How Dubai is becoming a hub for wellness (and where to search for serenity)
Beyond the skyscrapers…
Widely known for its gleaming skyscrapers, high-end restaurants, and ‘Dubai Bling’ lifestyle, there’s a lot more to Dubai than might meet the eye. Because despite what others may believe, Dubai residents don’t spend every weekend dining in DIFC or aboard a party yacht (as much as we would love that too).
From hiking to paddle boarding, guided art classes to ice baths, there are plenty of other options for people seeking wellness. And, as much as we love wining and dining in the emirate as much as the next person, Dubai is also a great place to relax, rejuvenate, and unwind.
With year-round sun, low crime rates, and stunning blue flag beaches, there’s a reason it was voted the second-best city in the world to live in for expats…
So without further ado, here are our top picks for wellness lovers in Dubai:
The Matcha Club
The Matcha Club is a boutique padel club that can be found in two locations across Dubai: Meydan and Al Quoz. The design-led club – with its terracotta courts, burnt-orange fencing, olive trees, and Mediterranean aesthetic – swiftly became the city’s iconic wellness lifestyle hub. From yoga and meditation classes to hip restaurants and cold water pools, it is the place to be for padel pros, wellness enthusiasts, and yogis as well as digital nomads and stylish young families.
Hatta Honeybee Garden
Between the beautiful Hatta mountains, experience the life of a beekeeper for the day at this honeybee farm just over an hour away from Dubai. With beekeeper suits on, visitors can get close to one of the 300 hives and learn about the fascinating creatures, as well as try and buy the unfiltered honey.
Blue flag beaches
In Dubai, the public beach runs for 21km, almost the entire length of the city. Perfect for Dubai residents looking to spend time in nature. Some of those beaches also have the acclaimed Blue Flag. The Blue Flag is a universally used sign and is awarded to beaches and marinas that meet the strict criteria for the cleanliness of water quality, environmental education, environmental management, and safety. These flags in Dubai can so far be seen at Jumeirah 1, 2, and 3 beaches as well as Umm Suqeim 1 and 2 beaches.
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has approved a plan to increase Dubai’s public beaches by 400 per cent. The length of the emirate’s public beaches will increase from 21km to 105km by 2040.
Emirates Bio Farm
Emirates Bio Farm is the largest privately-owned organic farm in the UAE, located between Dubai and Al Ain amidst the red desert dunes of Al Shuwaib. The farm is built on the ethos of sustainability, which applies to crop rotation, use of pesticides, right to the packaging of fruits and veggies sold from the farm. The farm has created a complete visitor experience, which includes a farm shop, outside dining and seating area, experience center, greenhouse restaurant as well as an Arabian tent overlooking the farm and open desert dunes. During visiting hours, you can hop on a tractor ride, walk the fields, feed friendly goats, or pick up seasonal fruits and veggies. There’s also the Farmer’s Table restaurant, serving organic juices, fresh salads and veggie delights. You can pre-buy tickets for Dhs45 online, with under threes entering for free.
Mushrif National Park
First opened in 1974, Mushrif National Park is one of the largest green spaces in Dubai spanning more than 5.25 square kilometres with a forest of over 70,000 ghaf trees. There’s a 10-kilometre hiking trail, a 5-kilometre walking, cycling and jogging track as well as two 25-metre swimming pools and basketball, volleyball and handball courts. For many, however, the highlight is the Aventura Nature Adventure Park. Located amidst the forest of Ghaf trees, this high ropes adventure course offers everything from zip lining to rope course challenges.
There are plenty of pilates studios in Dubai and the full-body, low-impact workout has a long list of mental and physical benefits. Posture promises a mind-body-soul experience offering reformer, cadillac, and mat pilates for all levels. Located on the Golden Mile, Palm Jumeirah the Balearic-style studio honors the original style of Joseph Pilates and has a strong focus on form and core, rather than simply burning calories, and an emphasis on strength and mobility in all their signature classes.
Surf House Dubai
This surfer’s paradise serves healthy eats and piping hot coffee, that can be enjoyed after a morning swim on the beach, or after rolling out of bed. With a wide array of choices which infuse international flavours, all diners can enjoy some of the best acai bowls in town, healthy porridges, avo on toast, a wide choice of poke bowls, salads and more. Surf House invites people to come and use their space to work and you can even bring your four-legged friends.
