In the post-COVID era, the desi crowd has deemed Dubai their home away from home. A short plane ride away from India, it’s a quick escape to the world of the luxury—sparing us Indians the lengthy journey—to relish fine dining, world-class art shows, colossal township malls brimming with international brands, and so much more.
On this brief visit, we had the pleasure of staying at the splendid Al Habtoor Palace, ideally situated near Dubai Mall and a mere 10-minute drive from all the activities on our itinerary. Immediately upon arrival at the hotel, we were greeted warmly by enthusiastic staff members, who handed us the keys to our rooms (personalised with our photos on them!).
The large, spacious rooms, complete with double-sink bathrooms truly redefine comfort and luxury, but it’s the private butler service who kept our rooms tidy, and left behind adorable little mementos for the kids!
During our four-day, three-night stay, we made the most of our time, exploring a variety of activities, delightful dining spots and unique destinations, unveiling the gems that make Dubai a spellbinding experience for all, but especially for families, with little adventurers in tow.
While there’s a whole host of outstanding restaurants to choose from, I loved Orfali Bros for their history as much as their passion for food. Three immigrant chef brothers from Syria defy the odds, creating a unique dining experience blending neighbourhood eatery charm with an artful, globally inspired menu. While the wait for a table may be more than you can stomach, their sumptuous Wagyu cheeseburger is definitely worth the wait and left us wanting more!
As far as destinations go, Dubai has worked wonders in the desert, even conjuring up a rainforest amidst the arid landscapes. Experiencing a tropical rainforest oasis in the heart of the desert at the Green Planet in City Walk is truly amazing!
My personal favourite, however, was Le Perle—a memorable family getaway that I would describe as a treat for everyone. It delivered a solid two hours of wholesome family entertainment. In this extraordinary aqua-stage show, actors and acrobats astoundingly performed breathtaking feats, flawlessly transitioning between water and air, creating an immersive experience that left us in sheer amazement. With a panoramic view of the performance area, we marvelled as the stage transformed into a water wonderland.
While Dubai is an excellent year-round destination, we recommend visiting between November and March to enjoy the fantastic weather and do a lot more outdoor activities. We’re big fans of the beach clubs and great Dubai water slides.
So, go ahead and book your tickets, because we’ve got a comprehensive itinerary all planned for you. What are you waiting for?
Everything To Do In Dubai
Where to Stay
Al Habtoor Palace
Nestled amid the picturesque waterscapes, this majestic 182-room structure gracing the city’s heart, is a testament to unrivalled indulgence—boasting excellent service, three sparkling pools and a sprawling landscape. When it comes to unwinding after a shopping spree, the hotel’s Silk Spa is your perfect retreat.
Where to Eat
The BQ French Kitchen and Bar
Our perfect Sunday is simply incomplete without a great Bellini brunch comprising an eclectic spread of local and international cuisine, with a captivating live percussionist setting the mood. Sit back, sip your drinks, and savour the delectable dishes in their boundless menu of delights at this bistro located within the Al Habtoor Palace hotel.
Boasting its prestigious Michelin-starred status, this Asian restaurant is a culinary sensation, tantalising every taste bud. We immersed ourselves in the enchanting world of Chinese cuisine with a modern twist, savouring their signature mouth-watering dishes. Be it the Honey-nut Beef cubes, the All Time Peking Duck, or even the Dimsum Boat! With dimmed lights, and exotic aromas wafting through the air, they create an atmosphere of pure gastronomic pleasure.
Forever Rose Café
As soon as we stepped foot into this charming café, we felt as though we were whisked away into the magical pages of a fairytale! The monochrome décor offsets the long-stemmed roses, adding to the fantastical aura. The menu also draws inspiration from the floral themes, offering lattes and iced teas infused with the essence of roses. A favourite among the locals is the Baklava cheesecake—it’s the ultimate happily-ever-after experience one can get!
Orfali Bros Bistro
Our personal favourite and an absolute must-visit—especially if you’re lucky enough to secure a table at this bustling bistro! The culinary genius of celebrity chef Mohammed Orfali, joins forces with his pastry-specialist siblings, Wassim and Omar, at this innovative eatery specialising in Middle Eastern cuisine. Consistently earning a spot on all the top ranking lists, (including MENA’S 50 Best Restaurants) this sibling-led establishment is the hottest new dining destination in town.
Drawing inspiration from the rich crossroads of culture and cuisine across the Mediterranean, we enjoyed Meda at the Taj. They exuberantly celebrate the spirit of the flavours from Spain, Italy and Greece — but with a contemporary twist. Reimagining the concept of tapas and sharing plates, the menu welcomes guests to revive and reinterpret timeless traditions.
Tucked away as a charming stand-alone bungalow in the heart of the city, 11 Woodfire is a hidden gem where you can discover a fresh wave of gourmet delicacies. This restaurant, adorned with a coveted one Michelin-starred rating, offers a relaxed and inviting atmosphere that revolves around the central woodfire, stealing the show. Celebrity Chef Akmal Anuar meticulously curates the menu, featuring dishes that are slow-cooked and marinated to perfection, igniting your taste buds with sensational flavours.
Where to Go
For all you gaming enthusiasts out there, there’s no place quite like this family-friendly gaming zone and eatery at the Atlantis Palm Hotel. Offering Freaks-shakes, spicy Chicken Wings and essentially the quintessential American dining experience, it’s also set against the backdrop of bowling and arcade games!
The Instagrammer’s delight, this delightful wonderland is nestled in Wafi City Mall’s atrium. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience, and from the moment we entered this 4000 sq ft space, we were transported into a parallel Aya universe, with 12 unique experiential zones, each weaving its own story. And when we eventually left, we eased back into reality with a dose of retail therapy at the mall!
With more than 3000 species of birds, animals, insects, reptiles, fauna and flora, this vertical jungle appeals to all age groups. From swimming with the piranhas, and playing zookeeper for the day, they aim to inculcate an innate sense of love towards the planet.
One of the city’s most popular landmarks, The View at The Palm is located at a staggering height of 240m! Their opulent observation deck gave us a panoramic view of The Palm Jumeirah, set against the sparkling waters of the Arabian Gulf and a phenomenal view of Dubai’s ever-expanding skyline.
Le Perle by Dragone, produced by the renowned company founded by the late Franco Dragone, who is also responsible for the acclaimed Cirque du Soleil and various other notable live performances. It is the first permanent show of its kind in the region. It presents a breathtaking display of choreography comprising exhilarating stunts in a novel ‘aqua theatre’. World-class artists will leave you in awe as they perform aerial acrobatics, mesmerising underwater feats and death-defying dives; and this show never fails to impress, making Dubai so much more than a mere shopping destination!