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Dubai, Hotels, Reviews, UAE

A POLYNESIAN STAYCATION: SOFITEL THE PALM, DUBAI

July 6, 2016

After spending nearly two weeks back in what feels like my second home in Dubai I was so excited to be spending my last two days with Sofitel Luxury Hotels. After exploring the glittering city, shopping constantly and eating out at some of the most amazing restaurants in the world Sofitel’s incredible resort located on The Palm Jumeirah was the perfect way to end my trip. Here is my review of the hotel:

Location & Getting About

Located on the eastern crescent of The Palm Jumeirah Island it is around a 40 minute drive from the airport, 20 minutes drive from the Dubai Marina and 30 minute drive from Downtown Dubai. Upon check-in we were given a timetable of the hotel shuttle bus that operates to these areas and also to the main malls in the city. This service is great if you want to get out and about without the cost of taxis. However if you prefer to make your own way around the city at the front of the hotel you will find friendly hotel staff who are always on hand to wave over a taxi for you and get you on your way.

First Impressions

As soon as me and my guest stepped out of the taxi we were greeted with a very happy, “Bonjour!” from the staff who made sure our car door was opened and our luggage taken inside. The reception area was impressive with its marble flooring and high ceilings. Overall, the check-in process was smooth and hassle free – we arrived slightly earlier than expected and had a little wait for the room, but we were happy to be pointed to the restaurant by the pool for a quiet coffee whilst we waited.

The Room

I was booked into a Junior Suite at the resort and once I stepped inside it felt like I was inside an apartment. The entrance was mirrored and led straight into a lounge room complete with a working area, sofa and flat screen television. In here I also found a selection of fruit and a gift box of lovely decorated dates laid out on the table which I thought was extremely thoughtful of the hotel.

Through some sliding doors came the bedroom featuring a king-sized bed and another television. Both the bedroom and the lounge room had access via French doors to the huge balcony that overlooked the Arabian Gulf with seating areas where you could watch the sunset after a long day. However, what caught my eye the most was the gorgeous bath tub situated beside the bedroom!

The bathroom was extremely spacious and complimentary Elemis toiletries were provided which created that extra added touch of luxury to the suite. Other amenities included in the room was a wardrobe area, iron and ironing board, hairdryer and a coffee/tea making area.DSC_2675_1

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The Pool & Beach

After breakfast you could head down to either the main pool area or the Sofitel’s private beach. The beach area is a long stretch of white sand with hundreds of chairs lining the shore. The beach has amazing views of the Dubai Marina skyscrapers – a backdrop which you’ll want to photograph over and over again! The main pool area has a variety of seating options from right beside the pool in your own little exotic hut, to beds within the lush greenery or simply along the poolside. The pool is temperature controlled which is perfect for the intensely hot summer days and there is also a Jacuzzi area.

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Porterhouse Restaurant

During my short stay I was invited to dine at Porterhouse, the hotel’s steak house restaurant. The staff were extremely efficient and accommodating, and more so, the food was exceptional. Myself and my guest tried the Waygu rib-eye steak with several extras to compliment it and we were both very impressed. The manager even brought out special steak knives for us to eat our steaks with! The atmosphere is relaxed and the dim lighting makes it ideal for a couple’s romantic dinner.

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Final Thoughts

The Sofitel The Palm was a mini getaway that did not let me down. It is in every aspect a fantastic luxury resort that offers some of the best service in the city – all the way from the meet and greet staff, to the waiters/waitresses in the restaurants. The plush green surroundings make it seem like you are on a tropical island and the location is amazing for seeing Dubai from a different perspective which is away from the hustle and bustle, but still offers that “wow” factor that you come to this city for.

Sofitel delivered beyond my expectations and I would definitely stay here if I was to return to Dubai for a holiday. For more information and reservations please head to their website.

