This is all based on experiences from March 2016 // For a city that is growing by the hour things will have changed // Please feel free to comment on your own experiences travelling in the UAE
It was a my 21st Birthday gift and we most certainly celebrated in style – here is a city guide to give you inspiration – to share our memories of exploring a fresh new hub for creative industries and individuals
It really is a great place to stay, eat and play
. JW Marriott Marquis . Sheikh Zayed Rd, Dubai . £££ .
Elegance and decadence – JW Marriott Marquis has 14 award-winning restaurants, beautiful daily flower displays . A bakery and Saray Spa/ Health Club. It’s perfect for escapism and pure relaxation – the iconic towers cast a perfect shade by the pool so you can stay cool while you read in one of the poolside pods
. Park Regis Kris Kin . Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed St, Opp Burjuman Center, Bur Dubai . ££ .
The nearest stop from Park Regis Kris Kin for the metro is Burjuman – less than 15 mins into the centre and about 30 mins for the airport. The staff are so friendly and more than happy to arrange transport by taxi which can be just as cheap as the metro, however you must expect to be sat in traffic for most of the journey. I personally preferred this hotel as it complimented the kind of holiday we wanted, an active, hardly at the hotel, out of the way and not too big and glam so it’s easy to feel comfotarble in casual clothes.
I highly recommend both places for a memorable and comfortable stay. Park Regis Kris Kin is slightly further away from the city, however the view makes it worth the while – most shots of the skyline are taken from the rooftop, by the pool of the comfy haven of a hotel.
. At.mosphere . 122nd Floor, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai . £££ .
Through the Armani hotel, directed to the lift by a lovely lady – who left us with a bow (which I naturally felt uncomfortable with) nothing could take the excitement out of travelling up to the 123rd floor to walk down to the 122nd where one of the most wonderful experiences of my life awaited. James had made birthday reservations for our last day at At.mosphere, the food, the service, the company not to mention the VIEW! was simply idyllic. In the worlds highest restaurant, in the worlds tallest building – it is really as glam and as epic as it sounds. I don’t remember exactly what we ate but the various and perfectly proportioned dishes were divine. The entrée touched parts of my taste buds I didn’t know existed. A trolley was brought to us filling the large open space with the worlds best smell – freshly baked bread – a selection fit for a king. It really was the perfect ending to the perfect holiday. I mean we actually ended it swimming then running for the metro to the airport, before hand we where here for 4 hours. Nearly hitting our record of 5 hours, in 2013 sat outside Bella Italia in Leicester Square. Please if you are in Dubai and would like to have a once in a life time experience, invest in this memory – it’s defianlty worth more than the pricing.
. Atelier M . Floor 7/7M, Pier 7, next to Marina Mall – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
I made reservations at Atelier M before our trip to ensure a good seat, luckily it wasn’t full and we had almost a full balcony to ourselves over looking the marina which I’d say is definalty worth seeing in at night. It was the modern interior interpretation of Art Deco detailing that caught my eye along with the fact I’d googled Italian food (my fav) when I go again I’d like to compliment the place with a 1920s style dress and cropped hair style. The journey was slightly confusing (not really) but it’s so easily to get distracted in such a vibrant place where almost everything is intriguing and exciting. It is in pier 7 and has the best restroom for selfies with doors made out of mirrors and a light that catches right. Highly reccomend this place, the tortellini I had was cooked to perfection with just the right softness and light crunch, which takes a pro to achieve. The dessert was like a piece art which I savoured as if it was my last meal. You can walk of your meal off around the marina, taking in all the lights, cameras and action.
. PAUL . Ground floor, Burjuman Shopping Centre, Bur Dubai
The breakfast at Park Regis’s was standard minus the bacon, so not really worth the price/experience, however less than a 3 minute walk the is Burjuman Shopping Centre with restaurants and a Carrefour (perfect for getting good food and making packed lunches) which is what we did… a lot. I’m laughing to myself as I write this – flashbacks to when James freaked out as I ate a banana in old Dubai, I mean c’mon a girl can eat a banana anywhere right? ANYWAY, there is patisserie in the mall called PAUL, with quaint outdoor seating, it’s the perfect way to start the day, people watching and a sweet french brunch which has been perfected over the 100 years of existence.
Food on the go…
Dubai Design District // Heat Mario Testino
‘Looking at this exhibition I feel you see this and Dubai is a perfect place to present it with its constantly evolving creativity. I am eager to see and experience the impact that Dubai will make on my work.’
