These are our favourite things in the UAE right now…

Getting pampered in style at… Serenity Spa

I make no secret of the fact that I’m a stress head – always worrying about something, planning something else. But I’m making a conscious effort to try and switch-off more. So I was very happy to check-out Portuguese-born Serenity Spa’s debut Dubai wellness spot at Fairmont The Palm. An expansive haven of calm and relaxation, I felt the stress meld away the centre I entered the reception. They offer gorgeous relaxation areas and spa facilities for men, women, and couples, and after a signature ‘Senses of Dubai’ treatment that included an indulgent pearl body wrap (using actual crushed pearl), I got to switch off and enjoy the calm in one of their luxe private spa suites, complete with its own bubbling jacuzzi and lovely views of Dubai Harbour. It was an afternoon of pure bliss. – Alice Holtham, Group Editor

@serenityspa.ae

Upgrading weekday lunches at… 11 Woodfire

 

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I seldom get out of the office for lunch. Mostly, because I’ve been on the same meal plan for more than six months now, and I’m trying to stick to a strict calorie intake – at least in the week – while I countdown to my wedding. But I broke my usual rule of no mid-week indulgences for a catch-up at 11 Woodfire, and it was worth every calorie. I’ve been a big fan of Chef Akmal Anuar’s cuisine from his days at 3Fils, so I couldn’t wait to see what his Michelin Star, wood fire-focused menu was like – and I wasn’t disappointed. The restaurant, set in a villa in Jumeirah, is grand and grown-up, matched by a menu of sharing plates that put locally sourced and premium ingredients centre stage. The salmon carpaccio with caviar cream was a real highlight, as were the scallops with foie gras and corn puree. But be sure to leave room for dessert – the creme brulee is one of the best I’ve ever had. – Alice Holtham, Group Editor

@11woodfire

Enjoying sundowner sips at… L’Amo Bistrò del Mare

With your back to the Marina, eyes locked on the hazy horizon beyond the limits of Dubai Harbour, you really could convince yourself that you’re soaking up rays on some water-edged enclave of the Italian Riviera. It’s a feeling that’s magnified in the twilight hours, which for me makes it the capital of sundowner spots in the city. And there are now several options for where to plonk yourself to take advantage of this still, under-appreciated district, but I’ll always argue for L’Amo Bistrò del Mare. Their special Thursday to Saturday (5pm to 8pm) Al Calar Del Sole (as the sun goes down) cocktail and mocktail menu contains a flavour palate that is the prefect pairing for Mediterranean day dreams. – Miles Buckeridge, Deputy Editor, What’s On Dubai

@lamobistrodelmare

Trying to teach myself the art of… Cryptic Crosswords

Pick – Crosswords. Ick – Cryptic Crosswords. They say golf is the best way to spoil a nice walk, well adding to a supplementary level of enigma to an already deliberately obscure crossword clue just immediately saps the dregs of fun from it. But, again – like golf, there is something inexplicably addictive about the level of unrewarding complexity. So I’ve committed myself to the, what I understand is a multi-year journey, of becoming fluent in cryptic crosswords. Why? I can’t rule out the idea that its subconscious allure to smug-ery. So if you wan’t to know where I’ll be over the Eid Break, see the clue for three down, nine letters ‘place of waiting, oddly urgent cry heard by the guard (9)’. – Miles Buckeridge, Deputy Editor, What’s On Dubai

Getting creative at home over Eid with… Artme

 

 

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People normally always assume that just because I love art (looking and reading about it), I am good at creating it. They couldn’t be more wrong. However, it is something I am looking to get better at. So over Eid I am turning my attention to getting my art on at home with the help of Artme. The box includes everything I need from ceramics to paint tubes, brushes and palettes. Thankfully, besides this, there is no instruction manual which means you can go as crazy as you want, and you won’t be wrong. I’ve tried paint and grape sessions before, and it helps me zone out. After a busy Q1 season, it’s something I am looking forward to doing. – Aarti Saundalkar, Online Reporter

@artme_ae

Heading over to Sharjah to try a new experience… The Big Balloon Ride

It’s been a minute since I visited another emirate, but it has been a long while since I ventured into Sharjah. And it’s something I can’t help but get excited about. Not only is it home to many museums and cultural attractions but there’s a new experience at the popular Al Majaz Waterfront – The Big Balloon Ride. It’s launching over Eid and I’ve been told that the views are pretty sweet no matter what time of day you visit. I can’t wait to check it out. And when I do, I will be sure to post a video on it on the ‘Gram. Stay tuned. – Aarti Saundalkar, Online Reporter

