The UAE according to Candy Fanucci…

Each month, we ask residents to share a guide to the UAE through their eyes, from their favourite places to hidden gems, must-try dishes and local brands they love. This month, we chat to Candy Fanucci, founder of surf life-saving and community group, Here, she shares insights and recommendations, from her more than twenty years putting smiles on Dubai faces.

Where I stay

I love anywhere with a connection to nature – the Hatta Fort Hotel where we go hiking and the peacocks roam free. Also the Anantara Sir Bani Yas Resort which is home to the most incredible wildlife including gazelle, giraffe and even cheetah all roaming free on the island. It’s not quite Africa but it’s a taste of home for me


My favourite hidden gems

I love the little places that make Dubai tick. Xparkjr is a play area for kids but it’s also my office and I get to take care of the animals. The Umm Suqeim night swimming beach is a complete gem. And we recently discovered Eleven Green for the best burgers.


Where I recharge

I switch off through exercise and my favourite new thing is Padel – it’s a great way to unwind even though you’re running around! WPA in Al Quoz is my second home. I’ve also got into ice-baths every Sunday morning with Mr Ice on Kite beach. Sitting in a tub of ice, focusing solely on breathing is a great way to switch off!


My favourite breakfast spot

When the weather is good there’s nothing better than a breakfast picnic on the beach. Gecko cafe on Kite Beach where we train does a cute acai bowl which I take down to the water’s edge.


Where I road trip to

I know I’m biased but I’m passionate about getting more people outside. We’re so lucky here, the coastline is just simpy stunning. But I’m also quite new to desert camping and it’s a pretty magical experience to be out amongst the dunes and under the stars.

My favourite places to take the family

I’m still blown away by the gorgeous skies over Kite Beach at the end of our sunset session – surrounded by my Pirates Surf community, it’s my happy place. Even after 13 years of coaching I never take a day or sunset for granted.


Images: Provided