Dubai, Restaurants, Reviews

THE MOST ROMANTIC DINNER SPOT: ARMANI/AMAL, DUBAI

June 23, 2016

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Here at the Armani Hotel in Downtown Dubai is yet another must visit restaurant called, Amal which serves Indian cuisine. I visited for dinner and as soon as I walked through the lobby of the hotel I knew this was going to be a world-class dining experience. As you enter from the lift you walk into a lobby area with a stunning Indian-inspired backdrop and centre piece, our welcome drinks were enjoyed in the bar area and me and my guest were seated for dinner very shortly after.

The ambience of the restaurant is very mellow and sophisticated, I’d definitely recommend dressing up for this venue as it is just beautiful and you will want to take no end of pictures. To start we enjoyed a cocktail whilst we looked over the rather extensive menu – there are a number of set menus to consider, however we went for simply choosing our own dishes from the main menu. After choosing we were served with the traditional popadoms and sauces, and we also had a very small pre-starter dish delivered to us.

For the started I chose the spicy shrimps and my guest ordered a vegetarian option – both were incredibly well-flavoured and the waiter was very aware of the ingredients when describing the dishes to us before we ate which of course, is always impressive. For the main courses we both chose a traditional curry dish each served with rice and naan bread, the waiter is always on hand to serve out your food for you – I don’t think I lifted a finger once to plate up more food! The service here is just amazing.

Finally for the desserts the Head Chef presented to us Amal’s most traditional Indian desserts for us to try – I really loved this as I had never tried any Indian desserts before and I am all about new experiences! The Head Chef also presented us with their chocolate dessert made from the best chocolate in the world, I believe he said, from Vienna. This was delicious and by this point it was time to enjoy the fountains out on the terrace.

Here at Amal they have front row seats to the famous Dubai Fountains and the restaurant sits within the world’s tallest building, right at the foot of it. Taking in the views and the sheer size of the Burj Khalifa was, again, such an amazing experience and so romantic – after seeing this restaurant you will want to bring all of your friends, family and loved one here next time you are in Dubai. I can imagine it would also make the perfect setting for a proposal or a very special occasion which you want to remember forever.

Highly recommended.

For reservations or more information please visit their website here.

Dubai, Restaurants, Reviews

QD’S DUBAI: RAMADAN TENT

June 14, 2016

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QD’s Dubai is set overlooking the stunning views of the Dubai skyline from over the water at Dubai Creek Golf & Yatch Club. During the holy month of Ramadan – a month where Muslims do not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset – QD’s transforms into a Ramadan tent where a full buffet is set out just before sunset for those wanting to break the fast in style. It is also such a unique dining experience for those who are not Muslim and I’d highly recommend that if you are in Dubai during this time of the year that you try out a buffet, such as QD’s for Iftar.

The food presented consisted of traditional Arabic and Middle Eastern dishes and desserts – all presented beautifully. There are plenty of staff on hand to assist you if you are unsure about a dish and are more than happy to explain – this allowed me to feel that bit more comfortable as I’m not too familiar with the cuisine. The atmosphere was relaxed and from our table we watched the sunset and the Dubai skyline light up as night fell which was really amazing.

Overall the restaurant ticked all the boxes and more – it offered great traditional food, lively atmosphere and of course, that picture perfect photo opportunity! What more could you want?

Dubai, Fashion

DUBAI FASHION EDIT: WHAT TO WEAR

January 4, 2016

If you’re planning a trip to Dubai before their summer heat hits and have no idea what to pack… I’ve got you covered. From a night out to a day at the beach I have listed my tips and suggestions for you to have a look at and answer all those questions you might have floating around about what to bring in your case.

NIGHT OUT

The clubbing scene in Dubai if you haven’t already heard is pretty good to say the least. It is like a fashion show when you get out there and everyone is looking their best in the latest catwalk worthy trends. Think ultimate glam! Anything goes, low cut tops, body-cons, high heels, jumpsuits, heavy jewelry, thick eyelashes – anything! So don’t be afraid wear whatever you want and do it with confidence. My main tip would be just wear what you would wear back home to go out, but really think along the lines of stylish and any trending styles at the time – glam it up!

