Santa Claus is coming to town, or more specifically: Dubai International Airport.
Throughout the month restaurants, retailers, spas, cafés, airlines and travel service providers are uniting to celebrate the festive season.
The man in red himself will even be stopping by and here are just some of the many ways you can get involved:
By mid-December an all-new mini destination within DXB will be fully open. Following a busy year of development, it will be targeted at families but will appeal to the child in each and every single one of us.
This year is on course to be the busiest-ever for DXB, which is already the world’s busiest international airport. If you’re a regular traveller through the airport, you will have seen huge changes in Terminal 3 – with new arrivals this year including Candylicious, Nutella Café, an all-new Costa Coffee, H&M and Hard Rock Cafe. You can also find DXB indoor trampoline park BOUNCE in the area and a McDonald’s.
All of these outlets in the special zone are now operational and a new park area with seating will launch this month. It is the one-stop destination for families passing through the airport. Plus, there will be lots of music and entertainment as well as a present giveaway by someone special (see below).
Between Gates B25-B30. Concourse B, Terminal 3.
Christmas tree & Santa visit
All this month you can get into the festive spirit by visiting the enormous Swarovski Christmas tree in Concourse B, Terminal 3. Or, if you’re travelling through the airport between Thursday, December 13 to Sunday, December 16 either in Terminal 1 or Terminal 3 then keep your eyes peeled for a special guest. Santa Claus himself will be giving out presents. However, he’ll ditch his reindeer and his sled in favour of something a little bit more airport-friendly: an electric buggy.
Mr Claus will be roaming Concourses A to D handing out toys to little ones throughout the day. Be sure to take a picture and tag us in your best snaps on Instagram: @TimeOutDXB, @DubaiAirports or #TimeOutDXB.
Dec 13-16. Concourses A, B, C, Terminal 3, Concourse D, Terminal 1.
Dubai Duty Free anniversary
There is something very special happening at shopping giant Dubai Duty Free this month.
Not only is the duty free retailer celebrating its 35th birthday, but it is doing so with a huge 25 percent off sale. The three-day extravaganza runs from Tuesday December 18 and will see prices slashed on selected items across all locations in DXB.
Dec 18-20. Various DDF locations.
Le Clos’ party goes on
Need to pick up a last-minute gift? Every bottle bought at Les Clos comes with complimentary engraving – to ensure every present is bespoke.
You can save up to 30 percent on premium bottles of bubbly, grape and shorts. There is also an amazing range of French bubbly from only Dhs100 and limited-edition Scottish shorts.
In-store tastings continue throughout the month (with festive food accompaniments, too). You can also skip queues by buying online with Click & Collect, so your order will be waiting on arrival.
Le Clos, various locations throughout DXB.
Lounges & transfers
Cadiz Lounge & Tapas Bar
If you’re making a last-minute dash home to loved ones and find yourself travelling on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, Cadiz Lounge & Tapas Bar has a special gift for you. All walk-in lounge guests can enjoy 20 percent off. There’s hot food, beverages and plenty of comfy chairs to unwind in before making the final dash onwards.
From Dhs200. Dec 24-25. Concourse B, Terminal 3.
Ahlan First & Business Class Lounges
Chefs will be rustling up a special traditional Christmas lunch and dinner buffet across Ahlan First & Business Lounges, so expect turkey and all the trimmings. You’ll also find the usual array of hot and cold dishes, plus free drinks for visitors. You’ll save 20 percent, too, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day only.
From Dhs160. Dec 24-25. Concourses A, B & C, Terminal 3, Concourse D, Terminal 1.
Ahlan Meet & Greet
Book a deluxe Departure Meet & Greet service with Ahlan and you’ll have your own personal concierge who will guide you through check-in and immigration and escort you to the boarding gate for your onwards journey. Plus, you can enjoy a 30-minute Timeless Spa treatment – including a back massage, foot reflexology or mini-facial) for just Dhs210. Or, book the Seasons Greeting Meet & Greet package in Arrivals or Departures and get a 20 percent discount off usual rates.
Dhs210. Valid until Dec 31. Concourse A, B & C, Terminal 3, Concourse D, Terminal 1, ahlan-dia.com.
Christmas dinner & drinks
If you want to mix up your Christmas dinner this year, then visit Pan Asian restaurant and sports bar Cho Gao. Wave goodbye to turkey and cranberries and say hello to a starter of slow-cooked wagyu beef satay with peanut sauce, mains of steamed and stir-friend lobster with jasmine rice and dessert of a pandan Yule log cake. Okay, the last one is kind of traditional. It costs Dhs149 and comes with a choice of house beverage.
Dhs149. Concourse A, Terminal 3.
With a menu bursting with dishes from all four corners of the globe, plus a dedicated kids’ section, there’s something for everyone at Giraffe. And this month, there’s now a Christmas menu too. Starters include marinated Middle Eastern chicken skewers, while mains include a festive turkey burger, maple-baked cod and a slow-braised lamb shank. Dessert is an ice cream sandwich, which belongs firmly on the naughty list.
Concourse D, Terminal 1, Concourse A, Terminal 3.
Jack’s Bar & Grill
In the space of just over a month, most Americans enjoy two turkey dinner banquets for Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, you’re sure to find a brilliant festive feast at American-style sports bar Jack’s Bar & Grill. This season you can tuck into a traditional roast turkey dinner and enjoy a free Tennessee ice tea mixed drink on the side for just Dh160. The huge bar also plenty of cosy corners and TVs beaming out the big games around the world. What more could you possibly ask Santa for?
Dhs160. Concourse A, Terminal 3.
The “Feed Your Festive Filipino Soul” dishes are available to order from Monday, December 3 to Wednesday, December 26. They include lumpiang togue: crispy baked wonton with chicken, tofu, sprouts, carrot, snow peas and tangy chilli dip. Or beef morcon: beef meatloaf filled with sausage, raisin, cinnamon, cheese, eggs, pickled vegetables, lemon and orange zests and garlic jasmine rice. For dessert, try the steamed ube-flavoured sticky rice with grated coconut, butter, melted cheese, sweetened milk and ube ice cream.
From Dhs38. Valid Dec 3-26. Concourse D, Terminal 1, Concourse A, Terminal 3.
This brilliant, family-friendly restaurant has a varied menu of American classics, with an Arabic twist. Plus, two combo deals from Wednesday, December 5. Buy a festive turkey burger and red velvet candy cane milkshake for Dhs99 or, for those with a sweeter tooth, there’s the festive cake and smores hazlenut hot chocolate twosome for just Dhs59.
Dhs59 (cake and hot drink), Dhs99 (burger and milkshake). Until Jan 10, 2019. Concourse B, Terminal 3.