Lizzie Porter, The Daily Telegraph, February 17, 2014
I love the rich culture and heritage that make Dubai a unique experience. The people are just fantastic – so friendly and open to new ideas and different types of fashion. The weather makes Dubai a beautiful place. It has amazing beaches along an incredible coast located away from the busy hub of downtown Dubai. The architecture is also phenomenal. The Burj Khalifa (00 9714 888 8124; burjkhalifa.ae ) really is an incredible feat of design and technology.
Every building in Dubai is made by one of the best architects in the world. The souks are also mesmerising places. They are a sensual feast of sights and surroundings, filled with heady scents and the most beautiful pieces of jewellery and decor that you can only find in Dubai. The culture is very cosmopolitan and this mix is what makes it such a special place in my heart.
Anything special I should pack?
Pack light. Men should always carry a light jacket and women a scarf. I’ve been here many times, including at Christmas, and it was warm nearly all the time. It is generally very hot during the day, but the temperature can also drop at night.
What’s the first thing you do on your return?
I always meet up with my wonderful friends who live there and then I like to explore – not just the city but also the coast. I also like to go by my shop within The Dubai Mall [the world’s largest shopping mall] (362 7500; thedubaimall.com ). I just love to see how my clothes are styled differently here than in any other city and there are so many other things to see as well.
Where’s the best place to stay?
Le Royal Mirage hotel (399 9999; royalmirage.oneandonlyresorts.com ). I love being near the sea – my passion is sailing and I love the water. The beach is like my home away from home. The staff are also amazing – nothing is ever too much to ask and a staying there feels like living in a palace.
Where is the best place for lunch?
I love Zuma (425 5660; zumarestaurant.com ). I think it is even better than the one in London. The food there is so fresh and the atmosphere is fantastic. The fish dishes are just incredible – a feast for your taste buds.
And for dinner?
Zuma is also great for dinner but I’m very proud of the Cavalli Club restaurant (332 9260, cavalliclubdubai.com ) at the Fairmont Hotel, which serves the most amazing meat. My unique Cavalli wine served there is a rich red, all made from my vineyard in Florence.
It is delicious and goes very well with everything from burrata to fresh fish. The beef carpaccio is another favoured dish and the rock salted sea bass is known as the best in all of Dubai.
Where would you send a first time visitor?
They must experience the atmosphere of downtown Dubai. The area around the Burj Khalifa is magnificent – a mix of both old and new cultures. I would take them to The Dubai Mall, which is just beyond your wildest dreams, and also be sure to see The Dubai Fountain, just outside the mall. The water show at the fountain, which takes place every night against a backdrop of music, is mesmerising and like nothing you will see anywhere else.
Manbag or moneybelt?
I don’t really carry anything with me. All I need are my sunglasses. I don’t pack much when I go to Dubai as everything you need is already there.
What should I bring home?
I have brought back some big beautiful plates with Arabic on them. I also pick up a lot of decorative items from the souks – DragonMart (433 6200; dragonmart.ae ) is a personal favourite of mine. I always find new and interesting objects there. And of course The Dubai Mall has a vast amount of souvenirs.
What should be avoided in Dubai?
That is hard to say. But perhaps the sun at around 2pm – the heat is almost unbearable at this time of the day.
Anywhere that is not your kind of town?
I travel so much and always find the good in wherever in the world I go. I don’t really have an answer for which city I don’t like as I am always learning new things and embracing the culture wherever I go.
Roberto Cavalli attended the Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience event.