Amid Mumbai’s sultry October heat, I set my sights on Dubai, a city that promised to be an extravagant oasis. Dubai, a city of contrasts, seamlessly blends tradition with modern extravagance. Its allure lies not only in towering skyscrapers but also in its rich cultural heritage.
25 hours Hotel Dubai One Central
My Dubai escapade started with a stay at the vibrant 25 Hours One Central Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road, strategically located near Dubai’s Financial Capital. This 5-star gem stood apart from the rest I’ve visited, showcasing oodles of charm. A lobby sneaker showdown and a vibrant modern tapestry-like ceiling set the stage for my cultural exploration of this dazzling city.
I checked into to my Bedouin room which surprisingly featured an inviting hammock, swinging away my anticipation. As I headed down for lunch I strolled through an open-air courtyard, adorned with vibrant furniture, that beckoned me to Tandoor Tina. A hidden gem within the hotel, where aromatic biryani and yoghurt became the delightful prelude to my culinary adventure in this city.
Sailing through Arabian Evenings
Following a satisfying lunch, the next adventure awaited— an exclusive yacht excursion along the enchanting Jumeirah Beach. The journey kicked off with a breezy drive to Dubai Marina, a strip adorned with chic cafes and towering skyscrapers that seemed to delicately touch the sky.
My initial reservations about fully embracing the sea breeze dissolved into pure excitement as I caught my first glimpse of the aquamarine waters. Soon, the gentle waves became a sensory symphony, and I found myself on the deck, alone and spellbound by the silk-like undulations beneath.
As my gaze wandered, it locked onto the brilliantly illuminated Ain Dubai, also known as the “Eye of Dubai“, a sight that residents here enjoy, one that had me jealous.
Through the walls of Atlantis Royal
Our next stop transported us to the Atlantis The Royal Hotel on the Palm Jumeirah, the dystopian allure of the space was a sharp departure from the palatial grandeur of the previous Atlantis. The Grand Preview in February 2023 turned the mega hotel into a star-studded haven, with luminaries like Beyonce, Kendall Jenner, Ellen Pompeo, Gauri Khan, Farhan Akhtar, and more gracing the red carpet. Queen B herself marked her return to the stage with her first private concert since 2016.
Known for its opulent hotels and Michelin-grade restaurants, the Atlantis Royal boasts culinary delights ranging from Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen to tantalising steakhouses and Japanese-Peruvian gems.
For dinner, Ling Ling, one of Dubai’s culinary gems on the 23rd floor, summoned me with promises of panoramic views of the Palm and Dubai’s mesmerising skyline. I kickstarted the evening with what any Gen Z tea fanatic would—a matcha and Kaffir lime mocktail that exceeded all expectations. Awaiting the chef’s specially curated menu, I embarked on a gastronomic journey, savouring exotic flavours and authentic seasoning in a truly multifaceted experience. From sushi platters to stir-fried chicken, every course was an explosion of flavours, culminating in the decadent mango puree and chocolate crumble dessert.
A Scentual experience at Oo La Labs
The next day, led me on a fascinating journey, diving deep into the realm of creativity with a visit to Oo La Labs at Alserkal Avenue in the Art District. This allowed me to unleash my inner chemist and craft my signature perfume. I reached for my phone, eager to uncover the notes that worked their magic on Rihanna’s senses courtesy of Kilian Paris. Yet, reality struck—I’m no perfumery maestro.
Amidst my amateur blending, vanilla, a reliable companion in my fragrance collection, underwent a metamorphosis and emerged as Chantre. The experience was immersive, leaving me with a scent that carried a personal touch. Post my aromatic escapade, a stroll through the Art District culminated in the perfect pitstop—a flawlessly crafted Iced Matcha that elevated my senses.
Into The Guild
Venturing into DIFC, The Guild captivated me from the start with its entrance adorned in lush potted plants, reminiscent of New York’s Tribeca streets. This culinary gem unfolds as a harmonious amalgamation of various venues under one roof, offering a diverse yet interconnected experience. Picture this: a patisserie, brasserie, champagne bar, seafood haven, grand dining room, piano bar, and chocolatier all seamlessly woven together.
I started my meal with a wholesome quinoa grain salad and a rejuvenating glass of lemonade—a combination I fancied as my detox duo. Little did I know, the true showstopper awaited me: the Wagyu Pappardelle, a dish that stole the spotlight that still lingers in my memory.
The Shopping Capital Stands Tall
The final day unfolded into the ultimate Dubai experience – a full-fledged shopping spree, an absolute must in this retail haven. As the undisputed shopping capital of not just the Middle East but the entire world, complete with its dazzling Shopping Festival that begins in December, I found myself weaving through a maze of showrooms and countless stores, all while sporting my trusty sneakers at the Dubai Mall. I’ll admit that I had to stay hyper-aware of each turn, determined not to lose myself in this shopaholic’s paradise.
Reflecting on my Dubai escapade, it dawned on me that this city offers more than its iconic illuminated skyline and extravagant structures. Beyond the glistening skyscrapers, Dubai unfolded as a tapestry of diverse experiences rich in culture and seeped in history.
This is a city where sensory experiences know no bounds, its cultural blend remains etched in my memory and beckons me to return with more empty suitcases and an insatiable craving for another round of refreshing Iced matcha.