If you haven’t managed to stick to your gym goals there's still some time to level up before high season hits. This is a list of the top five fitness clubs in no particular order that you should have a look at if you're based in Dubai.
The Matcha Club
Since Wim Hof introduced different forms of cold therapy, everyone from Russell Brand to Joe Rogan have been raving about cryotherapy and ice cold plunge pools which is known to rid the body of inflammation and just generally help the human body to function at its peak. The Matcha Club offers one such option in with their chill pool at just AED 50 if booked with a padel court session (AED 80 if booked without). Yoga and healthy eats from @nettedxb is part of the appeal. More info: +971504601461
Smash & Padel Fitness
My neighbourhood gym spot is definitely worth a mention. As the name suggests you have your Padel courts as well as the boutique gym located beside it. It’s not as massive as 7even or Train Sf but this is part of its appeal, its quiet, a decent community vibe and the trainers are awesome – ask for Tatyana she is thee best – and its located just a couple of minutes from Nakheel Mall. Membership starts at 520 per month, Padel lessons starts at 315 a session and PT at 310 a session. Packages available. More info: +971585033555
Hailed as a turning point for many fitness buffs on their journey to the level 10000 energy, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’s has anything other than good things to say about Barry’s bootcamp. There’s a branch located in Difc and another in the Marina so get ready to hustle for that muscle in the red room with a high intensity workout class complete with high energy trainers and amazing tunes. Various packages available More info: +97148748746
This is one of my favs and as the name suggests, its located at number 51 Al Wasl road. The fitness club is mainly focused on group classes, your membership package includes unlimited classes like boxing, yoga, spin which you select on the 51 app and can attend in the studios, to be honest I was more about the PT sessions and also I loved that the main gym floor never has more than 5 or 6 clients and trainers on it. . Great facilities and a lovely team +9713855851.
From the ladies who brought us The Salon and Beach City, The Gym is a fairly recent addition to the fitness scene in Dubai. Located on the shoreline of Palm Jumeirah – same building as Riva Beach Club this ladies gym is a nice change of scenery if you’d like to try out a class at an insanely low introductory price of just AED 50. Classes include HIIT, Bootcamps, Yoga and much more. More info: 0521849367.
Infused water will make you cuter.
I tried EMS. Here's what happend.
It was pretty big news back in 2020 when Bentley announced its strategy to reinvent every element of its operation to transform into an "end to end carbon neutral business" while maintaining its position as one of the world’s leading luxury brands. But now it's finally becoming real with their announcement this week that they are changing their all marketing partners to fit in line with this vision in the build-up for their big launch.
The company has already made some big moves in re-imagining their historic Crewe manufacturing site creating an industry leading certified facility. Some of these moves have included an increase of 30 000 to 40 000 solar panels and investigating using biofuel in fleet cars. If that happens it will be huge.
The Flying Spur, Flying Spur Azure and Flying Spur Mulliner and Flying Spur S are already available as hybrids and they’ve announced that the first fully electric car will arrive by 2025 and will be fully capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 1.5 seconds.
Stay tuned for more deets!
Packing, booking flights and arranging an itinerary (if you’re that way inclined) can be a nightmare. A nightmare which most people would prefer to skip so we can fast forward straight to the fun bits after all travelling is supposed to be a low stress high fun activity. This post is dedicated to handy travel apps that I use that I think everyone else can benefit from too.
Packr is a traveller’s best friend. You may have packing down to an art form but it’s still pretty time consuming to consider every factor in the decision making process. However with Packr all you have to do is enter your travel information (destination, dates and activities you might be keen on while you’re there) and it will tell you what to bring along while it takes into account whether you’re going for business or leisure, the weather of your intended location, the type of accommodation you’ll be staying at, transportation you’ll be using and the kind of things you’ll be getting up to from a list of 24 predefined categories of activities. Basically, it does the thinking for you so you can focus on more important things.
This app is an urban route planner which will give you curated suggestions of things to do based on your interests and preferences –while you go from your chosen start point to your final location. Perhaps you’re looking for an art gallery on the way to lunch or the best coffee shop on your way to a meeting in a foreign city. This app has it all based on the recommendations of locals in the know from that specific city. Pretty handy right?
