Another year over
What will Dubai look like in 2019? Tim Skinner previews 36 things to look forward to
And a new one just begun. We take a look at what’s coming up in Dubai in 2019. Looking good, The Royal Atlantis
We’ve nearly ripped off 365 leaves from our daily calendar, Christmas has been and gone we’re already staring into 2019.
As we celebrate the the decade’s final year, it’s time to get our collective noggins around what will be coming to Dubai in the next 12 months. From top concerts, to new concert venues, from the world’s biggest Ferris wheel to space-bound Emiratis – this is everything we know so far about what 2019 has in store.
What we hope to see Dubai Arena opens, and brings some huge acts to town
It could scarcely be in a better location, and this 20,000-seater (approximately) arena is all set for completion in 2019, bringing an ideally positioned stadium capable of hosting gigs, sports events, festivals, exhibitions and more.
Construction of the building has been managed by AEG Ogden, a company whose portfolio includes The O2 in London, the STAPLES Centre in Los Angeles and the Mercedes-benz Arena in Shanghai, so we know we’re in for a world-class arena.
Some exciting names have been mooted for an arrival at this City Walk venue, and an incredible amount of effort has gone into making the arena not just look good on the
front (with its active-lit façade), but also sound brilliant on the inside.
The 4,000-tonne roof has been designed to acoustic perfection, and we can’t wait to check this place out. It’s set to have a walkway linking to the Burj Khalifa/dubai Mall metro station, to ease congestion post-event.
Meraas says the Arena is set to open in early 2019, and artist announcements are expected soon.
Dubai Creek Tower takes shape
Lining up to be the new tallest tower in the world, we’re not expecting to see the finished product during 2019, but we can’t wait to see Dubai Creek Tower taking shape as it gets close to completion, following some massive developments in 2018. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, Dubai Creek Tower will be clear of 1,000 metres tall (the Burj Khalifa stands at 829.8m), and will feature a range of residential and leisure facilities, including a 360-degree viewing deck, so you can really admire the city around you.
2018 saw an incredibly important milestone completed in the tower’s construction. The pile cap (which lays the foundations for huge multi-story buildings) was completed, using 50,000 cubic metres of concrete and weighing in at around 120,000 tonnes. To put that into context, the foundation alone, weighs roughly the same as the entirety of the CN Tower in Canada. To say that this will be big will be one giant understatement.
Emiratis in space
Thirty-nine candidates have been passed physically and physiologically fit for space exploration, and a team of Emiratis will be sent to the International Space Station in April, pending final trials and assessment. When there, they’ll be conducting a range of scientific experiments and missions – marking the UAE’S first ever space-age foray. The UAE is also in talks with Virgin Galactic over commercially accessible space flights from Abu Dhabi.
Free wi-fi in every taxi
Firmly back on terra firma, the RTA has confirmed its ambitions to provide free wi-fi in taxis across the city by the end of the year. With a fleet of thousands, that means residents and tourists alike are unlikely to ever be out of signal.
Topgolf arrives at Emirates Golf Club
For golf fans, this is likely to be a cracking new hangout in the evenings and/or weekend afternoons. The Dubai debut for this international brand has been in the making for a couple of years now, and the golf-butnot-as-you-know-it attraction is set to arrive at Emirates Golf Club in early 2019.
This licensed driving range of sorts will bring a nightlife vibe to a famously downtempo sport, with microchipped golf balls meaning you’ll get fully interactive and big budget entertainment.
We’re talking light-up targets, real-time scoring, music, food & drink, competitive mini games, big TVS showing live sport and the latest kick off. So you’ll have an ace new hangout for Saturday afternoons.
This is probably going to be one of the coolest new entertainment openings in Dubai in the coming years, and one that you need to get on your list.
Brand—new hotel arrivals: FIVE Dubai Jumeirah Village
A second luxury hotel from FIVE is coming to Dubai, and this one has got 271 – yes, 271 – swimming pools constructed in this sweeping, 800ft tower. Basically, every apartment in the building will have its own pool, even those at the top of the tower, because swimming pools line the edges of the hotel.
It will be coming to Jumeirah Village Circle, as a range of construction projects in the area begin nearing completion. The majority of those pools will service the 221 one- and two-bedroom hotel apartments and the 33 four-bedroom apartments in the hotel.
→ For more information, visit fiveglobalholdings.com.
Hilton The Palm
Found on the trunk of the Palm, on the Eastern side alongside luxury hotels Fairmont The Palm and FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai, Hilton the Palm will feature 13 storeys, 608 rooms, a presidential suite and some seven restaurants that we just can’t wait to check out when open.
→ For more information, visit www3.hilton.com.