BRUNCH

Brunch is a must-do when visiting Dubai. It happens every Friday (the weekend starts on Friday) and you will probably find it more of a task deciding which Brunch to go to than what to wear. However, Brunch is a rather formal occasion, so definitely do not turn up in a bikini and a throw over with your flip flops on. Think along the lines of – elegant, chic and effortless. Kind of like what you’d wear to dinner, but go more with a SUMMER vibe.

BEACH CLUBS

There is a massive beach club culture in Dubai and with so many stunning venues on offer you’ll want to spend all your days lounging on the Palm, with a cocktail in hand, looking out on to the Dubai skyline. Throw on your best bikini or swimsuit, any style goes but my tips would be make sure your cover up, summer dress or throw over is as glamorous as your swimwear. I wouldn’t go as far as to say you should wear what you would wear to go to Ocean Club in Ibiza (the only exception to this rule is if you are going to Blue Marlin). I would suggest something more low key, but still something that makes every girl’s (and guy’s, obviously) head turn when you strut in to claim your sun bed.

DINNER DATE

Going out for dinner in Dubai especially on a special occasion was always my favourite kind of night, be it a girly catch up, birthday, date night I loved getting dressed up for it and making a night of it. The restaurant scene in Dubai is amazing! There is so much choice (like everything in that city) and there is something for everyone. The venues are always 5* and require you to dress accordingly. My suggestions are maxi dresses, jumpsuits or that outfit you want to wear to the clubs, but just cannot justify getting it stepped on or drink thrown all over it. Sophisticated is the concept.

MALL

Day trips to the mall are always fun (carrying back all the bags isn’t though). If you’re worried about what to wear like so many people do when they come to Dubai try not to over think it. Like I said in my previous blog Urban Legends of Dubai there isn’t fashion police hunting down people who have their shoulders and knees on show. It’s totally fine to go to the mall in a cute summer dress just so long as it doesn’t draw attention to you. I suggest midi skirts, ripped jeans, tailored summer dresses -always look chic and casual.

Dubai, Travel, UAE

THE COST OF LIVING: DUBAI, UAE

December 8, 2015

I lived in Dubai for just over a year and it was one of the best times of my life, despite working a job that I wasn’t particularly in love with. However, I have put together a rundown of what it cost me to live there in terms of accommodation, activities, transport, groceries.

Where to Live or Stay?

When I first arrived the company I worked for placed me in an apartment free of charge on the outskirts of Dubai in an area called Al Nahda, however it wasn’t the place for me as it was too remote and to live in the middle of desert with no amenities around me was not what I came to Dubai for. I came for the glitz and glamour and so I moved to the Dubai Marina.

Dubai Marina is the place to be if you’re an expat. Everything you need is here – skyscraper apartments, malls, bars, beach, clubs, restaurants, supermarkets. To rent an apartment which is shared with other expats and dependent upon the size of the room, plus if it has its own bathroom, the top end price would be 9000-7000AED/£1600-1250 per month, inclusive of all bills. This would typically get you a master bedroom in an upscale apartment building with its own bathroom, but it would be shared.

I paid 7000AED/£1250 a month for the master room in a duplex, penthouse apartment (crazy amount of money). My friend however, managed to rent a smaller room in a shared apartment down the road for just 5500AED/£1000, but she had to share a bathroom and the room was much smaller than mine.

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So you can start to see the price scales from this – pretty expensive right? But this is the going rate for a fully furnished, all inclusive room in most shared apartments in Dubai and if you were to get your own apartment it would be considerably more. It would more than likely be paid by the year – so you’d need to have a massive lump sum to handover and be pretty sure that it is the place you want to live in for a full year.

