Time Out readers share their tips on what makes Dubai great
Whether you’re in a relationship or not, one thing we can surely all agree on is that we’re in love with Dubai (even if it’s not all the time – we all have our tiffs!). And with Valentine’s Day approaching on Thursday February 14, we decided it was high time to show some love and affection to the city we all have in common. To get into the collective spirit, we appealed to you to tell us what you love most about Dubai – and the response has been phenomenal.
As we went to press, #ilovedubai was still trending on Twitter, and the scores of tweets we received overwhelmed us with their wit, charm and, most of all, warmth. Some of you chose to share happy memories, while others revealed their favourite places and activities. And perhaps unsurprisingly for a city known for brunches, bars and high-end dining, lots of you shared tips about your favourite places to eat and drink. Even more tweeters sent heartfelt testimonials of the city as romantic as any Valentine’s messages.
Here we’ve rounded up the best tips into sections, and assembled our favourites into an almighty collage. We’ve taken the liberty of cleaning up some of the Twitter-speak into magazine-speak (‘people’ instead of ‘ppl’), and adding useful listings information, but otherwise every word of this feature comes from you. So take a look, and keep tweeting #ilovedubai – because we sure do.
@Starlightglory ‘Shisha under the stars and the creek.’ Try QD’s, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira (04 295 6000).
@LucindaMorrell ‘Creek Park – stunning views and great to see some actual grass in Dubai.’ Dhs5. Open daily 8am-10pm. Oud Metha, next to Garhoud Bridge (04 336 7633).
@LucyScholey ‘I love the skyline, how every building glimmers in the sunlight, and I love it when I see the Burj Khalifa – I know I’m home.’
@Kmonsurate ‘Late-night drives on Jumeirah Beach Road, with the sea on one side and the beautiful Sheikh Zayed Road skyline on the other.’
@tumayakar ‘You must add a safari tour into your Dubai trip. Amazing experience.’ We recommend Arabian Adventures for a classic dune-bashing experience (04 303 4888) or Platinum Heritage for a desert safari with a luxury touch (04 388 4044).
@DubaiChick ‘Wow: the lounge in the new Dubai Airport concourse is pretty special. We have our own boarding gate.’
@achengo ‘The Dubai Fountain outside Dubai Mall is amazing!’ The Dubai Fountain performs daily at 1pm and 1.30pm, then every 30 mins Sun-Wed 6pm-11pm; Thu-Sat 6pm-11.30pm. The Dubai Mall, www.thedubaimall.com (04 362 7500).
@IamJoshuaMon ‘DSF fireworks again.’
@a_mill_ee ‘Because every new shopping mall is bigger and better than the last!’ The Dubai Mall (www.thedubaimall.com) is the biggest mall in the world.
@ghaziabousaleh ‘The best place has to be Atlantis.’ The hotel is full of restaurants and bars, or make a splash at Aquaventure waterpark: Dhs150 UAE residents, Dhs225 standard day visitor. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 0000).
@ElMokka ‘Parasailing at JBR.’ Book a session with the watersports desk at the Sheraton Beach Resort. Dhs250 for a 30-minute round trip, with about five to 10 minutes in the air per person (04 315 3501).
@talalmalas ‘One of my favourite places is Latin Soul Dubai! Best tango place in town.’ Beginner group sessions Dhs80 per person, private lessons Dhs250 for singles, Dhs375 for couples. Icon Tower, TECOM (04 450 8476).
@Tonkadella ‘Horse riding in the desert at sunset.’ Head to Mushrif Equestrian Centre, where you can ride across the sands in the safety of the park – it also organises full-moon rides. Dhs300 per person for 90 minutes. Mushrif Park (04 357 1256).
@g15m0 ‘Because of the @SkiDubai Penguins! Definitely going to visit them when I’m there in February.’ Meet the Snow Penguins at Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates. Dhs145 per person, Dhs500 for an exclusive encounter or Dhs850 VIP. Sun-Thu 1pm-9pm; Fri-Sat noon-9pm (04 409 4090).
@HRHPrinceKK ‘Because I can do the #skydiving over the beautiful Palm Jumeirah @SkydiveDubai! :)’ Jump with Skydive Dubai. Dhs1,750 for a tandem jump with photos and video. Dubai Marina, www.skydivedubai.ae (04 377 8888).