Dubai’s Mandarin Oriental Jumeira is soon to add yet more swish accommodation and fine dining to Jumeirah’s coastline, with the rapidly progressing property set to open at the beginning of 2019. And among its eight restaurants and bars will be Tasca, the first Middle Eastern restaurant from Portuguese chef José Avillez, whose Lisbon eatery Belcanto currently holds two Michelin stars.
A big opening party is planned to launch the resort in 2019, with rumoured celebrity fans expected to be in attendance – no doubt they’ll be staying in one of the Oriental’s eight over-the-water villas, which will be the first along Jumeirah’s coastline and only the
second in the city. Other features of the hotel include the Mandarin Oriental Spa, spread over 2,000 sq m and featureing a dedicated hammam-style suite, plus a grand ballroom that opens out on to the beach.
→ For more information, visit www.mandarinoriental.com/dubai.
Studio One Hotel
This trendy new hotel arrival comes from the team behind Dubai Media City’s popular nightlife-centric Media One Hotel. Located at Dubai Studio City, we already know that Studio One Hotel is going to be home to the city’s third location of The Irish Village. The hotel is in the final stages of preparation for opening, so expect more of the same stylish vibes for which its predecessor is known.
→ For more information, visit www.studioonehotel.dubaiemirates.ae
Taj Exotica Resort & Spa
Another Palm Jumeirah opening, the second hotel in Dubai for Taj is set to open in early 2019 (followed by a third, in JLT, with an opening date TBC). The 325-room hotel will be opening on the Eastern crescent of the Palm, and will also bring with it an Italianthemed all-day dining restaurant, a gastropub, a rooftop terrace restaurant and a lounge bar overlooking the Arabian Gulf.
→ For more information, visit taj.tajhotels.com.
The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences
Work is due to complete on the sister hotel to Atlantis The Palm in late 2019, and this Dhs5 billion development is going to be big. Found on the Eastern crescent of the Palm Jumeirah, this enormous, modular hotel will house nearly 800 guest rooms and more than 230 serviced apartments.
Celebrated UK chef Heston Blumenthal’s first Dubai restaurant, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, is due to be the hotel’s first opening (more on that later), when work completes on the hotel.
Work is also expected to finish on Atlantis The Palm’s full refurbishment of its 1,539 rooms. Fifty rooms are being renovated every six weeks, and the final rooms and suites are due to be finished by the end of the year.
→ For more information, visit www.theroyalatlantisresidences.com.
W Dubai – The Palm
This hotel chain, which is known for its ultratrendy vibes and décor, is bringing a handful of food and drinks outlets that we can’t wait to check out, as well as the 350 rooms, private beach and more.
Top of the list is Italian restaurant Torno Subito from world-famous chef Massimo Bottura, the man behind the world’s number one restaurant of 2018, Osteria Francescana (more on that later). There’ll also be Japanesekorean fusion restaurant Akira Back from the Michelin-starred chef of the same name, pool bar Wet Deck and rooftop bar Sobe (which it claims will offer unobstructed, 360-degree views out from the Palm).
Some of the preview images look incredible, and we can’t wait to check out all of the new places opening up here.
→ For more information, visit www.wdubaithepalm.com.
Hot new restaurants, bars and clubs Alici
When it’s coming from the team behind Time Out Dubai’s Restaurant of the Year (Il Borro Tuscan Bistro), you know it’s going to be an absolute cracker. Alici, set to open on the Bluewaters island early in 2019, will focus on dishes from the central Italian region of Tuscany, producing its own olive oil and grape beverages, and serving specials such as the area’s renowned bistecca alla Fiorentina.
Fans of the group’s existing work in the city will be raring to pack their bags and head south to Alici Dubai for the winter. We know we are, because this’ll be something special.
→ For more information, visit www.alici.com.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Experimental chef Heston Blumenthal has confirmed that he is opening a restaurant at The Royal Atlantis in 2019. The British mind behind The Fat Duck will be bringing his creative spark and innovative gastronomy dishes to Dubai in what will be his first restaurant in the city – Dinner By Heston
Blumenthal. The restaurant will include its own dedicated bar, two outside terraces, as well as a private dining room. If the London branch of Dinner is anything to go by, we can expect contemporary dishes inspired by gastronomic recipes dating back as far as the 1300s. That’s proper old-school.
→ For more information, visit www. theroyalatlantisresidences.com.
Dubai’s latest uber-trendy nightclub was initially penned to open its doors in December, but the DIFC club’s opening has been pushed back just a smidge. Now DIFC’S party-loving employees won’t even have to leave the neighbourhood after finishing the week on a Thursday, because this swanky new club will be opening its doors at Emirates Financial Towers. It will feature “state-of-the-art lighting, sound, audio and digital technology”, as well as an “immersive room” in which guests can unwind – and it happens to serve one of the most expensive types of coffee in the world.
→ Opening early 2019. Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC.