Other places to live which are very popular with expats are Sheikh Zayed Road (SZR) and Down Town. SZR is slap bang in the middle of the Dubai Marina and Down Town Dubai. It is a huge highway famous for being lined with huge skyscrapers (which are mostly apartment blocks) and has a view of the Burj Khalifa. It is a very accessible place to live with lots of amenities around and just a walk away from the biggest mall – Dubai Mall. Then you also have Down Town Dubai which is just down from Sheik Zayed Road towards the airport, but I think apartments are harder to find here and are very, very expensive.

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How to get about?

Taxis, taxis, taxis. This is the best way to get around this stunning city. Taxi’s are normally identified as having either, red, green, blue or yellow roofs and are metered. The meter starts at 5.50AED/£1 and I’d say to get from Down Town Dubai to the Dubai Marina you’re talking about 60AED/£10 for a half an hour drive – but please make sure you confirm and then RECONFIRM that the driver knows exactly where he is going, if he doesn’t you’ll be taken on a wild goose chase that costs you time and more importantly, money!

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You can also hire Uber taxis which are very popular here and good for a special occasion, but obviously, you pay a slight premium for these. I personally wouldn’t recommend getting into one of these black Lexus taxi’s that you can flag down off the road unless ordered via the app as they tend to be rip off’s and I’ve heard some pretty bad things about them – like being kicked out half way into a journey or having your money stolen.

You can also use the Metro which is so, so cheap and very easy to use. It takes you all over Dubai and a single ticket costs about 7AED/£1.20. You have the choice of riding in Silver class or Gold class. I’d recommend purchasing a Gold class ticket at peak times because seriously, the Metro gets really full and Gold class tends to be more quiet. I regularly used the Metro when I was going out to the mall or needed to get Down Town and I’d highly recommend it.

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Another common way to get around is to simply hire a car. There are lots of rental companies to go with and all tend to be competitive, but I’d say it’s cheaper to book a car online than it is to walk in and hire straight from there. For your standard small, run around you’re looking at about 50-60AED/£10 per day and I think monthly you’d get a slight discount, but like I said check online. I think we used Kayak.com most of the time. Or if you want real luxury you can hire a super car for the day – for my boyfriend’s birthday I hired him a Corvette Stingray for 24 hours and it cost a lot (3000AED/£550), but the experience was unforgettable!

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What to do?

There is literally so much to do. I can’t even write down how much stuff there is to do. But, it terms of eating and drinking there is way too much choice. Me and my friends, or boyfriend used to hang out, mostly around the Marina. A meal for two people without drinks would probably cost you around 300AED/£55 and then extra on top for drinks, then even more extra on top for alcoholic drinks! A beer would cost you 50AED/£9.00 or if you can find a special deal, like at Barasti then it’d be 35AED/£6.30. A cocktail would cost you on average about 75AED/£13 or more. When you convert these prices to Pounds or Euros you can see how expensive it all really is, especially for me now – I’m in Koh Samui, Thailand and a beer costs 60TBH/£1.10 and a cocktail costs 120THB/£2.20. Crazy.

There is the beach at JBR Walk in the Dubai Marina and a tonne of beach clubs to enjoy. The beach offers lots of water sports like paddle boarding, surfing (but there’s no waves), paddle boats etc. I think I paid 100AED/£20 to rent a paddle board once for an hour or so. Normally you have to pay for admission into a beach club which can be pricey, but I think it’s standard practice that you can redeem the amount you paid to get in against food and drink whilst you’re there – popular beach clubs include Eden on the Palm, Nissimi Beach at The Atlantis, Meydan (although not sure if it’s under renovation now) and Puro Beach at the Conrad.

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Other stuff to do would be to take a trip up the Burj Khalifa (125AED minimum per/person), Atlantis Water Park (250AED plus extras like a locker, towels, lunch), head to Abu Dhabi for the day to visit The Grand Mosque, charter a Yacht (generally two hours or so and prices would be upon request).

Clothes, Groceries etc.?