@geoffdalecez ‘Get on a boat. From the water, Dubai is stunning. Big boats and buildings.’ Hire your own private speedboat or yacht from one of the local charter companies. Try Xclusive Yachts, from Dhs299 per hour. Dubai Marina (04 432 7233).
@DxBingo ‘#dubaimarathon: To the people that showed up to support the runners, you´re what makes us love Dubai.’ Start running with Reebok Running Club, which runs around Dubai Marina every Monday at 8.30pm and Friday at 7.30pm. Dhs50 a session (04 436 1020).
@Dubomedy ‘Drives to Fujairah, honk to get kharak tea, local #comedy, diversity in cultures.’ Find out more about Dubomedy at www.dubomedy.com.
Eating & drinking
@sandinmytoesTK ‘There’s a shawarma joint at every corner! One can never go hungry :)’ Try Shawermama: a meal with fries and a drink costs Dhs16. Near Citymax Hotel, behind the Mall of the Emirates, Barsha (04 453 4704).
@Sal2Sally ‘The Farm at Al Barari. So tucked away that you don’t feel like you’re in Dubai. So serene! Great food too.’ The Farm, Al Barari Estate: take exit 44 on Emirates Road, follow signs to Jebel Ali and then take the slip road to Al Barari (04 392 5660).
@DubaiHoopsCSC ‘Dubliner’s bar, of course!’ Le Méridien Dubai, Garhoud (04 217 0000).
@MarieHeleneWK ‘I’m currently working in the Make Business Hub, a really cool place and one of the best coffees in town.’ Al Fattan House, Dubai Marina (04 392 9216).
@mronnie28 ‘I was [in Dubai] six times with the navy and can only remember the first… blame Hard Rock Café!’ Dubai Festival City (04 232 8900).
@Anzza ‘Boulevard Café for its breakfast – two organic soft boiled eggs and toasted soldiers with Vegemite.’ Al Manzil Hotel, Downtown Dubai (04 428 5931).
@zaferyounis ‘I love the sashimi salad at TOMO @TOMOuae.’ Raffles Dubai, Oud Metha (04 357 7888).
@jadeybondgirl ‘I love Bahri Bar in Mina A’Salam – the view offers a sight of Dubai lit up at night that is splendid.’ Head down at twilight. Mina A’Salam, Souk Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730).
@armitasky ‘Definitely Friday brunch @DoubleDecker. Something exciting is always happening there!’ Dhs189 per person (selected beverages) Fri noon-4pm. Al Murooj Rotana, Downtown Dubai (04 321 1111).
@SofiePickhard ‘Dinner @zaatarwzeituae.’ Find your nearest branch at www.zaatarwzeit.net, or visit The Dubai Mall (04 362 7500).
@Samah567 #Shimmers, #serene outdoor #beach backdrop, sound of waves, #sheesha #friends. Perfect end to a busy day at work.’ Mina A’Salam, Souk Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730).
@LianMaders ‘Bubbalicious Brunch at The Westin. Brilliant if you have kids! :)’ Fri 1pm-4pm. Dhs490 (with sparkling grape); Dhs590 (with premium bubbly). The Westin Dubai (04 399 4141).
@Starlightglory ‘Everybody visiting Dubai should not miss out on Friday brunch. It is such a nice tradition – try the Burj ;)’ Try the brunch at Al Muntaha, every Friday 10am-3pm. Dhs550 (food only). Burj Al Arab (04 301 7600).
@Starlightglory ‘I love the diversity of eating out, from a small shawarma shop in a side road to five-star dining in posh hotels.’
@dennyamy ‘Because pomegranate tastes so much better here then in England!’ Try the sparkling pomegranate at Café Bateel in DIFC (04 885 8737).
@MalloryMcLane ‘It’s #February and I’m wearing a sundress.’
@omairafarooq ‘Please bring Green Day and Maroon 5 again!’
@YasmineFarid ‘Because its where I grew up. Because it’s my home. Because it embraces the memories of my entire life…’
@khanspace ‘Because I was #born, #raised, #bred, #educated, #worked, #married, #cried, #laughed and #discovered here.’
