5 PLACES IN DUBAI THAT WILL SPARK YOUR CREATIVITY WHEN YOUR DESK JUST WON’T DO

If you are a creative type looking to go beyond your room’s four walls for motivation, a visit to Dubai would be a great place to soak in some inspiration. Whether you are working on your next novel, writing your next song or perhaps screenplay, here are some places in Dubai that are sure to get your creative juices flowing.

    1. The Beach

The Beach

With sunny weather nearly all-year round, Dubai’s beautiful beaches are a top choice. Head to Al Sufouh Beach if you’re looking for a quieter spot or places like Kite Beach or La Mer if you want to be closer to crowds, cafés and restaurants and in the mood to do some people watching.

    1. The Aquarium


Take some time out from staring at your screen to stare into the Deep Blue at some of Dubai’s amazing aquariums. Get transported into a different world at The Lost Chambers Aquarium at Atlantis the Palm, or head to Dubai Mall where you can grab a chair at a café right across from the world’s largest indoor aquarium.

    1. Burj Khalifa


Looking at things from a different angle is always a great way to get out of your head. So why not grab your laptop and take a trip up the world’s tallest building and see the world from a different perspective?

    1. The Open Sea


Head to the open waters for a bit of seaside inspiration. There are plenty of tourist agencies who offer boat rentals on an hourly or daily basis – or for something more cultural, venture down to Old Dubai and hire your own abra (wooden boat) for an hour.

    1. The Getaway


If you are looking to spend more than just a few hours in a creative sanctuary, Nasma has you covered. For an urban getaway, stay in one of our apartments in the heart of Downtown where you are sure to find inspiration from the bustling neighborhood. If you are more of the I-need-to-smell-the-ocean-breeze kind, escape to the seaside and find your mojo in one of our waterfront villas or apartments.

Dubai Insider: Need to know

Most visitors who choose Dubai for a vacation have a general idea of what the city offers even before they land. A modern metropolis with clean beaches, five-star dining and plenty of desert to explore, it’s not so different from any other major tourist destination in many ways, but has a few quirks, cultural differences and unique experiences that set it apart.

The Nasma Luxury Stays team know the city inside out, and we’ve put together our top five Dubai Insider list of things you definitely need to know before you visit!

GETTING AROUND


Dubai’s geography is unique in that its origins begin at Dubai Creek and hug the meandering coastline to create a city that has no true centre. Instead, it is a delightful mix of pocket communities that you need to travel between in order to explore. Walking from district to district is not an option with long distances between key points of interest, an absence of sidewalks in many instances and busy roads to navigate.

What Dubai does offer is a great choice of transportation options from easy car hire to a world-class metro system. Official air-conditioned metered taxis are everywhere and can also be prebooked (download handy the S’hail app) with most cab drivers accepting cash and credit card payment.

Uber is also widely available and also operates local car service Careem (download the free app of the same name), which offers visitors a choice of vehicle types from economy pick-up to luxury sedan.

For a different perspective on the city and super cheap travel, Dubai Metro’s red and green lines bisect the city with stations close to major attractions, commercial centres and at Dubai International Airport. There’s a dedicated coach for female travellers plus access for wheelchair users. And for a leisurely trip around the Dubai Marina area, the Dubai Tram links with Dubai Metro stations and also covers Dubai Media City, Dubai Knowledge Park and out to the Palm Monorail.

Dubai Insider tip: Pink-roofed taxis are reserved for female travellers and can be requested (subject to availability) when booking via the Dubai Roads & Traffic Authority taxi hotline on 04 208 0808.

CITY OF CONVENIENCE

One thing we love about living in Dubai is its 24/7 lifestyle and that includes getting your groceries or takeout food fix delivered.

Home delivery is the norm with most apartment buildings or villa communities offering a minimart or convenience store on the doorstep. If you run out of milk or need some fresh tonic for that sundowner, one call and a matter of minutes later the doorbell will ring. And there’s usually no charge for delivery (although a small tip is appreciated).

All Nasma Luxury Stays homes come with fully equipped kitchens, and if you want to stock up for the week there are more comprehensive groceries and everyday essentials delivery options out there. We recommend checking out carrefouruae.com and local sites such as kibsons.com and trolley.ae.

Can’t be bothered to cook? We don’t blame you. Restaurant delivery sites are your savior with talabat.com and zomato.com listing every kind of cuisine under the sun and frequent promotion. Don’t tell the kids, but McDonald’s will happily deliver as many Happy Meals as you can eat (mcdelivery.ae).

