SIX ALTERNATIVE PICNIC EXPERIENCES TO TRY
Desert picnic at Al Wadi Desert at The Ritz-carlton Ras Al Khaimah
Make a road trip of it and head to the northernmost emirate in the country, and get lost in the desert (well, not literally) by heading out into the Al Wadi Desert on two wheels. The Ritz-carlton Ras Al Khaimah offers a desert bike adventure before the sun sets where you’ll mount a couple of off-road fatbikes (which are specially designed desert bikes) and head off into the sunset, sort of. You’ll also be able to dovetail said bike-riding with a picnic experience out in this protected wildlife and nature reserve. You’ll have earned your grub, and it will really help you connect with the countryside.
→ Prices and timings vary. The Ritz-carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Ras Al Khaimah (07 206 7777).
Picnic baskets from Tania’s Teahouse
This charming little café and eatery in Jumeirah offers up a picnic hamper worth rushing for, if only so you can really relax with some lovely grub once you’ve got your hands on one. You can order a range of snacks, food and drinks from the Teahouse’s menu, and have them packed for you in a beach basket, which also comes with blankets, sun cream and drinks canisters to keep your cold drinks ice cool for the day. It will cost you per item, so prices vary depending on what your order from the menu, and each basket also comes with a Dhs200 deposit, so take good care of the hamper if you want to see your dirhams returned to you safe and sound.
→ Open Sun-wed 8am-10pm, Thu 8am-midnight, Fri-sat 9am-midnight. Jumeirah Beach Road (04 324 0021).
Picnic Brunch at Waldorf Astoria
For a further afield picnic experience, there’s a Ras Al Khaimah-based picnic brunch for you to try. Head out to the Waldorf Astoria Picnic Brunch on a Friday, where you’ll be able to get an afternoon on the beach or in the hotel’s pristinely manicured garden by the pool, where you’ll get an unlimited pick of picnicky treats and drinks from Dhs275 for soft drinks. Running from 1pm until 4pm, you’ll also get beach and pool access included, with the option to hang out in a private cabana, too.
→ Dhs275 (soft drinks), Dhs345 (house drinks) – excluding five percent VAT and 10 percent service charge. Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, Ras Al Khaimah (07 203 5555).
Picnic Pantry Brunch at Crowne Plaza Dubai
A brunch where you can kick off your shoes and not worry about fellow brunchers giving you the raised eyebrow for a perceived lack of brunching decorum. Every Friday, the lawns of Dubai Festival City are kitted out like a picnic gathering, and the whole brunch adheres to this theme, which makes us giddy with childlike excitement. Get your hands on some corn-on-the-cob, chicken, prawns and more from live cooking stations, plenty of salads, potato dishes, greens and desserts are readily available too. There’s live music and some really chilled-out vibes to be found.
→ Dhs245 (soft drinks); Dhs345 (mixed drinks); free (children under 12). Fri 12.30pm-4pm. Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City (04 701 1127).
Pik-nik at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
Well, if it calls itself the “ultimate picnic basket”, then we’re officially intrigued. The Mina Gardens at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina has welcomed the return of Pik-nik, a brunch on the lawn which takes place every Saturday from noon until 5pm. Kick back on the lawn, lounge around in a beanbag or grab a table and get a huge picnic basket filled with salads, meats, cheeses, breads and sweets for Dhs250, which is enough for two adults and two kids. There are also tonnes of other options, including a family beach pass for Dhs595 (with a picnic basket).
→ Dhs250. Sat noon-5pm. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh (04 511 7373).
Urban Picnic Brunch at Vida Downtown
Picnic baskets on arrival at this brunch which combines a traditional hamper-and-blanket afternoon with a classic Dubai brunch. Get your hands on fresh pizzas, sandwiches, pastries, salads, breads and cheeses to stuff into your basket, then also go round and say hello to the live stations including barbecue meats, freshly baked potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, seafood and more. Then head to an outdoor table on the grass, or get there early, nab a cabana and jump in the pool (once your food has gone down).
→ Dhs295 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (house beverages). Fri 1pm-5pm. Vida Downtown, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 428 6888).