I've probably celebrated New Years a grand total of 2 or 3 times in my adult life, I dont hate it however being in the hospitality industry I prefer to be more of a behind the scenes minion, working away in the background of the festivities rather than taking centre stage. You would usually find me arranging a villa party; promoting an EDM festival in Cape Town or working a NYE event in Dubai. The organised chaos coming together beautifully on the night especially when its my baby, excites me more than any countdown could. I’m weird like that. I guess I've always been about having a good time but I'm even more about my hustle.
That being said, there are some pretty hot parties happening around Dubai this year for people who prefer to enjoy that festivities as a guest rather than a minion so I've rounded up the options that have the most hype around them in the industry as we head into 2019. In the spirit of responsible spending I've stuck to the AED 1500 and below options - of course there are some fab options for around AED 2000 like the Gatsby theme at FIVE Palm Jumeirah which sounds amazing too but there are plenty of options that wont break the bank either.
Bagatelle is doing a menu comprised of options Pizzetta Ala Truffle Noire, Linguini Homard Epice and Bagatelle salad to the backdrop of live music and DJ Sam Sparks. There are two seatings, one at 7pm and a later one around 10pm-10:30. Prices start at AED 550 for the first seating and then they also offer a lounge table option of only AED 2500 for up to 6 people. Call: 04 354 5035 or email email@example.com.
If you're looking for something elegant on the water then the 8 course British tasting menu served onboard the QE2 could be a good option. Entertainment will be live Jazz music. Alternatively the QE2 Disco at the Yacht Club will have a DJ spinning some 80s and 90s music for a retro vibe along with unlimited beverages and a party food buffet for just AED 750. Bookings on 04 526 8888.
43 Sky Lounge has by far one of the most surreal views of the city lights. Their New Years offering is a buffet style dinner with unlimited canapes starting at 7pm paired with some live entertainment. Packages are AED 1400 per person. To reserve call 04 3169726.
Beefbar is hosting a special edition of Meat Me Mondays from their exclusive VIP menu for AED 1000 per guest. Entertainment is live and you get a bottle of complimentary bubbly if you arrive before 8pm on the night. Call 04 3522223 for bookings.
Cavalli Club is doing an intergalactic themed NYE with 4 course set menu with unlimited drinks for AED 1650 or you can go for the regular night club tickets which are AED 900 for ladies and AED 1100 for guys and includes an open bar until 3am. To book call 04 332 9260.
One of my favourite party themes, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is happening at DIFC hotspot Cipriani and I am keen to see how they bring it together. Minimum spend per guest is AED 1200. Reservations can be made on 04 347 0003.
If you're keen to see the fireworks at the Burj, STK is a great option with live entertainment including a saxophonist, you will received a mixed drink on arrival and are welocme to pre book two bottles of bubbles for AED 999. its AED 999 for bistro seating, AED 1299 for carpet seating and AED 1899 for terrace seating. To book call 04 425 3948.
Another fireworks option at La Mer would be casual dining spot Stars n Bars. There are three packages which all include a delicious 3 course set menu and various drink package options starting from AED 500 for soft drinks, AED 750 for house beverages and AED 1000 for the premium drinks package. Its AED 350 min spend for walk-ins on the night. For bookings call 04 349 9903.
I was pleasantly surprised that Toko's packages are super reasonably priced for New Years eve so if you like sushi and Japanese style food its a guaranteed great option. The house beverage package option is AED 690 while the soft drink package is AED 490.
If its your first New Years in Dubai my biggest tips would be to get to your destination early to avoid the traffic and pack some comfy shoes - there is a high possibility that you're going to be doing some walking in areas not accessible by car on the night.
Questions Dubai expats are sick of hearing.
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Almost all hospitality venues like malls, beach clubs and restaurants in the UAE are offering Christmas set menus and entertainment so I’m not going to get into those vibes because let’s face it there are hundreds if not thousands to mention and we don’t have that kind of time however if you are in Dubai over the festive season especially with family in town and are looking for things to do, there are some great family friendly events and thats what I'm going to focus on here. I'm talking about activities like Christmas markets and tree lighting events complete with all the trimmings i.e snow, choirs, gluwein and egg nog. Yasss! Here are 5 popular highlights for the holidays.