@bigballoonride

Making the most of the school holidays at… Motiongate

If you’re a parent in Dubai and you’re wondering how to keep the little ones occupied during Eid week, this is your sign to book a day at Motiongate theme park. I genuinely can’t remember the last time I had this much fun. We visited last week, during spring break, and were pleasantly surprised by the minimal queues which allowed us to jump back on our favourite rides again and again. Despite initial concerns that the park might cater more to older children, my five-year-old found plenty of excitement with most rides and rollercoasters requiring a minimum height of just 105cm. Make sure you head to DreamWorks to meet Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar, and – my personal highlight of the day – flying alongside Toothless inside How To Train Your Dragon land. Smurf’s World is also well-worth a visit especially if you have younger children with fun toddler-friendly rides and play zones. My son’s favourite ride of the day was The Green Hornet rollercoaster over in the Lionsgate zone, where you’ll also find the Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs river expedition – a splashy adventure guaranteed to make you giggle. If time allows, make sure you check out The Hunger Games 4D hovercraft simulator experience – I’m still trying to figure out what was real and what was not. A truly memorable and captivating day out for the whole family! – Tamara Wright, Online Reporter

@motiongatedubai

Indulging in the ultimate girl dinner at… Franky’s Pizzeria

Up on the rooftop of the The Park in JLT, above Splendour Fields and Hawkerboi, Franky’s is the latest opening brought to us by homegrown heavyweight, EATX. The authentic Italian pizzeria serves a simple yet delicious menu with stunning views over the JLT and Dubai Marina skyline, perfect for sundowners and alfresco dinners. Must-tries include the stracciatella service (Dhs115) to start, served with fried bread, pickles, olives, fermented chili, bresaola, shaved melon, and more – it’s the ultimate girl dinner. Franky’s famous meatballs (Dhs99) and Nonna’s arancini (Dhs46) also went down a treat. Sip on an aperol spritz while you wait for the starters to go down before ordering the anchovy pizza (Dhs86) – truly iconic. Ditch dessert for a sgroppino, a fun and boozy prosecco-based alternative served with a scoop of lemon sorbet inside. – Tamara Wright, Online Reporter

Copping a pair of Gazelles in under three hours thanks to… Ounass

It’s a dangerous game when I now know that I can have brand-new sneakers delivered to my house in under three hours. But listen – these weren’t a want; they were a need. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a Nike over Adidas girl, but there’s room for all in my shoe collection – and I really mean all. I was in need of an Adidas clothing item for an iftar in the desert (See Manaal’s loves) and so naturally the sneakerhead in me instantly went on the look for Sambas or Gazelles and when I found this beautiful pair of Gazelles in pink and green I knew it was an instant match made in heaven. Worried about my shoes arriving in time, I ordered them on Ounass and in less than three hours I received a message to say that my shoes had arrived. I’d love to know what the Ounass fulfilment centre looks like because that was some futuristic, instant delivery, organised like a boss kind of service. – Shelby Gee, Junior Reporter

@ounass / @adidasdubai

Obsessing over a song that I don’t even understand with… Abu

Living in the Middle East for almost 11 years has meant that I am exposed to all kinds of wonderful artists, songs and genres of music that little me could have only dreamed about. It’s not an entirely new song, but the track has recently been playing through the speakers of nightclubs yet again and has been all over my TikTok is 3 Daqat by Abu – and it’s one of my new favourite jams. Can I understand a single word? Well with my limited Arabic thanks to school – yes, I’d say a solid 10 words. Do I jam to it in the car? At least three times on repeat (See what I did there?). – Shelby Gee, Junior Reporter

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Conquering camel-related firsts at the…Adidas x Namshi Iftar at Nara Desert Escape

I rode a camel for the very first time this past weekend. I also held an actual falcon and had mocktails made with date syrup and Vimto – so that’s something. A day of many firsts, my Adidas x Namshi Iftar at Nara Desert Escape. Located in the heart of the dunes, this retreat was really the perfect spot for the event – the weather was perfect, the set-up was stunning and the Namshi team had a whole bunch of super fun activities planned for all (took home a sweet customised T-shirt). There’s something really special about candlelit tables, a Middle Eastern majlis and a night sky full of stars. I had the best time ever with some pretty cool people. – Manaal Fatimah, Junior Reporter

@naraescape

Hosting… Iftar and Suhoor parties

Our house is one that is always filled with people. Guests galore, short haul, long haul, all kinds of durations. With Ramadan here, the hosting is taken up a notch and it’s one of my favourite bits of the whole month. We’ve recently had a spate of back-to-back Iftar and Suhoor parties (not much sleep around these parts) and I can honestly say I’ll miss this time very much. Of course, we whip up a feast, but we also dress up and mingle and gossip and make some pretty awesome memories. It’s just a wholesome time. – Manaal Fatimah, Junior Reporter

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