UNEXPECTED ELEGANCE IN DUBAI
Features editor Hannah Davies embarks on a luxury trip
What comes to mind when you imagine a getaway in Dubai? Perhaps you picture that famously futuristic skyline, or maybe you think of opulent nightclubs and glamorous bars. You PLJKW HQYLVDJH D YDVW VKRSSLQJ PDOO ÀOOHG with luxury goods. For me, it’s always been a combination of all of these – maybe with a water park or two thrown in (they’re a big part of the Dubai tourist experience). 6R RQ P\ ÀUVW WULS ,·P QRW H[SHFWLQJ P\ experience to be a quintessentially British RQH %XW WKDW·V H[DFWO\ ZKDW , JHW ZKHQ , FKHFN LQWR WKH QHZ 'XNHV 'XEDL
2I FRXUVH , VKRXOG KDYH H[SHFWHG WKLV – it’s the sister property of the famously UHÀQHG 'XNHV /RQGRQ LQ 0D\IDLU DIWHU DOO Stepping from the dry heat of the morning into the air-conditioned hush of the lobby is UHIUHVKLQJ DQG , EHJLQ WR DGPLUH HYHU\WKLQJ from the calming colour palette to the dark wood of the desk and the portraits on the ZDOOV 0\ URRP IROORZV D VLPLODU VW\OH ZLWK subtly chic furnishings and tasteful colour combinations. A classic British aesthetic is evident throughout. One of the eateries, the aptly named Great British Restaurant, serves a menu of delicious UK favourites made from %ULWLVK VRXUFHG LQJUHGLHQWV ² ,·P SDUWLFXODUO\ impressed with the roast Welsh lamb! On RQH DIWHUQRRQ , WXFN LQWR KLJK WHD LQ WKH &KDPSDJQH DQG 7HD /RXQJH ZKLFK LQFOXGHV favourites such as scones smothered in MDP DQG FORWWHG FUHDP 'XNHV /RQGRQ LV renowned for its martinis, and you can also ÀQG WKHP DW WKH EDU KHUH LQ 'XEDL H[SHUWO\ served. So far, so impeccably British.
A CULTURE FUSION
:KHQ , ORRN FORVHU KRZHYHU , UHDOLVH WKH\·YH actually done something rather clever here. The mood may be old-school elegance, but mixed in are plenty of Dubai-appropriate elements that make the most of the setting. 7KH JORULRXV RXWGRRU LQÀQLW\ SRRO IRU example, is perfectly positioned to take DGYDQWDJH RI WKDW VN\OLQH ,W·V DOVR D ORYHO\ place to sun yourself in very un-british
weather – temperatures here can soar to the mid-30s in summer, and are generally high year-round. There’s also a beach with lots of water sports, including paddleboarding.
Friday brunch is a Dubai institution, and Dukes offers two options depending on how IRUPDO \RX ZDQW WR JR , KDYH WKH ODLG EDFN version at the beach-side steakhouse West 14th, which is a feast of freshly grilled meats, mouthwatering salads and an array of sides – all washed down with plenty of sparkling ZLQH 0\ IDYRXULWH GLQLQJ H[SHULHQFH RI WKH trip is at the hotel’s Khyber restaurant. The 1RUWK ,QGLDQ GLVKHV DUH EHDXWLIXOO\ VSLFHG DQG XWWHUO\ ÁDYRXUVRPH DQG WKH 0XJKDO era-inspired dining room is so atmospheric.
READY, SET, SHOP!
,·P RQO\ KHUH IRU D VKRUW VWD\ VR , QHYHU make it to one of those famous water parks. , GR KRZHYHU YLVLW WKH 'XEDL 0DOO 7KLV LV located at the foot of the famous Burj Khalifa EXLOGLQJ VR , KDYH WR VWRS WR WDNH VRPH SKRWRV LQ WKH VXQ ,·P DOVR distracted by the impressive dancing fountain show outside. :KHQ , GR ÀQDOO\ PDNH LW LQVLGH ,·P XWWHUO\ DPD]HG ² ZKLFK LV QRW VRPHWKLQJ , HYHU WKRXJKW ,·G VD\ DERXW D VKRSSLQJ centre! But this is so much more than a retail paradise. Yes, there are over a thousand shops calling to your wallet, but there’s also an extraordinary aquarium full of marine life, a virtual reality experience and an ice rink, plus restaurants serving every cuisine imaginable.
,I \RX·UH PRUH LQWHUHVWHG LQ RXWGRRU pursuits, it’s worth looking into a Dubai desert safari. This involves heading out of the city to surge up and down sand dunes in Jeeps, ride camels, and even a sunset barbecue. For more adrenaline, you can take a helicopter tour or sky dive over the city.
But for me, and on this short stay, at least, Dubai is best experienced from a sunlounger, waiting for the sun to set and thinking about my next Dukes martini. Cheers to that!