Through my eyes: The UAE according to Samantha Wood
Samantha Wood shares her guide to life in the UAE…
Each month, we ask Dubai residents to share a guide to the UAE through their eyes. Their favourite places, hidden gems, must-try dishes and local brands they love.
This month, we chat to Samantha Wood (@foodiva), founder of impartial restaurant review website FooDiva.net and curator of dining experiences. After living in Dubai for 24 years, she shares her tips to making the most of UAE life.
Six Senses Zighy Bay is my favourite UAE staycation spot. Strictly speaking, it’s in Oman, however, given the two-hour drive from Dubai, in my book, this resort qualifies as local. Having returned so many times since my first visit back in 2011, I’ve lost count. A combination of pool villas, outdoor showers, endless beach for long strolls, five-star butler service and utter serenity makes this resort extra special.
A traditional Chinese massage at Yin Yang Connection Spa is my favourite hidden gem. I frequent the JBR branch for a no-frills, deep-tissue treatment by Bonnie that alleviates muscular aches. If I am feeling lazy, then I’ll book an at-home massage with Kaina Home or Solace Home Spa.
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One restaurant that is close to my Greek-Cypriot heart is Mythos – the OG in JLT. Delicious mezze morsels aside and a wallet-friendly Greek wine list, plus the warmth of the service, set this restaurant apart.
Switch off here
To switch off I love a pool day, preferably an adults-only pool with low-volume music. I love La Baie’s pool at the Ritz-Carlton on JBR Walk where swimming aside, I spend the day reading. A piña colada at the swim-up bar is mandatory. I’ll end the day with a sundowner at the hotel’s beach-fronted Latino restaurant Tamoka – paired with a choripan (Argentinian chorizo hot dog).
My recent discovery is Josette, a French restaurant in DIFC with a Parisian-style, roaring 20s theme, complete with the most mesmerising singers and dancers, tap dancing included all the way from France. I love the press for Champagne button that actually works by lighting up the table number at the bar. This is classic French brasserie-style fare with an odd twist.