/ Dubai City of Gold

Dubai City of Gold

Jul 30, 2013


Dubai is a glitzy khichri of everything big and beautiful, and a week-long visit is just about enough to savour its scintillating nightlife (yes, drinking and dancing are big business here), interesting blend of east-west culture, wide range of shopping locations (from local souks to exclusive malls), dazzling water sports and adventure tours.

To enjoy Dubai’s bling to the fullest, you need deep pockets. Because there is no cheap transportation, cabbing it everywhere can drain your wallet. A cup of coffee and pastry, for example, can set you back Dh 50 ($13.60 USD) to Dh 100 ($27.24 USD). While dinner for two at any moderate restaurant will be at least Dh 100 ($27.24 USD). The rate is $1.00 USD = 3.68 Dh.

Traffic snarls are a big problem and though roads are signposted in English, the dizzying flyovers can be a bewildering maze for first-time visitors. That being said, car rental companies are available in plenty and highly professional.

Your first five-star experience will be at the Dubai International Airport. Dubai’s new Terminal 3 serves six continents and 101 destinations. The staff is friendly and everyone speaks English. The 5400 square metres of dazzling Duty Free shopping (everything from a five gram gold biscuit to a Dh 500 [$136 USD] raffle to win a Mercedes S500 or Jaguar XK8) will blow your mind.

Dubai is the Paris of the Middle East and the nightlife is footstomping. Two things to remember: if you’re driving, there’s zero tolerance for alcohol and if you’re dressed in something flimsy or see-through, do cover up while in public.

Most bars, restaurants, and nightclubs are situated in hotels and don’t forget that the weekend is generally Thursday night and Friday! With the help of a few Dubai scenesters, we have collected the hottest and coolest recommends:

Lounge And Groove:

Trilogy at the Madinat Jumeirah
Peppermint Lounge on Fridays at the Fairmont
Kasbar at the Royal Mirage
Mix (Grand Hyatt), the largest nightclub in the Middle East
Zinc at the Crowne Plaza for R & B
Oxygen at Al Bustan Rotana
The super cool Rooftop bar at the Royal Mirage Vu’s Bar at the Emirates Towers
Jimmy Dix at the Movenpick
Ginseng at Wafi City for pre-drinks
JamBase for jazzy numbers at Madinat Jumeirah,
Barasti at Dubai Mina Seyahi for drinks at sunset

And check these out too:

360: Situated in Jumeirah Beach Hotel, this is the place to watch the sunset and party Great DJs, shishas (fruit-flavoured hookahs/hubble bubble pipes) and cocktails.

ShoCho’s: Sunday nights and 80’s music at Dubai Marine Hotel. The sushi is so-so but the outdoor area is a great place for hanging out and dancing. Book way in advance.

New Asia Bar and China Moon: Both located in the stunning Raffles Hotel.

Sanctuary: This nightclub is located inside the Hotel Atlantis the Palm. The inside is huge but the white terrace bar with an outdoor DJ is perfect. And who can complain about partying under the stars!

400 Club: For a vibrating pulsating experience! Must book a table for bottle service as it’s not a place to be stuck at the bar.

Boudoir at Dubai Marine: Laka-laka-laka my Desi Girl! For desis this is the place to be on a Saturday night.


Dubai has hugely diverse hotels and hotel apartments. Even modest hotels can be relatively pricey in this ‘city of gold’ starting at Dh 300 per night ($80 USD).

At the upper end, you can stay at the world’s only 7-star property, the billowing sail-shaped, 321 metres high all-suite Burj Al Arab. A Deluxe King Suite can set you back Dh 6175 ($1683 USD) before taxes, but imagine the luxury – a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce, in-suite check in, private reception desk at each level, and a platoon of trained butlers! While there, be sure to dine at the Al Mahara restaurant, voted one of the “top ten hotel restaurants in the world” by the US magazine, Hotels in 2003.

Or you can opt for the Jumeirah Beach Hotel where an Ocean Deluxe Suite costs Dh 2900 ($790 USD). Worth it when you consider that the hotel has been voted the “best resort hotel in the world” consecutively between 2001 and 2008 by the readers of Business Travellers Magazine UK.


If you want to splurge, four celebrity chefs have their restaurants in Atlantis the Palm: world renowned Nobu for Japanese fusion, 3-star Michelin chef Santi Santamaria’s Ossiano for gourmet seafood, Italian master chef Giorgio Locatelli’s Ronda Locatelli and 2-star Michelin chef Michel Rostang’s Rostang French Brasserie.

ZUMA: Probably the best Japanese restaurant located in DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre). Super trendy lounge bar and restaurant with mouthwatering sushi and the best-dressed clientele in town! The restaurant has a great vibe every day of the week
BICE: A great Italian restaurant at the Hilton Jumeirah Hotel. Classy old-school feel and live music every night with an excellent wine selection.

Buddha Bar: Located in Grosvenor House, it’s as great as the Paris location. Large lounge areas, DJ’s spinning all night, great buzzing bar, and a main dining room where you’re sure to spot a celebrity or two! Dress code: fabulous.

TEATRO: Buzzing. Can’t go wrong here as there’s a vast menu (Japanese to Indian) and great lighting.

Almaz by Momo: If you’ve been to Momo’s in London, you know this is where you can find North African (Moroccan) cuisine and great décor. Located in Harvey Nichols, you may be tempted to skip dessert and go shopping!

MORE Café: This café has many locations around the city and has a great cosmopolitan vibe. The coffee and sandwiches are highly recommended!

Lime Tree Café: A wonderful lunch spot with fresh juices, pastas, and salads.


You just have to visit the spanking new Dubai Mall, slated to be the world’s biggest with 1200 stores and 160 food outlets. At present it has over 700 shops, an Arabesque Gold Souk, a Fashion Catwalk Atrium, an Olympic sized Ice Rink, a Fashion Avenue with 70 signature stores, a 76,000 square foot indoor theme park, an Aquarium and Discovery Centre, and a 22-screen Cineplex.

Do go and gawk at the world’s tallest structure, the Burj Dubai, the spire of which can be spotted from 95 kilometres away. By January this year, it had reached a height of 688 metres but the secret final height is the subject of heated gossip!

For everything under one roof, take a water taxi to the Madinat Jumeirah. This exotic complex resembles an ancient citadel. Its meandering paths and bazaar-like atmosphere is home to 75 boutique shops, 23 waterfront cafes, bars and restaurants, open plazas, the Talise Spa and the 442-seat Madinat Theatre. You might want to stay in one of the two grand boutique hotels attached to the property.

Take a drive to visit the Palm Jumeirah, a manmade island that has added 65 kilometres of new beachfront. Atlantis the Palm is a new hotel complex (Kylie Minogue sang at the opening gala), which is the centre of the crescent. The hotel boasts more than 1500 rooms spread over 116 acres. A huge water play centre is spread over 42 acres. An Executive Suite Club can cost Dh 16,500 ($4496 USD) while a Regal Suite Club is Dh 23,550 ($6417 USD).



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