Irish Village Christmas
The Irish village does a traditional tree lighting on 3 December from 7pm complete with choirs, mulled grape refreshments and home baked fruit mince pies. Sounds good to me. P.S if you like the atmosphere here, they’re also offering a three course Christmas lunch buffet for AED 199 on Christmas Day. (04 282 4750)
Tree lighting at Fairmont on the Palm
Fairmont on the Palm is hosting a tree lighting ceremony on the 5th December from 5pm until 7pm. Complimentary festive beverages and canapes will be served. Entry is free. (04 457 3457)
Film Screening at the Steigenberger
The Backyard in the Steigenberger hotel, Business Bay will be screening festive films on 5 December from 8pm. They will also have Christmas themed food and drinks to get you into the mood. In the same building Swim and Tonic is having a tree lighting festival on the same night with food and drink stalls earlier in the evening from 6:30-8pm so you could definitely make a night of it. (04 369 0000)
Traditional German Market at the Madinat
Madinat Jumeirah is going family friendly with a traditional German market with food stalls, abras on the water driven by Santa and his elves as well as a with a snow zone and a gingerbread house making station. It starts on 20 December until the 28th from noon until late, daily. Entry is free.
Christmas Classics at the Dubai Operahouse
Dubai Opera is bringing back their contemporary take on christmas classics with Jingle Bell favourites for the third year in a row. This is a great option especially if you have mom and dad in town over this time. Tickets start at AED 150. (04 440 8888)
If you have any picks you’d recommend, let me know!
Read next: Dubai brunch survival guide.
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Disclaimer: This article does not constitute as legal advice (I'm not a lawyer). If you want specific details and updates on these laws, its always best to consult a professional.
Social Media Laws in the UAE
I'm so over people saying they had no idea about these laws. Surely when you come to a new country, especially in the Middle East - and you're from a different cultural background, you should educate yourself and what is and isn’t allowed? Most of the laws should be common sense so if you're not a troll, a bully or out to annoy and defame people then you should have nothing to worry about. However if you're not 100% sure about what is and isn't allowed or what might happen if you cross the line then read on.
Do not post pictures or film people without their permission.
Want to post an instastory of a stranger doing their thing at gym? Maybe someone you know had an awkward moment and you just happend to catch it on film. Hitting that share button at their expense might be accepted in your home country however in the UAE it’s not allowed. At the end of the day, it’s all about being responsible and treating people with respect. Especially if you already know that the person featured in the content would be uncomfortable with the picture or have an issue with what you want to post. Its called respecting people's privacy. If you break this law you risk prison of at least 6 months and a fine of not less than AED 150 000 according to Article 21 of the cyber crimes law. There's some additional information about posting pictures of women without their consent here.
Do not post people's private or confidential information.
This should be obvious but in case you weren't aware, you shouldn't post people's confidential information online. This includes ranting about employers by the way. No matter what company you're working for anywhere in the world it’s considered bad form to share private info. Its the same here but with legal consequences like this situation. The best option if you're having an issue at work or feel like you're being treated unfairly is to go directly to the Ministry of Labour. They are super helpful and may even compensate for emotional distress on top of a settlement if your complaint is valid. Breaking this law could have you facing imprisonment and a fine of not less than AED 250 000 and AED 1.5 million so rather handle it the professional way.
Social media influencers need licenses to operate.
It’s a fairly recent law which came into effect this year. People who want to be social media influencers must obtain a license to do so. The law was brought into effect to encourage responsible social media activity such as following the rules like the ones in this article and not attempting hanging off buildings like glamour model Viki Odintcova found out in Dubai earlier this year. It also ensures that if someone is being paid to endorse a product or service that its in line with certain guidelines. Influencer licenses cost around AED 15 000 but if you already have a large following and are signed to a social media agency, then you can do it through them as well. There is quite a bit of information surrounding this so I will be dedicating a more detailed post on my personal process of getting licensed.
