Whether you’re rich, poor, cash-conscious or a tightwad, with our Valentine’s planner you’ll find something for you
If you’re in the red…
Pet a pooch If picking up a pup permanently is far too much like commitment, you can always borrow a dog for a day or afternoon from local charity K9 (04 347 4611), then give it back when the novelty wears off. Alternatively, stump up Dhs350 and you can sponsor a K9 for an entire year. A portrait and letter (from the dog?) will then be sent to your Valentine on the day.
Declare your love You may have noticed the outpouring of adoration at the bottom of the next page. This isn’t a romanticised Mall Rat. They are messages you left on our website, www.timeoutdubai.com/valentines, and there’s plenty of room for your ode. Or you can always place a whole advert in the magazine (albeit after February 14).
Serenade with a song Nothing impresses more than a ditty penned especially for you. Unless, of course, it’s appalling, in which case you may well kill off any affection they previously felt for you. We suggest you team up with some of Dubai’s musos for assistance – check out the ‘Band Together’ box.
If you have a modest amount of money…
Catch a movie Hopefully you can cobble together enough dirhams for a couple of cinema tickets (about Dhs70). The most touching film showing at the moment by far is still Brit director Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. The tale follows two beloved youngsters as they dodge and weave their way through the slums of Mumbai – into each other’s hearts. Even the predictable ending doesn’t thwart its charm.
Go boating Paddle your way into their heart. Hidden away on the Sheikh Zayed Road side of Za’abeel Park, the lake is one of the most relaxing oases in the city. (Call 04 398 6888; Open 9am-11pm, Fri 9am-11.30pm. Admission Dhs5). You can then grab some Thai ‘street’ food afterwards, in the inexpensive Zen Restaurant (04 321 7170) that overlooks the (slightly grimy) water.
Picnic on the beach Grab a table cloth and flip flops, pop to your local supermarket and sweep your loved one off to the beach. You’ll find Jumeirah Open Beach teeming with love struck couples enjoying the sunset, a quick dip, and each other’s company – as well as the sight of pole walkers waddling up and down the rubber running track.
If you’re prepared to splash the cash…
Go cruising Take some bobbing waves, add fresh salty air and rich sunsets, and what do you get? A loved-up, slightly sunburned partner. Al Boom is running a Valentine’s Day Dhow trip in the Musandam, during which you can dive, snorkel or just sunbathe. Even better, if you join in the treasure hunt for ‘sunken hearts’ you can win them another present – for free. The trip costs Dhs300; Dhs400 for divers and includes transport from Dubai. Call 04 342 2993.
Camp it up If your loved one prefers the great outdoors to Dubai’s fleet of five-stars (it’s best to check first), grab your mossie spray and take him/her over to Khasab port (check our Short Breaks guide, available in all good book shops, for more information). Once there, accost the nearest amicable-looking fisherman and ask him to take you over to an empty island for the night. We reckon Dhs150 is a reasonable fee to pay – though only hand over the first half to guarantee he picks you up in the morning. Who knows how long the two of you would last out there together?
Take the plunge Put that ring box away – the brave action we’re talking about is stepping into Abu Dhabi’s vertical wind tunnel. Just like skydiving, but inside and, erm, in a tunnel, you’ll both be suspended in the air for four times longer than during a actual dive – and you don’t have to worry about falling to the ground and potentially dying. It’s got sure-fire hit written all over it (unless it’s a surprise and she’s dressed for Sho Cho). See www.bluebananaarabia.com for more about the Dhs180 treat.
If you’re flush and a bit of a show-off…
Spa out Spend some time together getting rubbed up and down by other people. If this sounds like something worth spending thousands on, head to Caracalla Spa at Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort and treat each other to a Jampeche Yum Massage, Elemis Anti Ageing Facial and all other such delights for Dhs450-Dhs950 per treatment. Call 04-399 5555 for more on their special deals.
Whisk them away Morgans Hotel Group runs some of the chicest hotels in the world: the Sanderson in London, the Hudson in New York, The Clift in San Francisco. This February they’re offering some rather enticing room rates, from under USD$200. And if you’ve got so much money you can surely afford the airfare. See www.valentines-day.morganshotelgroup.com for more info (and a very hip website).
Become Saint Valentine Well, a Dhs20,000 Valentine’s Day package really ought to include sainthood. Jumeirah Beach Hotel is offering the ‘Ultimate Valentine’s Day Experience’ for said price. The ‘deal’ includes a cruise around the Arabian Gulf on a private yacht, with your own butler serving up a five-course gourmet meal, complemented by champagne. Call 04 348 0000 now!
And for those all by themselves…
Head to a singles’ night It may not be the most romantic setting, but the Holiday Inn Express’s Vista Rooftop Bar & Restaurant is hosting a singles’ night on their shisha terrace. Places are limited and cost Dhs225 for free-flowing champagne and canapés from 8pm-11pm. Call 04 427 5500.
Laugh it off February 14 sees the finale of The Walk’s pop-up Comedy Café – featuring original Axis of Evil comedian Aaron Kader. Nothing beats intense loneliness more than laughing at our region’s quirks. Shows are daily until February 15, 6pm-11pm. Drive off a cliff Or rather, watch someone else drive off. This week, Wafi’s Movies Under the Stars has chosen to air ultimate singles movie Thelma & Louise for free.