You know that moment on a Thursday afternoon when your work buddy asks what you’re doing this weekend and your mind goes blank? Well worry no more, friends, because What’s On has the perfect solution, whatever mood you are in.


Check out the latest movie trailers and cinema listings of films being release in Dubai this weekend. Click here.

The lines between fantasy and reality blur at the Middle East Film and Comic Con. The three-day convention, running from April 3 to 5, is designed for fans of fantasy and sci-fi flicks, comics, video games and TV shows. And that’s quite a big community here in the UAE with this year’s Comic Con – the third since 2012 – moving to Dubai World Trade Centre to meet demand.

Read our complete preview to the spectacular event right here.

Comic Con in Dubai

World Trade Centre, Dubai, Thur 4pm to 8pm, Fri noon to 10pm, Sat noon to 9pm, Dhs85. Tel: (04) 4474344. Metro: World Trade Centre.

Ali Campbell’s UB40 bring their laidback reggae flows and rhythms to Dubai on Thursday April 3. Speaking to us this week, he said: “We always have a fabulous time at Irish Village. I’ve played in the Aviation Club and the Tennis Club before. It’s an expat crowd, and you can’t get better than expat crowds as far as I’m concerned. They know all the songs, they have a thoroughly good time, and they party all night.”

Read more from Ali here.

The Irish Village, Garhoud, Dubai. Thursday, April 3, from 7pm. Taxi: Irish Village. Dhs175. 

The ESSA Sunset Open to take place on Umm Suqeim Beach on Saturday April 5, the biggest event of its kind in the region. The 2,000-strong surfing community of Dubai have had their eyes trained on the waves for the best part of a month, with contestants ready to grab their boards when surf’s up. It has been held in Dubai since 2009, but this is the first time the event has been organised by ESSA, or Emirates Sup and Surf Committee – the UAE’s first surfing committee. Competition judges will be scoring on surfing skills, including speed and technique, with trophies and surfboards up for grabs. There’s plenty for spectators to enjoy on the beach and it’s all free of charge.

Surfing in Dubai - ESSA Sunset Open

For more information on surfing in Dubai, and other brilliant boardsports, CLICK HERE.

Time to dust off those ruby slippers – The Wizard Of Oz, one of the world’s best-loved musicals, is coming to the Madinat Theatre from Thursday April 3. Featuring a cast of stars from London’s West End, the show includes classic songs Somewhere Over The Rainbow and Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead.

You can read an interview with actress Elizabeth Carter, who plays Dorothy, right here.

Wizard of Oz show in Dubai

Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, no shows on April 6 or 13, 7.30pm, matinee April 4, 11 and 18, 2.30pm, April 5 and 12, 1pm and 6pm, Dhs200. Tel: (04) 3666546. Taxi: Souk Madinat Jumeirah.

Green-fingered folk should get themselves to Downtown from Thursday April 3 to April 6 to witness the efforts of landscaping experts from around the world at the first ever Dubai International Garden Competition. Entrants were invited to demonstrate their ability to create dazzling green gardens that will flourish in spite of the UAE’s arid desert conditions. The 13 best designs will go on display at The Venue at the foot of the Burj Khalifa this weekend. Organisers Purelife say the aim of the contest is to inspire people to cultivate havens of greenery amid Dubai’s skyscrapers.

Garden festival

The Venue, Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, Thur 1pm to 10pm, Fri to Sun 10am to 10pm, free. Tel: (04) 4215959. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall.

The strains of the flamenco guitar will be twanging around Wafi from April 1 to 4 at a festival celebrating all things Spanish. Traditional dancers – led by choreographer Juan Antonio de los Reyes – are flying in from Spain for the mini festival at tapas restaurant Seville’s. The fiesta will run for four days, during which time diners can enjoy the performances while tucking into a Spanish three-course tapas menu, all washed down with a glass of Catalonian Freixenet cava.


The Wafi Pyramids, Oud Metha, Dubai, Dhs195. Tel: (04) 3244777. Taxi: Wafi Pyramids.