Happy Cow is for all the vegans and vegetarians out there. As if it’s not hard enough to find vegan and Vegetarian spots in your own city, I’d imagine that navigating your needs in a foreign city would probably present quite a challenge unless you spent ages googling it before or during your trip. Happy Cow takes the hassle out of the process by recommending restaurants in the area along with a description of what you can expect from the menu as well as user generated reviews.
I’ve been raving about meditation in my self-care posts for ages so you already know how I keep preaching that “its not just for hippies” - Binaural beats is something I’ve had a similar experience with. A few years ago I was visiting my best friend and his girl at their apartment - I had just flown into Dubai two days prior. I was exhausted but determined to make our lunch plans. However when I arrived I could not keep my eyes open. I just couldn’t anymore, I needed a nap right there and then. When I explained my dilemma, my bestie suggested I try binaural beats and I might’ve rolled my eyes at him. But I gave it a shot in any case. After listening to it for maybe ten minutes in a relaxed environment I was “healed” of my exhaustion. I couldn’t believe it. I felt so..rested. It was unreal. And from that moment on I never doubted the power of Binaural beats again. So I highly recommend this app for jetlag or even improving focus and relieving anxiety.
Google Maps Offline
This isn’t exactly an app but I’m surprised at how many people aren’t familiar with this nifty travel hack. If you’re planning on being in an area where the internet signal might be weak or perhaps Wi-Fi is super slow / roaming bandwidth is pricey then you can simply save an area on Google Maps which allows you to navigate offline. It has made life way easier for me.
Hopefully you’ve learnt something new and if you have anything to add, let me know!
Check out these must follow travel bloggers to inject some sunshine into your newsfeeds.
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Brunch takes on an entirely new meaning in the UAE. It’s not just the meal between breakfast and lunch. It’s 3 hours of foodie bliss, depending on where you go. As a visitor, I never really brunched, back then I was more into looking like Nicole Richie circa 2010 than I was into food (but that’s another story for another day) however since living here - and as my love for food and the hospitality industry grows daily - there's really no better way to kickstart your Friday. As any seasoned bruncher will tell you, things do have a tendency of getting slightly out of hand so here are some dos and don’ts for surviving your first brunch for visitors and fresh expats.
* Do some research. There are so many options available. Not just the food on offer but various brunches also come with sunbed, pool or afterparty access for when you've had enough of stuffing your face and want to reflect on your food coma or you just want to relax by the pool after getting black out drunk (kidding!). Also some brunches are more focused on the party side of things like the DJ lineup than the food and some are all about the feast with lobster, grills, stews, paellas, yorkshire puddings, bbq stations and towers of desserts and cakes. I'll update my list of favorites soon.
*Do book a table inside. Unless it’s between December to Feb when you are less likely to melt into a puddle of lipgloss and suncreen.
* Do say yes to flowy loose fitting sundresses and kimonos. For the guys I’d suggest a collared, short sleeved shirt, like this polo shirt and not a tshirt partly because some venues who have a brunch that then becomes an afterparty will enforce a stricter dress code for the evening so why not be prepared from the start. Some people do finish up their brunch and then go home to freshen up and then go all the way back but who has that kind of time? Best is to call ahead and check. The looks below are the kind of outfits I'd recommend. These still look fairly elegant even after smashing 2kgs of shellfish, half a roast of lamb and a dozen mini desserts drenched in caramel washed down with litres of prosecco. Don't judge me.
*Don't neglect breakfast on the morning of the event in an attempt to "save the space" for brunch time, even more so if you're planning on taking full advantage of the drinks package.
* Do wear comfortable shoes. Wearing flats are a great way to not wake up not hating yourself after brunch turns into a 8 hour long party adventure. Espadrilles are perfect or pop a pair of stylish flats into your handbag along with some glam earrings to go from day to night in anticipation of the next party destination.
* Do take the traffic from your location to your destination into consideration especially if you're brunch begins at a peak time. You don’t want to spend the first hour of your brunch stuck in Marina traffic.
