Recently, during one of my wine and whine Zoom sessions with my girlfriends, I realized that what my soul needed, apart from yet another bottle of wine, was a trip. Preferably one where I could feel comparatively safer from the crushing fear of the pandemic. And thus, Dubai came to the rescue.
Fun, adventurous, and most importantly, safe, Dubai gifted a horde of experiences that are best enjoyed with your girlfriends. So, here’s a look at some of the best experiences that you can indulge in with your girl gang:
1. Bid adieu to stress (and corporate emails) at Raffles The Palm Dubai.
Dubai has many brilliant options to stay at. The one I ended up at, was Raffles The Palm Dubai. A hotel that screams opulence and luxury, Raffles had everything one could need for a comfortable stay – spa services that can actually make you forget your boss’ pesky messages, private beach access, indoor and outdoor pools, and a Jazz lounge.
2. Let out your inner sinner, or saint, at S Bar at SLS Dubai.
When it comes to exploring the town, a night at the S Bar seems like a great place to start. One of the most hip bars in Dubai, S Bar offers exclusive cocktails that hit the right notes along with a stunning view of Dubai from its balcony sitting. There is also a rooftop poolside sitting that, apart from gorgeous views, serves hookah. A favourite of celebrities, tourists, and locals alike, S Bar offers the perfect start for a fun night out.
3. Deal with hangover blues with a brunch at Logma at the Dubai Mall.
Let’s be honest if a bar is offering drinks that cater to the sinner and saint in you, the next day is going to offer a hangover that neither part is going to like. And that’s why Arabic restaurant Logma, with its refreshing juices, healthy, hearty meals, and salads that can actually rejuvenate your hungover soul, is the perfect brunch place. Of course, the aesthetic setting ensures that hangover cure meets Insta-worthy photos!
4. And then shop till you can drop at the Dubai Mall.
While I am not a fan of shopping, I am desi. And it means I can’t travel outside of India without a shopping list from my family. Plus, there really was no better way to burn off the calories I consumed at Logma, than to shop my way through the Dubai Mall. Of course, the Dubai Mall is every shopper’s dream, with stores that offer everything under the sun. For me, that meant setting a time limit because it’s fairly easy to forget both, time, and directions, in the mall.
5. Recreate ‘that’ date from Emily in Paris at the Infinity des Lumières.
The Infinity des Lumières was the perfect end to a day of brunching and shopping at the Dubai Mall. A genuinely unique experience, the Infinity des Lumières offers breathtaking exhibitions of Van Gogh, Dreamed Japan & Verse – but not as static paintings. Rather, it’s an immersive digital experience, that offers a complete sensory delight. Nothing short of magical, the Infinity des Lumières is not an experience that can be put into words. But if nothing else convinces you, this might – it comes pretty close to that iconic date under Gogh’s starry night from Emily in Paris. (It does not offer the ‘hot chef’ though, *sigh*).
6. Tap into your artist at The Mud House Studio.
Once Infinity Des Lumières brought alive my inner creative child, I had to let that creative child out to play. And The Mud House Studio proved to be the perfect avenue for that. A ceramic and pottery studio, The Mud House Studio offered an interactive class with different pottery artists – we ended up learning from Thomas Feyrer. Shaping mud into barely recognizable pots (in my case, at least) left me visibly calm and at peace, in a way, I never could have imagined. I may have not ended with recognizable pots, but I did end up creating beautiful memories.
7. Reach for the skies, quite literally, with a ride in a hot air balloon.
There are few things I’ll wake up at the crack of dawn for, and a hot air balloon ride was definitely one of them. Organized by Balloon Adventure Dubai, the experience started with a stunning drone show, followed by an hour-long ride led by our guide and captain, Mike. I’ve caught many sunrises (and even more sunsets, because I am not a morning person) but catching the sunrise from the sky was definitely, a once in a lifetime experience. The hot air balloon ride was followed by a desert ride in a Vintage Land Rover (yes, it’s as thrilling as it sounds), and a buffet breakfast in the middle of the desert.
8. ‘Soak’ in the view with a dip at the AURA Infinity Pool.
The Hot Air Balloon ride gave me taste of the heights… or at least that’s the reason I used to head to the world’s highest 360-Degree infinity pool, Aura Skypool, at the Palm Tower. Yes, it does feel like you’re hanging at the edge of the world… or at least, at the edge of a really tall building! And of course, the view is breathtaking, but the accompanying food and drinks are also, well worth the price.
Know more about the price and timings here.
9. Head to Dubai Expo for a day-long trip because it’s the experience of a life time, literally.
Showcasing the themes of Sustainability, Opportunity, and Mobility, the Dubai Expo is a feat to admire. From its scale to the range of exhibits on display, from the variety of restaurants (Kutir truly revolutionizes the idea of Indian fusion food) to the artists performing (Lucky Ali being the latest), Dubai Expo should definitely be on your list.
Apart from this, I was lucky enough to enjoy Cirque De Cuisine – Atlantis, The Palm’s annual sell-out festive bash. A food and beverage trip across the globe with all the delicacies (and way fewer expenses), was a truly memorable experience. From Nobu by Nobu Matsuhisa to Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen & Bar, the ten restaurants that are part of the festive event are nothing short of legendary. And with free-flowing drinks and specially crafted cocktails at every restaurant, the experience is as brilliant as it can get.
Dubai has strict but effective Covid-19 testing and quarantine rules. You need two negative Covid test reports (RT-PCR 48 hours, and Rapid Test 6 Hours) prior to traveling. You also need to quarantine in Dubai before you receive the test results from the RT-PCR test at the Dubai airport. And prior to leaving Dubai, you need to undergo another RT-PCR test, at least 24 hours in advance.