by Sarah Hedley Hymers, The Telegraph, December 28, 2018
The weather is at its best, the sales are in full swing and there's an exciting new hotel to stay at. Here's how to get the best out of the Middle East’s most ambitious city...
The winter months bring Dubai’s most clement weather with temperatures peaking at around 80F (27C) and the beaches and rooftop bars are pleasantly fanned by a light breeze. The Shopping Festival has tempting bargains throughout January. BA ( ba.com ) and Emirates ( emirates.com ) offer direct flights from the UK.
Check in to the sparkling new five-star Emerald Palace Kempinski (1) ( kempinski.com ) on Palm Jumeirah, where doubles start from £400. This regal resort features restaurant Matagi with its pan-Asian smorgasbord of fried sushi, clay pot comfort food and char siu lamb ribs. Rather cheaper is the refurbished QE2 (2) ( telegraph.co.uk/tt-dubai/QE2 ), now a four-star floating hotel at Port Rashid. Doubles cost from £130.
Start at Shindagha (3), once home to Dubai’s leaders, currently being converted into a mega-museum complex. Stroll for an hour or so along Dubai Creek to Zabeel House (4) ( zabeelhouse.com ), where from the Sol Sky Bar, you have views of Burj Khalifa (5) and the Dubai Frame (6) the city’s latest architectural landmark. En route you’ll pass the Textile Souk, historical Al Fahidi, home to Dubai Museum, Al Seef’s reproduction heritage village, a cluster of gift shops, restaurants and ice-cream parlours, and some abra stations.
Being the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa (5) gets a lot of attention. Avoid the crowds with breakfast at At.mosphere on level 122 ( atmosphereburjkhalifa.com ). Minimum spend is £43, just £14 more than entry to the observation decks on levels 124 and 125 where you’ll be literally paying for thin air.
The Dubai Shopping Festival is activated across malls throughout January; expect discounts at Dubai Mall (7) ( thedubaimall.com ), but get the greatest deals at The Outlet Village (8) ( theoutletvillage.ae ), a mock Tuscan town full of high-street boutiques.
With a vista starring Burj Al Arab and the meandering waterways of Madinat Jumeirah, The Rooftop at Folly (9) ( folly.ae ) is a Dubai sanctuary. Enjoy sundowners such as the £11.85 Folly Pop (sorbet in prosecco) as darkness descends and Burj Al Arab’s façade lights up.
DIFC, Dubai International Financial Centre, could be renamed Dubai International Food Centre as it’s here you’ll find the region’s best restaurants, among them The Artisan (10) ( theartisan.ae ), an outpost of Florence’s three-Michelin-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri.
Off the map
Concealed behind warehouse walls in an industrial estate, Alserkal Avenue ( alserkalavenue.ae ) is a cluster of streets full of art galleries, cafés, eclectic boutiques, a theatre and a cinema. Quoz Arts Fest returns for its seventh edition on Jan 25 and 26 with events centred on a theme of sustainability.