Posting content that is offensive to other Monostheistic religions.
Monotheistic religions refer to "the belief in only one God" for example Islam and Christianity. Posting anything that is offensive especially exhibiting things like nudity, pornography and debauchery goes against these values and is not allowed. In other words, have respect for other people's religions. Its that simple. If not, you could face imprisonment and a fine starting at AED 250 000 and not exceeding AED 500 000 as stated in article 17. On a side note, promoting any form of racism, hatred or riots can also land you a fine of between AED 500 000 to AED 1.5 Million according to Article 24.
If you're keen for more info on these and other laws check out this link.
Did any of the laws surprise you or did you already know them all? Let me know in the comments.
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I’m sure most people would agree that jumping out of a moving vehicle to do a dance you saw on the internet is probably not the safest thing to do for yourself or others. With this in mind, the Dubai Police have issued a warning to residents against doing the challenge which could get you arrested, along with a Dhs2000 fine and getting 23 black points added to your driver’s license. Three social media influencers have been arrested.
The Kiki Challenge.
In case you've been living under a rock and have no idea what the Kiki Challenge is all about, it was started by comedian, Shiggy who posted the first ever clip of himself doing the dance and challenged all his followers to do the same on the 30th of June. He did not jump out of a car by the way. Shiggy hashtagged the post #DotheShiggy and #Kikichallenge because it used the single "In my feelings" from Drakes latest album which makes reference to a girl named "Keke". The challenge went viral and many celebrities partook including Ciara and Will Smith. But somewhere along the line I guess people started jumping out of cars and, well here we are.
Three Social Media Influencers Arrested.
The Abu Dhabi Public Prosecutor ordered the arrest of three social media influencers this week who took part in the challenge for endangering themselves and others on the road. According to Gulf News the department also encouraged young people to rather engage in useful activities that are compatible with the values of society and contribute to physical, social, mental and moral developments". They also called on "celebrities to of social networking sites to show a sense of responsibility towards children and society".
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Cover Image: Shiggyshow Instagram
Yes, you read right. People seeking help to get rid of their addiction from a rehabilitation programme will be exempt from prosecution instead of the previous penalty which was a minimum of four years and a minimum fine of Dhs 10 000 (unless they are profiting from it in which case, "Stahhhp!")
In an interview, Whatson Dubai spoke to Shabaan Metwally, a partner at BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem to get more info and clarification on this relatively new law passed which apparently means that drug use is now classified as a misdemeanour offence rather than a felony.
Shaban Metwally stated that Article 43 of the Anti-Narcotics is all encompassing and applies to any nationalities residing in the UAE. It also provides an exemption for those visiting the UAE on business, as a tourist and even those in transit through the UAE. There is an exception to the law and this would be anyone profiting from drugs for example selling, drug traffickers and smugglers would not be able to invoke this law. You can read more about the interview here.
Basically, if an individual comes forward voluntarily to admit their addiction, or a first or second degree family member (parents, spouse or siblings come forward on their behalf and the induvidual with the addiction submits) they will be offered a place in a (maximum) two year rehabilitation programme - most of which will be out-patient treatment.
So if you find yourself or an immediate family member in need of help with addiction you can contact the National Rehabilitation centre, the Police department, the Public Prosecutor, Abu Dhabi Rehabilitation Centre Erada or Priory Wellbeing centre.
This article does not constitute legal advice for unique situations so if you're unsure of the finer details or dont know where to start, contact one of the rehabilitation centres or your legal representative to find out more info about how the law affects you.
By now I should probably be over the amount of luxurious developments popping up from month to month in Dubai but jokes aside - how can the lines and the silhouettes of innovative architecture with strong visual appeal *not* excite the senses, it never gets old. One needs only to gaze out the window for daily motivation to see what humans are capable of when they put their minds to it - it’s truly inspiring. Below are the latest developments and attractions I’m looking forward to in 2018/ 2019.
