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How to do Dubai

Dubai. It’s a city of sun, sand and unrivalled flashy sumptuousness – where else would you find ski scopes built in the middle of the desertand the priciest of spa treatments using pure platinum infusions?

But, just as you would eat Italian in Rome and haggle in Hanoi, in this epicentre of all things opulent and OTT it’s important to embrace the brass and crank the swank (even if only for a day or two). So here’s your LUXE-approved guide to Dubai’s most lavish and decadent experiences, from underwater diners to the swishest of sleepers. Get ready to live large like a Sheika!


Summer house bedroom at Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf

Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf

The Burj Al Arab might attract all the media attention (having one of the world’s most expensive hotel suites will do that) but for lush Arabian-esque lavishness you should instead check yourself into its beachfront sister property Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf. Why bother with a suite when you can have your own private summer house complete with swimming pool, expansive in- and outdoor living areas and 24-hour butler service? And if you’re inclined to explore further, you can nip over to the private beach (the longest in Dubai) or one of the 40+ restaurants in style on a trad abra boat that’ll float you wherever you please via the hotel’s interconnected palm-lined waterways.

Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach Rd. +97143668888.


Al Mahara

Al Mahara

At this lavish, glowing underwater chamber, tables sit beside a gigantic glass aquarium filled with tropical marine critters, so you can gaze the fishy scenery while grazing on the finest sustainably caught British seafood. While the setting is a bit glitzy-kitchy you can’t fault the deft culinary skills of Mich-starred chef Nathan Outlaw. Just be prepared to splash some cash when the bill arrives!

1/F, Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah.  +971 4 301 7600.

Al Nafoorah

This elegant white linen affair is a favourite of the Emirati royal family who come for the secluded silk-swathed private dining areas and real-deal Lebanese cookery. Make like a Sheik and order one of the banquet set menus.

Lower Level, The Boulevard, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Rd. +971 4 319 8760.

The Ritz-Carlton Lobby Lounge

The English custom of afternoon tea is an almost mandatory observance in Dubai, and The Ritz-Carlton Lobby Lounge is hands down the most opulent in town, with trad white-gloved silver service, fresh-baked scones, a globe-spanning cha selection and almost too-pretty-to-eat petit fours. On clement days take you cha on the shaded terrace overlooking the Arabian Gulf and surrounding gardens.

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, Al Sufouh Rd, Jumeirah. +971 4 318 6150.


40 Kong

40 Kong

Don’t expect to just breeze past the red rope up to this sceney glass-sided rooftop beloved by suits and beauts. You’ll need to have secured you spot ahead (request seats by the edge for the best cityscapes) as this vampy imbiber is has a strict booking or guestlist-only door policy. But once you’re up, expect expertly shaken cocktails, global bites and bottle service.

40/F, The H Dubai, 1 Sheikh Zayed Rd. +97143558896.

Mercury Lounge

Throw on your glammest Gucci heels for this gilded, glamorous, alfresco lounge with double-whammy beach and city vistas, space-age champagne pod and some of the best Mai Tais in the city. Entry comes with a minimum spent so why not go big and book one of the cabanas for a cool USD$820 for the evening?

Four Seasons, 2 Jumeirah Rd, Jumeirah. +971 4 270 7777.


The local suave set and intown celebs choose this late night supper club and members lounge for its raw bar, cigar humidor, vodka lounge and private night club, all wrapped in twinkly apex views. If you’re not a member, reserve in advance to get in.

Grosvenor House Tower Two, Al Sofouh Rd. +971 4 317 6000.


Talise Ottoman Spa

Talise Ottoman Spa

The traditional hammam experience is made all the more magnificent at this decadent, black-marbled dolly offering one-of-a-kind treatments such as Turkish coffee skin peel and facials using diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire oils. Once you’ve been polished to perfection, recline amid the plush facilities, which range from a salt water Thallasotherapy swimming pool to an icy 4°C Snow Room.

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel, Crescent Rd (West), The Palm. +971 4 453 0455.

One&Only Spa

While other spas around town might focus on exxy ingreds like crushed pearl and 24-carat gold, the One&Only opts for a more refined take on luxury with treatments customised by a personal therapist to your skin type and degree of body tension. Opt for the One&Only Spa Experience with full body exfoliation and tailored wrap followed by an all over aromatherapy massage. And relaaaaax! 

One&Only Royal Mirage, Al Sufouh Rd, Jumeirah Beach. +971 4 399 9999.

For more insider intel on Dubai, get the LUXE Dubai guide… 

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