Dubai Insider tip: If you’re here on an extended holiday it could be worth forking out a few hundred dirhams on The Entertainer app, which lists 1,000s of dining discounts.

DINE ON A DIME


Dubai and luxury are synonymous but eating out and enjoying your favourite tipple doesn’t have to come with a five-star bill.

With a wealth of restaurants, cafés, casual eateries and an emerging food truck scene, it’s a hugely competitive market and many venues bank on boosting business with all-you-can-eat theme nights, dining app discounts and ladies only promotions.

Dining deal apps we recommend downloading include local discount voucher resource Cobone, global deal site Groupon and our personal homegrown favourite, The Entertainer. A paid app with a choice of different packages and bundle offers covering everything from dining and leisure activities to family entertainment, you can quickly recoup the investment. If you’re a frequent visitor to Dubai, (paid) Zomato Gold membership offers savings of up to 50% on restaurant bills.

Female travellers also have an added advantage with a culture of ladies’ night deals. Historically, Tuesday evenings were for the girls with many of the city’s most popular venues offering enticing beverage deals (read free!) but today, ladies’ night pretty much covers the entire week. From bubbles on the beach to discounted meals and free-flow occasions, there are 100s of options to choose from. And the men are fighting back with a growing community of locations hosting deals for the guys!

Dubai Insider tip: Go to timeoutdubai.com or whatson.ae to find the latest ladies’ night or gentlemen only listings.

FRIDAY/SATURDAY WEEKEND

Now this is something we know is a little hard to get used to, but in the UAE the weekend starts on Friday (or Thursday night to be precise) and runs through Saturday.

In Islam, Friday is considered a holy day and is observed as such with the Jummah prayers especially important for Muslims everywhere. Until late 2006, the weekend was officially Thursday and Friday, but was shifted in part to extend access to global economies and businesses operating on the Monday to Friday model.

Unlike a Sunday in Europe or North America, life continues largely as normal with shopping malls open all day and into the night, public attractions operating as usual and restaurants thronged with weekend diners.

The first Dubai Metro train of the day is a little later at 10am instead of 5.30am with Dubai Tram also running from 9am instead of 6.30am. Many small shops or those located in the local souks often only open for business after the Friday (lunchtime) prayers or as late as 4pm.

Dubai Insider tip: If you’re planning to take the Jumeirah Mosque tour, avoid Friday as it is closed to tourists. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi (well worth a visit) is open to visitors after 4.30pm on Fridays.

BRUNCH WITH A DIFFERENCE


That gap between breakfast and lunch that calls for a casual mid-morning eggs Benedict bite with friends is turned on its head in Dubai where weekend brunch equals all-out indulgence.

Friday brunch is an institution is the city, although more and more venues are offering a Saturday alternative and there’s even been something of a trend towards night brunches.

The city’s five-star hotels are the anchor for weekend brunch fun and the most popular style is the fixed price all-you-can-eat (and drink) offering with different price options and packages to choose from. It’s also the home of the lavish buffet, with restaurants transformed into market halls featuring tables laden with all kinds of delicious dishes.

Culinary themes range from Far Eastern and Indian to classic brunch fare (eggs and more), high-end seafood and world cuisine (where you can literally eat your way across the globe).

A growing number of smaller cafés or bistro style venues are also jumping on the bandwagon with affordable set menu offers for the weekend or mini brunch set-ups.

Dubai Insider tip: Do your research and choose your venue wisely as some destinations are designed for groups of friends and couples while others offer great family friendly entertainment and activities to amuse the kids.

NASMA TRAVEL HACKS: WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR DUBAI GETAWAY

In the first of our new Travel Hacks series, the Nasma Luxury Stays team shares top packing tips for your next Dubai vacation or getaway.

We all have a travel checklist in our heads or scribbled down on a piece of paper, but don’t you hate arriving at your destination to find you’ve forgotten to pack an essential item?

Dubai is the kind of city where you can purchase everything you need on arrival (beauty buys and sunscreen is a good case in point) but if you’re a first time visitor unfamiliar with the climate and cultural nuances, read on…

CHILL OUT

If you’re someone who struggles in the heat when not lying on a sun lounger by the pool, a handheld fan (folding paper or the mini battery-operated version) can be a lifesaver on a hot day in a crowded market. Conversely, Dubai is known for its love of air-conditioned environments such as malls and restaurants, so throw a pashmina or light sweater/jacket into the mix (also hand for our cool winter evenings and nights in the desert).

