenplay. Street 8. Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1 (04 380 9040).
Thejamjar: In this day and age, anyone can be an artist. Literally. This concept art studio offers a space where budding painters (or anyone who wants to splatter colour on canvas) can buy, and paint on, their own canvas – it’ll cost you from Dhs95 for two hours. If painting isn’t your thing, this is a great spot to spend a day sipping coffee and eating cookies. Behind Dubai Garden Centre, Al Quoz (04 341 7303).
The Pavilion: What’s not to love about Downtown’s creative hub? As well as cutting-edge art exhibitions staged in the stripped-down galleries, The Pavilion also boasts airy workspaces (usually occupied by Macbook-wielding creatives), a multitude of artistic books available for visitors to read, and even Segway tours of the Downtown area. There are few more stylish ways to spend a morning than settling in at the café with a plate of eggs Benedict and a smoothie, and watching Dubai’s arty types saunter past. Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, www.pavilion.ae (04 447 7025).
Wild Peeta: The contemporary design of Wild Peeta is reflective of Emirati brothers Mohamed and Peyman Parham Al Awadhi’s progressive vision. There’s Wi-Fi, a projected live Twitter feed, a ‘thought wall’ on which creative types can scrawl ideas, and recycling bins (which Dubai desperately needs more of). What’s more, the food is fresh, healthy and very tasty. Sheikh Saeed Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre; Deira City Centre (800 9543).
Zuma: Two tiers of floor-to-ceiling windows ensure Japanese restaurant Zuma is a light, airy space where Dubai’s movers and shakers can rub shoulders. The venue is perfect for any occasion, be it mixed drinks, an intimate dinner or a working lunch – a feat that is owed to the breathtaking, multi-purpose interior. Gate Village, DIFC (04 425 5660).