Short plays, sketches, stand-up comedy, improvisation, performance poetry and music – all in one action-packed evening. The inaugural revue at new venue The Courtyard Playhouse is a celebration of home-grown talent, with all acts written, produced and performed by local artists, and runs from Thursday April 3 to 5. Expect anything from a dad on a date with a girl he met in Spinney’s, to the confessions of a petrol station worker. Opened in December 2013, The Courtyard Playhouse is Dubai’s first community theatre for local performers, hosting plays and revues alongside workshops in acting, comedy and improv. Let the mayhem commence.

Courtyard Playhouse

The Courtyard Playhouse, The Courtyard, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, 8pm, Dhs50. Tel: (05) 09861761. Taxi: The Courtyard.

Grammy-nominate reggae star Wayne Wonder takes to the stage for the fifth Reggae Beachfest at Habtoor Grand, on Saturday April 5. The all-day event runs from 2pm to 3am and will see the ‘No Letting Go’ singer headline the main stage. Alongside him will be Dubai-based DJs Shero and Brooklyn, while a Jamaican cultures and food will be celebrated throughout.

XL Beach Club, Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina. Tel: (052) 9934276. Taxi: Habtoor Grand. Metro: Dubai Marina. Saturday 2pm-3am. Dhs100 in advance, Dhs125 on the door, ladies free before 6pm.

Notorious London celeb haunt Chinawhite has opened its doors in Dubai, at Grand Hyatt. The original in England’s capital city has played host to everyone from Prince Harry to Kate Moss – not to mention countless Premier League footballers and Made in Chelsea cast members. Ahead of the official opening this weekend, we spoke with co-founder Rory Keegan; you can read his illuminating interview here.

Chinawhite Dubai official opening

Ripe Market
at Safa Park, Gate 5, near The Archive café, runs every Friday 9am to 2pm. This booming weekly market has quickly devleoped a loyal following. Cooking demos, live music and kids’ entertainment in addition to fresh produce, so make a day of it. Ripe has plenty of food stalls where you can grab a snack or a coffee as you browse the fresh produce and arts and crafts.

Blue Planet Green People outside the Blue Planet Green People store, BS4, Al Seef 2, Cluster U, JLT, runs Friday 10am to 12.30pm. This JLT shop runs a weekly farmers’ market in the cooler months, with farm-fresh fruit and veg, bread and eggs along with arts and crafts. For those of you who love organic, Blue Planet Green People are all about making fresh, organic produce accessible and affordable.

Farmers’ Market On The Terrace takes place at Emirates Towers, on the terrace of the Godolphin Ballroom every Friday 9am to 1pm. A small but authentic farmers’ market under canvas awnings, with freshly picked produce, a coffee stall and a good selection of pastries and breakfast rolls from Baker and Spice. It’s good for stocking up on fruit and vegetables safe in the knowledge that you’re supporting local farmers and reducing your carbon footprint.

Comedy, magic, fire show, musical performances, aerial dance, juggling, balancing acts, bike show, and even Aliens, await visitors to Dubai Marina Mall this weekend with the fourth edition of the Street Festival, held daily from 4pm to 10pm. Taking place at the Dome Atrium inside the mall and on the Promenade, Dubai Marina Street Festival is free of charge and will feature performances by international artists coming from Italy, France, Japan, Canada, UK, USA, and Netherlands, offering a fun carnival-like ambiance for the entire family.

Dubai Marina

Breathe in the fresh air all day long at JBR’s classy new beachfront mall. Use the What’s On guide to a perfect day at The Beach.

The Beach playground

The Beach, JBR, between the Hilton Hotel and the Sheraton Hotel, Dubai. Taxi: Hilton Hotel JBR 


What’s On ‘Treatment of the Month’
This is a couple’s treatment that’s not a couple’s treatment. Allow us to explain: you and your partner are taken to separate rooms for almost identical treatments for a blissful 150 minutes. First up was a lime and ginger salt exfoliation, which left us tingling from head to toe. Next came a relaxing massage, followed by a complexion-enhancing facial. Later, we reunited with our partner in the relaxation room, looking and feeling like new. After two-and-a-half hours of pampering, there was a a lot to catch up on.