Serving nature-inspired plant-based deliciousness, this vegan café and concept store is a hidden sanctuary in the heart of Jumeirah 1. A home away from home, you can take your shoes off and sit on the ground in the magical garden, explore the library, or take part in one of the wellness sessions from sound healing to Reiki. Seva is a beautiful escape from city life and a must-visit for all wellness lovers (must try: mango lassi!).
Brimming with art, music, food, and wellness experiences, you’ll find inspiration on every corner of Alserkal Avenue. The trendy district is packed with homegrown cafés, art galleries, hands-on activities, and more. From painting workshops at The JamJar to perfume workshops at Oo La Lab, a vegan pizza from Wild and the Moon to a matcha latte from The Edit, you could spend all day exploring and eating your way around Dubai’s cultural hub.
This upcycled café, located in Alskeral, prides itself on its positive environmental impact. All crockery, cutlery, and materials are either recycled or upcycled, they don’t offer takeaways to minimise waste on packaging, and even the restaurant was built using recycled wood salvaged from different places. Kave encourages guests to bring their own cups to help them in their mission to reduce unnecessary waste. The menu is also kind to the environment and our bodies, filled with wholesome and healthy ingredients.
Hit the paus button at this gorgeous villa-turned-café and wellness studio in Umm Suqeuim. Paus has daily classes, from hip-hop yoga to sound healing, as well as detox treatments, workshops, all-day breakfast, healthy dishes, and coffee, plus you can also rent out their event space. What to order? Ask for an iced matcha latte and the all-day breakfast fry-up (which can also be made vegan).
Museum of the Future
Museum of the Future, the most beautiful building in the world, has a whole floor dedicated to the future of wellness called Al Waha. You are encouraged to disconnect from technology and reconnect with your mind, body, and soul. Experience the meditative benefits of water, immerse yourself in vibrations, and stimulate all your senses with the intimate surroundings.
One of Dubai’s leading aesthetic clinics, located in Umm Suqeim in the heart of Jumeirah, has its first ‘healthness’ centre dedicated to personalised and preventative therapies for beauty from within. The new concept supports longevity, nutrition, and sleep with a team of experts on hand to help you find the best combination of biohacking therapies and advanced technologies. We recommend trying the Triple Detox iDome, Soma sleep therapy, and the diamond glow facial.
New Earth Café
Spend your morning surrounded by palm trees and sunshine at this stunning hidden gem. From smoothie bowls to avo toast, superfood lattes to affirmation juices, New Earth Café is a conscious eatery located in the green heart of Dubai, Al Barari, serving simple, honest food that nurtures and nourishes.
The highest 360º infinity pool in the world, located on the 50th floor of St Regis on the Palm, is an ideal place to destress and boasts some of the best views of Dubai. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, you can take part in a morning yoga session at 8am followed by a delicious breakfast in the lounge area. This once-in-a-lifetime experience offers a peaceful way to see Dubai from the clouds.
Samadhi, Jumeirah’s zen wellness space features two types of yoga studios, Reflect, with infrared heaters, and Connect, which extends into the garden in the cooler months; as well as a sauna, stunning pool, ice bath, hair therapy rooms, sanctuary garden, wholesome café, and a shop. Inviting guests to come for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the clean eatery serves wholesome mains, smoothie bowls, vegan-friendly dishes, salads, detox juices, coffee, matcha, homemade truffles, and more.
Leading the way in sustainable dining, Michelin Green Star-awarded Lowe is part of the wave of radical Dubai restaurants helping the industry make major steps towards being greener while still producing incredible food. Lowe has a firm focus on reducing waste, sourcing local and giving back to its community. Think nose-to-tail dining, using leftover peels in recipes and fermentation, and avoiding single-use plastic. Lowe even has its own vegetable garden in their backyard.
Koa Canvas, Wadi Al Safa 3. Tel: (0)4 320 1890. @lowedxb
Dubai 2040 Urban Masterplan
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has a clear vision in mind for the city over the next two decades. The vision includes developing vibrant, healthy, and inclusive communities, doubling green and leisure areas as well as public parks to provide a healthy environment for residents and visitors. Public beach areas will also increase by 400 per cent over the next 20 years and 60 per cent of Dubai’s area will be nature reserves.
By 2040, Dubai is going to be home to a 93km city-wide climate-controlled urban highway called The Loop, which will connect residents across the city. This means that year-round, you’ll be able to walk and cycle around Dubai. Goodbye summer sweat. The project will feature sustainable and eco-friendly technologies, urban agriculture, parks, and amenities for surrounding residents, committing to being a sustainable and zero-emissions transport system.