Although the malls are incredible and you can’t help but shop your little heart away the majority of items, like clothes are imported from different countries so inevitably they do cost more. For example, I once bought a top for about 200AED/£40 and took off the sticky label to see the European price underneath and that showed up as £26. Heartbreaking, but it just goes to show the mark up clothing brands like River Island, Topshop, Miss Selfridge etc put on the items in comparison to the rest of the world. I think the only affordable places which I tended to do most of my shopping at, that didn’t seem to put a £20 mark up on merchandise were H&M and Zara.

With regard to groceries something’s in Dubai are more expensive than the UK and something’s are pretty similar:

Loaf of Bread – 5AED/90p/€1.25

4 litres of Milk – 18AED/£3.20/€4.50

12 Eggs – 15AED/£2.70/€3.70

Chicken Breast 1KG – 35AED/£6/€8.70

1.5 litre bottle of water – 2AED/36p/50 cents

Bunch of bananas – 6AED/£1/€1.50

Deodorant Spray – 16AED/£2.90/€4

Biscuits – 12AED/£2.20/€3

Overall it is no secret that Dubai is one of the most expensive cities to live in the world, and all in all each month I think I must have spent the majority of my wage. It’s a tough lifestyle, but you get what you pay for indeed.

Dubai, Travel, UAE

URBAN LEGENDS OF DUBAI: WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE

October 28, 2015

There are so many things that people used to ask or say to me about Dubai that just boggled my mind! So here are the most common myths, urban legends or… lies to put to bed once and for all.

“Everyone in Dubai is rich or will be rich”

Like anywhere in the world there are the rich and there are the poor. Dubai is no different.

This is a city that seems to lure expats from all around the world with the promise that they will have high paying jobs, a Ferrari for their daily commute and their weekends will be spent on yachts bathing in a hot tub full of champagne, really?

Most of the people I ever met were on commission only jobs stressed up to their eyeballs about where and when the next deal was coming in, and on top of that they would paying an extortionate rental amount for their apartments, and even worse paying 8 to 10 pounds for a beer… C’mon!

Dubai is one of the most expensive cities in the world and unless you’re an air stewardess where 50% discounts are thrown at you by literally every restaurant, bar and shop sustaining a good lifestyle out there can be tough.

“You can’t drink alcohol in Dubai or you’ll be arrested”

This is utterly, utterly untrue. Everyone in Dubai drinks and is slightly intoxicated the majority of the time. This city thrives off tourism and the expat community which without easily accessible alcohol the whole city would fall into chaos.

I mean the whole idea and reason of the famous Dubai “Brunch” is to take advantage of the UNLIMITED alcohol. Ladies Night equals FREE alcohol for girls who without fail would be found in Mahiki a couple of hours later slut-dropping in the middle of the dance floor.

It is true however, you cannot walk into your local supermarket and grab a bottle of vino that’s on offer for a fiver like you would do in Tesco as this is just not allowed in Dubai. But head out to any bar, club or restaurant in the evening (normally located inside a hotel or on top of a skyscraper) and you will find enough vodka, wine or whiskey to drink yourself silly the entire night and every night after that.

You will not be arrested or asked to show a valid drinking license (like, who even has one of those?!), unless of course you do start causing a hideous scene, but even then it is highly unlikely the police will be called. So party on people.

“You can’t wear shorts, skirts, bikinis, dresses…”

It really depends on where exactly you are in Dubai that the “dress code” applies and it is kind of down to simple common sense.

The malls do have signs stating that shoulders and knees should be covered however, I have seen many people wandering around in dresses and strap tops – I mean, if there were fashion police they’d be running around like headless chickens. Just pack a kimono in your bag and be on your way.

You most definitely can wear a bikini on the beach – you couldn’t manage it in 36 degree heat! Just make sure when you walk off the beach to throw something on to cover up your cleavage and your bum.

It is highly recommended you wear dresses or skirts or anything you want when you go out for a night on the town. Dress to the nines out there because it is a fiercely stylish city full of beautiful people.