*Handbag essentials : sunscreen, double sided tape for lowcut dresses, sunnies, gum, powerbank or a charger (some venues do not have them).
*Don't upload any photos/instastories after your third drink. Just trust me on this one and learn from my experiences.
*Do pace yourself on the drinks and step away from the shooters. Remember if you are driving and you're caught with even 0.00000001% of alcohol in your system, you will face serious consequences so why even risk it? I would highly recommend cabbing or just using an Uber.
*Do read my article on how to sober up fast so you know what to do if you find yourself in a situation.
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In case you haven't heard about it yet, an entire development spanning twice the size of Downtown Dubai is currently being built up with sustainability and ecology preservation in mind. Its super exciting to introduce the new Dubai Creek Harbour development which will be situated on the foot of the Ras Al Khor wildlife sanctuary.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dubai development without some kind of flex involved and the Dubai Creek Harbour is absolutely no exception. The area will be home to the Dubai Creek Tower which is set to be built up to around 928 metres in height, dwarfing the Burj Khalifa, and taking over the title of the tallest tower in the world. The area will also showcase a mall that surpasses Dubai Mall in size to become the largest retail project in the world.
The development itself is being spearheaded by Emaar who was also responsible for Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa and in classic Dubai style I guess you could say that they are into outdoing themselves breaking their own records with this marvel within our emirate. Although the construction is still under way the first residential buildings are estimated to be ready by the December 2021 for the lucky residents can make themselves at home.
See below the Fly Through video to have an idea of what to expect. Credit: Emaar.
Some fast facts about the area:
The Dubai creek was historically the hub of trade, pearling and fishing over a 100 years ago.
The area stretches out to include such charming attractions such as the Al Fahidi district which is such an awesome area to walk around in and simply get lost in the culture of the city before ending up in charming spots like the Arabian Tea house which has the freshest and best falafel you will find anywhere.
Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is well known for its many pink flamingoes although its home to 450 other species of birds, fish and small mammals.
The Dubai Creek Harbour development will introduce sustainable transport and develop green spaces across 6 million square metres of land.
Looking forward to this Dubai upgrade!
Read next: The Giving Movement: The UAE’s first sustainable fashion brand.
The week started on a positive note with the announcement that brunches are finally allowed to resume which at least provides a little bit of social relief from the continuing restrictions on nightclubs and dancefloors. Amongst the other updates on restrictions live entertainment is also able to start up again. You can check out those updates here.
For those ready to dive back into the festivities these are a list of the latest brunch picks kicking off from this weekend:
Ce La Vi (pictured above) has been one of my favourite spots since they opened. The vibe is always good, the crowd is decent, service is attentive without being suffocating and the views and aesthetic is very on point – a great place to go if you have visitors in town and want to give them an amazing experience. Their Friday brunch will run from 1pm to 4pm. With prices starting at AED 390 for soft drinks, AED 490 for house beverages and AED 690 for champagne. Contact: 045826111 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Secret parties is as close to a party vibe you’re going to get during these pandemic times so if you’re looking for something lively especially if you’re partying in a group I would highly recommend this option which launches this Friday 21 May at 3BK which is situated as close to the Burj Khalifa as one can possible get as you can see from the image above. The brunch includes live entertainment like dancers, acrobats and more from 1pm to 4:30pm and contains some vegan items should you be that way inclined. Its AED 299 for the soft drink package, AED 399 for house drinks and AED 499 for the sparkling package with AED 699 for the Champagne package. Contact: 045707210/ email@example.com.
Mimikakushi opened about two months ago in the Four Seasons and its looking fabulous. I will surely be checking it out in the next couple of weeks and feature a proper review. Their 1920’s East meets West themed concept and gorgeous interiors are something to be proud indeed. Their brunch offering is available 12pm to 4pm every Friday with the soft drinks package at AED 350, AED 450 for house drinks and AED 695 for Champagne. Contact: 043794811/ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hotel Cartagena is a feast for the eyes on a normal weekday with a lot of Argentinian flavours and colours set against a vibrant backdrop in the JW Marioot Marquis. Expect empanadas, meat grilled platters for a bbq feel as well as sushi options if you’re looking for something different. The soft drink package is AED 295 and house beverages are AED 395. Contact: 045601799 / email@example.com.
