With the biggest and best in architecture, cuisine, shopping, and dining, Dubai is taking the world by storm, surpassing previous standards of luxury, innovation, and design. Here at Haute Living we’ve had one of our correspondents, a Dubai native, search for the crème of the crop in a city where opulent living has truly been redefined.
By Alexandra Ingersoll and Megan Mateo
Sheik Zayed Road
Lauded for generous Arabian hospitality and sleek opulence in design, the Shangri-La Hotel is the highest standard of luxury when it comes to Dubai hotels. Situated in the middle of downtown Dubai, Shangri-La’s 43-stories boast a flood of amenities available for each choice guest. From the international fusion of restaurants to the heavenly holistic spa menu, the Shangri-La will cast you under its spell. Relax with a cocktail in the Asian-inspired bar or chic lobby lounge. Engage your muscles at the fully equipped exercise facility, squash and tennis courts, or saunas and steam rooms. Refresh at the swimming pools and then realign your inner harmony at the spa with a soothing Chi Balance Massage or other treatments using Middle Eastern essential oils, herbs, and spices. Or, simply rest in the privacy, comfort, and elegance of the beautiful rooms and suites. With so many amenities, you may never want to leave the premises. And with short-term lease apartments available, you may never have to.
Sheikh Rashid Road
This past March, Dubai’s Raffles Hotel welcomed their highly anticipated and newest addition, China Moon Champagne Bar. This elite gathering spot is appropriately located at the peak of the pyramid-shaped structure of the hotel and welcomes only Raffles residents or specially invited guests, creating the ultimate exclusive experience and a menu offering far more than just plain old Champagne. The décor exudes sophistication and modern energy, inviting guests to rejoice in the splendor of the magnificent city skyline. The interior is adorned with ultra-chic, yet ornate, Louis XIV-inspired armchairs in contemporary shades of jade and emerald green. Complementing these chairs are vibrant orange couches, thoughtfully scattered throughout to encourage the enjoyment of the panoramic views beyond the floor to ceiling glass walls that surround the lounge. The bar offers a range of 53 choices of premium Champagne, Hermitage cognacs selected for only Raffles Dubai, and some of the world’s best wines, spirits, and liquors. Also offered to please discerning guests is a brand of caviar made exclusively for the hotel, flown in directly from Paris alongside a vast selection of the finest cigars. With unparalleled ambiance and ultra exclusive offerings, China Moon Champagne Bar takes the prize for the chicest lounge in town.
The Madinat Jumeirah tries its own fantastic hand at Chinese cuisine with Zheng He’s-a new kind of Chinese cooking, fusing the ambiances of the West and the Far East. At Zheng He’s, China’s most modern dishes are superbly prepared and presented as delicious, authentic Chinese with a decidedly Western influence. The revitalizing merger of West and East seems best enjoyed while overlooking the Arabian Gulf. In the cooler winter months, those lucky enough to dine al fresco will take in astounding vistas of the Burj Al Arab from a sizeable terrace by the water, though the interior decoration is dazzling as well. To maintain the sophisticated atmosphere created by the Madinat Jumeriah, children less than 10 years of age are not permitted to dine in the restaurant. All of Chef Khor’s masterfully crafted dishes pay tribute to the rich history of Asian cuisine, and offer a peek into the imminent offerings of new Chinese victuals. Khor’s appreciation for the arts is apparent in the particulars of each of his plates. Eye-catching presentation is only a preview of the gastronomic experience ahead; authentic main courses and inventive desserts await the lucky diners at Zheng He’s.