“Women are treated as a second class”

This is a common misrepresentation of Dubai that never fails to come up in conversation when people ask what it was like living there. I never felt that because I was a woman I was treated as inferior or as a second class, in fact it was entirely the opposite.

You just have to jump on the metro to see there is a whole section dedicated for women ONLY. It is designed for their comfort so they are not squished up against the window where unfortunately this is the norm for the rest of the carriage.

If you asked any female living in Dubai they will also tell you that they feel safe enough to walk around on their own in the middle of the night. It is one of the safest cities in the world with a very low crime rate and casually dressed police officers (CID’s as they call them) apparently everywhere. I’m definitely not saying bad things don’t happen because they do, I’m just saying you’re far less likely to have anything bad happen to you in Dubai, than you are in comparison to other places in the world.

Also you have to remember that Dubai doesn’t enforce a lot of things on women that other neighbouring Muslim or Arab countries do for example, the Abaya (black gown) and Shayla (head covering) is not mandatory for Emirati women to wear but merely a national custom, and you will meet some who do not wear them at all. More so, women are allowed to drive and this just goes to show how much more forward thinking Dubai is.

Dubai, Lifestyle

HOW I MOVED TO DUBAI AND GOT PAID TO TRAVEL THE WORLD

October 27, 2015

I dreaded the end of my time at University. The thought of having to actually go out into the world and get a 9-5 (if I could even get one) was one I avoided at all times. I loved the “uni-life bubble” and really didn’t see myself as one of those people who followed down that whole “get educated and get an office job” path. So instead I went ahead and applied for a job as an air stewardess for an airline based in the Middle-East.

The three stage interview was grueling. So many people applied (for some this was their second or third attempt) and the final few are narrowed down by a simple process of elimination – if you didn’t look the part or say what they wanted to hear you were unsuccessful but kindly encouraged to try again in six months.

I managed to make it the whole way first time, thankfully and got the call that I had been offered the job about a month before I sat my final law exams. I was absolutely thrilled and packed up my life into suitcases a week after that, said my goodbyes and off I went to Dubai.

However, adjusting to my new life was very hard and I didn’t fully settle down for about six months. I really hated the accommodation I was placed in which was not what I expected at all. The two month training program was tough (the 4am starts did not help) and once you finished that and got your licenses to fly it got even tougher.

I did get to see so many places all over the world and went to countries, and cities I never thought I’d ever go to. I can’t count or even name all the places I went to. This was the best part of the job as an air stewardess working for the biggest airline in the world (that and pay-day).

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But there were many down sides to the job that many people wouldn’t understand unless they actually did it. Sickness I would say caused me the most torment at the time because flying at such high altitudes, going to work at any given hour of the day and having your normal diet thrown out of the window took its toll.

I suffered with everything from stomach upsets, sinus infections, insomnia, and migraine headaches. The worst thing that I have to mention was the severe acne. It was devastating going from fairly blemish free skin to having spots, lumps and redness literally all over my face. This was a side effect that affected many of the crew I flew with.

I won’t go into detail too much about the ins and outs of the job itself that I felt so dissatisfied with because working for this airline is what each individual makes of it. Some of those who join love it along with the opportunities it brings and others just don’t click with it that way (it just so happens the majority are the latter).

On the positive side I loved my life in Dubai. I am a city girl and Dubai had me in awe all the time. After about 4 months I had managed to move out of my company provided accommodation and move into a penthouse, duplex apartment in the Marina.

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The apartment looked out over the Marina on the one side and on the other you had a beach view with the Palm Jumeirah out on the horizon, it was perfect.

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By this time my now boyfriend had also moved over to Dubai and I had myself a nice group of girl friends. We would always be out at beach clubs, shopping at the malls, dining out or heading out to enjoy some of the best nightlife in the world. I was in my element because no matter what night of the week you went out it was expected you dress up as much as possible – heels, new outfit, eyelashes, everything.

Expat life was luxurious, but with these high expectations and standards Dubai I believe drew in and still does draw in a crowd which unfortunately lets people “think” that they are superior or upper class and get away with it.