DIVE IN

This may be a little obvious but do pack your favourite bikini or swimwear. Dubai may be chock full of high-rise towers and you may be staying far away from one of its beaches, but the vast majority of apartment buildings and villas come with a swimming pool. And, it goes without saying that your Nasma Luxury Stays holiday homes will have pool access.

COVER UP

A fairly liberal destination in many respects, the UAE is still an Islamic country and it’s important to respect cultural differences when it comes to clothing. Away from the beach or pool, when visiting a mall or public attraction, shoulders should be covered, décolleté avoided and shorts/dresses extend below the knee. So, pack accordingly with an extra T-shirt or top, long skirt or trousers. A light cotton scarf is also handy to throw around you as a quick cover-up.

GLAM GUIDE

The city is a bit of a dichotomy when it comes to dressing up for an evening out as it’s not unusual to see designer cocktail dresses rubbing sequined shoulders with a plain white tee and jeans look. It’s always a pleasure to glam up for a nice dinner, so bring out that special occasion dress or (tieless) suit. It’s worth noting that many places don’t allow trainers, shorts or flip-flops in the evening.

BUZZ OFF

We occasionally get asked if Malaria is an issue in the UAE, which its isn’t. However, during warmer weather and near large bodies of artificial water you may find mosquitoes, so it’s a good idea to pack your preferred mosquito repellent or pick up a can here. Hand sanitiser is also a practical must-have, especially if you’re an urban explorer poking around dusty corners.

HEALTH CHECK

If you are taking prescription medication, you need to be aware of the UAE position on controlled medicines. Doctor-prescribed medication can be brought into Dubai; however, you will need either a copy of the original prescription or a doctor’s letter. You are only permitted to bring in supply lasting a maximum of three months.

GET CONNECTED

The electrical current in Dubai is 220/240 V, 50 Hz AC. British-style three-pin electrical plugs are the standard here (although a high percentage of electrical items are of the two-pin variety) so remember to bring a travel adaptor with you.

NO FLY ZONE

If you’re a drone owner eager to capture your Dubai experiences from on high, you’ll need to register for official (temporary) permission from the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) before you travel and collect your temporary ID on arrival. The process can take up to 12 working days (gcaa.gov.ae) and you can also download the UAE Drone Fly Zone Map.

P.S.
We know that our Nasma Luxury Stays guests are a global community of intelligent travellers but, in case you’ve ever wondered… Daisy Duke shorts, extremely short mini-skirts and crop tops in public; see-through beach sarongs off the beach; thong bikinis – period; and T-shirts with vulgar graphics or slogans are a complete no-no!

EXPLORE DUBAI WITH YOUR PASSPORT TO A WORLD OF CULTURE

From a population numbering 20,000 just under a century ago to three million in 2018, one of the attractions of a stay in the city is discovering the different cultural faces of Dubai.

First settled by the Bani Yas tribe on the banks of the creek in 1833, Dubai has long been a magnet for different cultures and communities. Home to more than 200 nationalities, with 2019 designated the Year of Tolerance the city continues to stand loud and proud as a successful global poster child for cultural fusion.

This year will see the UAE welcome Pope Francis to its shores for a groundbreaking inter-faith forum set to attract more than 100,000 people; construction will begin on the country’s first Hindu temple; and a government-supported calendar of cross-cultural events will take place throughout the year, from UAE-China Week to the second edition of the Emirati-French Cultural Dialogue programme.

Take a stroll through Meena Bazaar on the edge of the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood on the banks of Dubai Creek for a taste of India. Home to a wealth of narrow lanes and tiny stores stocked high with all kinds of South Asian goodies from vibrant textiles and colourful trinkets to glittering gold jewellery and homewares, it’s been a fixture on the retail scene for decades. If you’re a traveling foodie, the Nasma Luxury Stays team also recommends making a stop to try some of the best Indian food in town with a traditional veggie thali lunch at Rangoli in the heart of the bazaar.

Food is a fantastic vehicle to showcase cultures and for a flavour of the Middle East Al Rigga Road on the Deira side of the Dubai Creek is your go-to. Feast on Iraqi kebabs and fish at Alazeam Restaurant, Persian food at Shayan and Lebanese delights at Al Safadi, among others. Pair culinary exploration with traditional entertainment with both the upscale Dubai Opera and accessible-to-all Global Village hotspots for live music by sellout and seasoned Arabic performers from around the region.