JA OceanView Hotel spa

JA Ocean View Hotel, The Walk, JBR, Dubai, daily 10am to 8pm, Dhs785. Tel: (04) 8145599. Taxi: Beside Al Fattan Tower.

Business Bay-based fitness fiends take note: a new gym has opened its doors in the Omniyat Tower. Elevation is the creation of a group of fitness enthusiasts who left their day jobs to devote themselves fully to promoting the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in the UAE. Situated on the 28th floor of the tower, Elevation Fitness is home to a team of personal trainers, the latest Technogym equipment – including an Omnia functional training station – and a lounge area with free WiFi.

Elevation gym

Omniyat Tower, Business Bay, Dubai, daily 7am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 3699940. Metro: Business Bay.

If you want to get creative with body art without any fear of regretting what design you choose, Skin Feelings can help. They’ve launched in the UAE with a range of non-permanent tattoos that last between three and four days.


NBar, Ibn Battuta Mall, Jebel Ali, Dubai, daily 9am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3669828. Metro: Ibn Battuta.

Known as ‘waka ama’ to the Maoris of New Zealand, the outrigger canoe has long been the transport of choice for Polynesian Islanders. You can try it out for yourself every Saturday morning at the Dubai Outrigger Canoe Club. Six people sit in a long, thin canoe, with an extra hull (or ‘outrigger’) for stability, and propel themselves with paddles. Hardcore competitors race over several lung-bursting kilometres, crashing through the open seas.

Dubai Outrigger Canoe Club, 1km from Kite Beach near Fishermen’s Village, Sat 10am, first session free, one-year membership Dhs1,500. Tel: (055) 9229122. Taxi: Fishermen’s Village

Stand on a board and propel yourself with a long paddle

The best thing to come out of Hawaii since the flower necklace, the ‘SUP’ went global last year and suits anyone who can stay standing on the Metro. It’s a great work-out for the back and abs, too. You can take it at a leisurely pace, or paddle fast and furious if you’re the competitive type. One-hour board rental Dhs85; one-hour express lesson Dhs125; group lesson Dhs250.

Jetsurfing in Dubai

Riva Beach Club, The Palm, Dubai, Tue to Sat 9am to 5pm, Mon 2pm to 5pm. Tel: (04) 3791998. Taxi: Shoreline Apartments, between buildings 7 and 8.

Want to know more about your spa? We spoke to four of the women behind Dubai’s best-loved spas. Check the interviews out here and then go and book something special.

Negin Fattahi-Dasmal, at 1847

Dutch fashion brand Scotch & Soda is celebrating the launch of their newest store in the region in Dubai Marina. Known for their casual separates with a quirky twist, we predict this will become our go to for all our weekend essentials.

Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai Marina, Dubai, Sat to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thur and Fri 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3997897. Metro: Dubai Marina.

We love a good concept store and were pleasantly surprised to stumble upon Iris Noir in the heart of Jumeirah. Brimming with eclectic pieces of arts, crafts and fashion from both UAE and international artists, this treasure trove aims to bring customers on a journey through Arabic culture.

Villa 827B, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 3, Sat to Thur 10am to 9pm. Tel: (04) 3389378. Taxi: Opposite Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

Ski Dubai has launched a 30-day fitness plan with the brilliant ‘Snow-robics’, a 45-minute session on the snow covered hills in sub-zero conditions. Geared at weight loss and complimented by a unique and memorable work-out experience, ‘Snow- robics’ starts this Saturday, April 5 and runs to May 3, every Saturday, Monday and Wednesday from 6.30am to 7.15am and 7.30am to 8.15 am.