Bla Bla is a place that I have mixed feelings about recommending because I have to think about the people who are not in hospitality or don’t know anyone who works there that they can text for a booking because if not, then you have my deepest sympathies for having to deal with their reservation system. However once you are sat in your spot you can look forward to a great location with views of the Dubai Eye, decent beachy backdrops and a variety of bar and pool spaces that keeps things interesting from day to night. Their brunch which takes place in their Japanese restaurant, Onda Nami offers soft drink packages start at AED 250 and AED 350 for the house beverage option and also goes from 1pm-4pm on Fridays. Contact: 045844111 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zuma Brunches are pretty much an institution by now but I’ve included it just to put word out that it is alive and kicking again. The brunch consists of a tasting set menu so expect a selection of bits from sushi, robata, dim sum and unlimited drinks with soft drink packages starting at AED 595, AED 695 for house beverage and AED 795 for the bubbly option. 044255660 / email@example.com.
All images: Instagram
If you’re looking for quality food that’s on the more casual end of the spectrum then a good option is the recently opened Time Out option on the 3rd floor of the Souk Al Bahar (that’s opposite the Dubai Mall, in case you’re new to Dubai).
Food halls have become a huge hospitality trend all around the world in recent years and the Time Out Market Dubai falls into this category with some unique attractions as well. Visitors can expect live entertainment, a selection of delicious food by top chefs invited by the Time Out Editors for their sampling pleasure complimented by views on the water of the fountains and the Burj Khalifa from the terrace tables.
The setup is spread over 43 000 square feet and consists of 17 restaurants to try including MASTI, BB social dining. Little Erth, Folly Workshop by Nick & Scott, Pitfire and many more. Thankfully, there will also be drinks involved from 3 licensed bars – The Fountain, Atrium and Palace surround the open dining areas.
The food can be ordered at the counter of any of the restaurants or from your table using the Time Out Market App but its good to note that all payments are cashless and that no reservations are required as seating is on a first come first serve walk-in basis only.
P.S if food halls have you worrying about shared, crowded spaces in the midst of the pandemic, no need to stress here as all current covid-19 guidelines are being adhered to with regards to social distancing, masks and screens between groups.
Image: Timeout instagram
If you’re as obsessed with Banksy as I am then you’ll be frothing at the bit to check out his exhibition entitled “The World of Banksy” between now and the 30 June at The Theatre at the Mall of Emirates. Tickets are available on Platinum list and although there is a steady stream of people arriving there isn’t really a queue in the evenings so I wouldn’t worry too much about purchasing the VIP skipping queue option.
The exhibition itself features recreations of 120 of his works in one venue so its all the icons and some reminders from way back to rekindle your admiration and respect of this mysterious character. There are also some of his lesser known works which will also give you something to think about. I’ve posted some of my snaps of the exhibition below and in case you are like me and wondered how they managed to reach out to Banksy to even get his permission to organise the event?? I asked the events team this very question during my visit and apparently they dropped him a DM on Instagram. Imagine that, sliding into Banksy’s DM’s and getting a reply. Wild.
One of the good things that’s come out of corona is that date nights have for sure gone through a reinvention to keep things fresh and lovebirds sane. If you’re looking for courtship that doesn’t involved swiping left and right followed by a succession of memes and snaps of your bits and pieces then how about having an old school date night at one of the drive-in cinemas launched in Dubai?
There are various locations offering the drive-in experience for your next date night including Vox Cinemas at the Mall of Emirates which includes two tickets and snacks for your snack at a pretty reasonable price of AED 189 which includes caramel popcorn, salted popcorn, nachos, M&Ms, soft drinks and water. Emaar’s Reel cinema’s will also be having their own outdoor cinema moment in the Zabeel extension of Dubai Mall. If you’re keen to have a proper drive out to a different emirate you can check out Sharjah’s drive-in experience at Madar at Aljadar which is launching on 1 July and offers 17 different types of cuisine that can be delivered to your car in a contactless manner while you spend some quality time with your other half since there is a limit of two people per car.