A community with a growing presence, more than 200,000 Chinese choose to call the emirate home and it’s also a popular destination for tourists from the People’s Republic, supported by strong trade ties between the two countries. As well as a profusion of restaurants across town, close co-operation between the UAE and Beijing has seen the 2018 launch of the inaugural China Film Week and expansion of the fascinating Dragon Mart retail destination, which is well worth a visit if only to soak up some ‘tiger economy’ vibes. In early February, the city will be festooned in red and gold in honour of Chinese New Year from The Dubai Mall, which will also feature a giant pagoda and live martial arts-themed entertainment, to a special seasonal light show at Burj Khalifa.

If you want to get a snapshot of the emirate’s international vibe in a single well- thought-out location, then Global Village is perfect for some serious cultural immersion. Located out in Dubailand (a taxi ride away) and open from end October through to April each year, it is home to 27 grand scale international pavilions from Africa to The Americas. Here you can pick up indigenous crafts and gifts, sample global cuisines and take a seat in front of the al fresco main stage or kids’ theatre to catch a stage show, live concert or interactive artistic performance.

The arts and culture scene in Dubai has also grown in leaps and bounds over the last decade and is another vehicle that promotes the city’s international perspective with calendar-favourite events and cultural destinations including Dubai Opera, the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, Art Dubai week, Sikka Art Fair and World Art Dubai showcase attracting big name talent and international visitors.

The industrial suburb of Al Quoz is the heartland of the thriving gallery community spearheaded by the Al Serkal arts hub, with its profusion of independent galleries, interactive spaces and workshops. The banks of Dubai Creek have always attracted artistic types with the sikkas (alleyways) of the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood the location of some of the area’s original art havens including The Majlis Gallery and XVA Gallery.

A model for harmony and tolerance and a fascinating city where every street corner opens up onto a new cultural experience, no two stays in Dubai are ever the same… and that’s what keeps travellers from every corner of the globe coming back again and again.

10 REASONS TO CHOOSE DUBAI THIS JANUARY

If you can tear yourself away from the bespoke surroundings of your Nasma Luxury Stays holiday villa or apartment, the city of Dubai has a wealth of exciting cultural and entertainment experiences on offer. To help you make the most of your vacation home stay with us – and the wonderful winter weather – we’ve put together our January shortlist of top 10 city-wide experiences.

LANDMARK EXPERIENCES

One of two hot ticket tourist destinations to open this month, the gold-clad Dubai Frame, located in Zabeel Park, is expected to attract more than two million visitors in 2018. Be one of the first to travel 150 metres to the glass bridge observation deck for a bespoke bird’s eye view of both old and new Dubai, and also capture the perfectly framed city skyline from ground level.

Swap high-tech architectural innovation for nature with a trip out to the new Dubai Safari wildlife park. Home to more than 2,500 animals, the 119-hectare park is divided into a series of geographically themed villages (African, Arabian, Asian) plus the Open Safari village. We love the thrill of the world’s first drive-through crocodile exhibit and the UAE’s only drive-through hippo and tiger enclosure.

ON THE WATERFRONT

Dubai’s maritime history meets stylish relaxation at a number of landscaped locations across the city, but this month the destination on everyone’s lips is La Mer. A new laidback beachfront development in the Jumeirah neighbourhood, La Mer’s1.24 million square metres of outdoor space is centered around a beachfront promenade and palm tree-fringed timber walkway lined with cabanas, water hammocks, an array of trendy cafés and licensed restaurants, and one-of-a-kind retail opportunities.

SHOP THE CITY

January and shopping go hand in hand with the annual Dubai Shopping Festival already in full swing. Check out the special offers, promotions and sales at top brand stores across the city’s 40+ malls or head to Global Village for a cultural retail experience with more than 30 international pavilions, street entertainers and nightly fireworks. For a VIP shopping experience, we recommend the Dubai Shopping Festival Pass, which gives you special access to the best attractions, tours, experiences and seasonal dining.

Back by popular demand, and also part of the festival, our top shopping tip this January is Market OTB, an al fresco showcase for up-and-coming designers and independent labels. It’s a great outdoor alternative to the bustling mall scene and runs from 11-20 January at Burj Park, Downtown Dubai.

LET US ENTERTAIN YOU

After-dark entertainment abounds in Dubai and it’s the sellout La Perle by Dragone show that’s blowing minds this month. A 90-minute Cirque du Soleil-style extravaganza inspired by the emirate’s history, the show is a mastery of music, choreography, daredevil stunts and jaw-dropping moments featuring aerial acrobats, divers, motorcyclists and cast of hundreds. We recommend springing for the Gold or VIP level tickets for the best seats.