Nammos Beach Club
The international beach club party destination will be expanding out from Greek Island Mykonos next year, opening at the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach in the early part of 2019.
A lazy beach spot by day and a buzzing party destination by night, the original Nammos is a favourite haunt of celebrities including Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner, and now it’s our turn.
→ Opening soon. Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah (04 270 7777).
O Beach Club
Another beach club opening. O Beach Club (previously known as Ocean Beach Club) will be bringing its seven-days-a-week daytime pool parties to Dubai’s shores, marking its first international location outside of the Balearics. We’re yet to be given a venue, but given the original site has welcomed the likes of Ed Sheeran, Stormzy and Conor Mcgregor in recent years, we’re expecting another top quality party hangout.
→ For more information, visit obeachibiza.com
Renowned in Lebanon for its absolutely showstopping parties, Dubai’s d3 is about to get a slice of the action, boosting its credentials as a nightlife destination in its own right (it’s
already home to our Club of the Year, BASE).
Open-air party vibes, big lights and more, we’re expecting big things, because it could transform d3 into a nightlife hotspot.
→ For more information, visit www.skybarbeirut.com.
The Arts Club
One of the most famous private members clubs in the world is set to open its doors in its first overseas venue in 2019. Making its way from London, the new ICD Brookfield development in DIFC will be home to this exclusive club. Spread across five levels, including a sprawling rooftop terrace, The Arts Club will be home to three restaurants and bars, as well as arts exhibition spaces, a business centre and more. Celebrity board members include Gwyneth Paltrow and Alan Sugar, and if it was good enough for Charles Dickens it’s certainly good enough for us.
→ Approx Dhs10,000 annual membership. Opening 2019. For more information, visit www.theartsclub.co.uk.
Opening at W Dubai – The Palm, this restuarant is from chef Massimo Bottura, the man behind the world’s number one restaurant of 2018 – Osteria Francescana. Torno Subito will be a first restaurant outside of Italy for the chef, and it promises to “take guests on a journey back to 1960s Italy, where the vibe is sophisticated and social, but laid-back”. The restaurant will be open for both lunch and dinner, and there will be dining areas indoors, as well as al fresco on the terrace or beach. You can even order a pedalo picnic to enjoy in the lagoon. Plus, we’re promised a “quirky roaming gelato cart”, too. → For more information, visit www.wdubaithepalm.com.
Various outlets at The Pointe
Having opened in some style with a live performance from Enrique Iglesias earlier this month, the Palm Jumeirah’s latest destination is now open for business. When completely finished, The Pointe will be home to some 70 different food and drink outlets, from fast food chains Mcdonald’s and Starbucks to casual dining destinations and some swankier lounge bar and restaurants. There’s plenty to check out, considering its killer views out from the waterfront towards Atlantis The Palm.
→ For more information, visit www.thepointe.ae.
Music, festivals and the arts Al Murray
Originally penned to take place in November 2018, UK comedian Al Murray (and his iconic character The Pub Landlord) has moved his show to Thursday April 11 instead. Tickets are available now for the show, and anyone with tickets for the original show will have their tickets carried over. Known as The Pub Landlord and famous throughout the UK, Murray has had plenty of sell-out gigs, with some venues including the O2 Arena in London. The comical genius is known for picking on the crowd, so be prepared for some hilarious roasting and quick wit.
→ From Dhs150. Thu Apr 11, 8pm. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com
The legendary classical music festival is back for another five-night stint in March. Having last visited Dubai in 2017, this year’s show will see a Dubai premiere of Beethoven’s timeless Choral Symphony no.9 featuring the BBC Singers and the newly created Dubai Opera Festival Chorus.
There will also be a range of classical performances, original compositions and more as the festival returns for its second visit. You can get a season ticket to see each show of the festival for just Dhs375, or tickets
to individual shows from Dhs75 – in keeping with the Proms’ original intention of making tickets to classical music accessible to all.
→ From Dhs75 (per show), Dhs375 (season pass). Mar 19-22. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com.
The man behind some of the catchiest tunes of the past five years is heading to Dubai World Trade Centre in January 2019, with Live Nation bringing George Ezra to Dubai.
Ezra comes to town in the midst of touring his second album, Staying at Tamara, which has topped the UK album charts and has seen the singer embark on a huge international tour as a result.
Coming to Dubai on Tuesday January 22, you can expect to see his live, energetic performance of Shotgun, which was crowned the top song of the summer by the Official Charts Company after topping the UK records chart. The official video has racked up more than 20 million Youtube hits, while the official lyric video for the tune has hit nearly 100 million. Also listen out for absolutely enormous tune Budapest. → From Dhs295. Tue Jan 22. Dubai World Trade Centre, www.ticketmaster.ae.