Dubai Festival City
In the heart of the Four Seasons Golf Club, Dubai Festival City, lies the renowned Al Badia Golf Course. Designed by master golf course designer Robert Trent Jones, the 18-hole championship course is the first in the Middle East to be managed by the Four Seasons. Calm waters and flowing sand adorn the remarkable architecture of the 85-acre Al Badia Golf Course, creating a desert oasis-themed setting and the perfect escape. The uniquely designed clubhouse is fashioned from glass and accommodates a high-tech training facility, which includes the region’s only TaylorMade Performance Lab and offers coaching and a range of specialized clinics in addition to one-on-one lessons. A world-class golf academy makes it easy for travelers to host business events or perfect their skills. The clubhouse also includes a pro-shop, health club, locker rooms, and fine restaurants. The iconic golf course is truly a jewel of Dubai Festival City, and caters to travelers in search of an inspiring and serene atmosphere.
The Talise Spa at the Madinat Jumeirah is a miraculous fusion of earth and water. Offering everything from personal training to lomi lomi treatments, Talise (which means “beautiful water”) promises a complete experience of escape and rejuvenation. Talise’s 26 treatment rooms are a world unto their own, designed like private oases interlinked amidst tropical landscapes. Take a plunge in the hot and cold pools; detox in the sauna and steam rooms; refresh in the spa’s own restaurant; or elect for a treatment al fresco under the shade of an enclosed tent. The private courtyards and stunning gardens only capitalize on the exclusivity of Talise’s amenities. Indulge in the spa signature “Talise Absolution,” the epitome of luxury, cleansing, and stress release. Two therapists perform the unique treatment, which includes a pressure point body massage layered with exotic oils, topped off with a full-body exfoliating hair and mud mask. It’s no wonder Talise won the highly coveted title of “Spa-Goers Favorite Spa” in the Middle East by Luxury Spa Finder Magazine. Whether visiting for an hour or for a day, Talise is the prime venue for a journey of ethereal elegance.
Old Town Island
Sheikh Zayed Road
Downtown Burj Dubai
A dinner at Thiptara Restaurant is as savory as it is sensory. Located within the gorgeous Palace Hotel on Old Town Island, Thiptara has already won accolades from gourmet diners and reviewers as the best Thai restaurant in Dubai. From the Tom Yam Koong with notes of lemongrass and mushroom, to the Khao Phad Poo fried rice with crabmeat and vegetables, Thiptara’s trademark is flawless royal Thai cuisine and Bangkok-style seafood. Indulge in the yellow curry with prawns in coconut milk, the duck curry with pineapple, or the spicy banana blossom salad. Even Thai cuisine classics like Kai Reu Neau Satay (grilled marinated chicken in peanut and cucumber sauce) or chicken vegetable spring rolls are individually memorable. With a polished wait staff eager to appease your every whim, combined with the breathtaking view over the Palace’s shimmering lake, pure satisfaction and serenity seem a guarantee. Nirvana, anyone?
Sheikh Rashid Road
Located on the 17th floor of the prominent Raffles Dubai hotel and set within the glass capstone at the zenith of the pyramid-shaped hotel, Noble House’s panoramic views of the spectacular Dubai skyline delight the visual palate. Bestowed with three impressive honors at this year’s TimeOut Dubai Restaurant Awards, Noble House has the honor and privilege of calling itself, “Best Newcomer, Best Chinese Restaurant,” and the most prestigious of TimeOut awards, “Best Restaurant of the Year 2008.” The awards are deservingly bequeathed; Noble House’s ambrosial Szechuan, Hunan, and Cantonese dishes provide a succulent taste of contemporary authentic Chinese elegance. Private dining opportunities exist in either of two chic open dining rooms, each seating up to eight. The kitchen showcases the chefs in their element, adding panache and flair to the stunning décor of Asian motifs, vibrant red and lustrous black. The furnishings, excitement, and delicious menu offerings promise to indulge all of the senses. A traditional Tea Master greets restaurant-goers in a sort of theater with a customary ritual performance. Menus featuring a choice of four-, five-, or six-course feasts offer a diverse culinary assortment of starters, soups, main courses, and deserts. Courses are served in neat individual portions-a notable and elegant difference from the family-style dining at most of Dubai’s Chinese restaurants. The innovative dishes are proof in themselves that Nobel House wholly deserves its new titles.