UN­EX­PECTED EL­E­GANCE IN DUBAI

You and Your Wedding - - Glorious Getaways -

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!

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