You’ve been “meaning to” try one of the new restaurants in town. You’ve been “meaning to” visit some of the city’s new cultural institutions. You’ve been “meaning to” broaden your horizons with a brand new workout. Well, here’s your chance.
According to astronomers, Eid Al-Fitr will start on June 3 or 4, which means we’re potentially 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 Nutella-centric eatery and raveworthy restaurants to indulgent spa treatments, ingenious workouts, and a seriously high-tech cinema, these are our picks.
Start with Dessert
Calories don’t count over a holiday weekend (or so we’d like to believe). Enter: the new Nutella Bar at Vox Cinemas in Mall of the Emirates, where every single menu item – be it crêpes, waffles, funnel fries, pancakes, or pretzels – have one thing in common: a hefty side of your absolute favorite spread of all time.
Learn a Little
If you live in Dubai, yet know next to nothing about Islam, a great place to start is the beautiful new Quranic Park. Spread across 60 hectares, this family-friendly attraction aims to educate visitors on the Islamic values of peace, love, and tolerance. You can discover the different plants referenced in the holy book at the Glass House, explore the Cave of Miracles to witness some of the most remarkable events mentioned in the text via interactive technology, or simply enjoy the orchards, fountains, and calligraphy scattered throughout.
Fo something with a more artistic edge, take it the fifth edition of Jameel Prize, an international award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition. Currently on display at Jameel Arts Centre, it has brought together some truly stunning works in painting, architecture, fashion, and drawing in addition to a large-scale multimedia installation.
Break a Sweat
The words “act like a champion, hustle like an underdog” set the tone for the downright empowering workouts at Underdogboxn, the newest boxing studio in the city. Here, you can go at an Aqua Bag, complementing your session with either strength training and conditioning or dynamic yoga flow. Either way, your inner Rocky Balboa will thank you.
For a workout with more of a novelty factor, there’s now an endless ski slope rather aptly named Infinite SKI in Al Quoz. Designed somewhat like a treadmill – the speed of the belt and the angle of the slope are adjustable – the two state-of-the-art Maxxtracks indoor ski slopes are ideal whether you’re a complete novice looking to try skiing or snowboarding or just a shredder looking for a fix.
Absorb Some Culture
Is it a concept store, a flower shop, a café, an event space, or an art gallery? Try all of the above. One of our new favorite spaces in Dubai, Kulture House features everything from specialty coffee and a flawlessly curated menu to beautiful blooms by Abu Dhabi-based florist Fleurology, fashion and home accessories from around the world, and an ever-rotating roster of events like live music and retail pop-ups.
Above all, it’s the stunning décor that really stands out – think: mismatched tiles from Morocco and Capri, carpet-weaving elements from Azerbaijan that accent the ceiling, colorful arches inspired by the ancient palaces of India, Chinese silk curtains, and even a life-size Russian nesting doll.
Live the Dream
When a spa offers you ‘The Dream‘, you take it – no questions asked. That’s our treatment of choice at the recently opened The Spa by SensAsia at Grand Plaza Mövenpick Media City. This 120-minute treatment starts with a refreshing peppermint foot soak, following by a 30-minute body scrub of almond stone and amber oil. Not only is the concoction great for exfoliating, but it’s also firming. Win-win.
Post-rinse, what follows is an hour and a half of what can only be described as sheer shea butter bliss – because you haven’t lived fully until you’ve been drizzled with melted shea butter infused with nourishing argan oil, cocooned in a heated blanket, and massaged with gentle strokes from top to toe until you’re deep into dreamland. Beats boarding a crammed airplane, doesn’t it?
Chew on This
Have you tried keeping up with the countless restaurant openings in Dubai? We have – phew. After sampling our way through town in the name of research, there are three in particular that get our vote, starting with Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra. This contemporary Indian eatery serves dishes that are as diverse as the country they represent – all with a side of molecular gastronomy. And while there’s an extensive à la carte menu on offer, it’s the 12-course Chef’s Tasting Menu of greatest hits that we recommend.
Another the new culinary kid that can do no wrong is Lowe, the brainchild of an Australian duo who feel passionately about elevating simple ingredients. Fire reigns supreme here, so a rotisserie, a charcoal oven, and a wood-fired oven make for absolute crowdpleasers. Meanwhile, the reign of Greek cuisine is still going strong, but it’s Avli that we’re frequenting. Be sure to linger for its ambience. The music is loud, the lighting is dim, and the décor is inspired by Cycladic art – it feels like a trendy little courtyard in Athens that only the locals are privy to.
Play the Game
A long, lazy weekend translates ideally to an evening spent at Unwind, a new café in Barsha that feels like a throwback to much simpler days. The pièce de résistance here is the over 500 boardgames – including the usual suspects like Scrabble, Ludo, Cluedo, Monopoly, and Uno – that are complemented by coffee, homemade sandwiches, and freshly baked desserts.
Oh, and leave it to Unwind to introduce you to games you’ve never even heard of, like Nyctophobia, which entails escaping a maniacal predator with zero visibility and was designed to include a blind uncle of the designer who loved boardgames. Bonus? Breakfast is served all day.
Watch This Space
12 screens, more than 5,000 meters of LED strip lighting in customized colors, and a massive IMAX theater with next-generation 4K laser technology alongside a screen measuring a staggering 24.4 by 13.8 meters – meet the future of cinema circa now.
Located at IMG Worlds of Adventure, the recently opened flagship location of Novo Cinemas also happens to boast three VIP screens with a private lounge, a dedicated fine-dining menu, personal butler service, and reclining leather seats with pillows and blankets. #onlyindubai