15 new things Dubai welcomed in 2023
How many of these places have you checked out already?
In the ever-changing cityscape of Dubai, 2023 has brought in a load of new and exciting things. From iconic hotels to music festivals, and family-friendly days out to wellness spots, here are just some of the highlights from this year in Dubai.
Here are 15 new things Dubai welcomed in 2023:
Atlantis The Royal
During the opening weekend of this remarkable address on the Palm Jumeirah in January, international A-Listers strutted the navy carpet, celebrity chefs showered guests with their top culinary creations, and a dazzling fireworks display was preluded by the only thing that could have been as wow-worthy: a performance from global icon, Beyoncé. The ultra-luxe hotel boasts no less than 15 restaurants including Michelin star-awarded Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and the world’s first Nobu beach club, as well as a total of 90 swimming pools. With its wondrous culinary, leisure and wellness array, coupled with an attention to detail that’s both meticulous and subtle, Atlantis The Royal might just be the world’s fanciest place to stay.
Atlantis The Royal, Crescent Rd, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Tel: (0)4 426 3000, atlantis.com/atlantis-the-royal
St Regis Gardens
As if the culinary array on the Palm Jumeirah wasn’t all-taste pleasing enough, a new dining destination has arrived… What you may know as Nakheel Mall rooftop transformed into the St Regis Gardens, a culinary extension of The St Regis Dubai, The Palm. Here, hotel guests and Dubai residents can dine at an array of top restaurants, with big international names opening alongside homegrown gems. Some venues are already open including Signor Sassi, Tresind Studio, and Chez Wam, while others are set to debut in the coming months.
Tiffany & Co. Blue Box Café
And I said, “What about breakfast at Tiffany’s“?… The iconic Tiffany and Co. Blue Box Café opened its doors in Dubai Mall for the first time in October. The famed spot is opening its doors at The Dubai Mall at the Grand Atrium entrance next to the Tiffany and Co. store. Behind this dazzling new cafe, the renowned jewellery brand teams up with Rikas Hospitality Group, the creators of concepts including Twiggy, La Cantine and Mimi Kakushi. Of course, it would be impossible for the Blue Box Café not to serve the famously chic Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which will elevate the first meal of the day with a menu of French-inspired New York classics. In the afternoon, Tea at Tiffany’s will be a fabulous occasion to elongate an afternoon with your nearest and dearest.
Blue Box Café, Tiffany & Co. Dubai Mall, Dubai, Daily 10am to 12am. @blueboxcafedubai
Leo & Loona
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In September, we said hello to Leo & Loona, a huge new indoor play area inside Dubai Festival City Mall. The space is designed for children aged between three and 10 years old and features pedal go-karts, trampolines, climbing walls, a foam pit, a ball pool, a magic sandbox, space rockets, glow-in-the-dark slides, and more. In other words: endless hours of fun. While the children blow off some steam, parents can sit and watch or get some work done from the trendy dining area.
Dubai Festival City Mall, second floor (opp. Fabyland), Dubai. Monday to Thursday, 10am to 11pm. Friday to Sunday, 10am to 12am. Dhs179 weekdays, Dhs229 weekends. Tel:(0)4 894 7117. leoloona.ae
We also welcomed a new wellness space, yoga retreat, and wholesome eatery to a quaint villa in Jumeirah. Open since May, Samadhi Wellness 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. The female-led wellness oasis is self-described as the “middle space between work and home”, and invites guests to connect, flow, replenish life balance, manage stress, and avoid burnout.
Chinatown Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall said ni hao to the highly-anticipated fully-indoor Chinatown in March. As well as the neon lights and lanterns that have already taken social media by storm, there’s a food court with affordable fast food restaurants including Hawker Chan, a Singaporean restaurant that is known for offering the world’s most affordable Michelin-star meals. While not all the kiosks and restaurants are trading just yet, there are more than enough open to make exploring it worthwhile, with a range of spas, shops, and restaurants serving Singaporean classics, Chinese specialities and dim sum favourites. Here is our foodie guide to Chinatown in Dubai Mall.
Chinatown Dubai Mall, opposite Dubai Ice Rink, daily 10am to midnight. thedubaimall.com
Dubai Islands Beach
Just before summer – shortly after HH Sheikh Mohammed approved plans to increase Dubai’s public beaches by 400 per cent by 2040 – Dubai welcomed a dreamy new dog-friendly beach, Dubai Islands Beach. The free-to-access public beach is open from sunrise to sunset and is located on Dubai’s northern shoreline past Port Rashid, just a hop, skip, and jump from Centara Mirage Beach Resort and Hotel Riu Dubai. Not only is this another perfect place to score a few tan lines but there are also plenty of outdoor activities and facilities to make for the perfect day out. Beachgoers can play beach volleyball or football, as well as get out into the water on a paddleboard or a kayak. Water sports enthusiasts can participate in a variety of non-motorised water activities.
Dubai Islands Beach, Dubai Islands, near Deira past port Rashid, open 24/7 daily, free to access, pet friendly.
