More aqua-friendly Dubai experiences

Aquariums, underwater restaurants and hotels and more ways to see the sea

Lunch at Al Mahara
Al Mahara means the oyster shell in Arabic and here, you can dine next to a 250,000-litre central aquarium, home to 52 species of fish including blacktip reef sharks, guitar sharks, batfish and more. The high-end eatery in Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab hotel specialises – unsurprisingly – in seafood and you can
even take a simulated submarine ride down to the restaurant.
Open daily 12.30pm-3pm, 7pm-midnight. Burj Al Arab, Umm Suqeim, (04 301 7600).

Wander through the aquarium tunnel

Grab a general admission ticket to stroll through the central tunnel and admire the more than 140 species of fish, sharks and rays in the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo’s main 10-million-litre tank. Visitors also get access to the zoo on the second floor, which is home to an ever-changing series of animal displays including otters, penguins and the latest, a giant octopus, plus the enormous King Croc.
Dhs70 (adults), Dhs55 (kids aged three to 12). The Dubai Mall, (04 448 5200).

Meet dolphins and sea lions

Get waist-deep into water to meet these two unique marine animals. Sea Lion Point offers photo opportunities or the chance to have an up-close interaction and get a whiskery kiss during some one-on-one time, while Dolphin Bay offers photo opportunities and a dolphin encounter, as well as diving opportunities for those who want to cuddle the intelligent mammals underwater.
Prices vary. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, (04 426 1040).

Try the Subwing
Billed as the city’s newest watersport craze, the Subwing enables riders to ‘fly’ underwater. Dragged along by a speedboat, hold on and tilt the board left, right, up and down to direct yourself through the sea, popping up for air when necessary and then steering back down.
Dhs300 per person for 30 minutes. Dreamdays, Dubai Marina, (800 2080).

Ray feeding
Feed cownose rays in the shallow, waist-high waters of the Shark Lagoon at Aquaventure Waterpark. The experience is available daily to those who have purchased entry to the waterpark, and open to kids aged six and older – though under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.
Dhs175 per person, UAE residents waterpark entry Dhs165 (adults), Dhs140 (kids). Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, (04 426 1040).

Get a caviar facial

Slather your complexion in hydrating, protein-rich caviar with the Fairmont Dubai spa’s signature facial. According to the beauty and well-being centre, the caviar products infuse the skin with age-defying nutrients, smooth out fine lines and improve appearance and texture – offering immediate results.
Dhs749 for 90 minutes. The Spa, Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 311 8800).

Have a seaweed bath or cocoon
Forget dodging gooey green tangles in the sea. So Spa’s organic, hand-harvested seaweed bath promises to detox, relax, soothe and ease the body and mind. Alternatively, get wrapped up in the glorious green stuff with the slimming seaweed cocoon, which uses the ocean plant (all the way from the Atlantic, no less) to renew damaged skin cells, combat cellulite and signs of ageing.
Bath Dhs350 for 30 minutes, cocoon Dhs850 for 90 minutes. So Spa, Sofitel Dubai The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, (04 455 5433).

Sleep with the fishes

Apparently popular with honeymooners looking to escape everything, the three-storey underwater suites at Atlantis The Palm offer floor-to-ceiling views directly into the Ambassador Lagoon from the master bedroom. Sit in the bath and imagine you’re swimming around just as the marine creatures are outside – but be prepared to fork out for the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
From Dhs30,000 per room per night. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2000).

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