World class Spanish Cuisine is always a good idea so I’m thrilled that Chef Jose Andres is bringing one of the top rated brands in the genre, Jaleo to Dubai. This is the first instalment of the restaurant in the Middle East and he has picked the perfect setting in the Royal Atlantis Resorts and Residences development scheduled to open next year. The famous chef who also made the list as one of Time’s 100 most influential people enthused about the launch saying “Guests will be able to experience Jaleo like they never have before”.
The Palm Jumeirah
As a lover of beachside locations I can’t wait for these upcoming developments in the Palm Jumeirah area, it’s like the final cherry on top for the location and will definitely drive even more activity into the area. On Thursday and Friday nights you may want to give driving a break and try the new Metro point due for completion shortly to avoid the traffic.
St Regis Beach Club
The first is St Regis Beach club on the Palm, for which development is currently underway. It looks ah-mazing. The format in the renderings remind me a little of Potatohead in Bali – I can definitely see myself soaking up some sun here. Perhaps the next addition for my list of the best Daycations in Dubai? Let’s see. The venue is described as a Dhs 79.7 million dining, leisure and fitness destination, adjacent to the second St Regis hotel coming soon to the the Palm Jumeirah - the other being in Al Habtoor City. All will form part of the new Palm Tower development.
Read: The Address Hotel Downtown has reopened.
This massive development spans a jaw dropping 1.4 million square feet of prime Palm Jumeirah estate and is costing around Dhs 800 million to complete. It will also be home to a second set of dancing fountains such as ones in a similar style to the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall location. In addition, there will be about 100 restaurants and shops and a 5km promenade. Restaurants options range from Guy Fieri’s dine-in cinema (similar to the one at the Jabel Ali recreation Club) which you can read about here, Chicago meatpackers, Russo’s New York pizzeria and loads more.
Read: The Lowdown on the Salvadore Dali Exhibition.
The DIFC is getting its own state of the art 14 500 square metre mosque which will accommodate up to 500 worshippers. The mosque will be situated in the Gate Avenue and the interior looks incredible. It’s been described as “modern, non-conformist facility with references to tradition”. The building will resemble a cube within a cube with the hanging Mashrabiya acting as a veil for privacy when need be but also has the ability to lift so that the décor of the mosque can be appreciated by the public as well. Check out the interior below. Heart eye emojis for real though.
Movie fanatics have another reason to get excited because ScreenX cinema is taking things to the next level by opening in Reel Cinemas at Dubai Mall later this year. The ScreenX technology was first created in 2012 and it’s a basically a theatre experience that expands the images into a 270 degree panoramic view as you can see by the image for an innovative, bigger and better perspective with all the visual and aural bells and whistles. There hasn’t been word yet on its launch date so I’ll keep you posted on that.
Read Next: The Arts Club and Other Venues Opening in Dubai.
As it turns out, there is yet another great reason to visit the best Peruvian restaurant in town besides the mouth-watering anticuchos and Josper grilled octopus. Coya Dubai will be showcasing an exhibition of Salvador Dali's surreal wall candy from 19 June to 31 August. There is no entry fee to the exhibition areas.
So if you're a fan of Mister "I dont't drugs, I am drugs", then you are in for a treat as Coya will be displaying 60 pieces by the artist in partnership with Alpha Soul. Some of the wall art works to look forward to include Space Elephant and the Surrealist Flowergirl as well as a variety of prints and lithographs of pieces in private collections around the world.
Address: The Four Seasons JBR
Have a look at some other amazing restaurants opening in Dubai over the next twelve months here.
What a twist. Catch Dubai one of my favourite seafood restaurants downtown has closed its doors. Permanently.
In case you had never checked it out before, the venue was kind of a New York style eatery featuring leather booths, exposed brick faced walls plus one of thee best industrial themed restroom designs. It arrived on the scene in 2015.
It comes as a bit of a surprise since the restaurant also underwent a revamp at the beginning of 2018 and it was named Time Out’s Seafood Restaurant of the year last year. Sad news indeed however word is that a new funky concept is set to take its place in the Fairmont hotel.