November marked an exciting milestone for literature enthusiasts in Dubai as Fiker Institute unveiled its new politics and culture library at the city’s cultural hub, Alserkal Avenue. Founded two years ago by Emirati author Dubai Abulhoul, Fiker Institute has been on a mission to reshape the global narrative surrounding Arabs and the Middle East and has steadily evolved into a driving force for change. Focused on politics and culture, the collection of over 15,000 bilingual books challenges visitors to question assumptions about world history, global politics, and culture. Starting with 40 book categories, the space promises to be a ‘living library’ that continuously evolves with the suggestions and support of the community.
Fiker Institute, Warehouse 88, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai. 10am to 7pm. Closed on Mondays. @fikerinstitute
Dubai Crocodile Park
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Dubai welcomed 250 snappy Nile crocodiles to Dubai Crocodile Park at Mushrif Park in April. The year-round attraction features a museum, family-friendly attractions, and crocs – from hatchlings to full adult-sized crocodiles – in its 20 thousand square metre facility. Tickets can be purchased at the door. It’s Dhs95 per adult and Dhs75 per child.
The Dubai Crocodile Park, Mushrif Park, open daily from 10am to 10pm. Dhs95 per adult, Dhs75 children aged 3 to 12.
Boom Battle Bar
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The lively Boom Battle Bar is a popular spot in the UK for its epic games of crazy golf, axe-thowing, darts, shuffleboard, beer (and prosecco) pong, and more. For their first international outpost, Boom Battle Bar chose Dubai and opened its doors back in July in the DoubleTree by Hilton JBR on The Walk. Whether you want to come and sing your heart out in the karaoke room, or get competitive over a game of axe throwing (easy on the drinks ahead of that one), this is the place to go. Alongside the array of fun-filled entertainment, the games bar has an array of street food-inspired grazing plates, like nachos, jalapeno poppers, wings, and more.
Boom Battle Bar Dubai, DoubleTree by Hilton JBR, The Walk. Open Sun to Thu 4pm to 1am and Fri and Sat 4pm to 2am. @boom.dxb
Banyan Tree Dubai
Five years after first opening in Dubai, Caesars Palace Dubai said so long to Bluewaters. As of November, the hotel is officially known as the Banyan Tree Dubai. Because Banyan Tree is renowned for its wellness offering, a BanyanTree Spa will be a huge part of the offering at Banyan Tree Dubai. At this oasis of pampering, expect indoor and outdoor yoga spaces, a relaxation area, gym, mini rainforests, hydrotherapy pools and treatment rooms. The new Banyan Tree Dubai will be repositioned in phases however guests can already book to stay over with room rates starting from Dhs2,450 per night.
Banyan Tree Dubai, Bluewaters, Dubai. Tel:(0)4 556 6666. banyantree.com
Dubai Fashion Week
The first-ever Dubai Fashion Week took place in Dubai Design District in March this year. Formerly known as Arab Fashion Week, the inaugural show opened a new chapter for the region’s fashion industry. As the region’s fashion hub, Dubai is keen to cement itself as a global creative and fashion capital in-line with the likes of Paris, Milan, London, and New York. From runway shows to pop-up, exhibitions to workshops, the show featured regional and international designers including Jean Paul Gaultier, Moschino, Iris Van Herpen, Bouguessa, Amato, Bhype, and The Giving Movement.
Tucked away in Nad Al Sheeba, Keturah Reserve is a stunning new luxury real estate development and wellness destination. A fusion of modernity, simplicity, and nature, Keturah Reserve’s array of apartments, townhouses, leisure and retail facilities are still under construction, but some elements opened up to the public earlier this year, including The Matcha Club’s padel experience, Fiya restaurant by the legendary chef Hattem Mattar, homegrown pizza joint PINZA, and currently, a taco pop-up on the rooftop by Lila Taqueria. There’s no surprise the spot is quickly becoming the go-to place for foodies.
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Looking for a pool day that both the children and adults will love? Say hello to Twiggy Family, a new family-friendly beach club from the masterminds behind Dubai’s adult-only beach club, Twiggy by La Cantine. Also located within the Park Hyatt Dubai, Twiggy Family took over the hotel’s Al Porto lagoon, with a stunning 100-metre pool that stretches around the Dubai Creek Marina. As well as the luxurious lagoon lined by sunbeds, there’s a fun splash pad, play area, inflatables, a refreshing pool menu, a bar, and a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant.
Twiggy Family, Park Hyatt Dubai, Dubai Creek. Daily, 9am to sunset. Dhs200 (weekdays), Dhs250 (weekends), and from Dhs100 (children). Children under five years old go free. Tel:(0)4 602 1105. @twiggyfamilydxb
Renowned music festival Elrow XXL landed in Dubai for two epic days of partying in February. Headlining the event at Dubai Design District, an incredible line-up of DJs included Armand Van Helden, Idris Elba, Sam Devine and Sonny Fodera. The brand brought the humongous and colourful El Traingulo de las Rowmudas stage to the Middle East for the first time. With a pirate ship at the centre, it was backdropped by the picturesque Dubai Canal creating an epic canvas for one of the city’s most extravagant events. The location for the 2024 edition has also been confirmed, with the epic festival heading this year to Dubai Media City Amphitheatre.