You’ve been “meaning to” try one of the new brunches in town. You’ve been “meaning to” catch up with friends somewhere new. You’ve been “meaning to” broaden your horizons with a brand new workout. Well, here’s your chance.
With National Day on the horizon, we’re looking at a five-day weekend ahead. And while the thought of a Netflix binge in bed sounds incredibly appealing right about now, this holiday is the perfect time to explore some of the newer offerings in Dubai. From a hidden gem that brings the best of Egypt’s handicrafts to Dubai to new culinary offerings at old favorites, progressive fitness studios, and al fresco spots perfectly suited to the weather, these are our picks.
A long weekend translates to catching up with the friends you haven’t seen in a while and, this time of year, it only makes sense to do so in a laidback al fresco venue. Enter: Lah Lah Bazaar, a new street-food eatery, bar, and lounge (complete with live music) on the sprawling terrace of the always-buzzing Zabeel House The Greens.
Further north, rooftop lounge St. Trop serves up a slice of the French Riviera at Waldorf Astoria DIFC, pairing Mediterranean favorites with upbeat tunes and killer views. But if something beachside is more your M.O., both The Bungalow at Laguna Waterpark and WHITE Beach at Atlantis, The Palm are great options.
Play All Day
Adulting is hard, so take the long weekend to indulge your inner child already – it’s time! Ekart Zabeel is now open, giving you a reason to explore the new nine-floor extension to The Dubai Mall. You’ll don a jumpsuit, put on a helmet, and race through a track on the latest generation of electric go-karts. Bonus: amateur drivers are very much welcome.
For something with a little less adrenaline – and a lot more cerebral – the largest mobile maze in the world is now in Dubai, courtesy of Riverland, Dubai Parks and Resorts. Entitled The Wonder Maze, it stretches over 30,000 square feet and is designed and developed in modules. Translation: the system of paths changes regularly, so you’ll have to outsmart the twists, turns, and dead ends every time you visit.
Break a Sweat
For a workout with a hefty side of technology, the new branch of The Platform Studios is where it’s at. Located in Index Tower, DIFC, the 10,000-square-feet studio is the biggest exercise studio concept in the UAE, and the first of its kind in the world. Not only does it boast super techy features like cryotherapy, live DJ facilities that broadcast to all of the studios, and fingerprint check-ins, but it also hosts a whopping 1,000 classes across HIIT, Pilates, boxing, and more each week – variety in the spice of life, after all.
Another first for the city comes in the form of Topstretching, which is – you guessed it – the first stretching studio in Dubai. Housed in a sprawling space in Dubai Marina, it’s the perfect place to recover if you’re sore from being perpetually hunched over a screen of some sort and looking for respite – and increased flexibility.
Splurge on Something
Considering payday will coincide with the long weekend, we have two words for you: retail therapy. Not only does Nakheel Mall on Palm Jumeirah open tomorrow, bringing with it over 300 outlets (including a fourth branch of the beloved Din Tai Fung), but it will also have its own monorail station, making accessibility a breeze. Over at The Dubai Mall, it’s high street heaven, courtesy of Urban Outfitters finally arriving in Dubai and satiating hipsters across the city.
But if you’re one to avoid malls at all costs – no judgement – then we’ll let you in on a little retail secret. There’s a new hidden gem in town by the name of The Room Place, stocking gorgeous home accessories and decorative accents handmade by artisans in Egypt. It’s tucked away inside Al Souq shopping complex at Fishing Harbour 3, but Google Maps will get you there with ease.
A long, lazy weekend offers itself ideally to staycationing at a new hotel and, when it comes to Dubai, you’re spoilt for choice in this area. Our votes goes to the recently opened FIVE Jumeirah Village and Paramount Hotel Dubai, both of which are truly one-of-a-kind.
The former has first earned a reputation as something of a party hotel thanks to complimentary beach access, pool parties, lively eateries like Soul Street, and – wait for it – 269 pools and Jacuzzis. The latter is centered around all things Paramount Pictures, which means cinephiles will love its features – think: themed suites, immersive video walls, a private cinema, and more.
Chew on This
With this many new spots on the itinerary, we suggest a little familiarity in the form of new culinary offerings at old favorites. Every Friday, the recently launched Showtime! Brunch at MasterChef, the TV Experience brings together dishes created by champions and finalists from the global hit TV series – including unlimited sharing-style starters and desserts. Netsu, meanwhile, has a special weekend lunch menu on Fridays and Saturdays, serving just about the best Japanese street food in the city (read: katsu sandos, kakigori, and the kind of ramen you’ll fantasize about for days).
Uber-contemporary eatery Lowe continues to impress with its new menu, managing to turn (organic sourdough) bread and (charred aubergine) butter into something raveworthy. Most signature dishes here have a slightly Asian slant, but it’s the ‘Fired Omani Prawns’ with crème fraîche and lemon that we insist you order. And when the end-of-weekend blues strike, the new 4B business lunch menu at BB will step in, offering bites, bowls, baos, and bbq dishes (get it?) delicious enough to make weekdays more appealing.