@kristyhynes ‘Watching the Dubai Desert Classic while on the treadmill.’ @MounirHarfouche ‘Nothing beats rainy weather, a good chat with a good friend and a great coffee on a golf course.’
The best of #ilovedubai
When we started the #ilovedubai hashtag on Twitter, we had no idea that so many readers would step up to share the love. Here are the top general odes
@Ammouni #ilovedubai for its enormous group of foodies! #saladlovers :)
@just_reva #ilovedubai How they treat their citizens, how much the city has grown, how it doesn’t look like a desert despite it being one
@jam_ahad The diversity, clean and up-to-date infrastructure
@ZOOPERRMAN I think mentioning one place won’t be fair, so I would say all of the UAE? #iLoveDubai
@CamilleMcMahon #ilovedubai and its multicultural society. everyone has a place. The beautiful weather doesn’t hurt either!
@IVdubai Love how much people love it #Dubai
@IM_Sagittarius Lot of places: the shopping malls, beaches, food, the dhows, shisha, Heritage Village, DSF, the fireworks, the people #ilovedubai
@Pooj89 Who doesn’t love surprises? The best way to have a culture shock is to live in various countries. Or live in Dubai. #ilovedubai
@danimillership So lucky to have sun-filled days and cool nights for winter #ilovedubai
@leonieash Loving all the #ilovedubai tweets - making me feel much less scared about our big move there!
@Victoria_Qatar #ilovedubai:it’s DO-BUY for shopping!
@namitbhalla Malls and deals. Desert and sea. Camels and cars. Waterparks and desert safaris. Brunches and beach parties #ilovedubai #ilivedubai
@bonddxb #ilovedubai cos #Dubai loves me :)
@DonKameleon7 #Dubai, #Dubai, #Dubai: its always trending, why? Because once you live in it, you can never leave it. #ILoveDubai
@sallymanla Put your hands up for Dubai! I LOVE THIS CITY #ilovedubai
@not_moby Where else can I be on a beach at 1pm, shopping by 2pm, skiing by 3pm, eating at 4pm, and dancing on the sand by 5pm? #ilovedubai
@iMaithaAlFalasi #ilovedubai simply because there’s no place like home
@SuperSharfy The swanky launch events and parties. It’s hard to adapt to new places if you have stayed for years
@mprcc #iLoveDubai because of @TimeOutDubai :)
@lynn_pin Because my dad lives there. And the sunshine, and the brunches, and the colours at dusk. #ilovedubai
@lyrshe #ilovedubai because it gives us everything we can’t have in our home country
@a_mill_ee #IloveDubai Because it shows every single premier league game including my team: West Ham :D
@5ashooga #IloveDubai because there isn’t any place in the world like Dubai
@NoBrightSide_ #ilovedubai because it’s been my home for the past 24 years and I can’t imagine a country safer than here
@lakshmi_n #ilovedubai because it is the city where you can dare to dream and watch those dreams come true
@susita_mm #ilovedubai 20 years here and I can tell all its success stories. Everyone is welcome
@RoseMrq1022 #ilovedubai because you can almost get anything you want any time – everywhere is open 24 hours!
@HRHPrinceKK #ILoveDubai because I feel like I’m the King here! :)
@NuttyTut #ilovedubai is trending, check it out!
@Starlightglory The lush climate means one can plan weeks ahead
@ElMokka #ilovedubai because of the quality of life it gives us, and its culture that suits every kind of people
@Sarahlyn198 Every day is a new adventure where you learn something new
@SophieHillyard1 It’s a 24-hour city, there’s always something to do #ilovedubai
@sandinmytoesTK The parks and beaches are beautiful AND well maintained
@RodaAlTayer I love how foreigners love Dubai and don’t even know how to pronounce it. It’s not ‘Doo-buy’, it’s ‘Dbay’ by the way :P
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ANOK Feb 15, 2013 10:22 am
DUBAI SO WONDER FULL, GREAT PLACE TO WORK AND MEETING THE PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD. MANY PLACES WITH TRADITIONAL AND MODERN TOUCH CAME TOGETHER..LOVE IT FOREVER.
graham hendry Feb 13, 2013 02:10 pm
i love the ambiance of the city + also the wealth of brilliant entertainment options / venues, a far cry from when i was first a Dubai expat back in 1989 when one could barely find a place open an a Friday lunch-time!