City Guides

Dubai City Guide

PACKING LIST

  • A statement bikini. We truly do love a beach party and you’ll want to look your beach best, boogying next to the DJ booth!
  • Over-sized glam sunglasses. The “fash-pack” here are all about statement pieces right down to our accessories.
  • A throw on kimono or light blazer. Believe it or not, it does cool down in the desert and what’s more, you’ll need it if you plan on hitting the malls, they are always heavily air-conditioned.
  • Pack a special pair of heels. Or two. Or three. Cab fares are cheap so treat your feet and enjoy your heels.
  • A cocktail dress. There’s always an excuse to head out so make sure you’re prepared for the dining and drinking scene.
  • A statement bag is seen on every other shoulder here in Dubai so blend in with your own fabulous bag.

TIPS Dubai is all about the dining and drinking social scene, which means there is a great deal every night of the week. My favorite mid-week fix is Ladies Night every Tuesday throughout the city. It usually involves free drinks and sometimes even a meal. For an easy breezy night out, head to Barasti Beach Bar and enjoy unlimited pink grape for AED50 ($13 USD). For a big Tuesday night that involves drinks and dancing, hit Mahiki for complimentary mixed drinks and canapés between 9 and 11PM.

Fridays are for brunching! Almost every top restaurant in Dubai holds a brunch on a Friday, usually involving an all-you-can-eat menu and unlimited house beverages. The local favorites? Nobu at Atlantis the Palm or Traiteur at the Park Hyatt.

STAY Vida Downtown A rare find in Dubai, Vida Hotel Downtown has the cozy feel of a boutique hotel and yet the grandeur of the better known chain hotels. Sitting in the Old Town precinct, a quick stroll to the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall and new dining favorite,  La Serre, Vida is urban, bright, chic and elegant. It’s my pick for those who love to be right in the thick of the hustle and bustle.

Madinat Jumeirah Madinat Jumeriah is a gorgeous complex, designed with Old Arabia in mind, houses a plethora of suites and summer houses for guests: Al Qasr with its palatial feel, Mina A’Salam’s peaceful surrounds, Dar Al Masyaf’s standalone two-story houses and the stunning Malakiya Villas complete with a private pool and 24-hour butler service. It’s Dubai accommodation at its best! Attached to the famed Souk Madinat and with gorgeous views of the Burj Al Arab, it is indeed like stepping back into Old Arabia.

Atlantis The Palm Cliché as it may be, Atlantis The Palm is still one of Dubai’s most popular places to stay. With unparalleled views of the ocean and incorporating some of Dubai’s top bars and restaurants, Atlantis the Palm is a holiday within the holiday. Take the kids to Aquaventure Waterpark for a day filled with fun or hit Nasimi Beach for sun. If you’re lucky, Nasimi Beach might even be hosting one of its ever popular Sandance Music Festivals during your visit!

DINE Sake No Hana Dubai Sake No Hana Dubai is the city’s latest hot spot! With Japanese geishas serving sake at Sake Sounds Like Sunday and weekday pre-dinner social experiences featuring Japanese inspired cocktails and small bites, every night is a great night to hit Sake No Hana Dubai! I’m especially fond of the champagne yuzu miso marinated Chilean sea bass and the sesame spinach with cassava chips. Mouthwatering! If you’re a chocaholic, one must also try the Raspberry Rose Chocolate Mousse! Be sure to call ahead and book a table to avoid disappointment in this busy haunt.

La Petit Maison The best French restaurant in the city and undoubtedly one of the best all-around restaurants, period. Set in Dubai’s International Financial District, the décor has a continental charm, the service is impeccable and the Nicoise cuisine is outstanding. I cannot resist the burrata with tomatoes and basil here but every dish is unbelievably accomplished. La Petite Maison never fails to please even the most discerning foodie! Reservations are a must.

Comptoir 102 Still considered a new find in Dubai, Comptoir 102’s ever changing menu and unique café/store concept have afforded it a close following! Using foods sourced daily from local organic farms, the dishes are prepared using techniques to optimize digestion and nutrient assimilation. The café offers a daily Menu for 85 AED ($23 USD) with a choice of two starters, two mains and two deserts based on the market of the day. Beautifully located just off Jumeirah Beach in an understated villa, Comptoir 102 is cozy and familial. Somewhere to lose your entire day!

DRINK Blue Marlin Ibiza Dubai loves a beach party! So, it comes as no surprise that Blue Marlin Ibiza Dubai is the venue of choice for weekend festivities! The exclusive beach club encapsulates the true Ibiza lifestyle with bikini-clad lunches, transforming into a buzzing club at sunset. While it’s best known for its beach party, Blue Marlin Ibiza Dubai also has an excellent menu of Mediterranean Japanese fusion cuisine.

Zuma A big fixture on Dubai’s social scene, the Zuma bar and sake lounge is the place to be seen. With an extensive mix of guests, from bankers on their way home from Dubai’s International Financial District to socialites passing by for a superb cocktail mixed by the world’s second ranked bartender Jimmy Barrat, Zuma remains a popular nightspot any night of the week. Complimented by ambient lighting and some smooth music, it’s easily worth a visit.

360 Hard to compete with, as a result of its stunning views of the Burj Al Arab, sunsets and bustling Dubai city life as well as its position at the end of a pier, giving the illusion of being out in the middle of the ocean, 360 has long been topping the best bars in Dubai lists. Chic and sophisticated, elegant and effortlessly cool, 360 offers a relaxed vibe throughout the week and a buzzing club on the weekends, regularly hosting international DJs and themed nights.

DO Sundowner Desert Safari An absolute must-do! Ride in a four-wheeler over the sand dunes with Arabian Adventures’ trained drivers into the heart of the desert where a Middle Eastern feast and entertainment awaits. Admittedly, this is possibly the most touristy thing you can do, but always a firm favorite! Ride a camel, learn to belly dance, hold a falcon, or smoke some shisha. Knock your inner tourist out in one go!

Byky Why not grab a bike and check out the city on two wheels? With Byky, you can collect a bicycle from several stations on The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai for as little as AED15 ($4 USD)!

Stand Up Paddle Boarding Tour the Burj Al Arab on a stand up paddle board. One way of getting close to Dubai’s luxury hotel without being a guest, the paddle board tour run by Surf School UAE, costs AED 125 ($34 USD) and is a great way to get a spot of exercise in during your visit!

Fashion and lifestyle blogger and stylist, Australian born, Dubai based, Kat Lebrasse is the editor of Lebrasse.com which narrates all that is happening on Kat's planet. From the latest events in fashion in Dubai and around the world to the hottest places to visit and unwind.