The top UK comedian is returning to Dubai for a two-night stay at Dubai World Trade Centre in April. Part of his 2019 tour The Big World Tour, tickets are available from Dhs295. Don’t miss out on your chance to see one of the UK’S funniest men live in Dubai, a man who has regularly won awards throughout his career, has been the host of multiple prime time TV shows in the UK, and has sold more than 1.5 million tickets to his shows around the world to date.
→ From Dhs295. Apr 25-26. Dubai World Trade Centre, www.800tickets.com.
This classic Shakespeare play will be marking Dubai Opera’s first-ever theatrical performance (surprising, right?) in January.
A reimagined production, the play takes on a drastic twist on from that first performed more than 400 years ago. It will be on stage from Thursday January 31 until Saturday February 2, with two matinée performances taking place on Friday and Saturday.
In the production, Venice – a western colonial power – employs the newlymarried Othello to lead its army against an impending invasion. In a society torn apart by discrimination and fear, Othello’s life quickly unravels. Manipulated by Iago, he turns on everything he holds dear.
→ From Dhs150. Thu Jan 31-Sat Feb 2. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com.
Another major festival in Dubai Media City in February, Redfest DXB never fails to bring some of the top current pop acts to town for a two-night show. 2018 saw The Chainsmokers, Marshmello and Ke$ha top the bill, and 2019 promises to bring more of the same, with more massive names coming to town.
If you fancy making a real night of it on Valentine’s Day, then Thursday February 14 will see two absolutely huge chart-topping headliners take to the stage.
American rapper G-eazy will be returning to Dubai, following a headline performance at BASE Dubai (our current Club of the Year)
earlier in 2018. The Beautiful & Damned
writer will be playing massive hits like I Mean It, Good Life and of course, Me, Myself & I. Having racked up hundreds of millions of streams on Spotify, and just as many views on Youtube, you can expect a big performance from this big showman.
G-eazy will be joined by Jess Glynne, the voice behind one of the biggest tracks of the decade, Rather Be, alongside Clean Bandit. With that tune racking up just a casual half a billion plays since its 2013 release, Glynne has gone on to break records of her own, as the only female solo artist to hit the top spot in the UK charts with seven different songs. Expect tracks like I’ll Be There, Hold My Hand and Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself.
On Friday February 15, it’s the turn of Havana (a-na-na) singer and former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello to head to town, before Thrift Shop rapper Macklemore takes to the stage for his first UAE performance since 2014. UK DJ Jax Jones
will finish off the night, having had a big year with tracks like Just Got Paid, Breathe and Ring Ring, on top of his enduringly popular breakout tune from 2016, You Don’t Know Me.
→ Tickets from Dhs395. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai Media City, www.800tickets.com
Sleeping Beauty by The National Ballet of Ukraine
Sleeping Beauty, a lovable fairytale told time and time again. Now a world-renowned ballet group is giving patrons of Dubai a whole new reason to watch it one more time.
Set to perform four shows on Friday April 26
and Saturday April 27 next year, Dubai Opera will host The National Ballet of Ukraine’s enchanting version of Sleeping Beauty, and tickets are now on sale.
Tickets for the performances start from Dhs125, and range up to Dhs425 for tickets immediately in front of the stage. From Dhs6,750 you can spend the evening (or matinee) in a VIP box. The grand ballet premiered in St. Petersburg in 1890, and has stunned audiences worldwide since.
→ From Dhs250. Apr 26-27. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com.
The Phantom of the Opera
Perhaps the most famous musical production of all time, this Broadway and West End mainstay will be coming to Dubai in Autumn 2019. Most famous for songs including the title track The Phantom of the Opera, All I Ask of You and Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, we can’t wait to see the majestic show take to the Dubai Opera stage. You can pre-register for the show now, which has won more than 70 different major theatre awards, including seven Tony Awards on Broadway and four Olivier Awards in the West End.
→ Price TBC. Coming Autumn 2019. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com.
Get ready to moonwalk straight to the box office – because hit Michael Jackson musical Thriller Live is coming to Dubai Opera. It’s heading here straight from London’s West End after more than 4,000 performances, and we can’t wait to hear the classic beats of the King of Pop’s most iconic tunes.
The show includes hits from The Jackson 5 through to Jackson’s solo career including from his most successful period from 1982 to 1995. So we’re looking forward to hearing tunes like Billy Jean, Beat It, Smooth Criminal, Dirty Diana, Earth Song, Bad and, obviously, the eponymous Thriller.
This will be a five-night run through until the end of March, including two matinee performances on the weekend of Friday March 29 to Saturday 30. Don’t miss this iconic show about one of music’s most important artists.
→ From Dhs275. Mar 26-30. Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, www.dubaiopera.com.
The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences
Dubai Jazz Festival
Phantom of the Opera