– Mario Testino
March is a very exciting month to be in Dubai, in fact the whole spring season is – with many creative events going on around the city. The temperature was not too much however it took an influence on the name of HEAT, an exhibition curated be de Pury de Pury showcasing one of the greatest photographers in history, Mario Testino. March – April 2016 saw the Art Dubai (and does so every year) in the design district, which I can only describe as a new forward thinking, intriguing innovative place for fashionistas and designers of all kinds. It felt like I was on another planet. Full of amazing potential like the Harpers Bazaar Cafe! which will be open now, so if you are around, check it out please let me know
For more info on this exhibition and more inspiring work visit:
I found out about Dubai Design District in emirates WOMAN magazine. It’s an necessity that I buy at least 5 magazines while travelling, many times I’ve chosen a publication over food or clothes and yes I have to save plenty of space in my case to get them back home. So worth it though, I feel closer to the places I travel when I pick up a magazine. I found out about the very exhibition above – HEAT and how fashion-future forward the city is. I am also a mag nut, which is why I’m in the process of launching my own publication @alloramag
Fashion By The Sea
Now this was an so unexpected gem, we were casually strolling along Jumeirah beach when James said to me “turn around” and that is when I saw Fashion By the Sea – rails and rails of beautiful clothes all with a unique story behind them and with a designer beside them. I’ll be sure to update this post in a comment with the designers details as I have their business cards somewhere and would love to see where their journey has taken them over the past 2 years. In the meantime enjoy the gallery.
Seeing the Burj up close for the first time was also unexpected, when you’re close to it, you simply cannot find it, we were walking aimlessly trying to find where we were meeting an old friend of James’ who was throwing a 30th birthday party for her husband. Drinking cocktails on fire, taking in all the lights. One of the highlights of the holidays partying with these lot – we realised there were 28 different ethnicities among us and it was amazing learning about each others experiences and what brought us there and what we thought about Dubai, FYI nobody had a bad thing to say. Also I had no idea the Burj lit up! not to mention the unique marketing strategy, what a great way of advertising! I think it may have been Qatar airways that was advertising when I stumbled upon it, huge Hawaiian flowers hugged the needle in the sky. changing with to a rhythm, it was magical.
Literally any shop (chain global store) is that ever-growing mall. It was like walking through an airport to getting there, I insist you have comfy shoes if you wish to walk around this huge majestic place. Sephora, Vogue Cafe along with anything new in fashion or tech or interior, you can buy here. It’s defo worth a look just to people watch for a couple of hours, it’s interesting to see what people spend their money on and how they present themselves in the most western part of the city.
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve was an adventure from the very start, we were picked up at the hotel, driving around picking up other passengers, with a full eternity for the day ahead. Luckily it was cloudy so we didn’t overheat, in fact it rained! yes 2 brits go to the desert and what are the chances! It was so funny, they even had waterproof ponchos ready for us. The day started with causing around in an 1950s Jeep, earning about the unique wildlife that influences Dubai, the majestic oryx even has an impact on the way women do their eyeliner, Eyes of an Oryx yes please! Dancing, henna, amazing food – I forgot to try camel milk but did try camel meat (yum btw) then nearly got whiplash getting on a camel. We finished the day with shisha and worldly conversations before heading back into the desert in the dark of night, which can only be described as extremely thrilling.
We caught an abra, for around 20p which was an amazing start to the journey, we walked among the old crumbling building in old Dubai and stumbled upon galleries of fine art and a history centre. Cats of all kinds were taking in the sun (The cat is really symbolic in Muslim religion as Allah was saved by a heroic cat, I think) the cat is respected as should all animals be. We had pizza by the water and wondered the little alley ways for flower tea – I got a rose bud green tea, which was delicious.
What To Wear
My wardrobe was somewhat dull (in my opinion) since then I have styled 26 photoshoots and developed so much as an individual and a stylist of my own life. Next time I’ll be sure to add more colours however I did go for strong traditional silhouettes which made my monochrome wardrobe more interesting.
Like so many people my go-to colour when in doubt or in general, is black. I wore a few LBDS (Long black dresses) on this exploration, although there is no actual harm in showing a lot of skin in Dubai (many people do) It isn’t my style. We already stand out, I wouldn’t want to feel I was being disrespectful or feel uncomfortable, as my mental mind tends to ensure I’m aware of peoples emotions that surround me. Body language and glances speak what words cannot.
What Else To Do In Dubai
Explore The Streets
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Don’t forget two of the most important things to do while on an exploration of the unknown:
- Talk to strangers, engage with other tourists, expat’s and locals, everyone has something to say and time with people is unique and can be eye opening not to mention, wonderful.
- Do some research beforehand (Trip advisor is great and blogs obvs) remember to respect cultures, laws and traditions where ever you go.
Oh and don’t forget to at least try public transport
If I had to describe the city in 3 words:
. Creative . Safe . Futuristic .
I really hope you enjoyed this post and thank you for reading, feel free to comment, I’d love to hear about your time in an awesome city