The city is pretentious. I like my nice things, I like to look good, and I like to go to the best places but I come from a very humble background and I started miss the genuineness from back home. I found most nights I would wonder why I was even there.

Please do not get me wrong, my experience of living in Dubai and getting to travel the world as an air stewardess was amazing. I made some of my happiest memories there and made long-term friends who will be a part of my life forever and I will undoubtedly return as often as I can to relive what I loved most about the city – the bright lights, fast cars, world-class nightlife.

However, I was as happy to leave my job and Dubai life as I was to start the whole journey in the first place.

One year was enough and on to Asia I went.

Bars, Dubai, Travel, UAE

MY TOP PICKS: COCKTAIL BARS IN DUBAI

October 26, 2015

Whether you want a romantic date night or a sophisticated girls night Dubai is the city that can most definitely accommodate your needs.

“Shall we go out for a drink?” was a phrase that always lit up my face and deciding where to go was never an easy task as the variety of bars to choose from was extensive. However, after a year of living there I slowly gathered my list of favourites which I will share with you.

Siddharta Lounge:

This terrace bar oozes elegance and when my long-time gal pal brought me here for the first time I knew it would become a regular. All white everything is the theme and you arrive via a lift from the outside which it opens up onto a luxurious pool bar but tucked away round the back I would say is where the party really is. Their list of cocktails are exotic and I have to say I think this is the best place to go for Shisha, like ever.

TIP: When ordering Shisha ask for it to be brought with a “cooler” it’s a game changer.

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Buddha Bar:

Across the way from my beloved Siddharta is the famous and ever popular Buddha Bar. This low-lit, seductive venue is always heaving with expats on the weekend and the bar men really know how to make your cocktail look far too good to drink. Interestingly though, you will be drinking your fruity cocktail in the presence of a super large Buddhist monk statue which makes for a good photo but other than that it’s quite off putting, but I love this bar nonetheless.

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Bar 360 by Jumeirah Beach Hotel:

Heading out of the Marina and on towards the Burj Al Arab is Bar 360. As the name suggests this bar offers a 360 view of the Dubai skyline (it is sitting on its own little private island) and has front row seats of the 7 star hotel. It is luxurious indeed and draws in a lively crowd on the weekend. Also I have to mention that you will arrive in style via the ever circulating golf buggies which were always appreciated when wearing heels, bonus!

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Karma Cafe at the Souk Al Bahar:

Another of my favourites was located in downtown Dubai within the Souk Al Bahar which hosts this little gem of a lounge-bar. Karma Kafe has the perfect combination of modern decor (furniture is bright red), dim-lights and prime position overlooking the Dubai Fountains making it one the most romantic venues in the city.

TIP: Book in advance and grab a table on the out-door terrace where the fountains will keep you entertained all night and of course provide you with that enviable insta-pic or video.

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Q43:

I remember this being one of the first bars I went to when I first arrived in the desert and it became the “go-to” place if we all couldn’t decide where to go. Located on the 43rd floor of the Media One Hotel it boasts floor to ceiling windows from which you get killer views of the Marina and The Palm. I would describe this venue as more of an upscale pub as it has the right balance between party vibes and bar-drinking vibes.

TIP: Ladies Night on a Tuesday is the most popular night especially for “pre-drinks” perhaps this has something to do with there being three free drinks maybe. They also do a Gentlemen’s Night on a Wednesday.

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Barasti Beach Bar:

This beach front venue is the ultimate, if not only choice if you want to have cool, casual drinks on a late afternoon for sunset, a session which will generally escalate well on into the evening, and then into the rest of the night, and then the early morning hours… Ooops. It is for sure one of the busiest venues with its large wooden-decked bar that takes on a more laid back mood which is what the expat crowd like about it. So go in your flip-flops or go in your heels it doesn’t matter at Barasti at all.

TIP: Between 4pm and 7pm they do discounted selected drinks.

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