I guess we’ll just have to stay tuned to find out.
.Who can forget New Years 2016 when the iconic Address Downtown caught alight ahead of the record breaking NYE fireworks display? The fire was found to be caused by an electrical fault which caused considerable damage to the building. However the hotel has finally been reopened and been given a totally fresh new look.
Read: Get the lowdown on the Salvador Dali Exhibition in Dubai
The hotel is possibly one of the most centrally located down town hotels and overlooks the Burj Khalifa. CEO of Emaar Hospitality Group Olivier Harsnisch stated to The National, Emaar is bringing to life a crowning glory in its hotel assets. Working with world-leading designers and consultants, the all-new address Downtown ushers in an exceptional lifestyle choice and set new standards in luxury hospitality.
The Address showcases some new features, a fresh interior and The Galliard which serves Spanish, Turkish and French Cuisine as well as another instalment of STK restaurant and a revamped Neos on the 63rd floor.
Want to check out which other amazing venues will be opening in 2018? Click here.
When it was revealed last week that The Arts Club, one of London's most famous private members clubs is opening in Dubai next year, everybody got excited but that's not the only new venue we're welcoming into the city. Lets have a look at what else is happening over the coming months.
The Arts Club
The Art's Club was founded by none other than Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope in 1863 and is described as an arts and cultural hub for people coming together in a sociable but exclusive members-only setting. How exclusive? It's around Dhs10 000 for current annual membership fees at its Mayfair site on Dover street besides the joining fee which is also Dhs10 000 - not forgetting that you need to have your application to join supported by an existing member. The Dubai edition, which is the first overseas location for the club will take over 40 000 ft. of indoor space and 23 000 ft. of outdoor space consisting of a cigar club, a rooftop terrace, art exhibition spaces, three restaurants and a business centre spread over five levels. It will be housed in the new development, ICD Brookfield Place in the DIFC in 2019.
Avli by Tasha's
South African restaurateur, Natasha Sideris is taking over Dubai one location at a time. After her success with the Tasha's cafe brand in the Galleria Mall and also in Outlet Village, she launched her elegant restaurant concept, The Flamingo Room in Jumeirah Al Naseem. Natasha will now be launching a Mediterranean-style restaurant in September this year called Avli which means "courtyard" in Greek open for a more relaxed breakfast and lunch vibe.
Coming soon to the 70th floor of the Address Boulevard Hotel, Downtown is Dolce Sky and it sounds like it’s going to be pretty spectacular. Think aerial performances above the tables - as seen in their rendered image above - and multiple venue choices. The concept will be made up of two restaurants, French La Vie led by Michelin starred Chef Jerome Lagarde which is said to come with a floating kitchen and Japanese spot, Takumi, lead by acclaimed Chef Hide Yamamoto which comes with the regions first Sake Lounge. The venue also features a rooftop terrace - with what I imagine to be breathtaking views from the 70th floor as well as a members-only space called Ellecti Lounge.
This Hollywood famed restaurant will be setting up shop in the Dubai Marina in the InterContinental hotel on the Waterfront level. Its been described as Japanese cuisine with a modern twist and embraces "traditional Kyoto culture from 1920 to the modern and futuristic Tokyo of 2050". That's hot. Chefs will uses their authentic Japanese cooking styles and a bar area will serve up exotic mixed drinks and traditional teas using spices and Japanese ingredients. The restaurant was originally in LA before closing down in 2013 and looks like it’s all set for a dazzling revival in Dubai - the opening date has not been confirmed.
The Trophy Room
Something a little different to the usual pub and grub style sports venues is coming to the Fairmont on the Palm at the beginning of June. The intimate 75-seater venue offers guests the option to listen to sports commentary in a variety of languages by using disposable headphones and downloading a dedicated app on their phones. The menu includes options like golden chicken nuggets to beverages topped with bacon stuffed olives and parmesan cheese accompanied by homemade beef jerky as a stirring stick. And they will be deducting 5% off the bill for every goal scored during selected Premier League Games.
Images: Supplied renderings
Cover image: Visit.dubai instagram