To register visit

Ski Dubai


table9 by Darren Velvick
Darren Velvick has the kind of CV most chefs dream of. Back in London, Darren was head chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Pétrus, and later at Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, two of the UK’s most prestigious restaurants, with Michelin stars to match. Luckily for Dubai, Darren left the grey drizzle of England in December to head Table 9 at Hilton Dubai Creek, taking the baton from fellow Ramsay protégés Nick Alvis and Scott Price. Hype aside, Darren has quickly put his own stamp on Table 9, with fantastic European food.


Hilton Dubai Creek, Deira, Dubai, Sun to Fri 7pm to 11pm, Sat closed. Tel: (04) 2127551. Taxi: Hilton Dubai Creek. 

Brazilian restaurant Fogo Vivo has launched a men’s night, offering 12 cuts of freshly carved meat, three brews, dessert and live entertainment from a musical duo, all for Dhs295.

JA Ocean View Hotel, The Walk, JBR, Dubai, Sat 6.30 to 11.30pm, Dhs295. Tel: (04) 8145599. Metro: Jumeirah Lakes Towers. 

Serve yourself grape and pick your cheese. A fondue follows.

Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City, Tue to Thur 6pm to 10pm, Dhs164. Tel: (04) 4271000. Metro: Nakheel.

On Friday April 4, a new evening brunch is launched at Story Rooftop, Knowledge Village. Presented by Eats Retro, ‘Love Brunch’ runs from 6pm to 9pm and is priced at just Dhs350, which includes a table, bottle, mixers and unlimited food. DJs Mark Pickup and Benni T  will keep your toe tapping with their brilliant Deep House & Garage. And don’t worry about the rumoured rain, with this indoor ‘party’ brunch, you’ll be well covered.


Spanish Saturdays
Tuck in at El Sur, the vibrant Spanish hot spot at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort, if you’re in the mood for authentic Spanish Tapas with live flamenco music thrown in. The sharing style menu makes this brunch particularly social and includes favourites such as paella, garlic and chilli prawns and roasted lamb shank. It’s a great spot for the whole family and groups, especially those preferring a livelier brunch as they cling on to the last hours of the weekend.

Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort, Al Sufouh Road, Dubai, brunch served 12.30pm to 3.30pm, Dhs425 including free flowing Sangria and house drinks and Dhs295 including soft drinks, Dhs145 for children between six to 12 years and free under six years old. Tel: (04) 3997700.

Picnic Brunch
Lay back on the green, green grass at Al Badia Golf Club’s lawns at Festival City, with tables or blankets and cushions available for dining and lounging. Hampers are delivered to your table, packed with baguettes and salads, then you add to the feast with dishes from the live cooking stations. Expect ribs, sausages, cold cuts and burgers. Dessert is ice-cream, sweets and cronuts, while Pimms, beers and cocktails keep you quenched. 

Al Badia

The Lawn at Blades, Al Badia Golf Club by InterContinental Dubai Festival City, noon to 4pm. Dhs265 with soft drinks, Dhs365 with selected house beverages. Tel: (04) 7011127.

Yum Chaa
Visit Ba Restaurant & Lounge at Fairmont The Palm, a chic space inside with an alfresco terrace overlooking the beach, pool and marina skyline. As the name suggests, each Saturday afternoon Asian tapas is served in the sun, as diners can order as much as they like from a menu packed with dim sum, wok fried dishes and small bites, plus cocktails and house beverages. Guests also score all-day beach and pool access, with a brunch ‘afterparty’ on the sand.

Fairmont The Palm, The Palm, Dubai, brunch served noon to 3pm, Dhs225 with soft drinks, Dhs395 with house drinks and Dhs550 with champagne and beach cabana. Tel: (04) 4573338.

For many people living in the UAE, April is the sweet spot of the calendar year. Not too hot, not too cold with long and light evenings – perfect. This meteorological good fortune is the reason why we’ve given you our essential guide to enjoying the best of the outdoors.

For more on our April issue, click here.