This long-time Dubai dweller shares her top spots… 

Each month, we ask residents to share a guide to the UAE through their eyes, from their must-try restaurants and standout attractions to favourite staycations and hidden gems.

This month, we chat with Butheina Kazim (@butheinahk), founder of Cinema Akil (@cinemaakil), all-things-arthouse-extraordinaire, and Dubai dweller for over 30 years.

Here she shares some of her top spots that you need on your radar.

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Park Hyatt Dubai pool

I love spending time at the home I’ve created. But if I had to pick my favourite staycation, it would be the Park Hyatt Dubai. It’s one of my favourite hotels in Dubai because of the architecture, the facilities, and the sanctuary being by the Dubai Creek waterfront, which is one of the most underestimated spots in the city.


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 Butheina Kazim - where to go

Aside from visiting Alserkal Avenue and coming to Cinema Akil, I think everyone should experience spending time in the desert, especially if you have friends who are from town and know their way around. Everyone brings food and you start a bonfire, which is a beautiful way to appreciate how close the city is to nature.

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beach generic

When the weather is nice, walking in the UAE is underestimated. One of my favourite walks is along the beach near the Mandarin Oriental. In that area, you can find what I like to call ‘neighbourhood beaches’ – patches of public coastline with connected boardwalks where you can easily wander for a few hours.

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I truly believe there is no bad time to take a walk around the neighbourhoods in Satwa. If you wander around the back alleys and in between the houses, you will find not only some of the most interesting architecture in the city but also shops and little secrets within every corner.

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 Butheina Kazim - Where to eat - Shabestan

A family favourite restaurant that I have been going to for decades now is Shabestan at the Radisson Blu in Deira. The experience is best accompanied by a walk around the neighbourhood and on the creek before heading for a hearty Iranian meal.

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Somali Mosque

In Deira, near the Somali Mosque, there’s a street, almost like a strip, that has some of the best Ethiopian coffee shops, eateries, and braiding spots. This was a really cool find because it’s not only amazing coffee but also super cute and charming stores within the old shopping area of Dubai.