Image: Voxcinema instagram
It may not be the most important question during this delicate time but it’s an interesting one for collectors and lovers of fashion: How will the Corona virus affect the luxury market?
So lets rewind for a moment... there I was trying to digest what was happening in the final moments before the quarantine became real. There were constant updates all over Insta and Twitter about manufacturers, retailers and entire malls starting to completely shut down and not allowing any members of the public inside. My mind drifted towards shopping. The new reality seemed unreal. Naturally I started thinking about the situation and wondering would this would be the best or worst time to continue buying luxury items since the prices were likely to drop? Could it be an opportunity to get my little paws on some nice investment pieces? What if some brands suddenly got wiped off the face of the planet and luxury becomes irrelevant, would it lead to loss?
To be honest, these days I’m less about buying investment pieces that are going to sit in a box at the top of my closet and more about brands I know I’m going to wear every day, you know, those things that have fun, ironic vibes. My work wear basics consist of Off White, Philipp Plein (dont judge me), Moschino, Kaws, a hypebae vibe but in the minimalist way, its relaxed, comfortable and fits our casual dress code but when purchasing more established brands, I try to be more thoughtful about my purchases instead of just popping it into an online cart.
Brands like Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Chanel are often referred to as the holy trinity and it’s generally taken for granted that items will increase in resale value every year which can be a deciding factor to purchase for a lot of boujee bitches (myself not excluded). But how will things change and what’s the impact going to be? There are a few points to consider.
Who is the luxury market?
Consider this: over the last decade with the rise of social media, its influencers, flexing and the pressure for the younger market and middle class to wear designer items it’s going to be interesting seeing who has really been carrying the sustainability of the luxury market. Is it really the elite or actually the working class?
Boredom shopping versus survival
There are also millions of people focused cutting back at the moment however there are still many who are bored at home still making purchases. When quarantine started, I was doing quite a bit of online shopping. What can I say… retail therapy is better than no therapy when you’ve been quarantined for 14 days with no end in sight, however once it got to a point where I realised there wasn’t really anywhere to wear items, I lost interest. I suspect that a lot of online shoppers would feel similar. Also, of brands like Chanel do not sell online directly unless it’s a third party website or a pre-loved site like Vestaire or luxury closet, so I’m curious to see how will they sustain themselves or if they will finally go online if the situation continues.
The reselling market on the other hand seems to have a lot more inventory than usual and independent sellers keep reducing the prices. It’s definitely a buyers market at the moment. Goods like Hermes seem to be holding their value but a lot of the sites where people resell investment pieces appear to have sellers more motivated to negotiate. It might be because of the uncertainty of how long lockdown will continue so people feel inclined to stay liquid.
Sales and Discounts.
There are reductions at all of the popular online stores at the moment. I’m seeing Off White tshirts for under AED 600 ($163), Philipp Plein for under AED 1000 ($273), clearance sales on Farfetch.com, MyTheresa.com, Luisaviaroma.com with discounts on items that range between 25% and 50%.
Designers getting involved
It’s pretty cool to see that luxury brands are getting involved in the efforts to combat the virus, LVMH who owns Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Bulgari amongst others is producing hand sanitizers and hydralcoholic gels while others such as Prada getting involved of the manufacturing of face masks and protective overalls which is positive to see.
I feel like the way luxury is enjoyed or consumed in coming years might change if the quarantine becomes long term. We do not know what the future holds and if the situation continues for a year or two and the world economy gets much worse, brands might end up moving away from the whole boujee, logomania vibes like they did in the early 2000s and following world wars in previous decades to be subtle in their branding as a way of being sensitive and less flush in light of what a millions of people are going through. And… even if it does recover in the next few months people are likely to still be cautious with their spending after this little scare but then again there is the likelihood that shoppers are starved for living their best life and end up going totally overboard on the luxuries, I guess we’ll have to stay tuned.
Read next: Fine dining in quarantine.