The stunning setting of Dubai Opera is another Nasma Luxury Stays team favourite, and the January calendar has something for everyone including performances by Abdullah Bilkhair and Hind Albahraineya (12 January) and an international production of the acclaimed Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita (22-27 & 29 January).

ART IN THE CITY

Dubai’s art scene is thriving and there’s a profusion of galleries in the city from the charming setting of Al Fahidi Historical District on the banks of the Dubai Creek to Alserkal Avenue in the industrial Al Quoz area. An urban arts hub, the avenue is home to a collection of galleries and artists and is a great place to while away a few hours. If you’re in town 26-27 January, be sure to pop in to the Quoz Arts Fest, with gallery tours, dance performances and a market.

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

Adrenaline thrills and clear blue skies are guaranteed with a tandem skydive over Palm Jumeirah and you may even spot your Nasma Luxury Stays vacation rental from 4,000 metres! Skydive Dubai is the place to go with a team of world-class instructors and a professionally edited video for show and tell back home.

If sky high action isn’t your thing and you’d like to know more about the UAE’s heritage and history, we recommend stepping back in time for a 90-minute walking tour of Al Fahidi Historical District on the Dubai Creek, led by a qualified Emirati guide from the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (cultures.ae).

FALL IN LOVE WITH DUBAI THIS MARCH

Fall in love with Dubai this March as we take you on a whirlwind 24-hour tour of the city’s most romantic locations from private escapist experiences for two to intimate evenings created with romance in mind.

Myself and the Nasma Luxury Stays team have delved deep into our little black book of insider knowledge to share some of Dubai’s more exclusive experiences throughout the month.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

Get a head start on the season of love and combine romance and adventure with a hot air balloon ride and gourmet breakfast experience. The pre-dawn start and drive out into the desert hinterland is worth waking up early for as you gracefully float over a desert vista populated by Arabian gazelles, roaming camels and palm tree oases. A taste of luxury awaits among the wind-sculpted sand dunes with a sumptuous breakfast of smoked salmon, caviar, eggs benedict and other fresh goodies served in a private Bedouin desert camp setting.

TIME OUT FOR TWO

Look your best for your loved one and book a half-day session at one of Dubai’s highly rated spas. We love the couples’ experience at Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on Palm Jumeirah where the rejuvenating Arabian Royal Hammam ritual takes place in a lavishly opulent setting reminiscent of a sultan’s palace. At the other end of town, the award-winning Amara Spa at Park Hyatt offers a couples’ journey in your own private garden with a fragrant and relaxing series of face and body treatments featuring the evocative scent of cardamom, rose, sandalwood and signature Amara oils followed by a healthy spa lunch for two.

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LUNCH BY THE LAKE

Succumb to the lure of fresh air and a change of scenery and pack a picnic for a long, lazy lunch at Al Qudra Lakes. Just a short drive from the city’s main thoroughfares, the area is teeming with bird life from falcons wheeling overhead to families of ducks and even pink flamingos. For a bespoke picnic basket to go, the team at Nasma Luxury Stays likes Chez Charles’ hamper, complete with savoury nibbles, salads, cold cuts and desserts, or the Book Munch Café version which includes a returnable picnic rug.

THE LOOK OF LOVE

Planning a five-star dinner or night on the town? Find the perfect outfit for him and her courtesy of our personal shopper contacts. Both Bloomingdale’s at The Dubai Mall and Harvey Nichols at Mall of the Emirates offer a no obligation service with elite access to a coterie of designer labels.

CAPTURE THE MOMENT

Avoid the tourist hordes and get out on the water with a private sunset yacht cruise. A limousine transfer and red carpet welcome set the scene for a very special evening aboard your own 48-foot Azimut captained yacht. Bring a bathing suit to enjoy a dip from the dedicated bathing platform, watch the sunset over the Burj Al Arab and Palm Jumeirah from the flybridge or relax on the horseshoe-shaped sofa in the main salon.

WRITTEN IN THE STARS

Unique to Dubai, a night desert safari and star gazing session is an unforgettable experience and a personal favourite. Escape the city lights for the peace and quiet of a royal desert conservation retreat in the company of a professional safari guide. Night-vision binoculars offer a glimpse of local wildlife while a three-course torchlit barbecue dinner showcases flavours of the region. End the night before retiring to the comfort of your luxury Nasma holiday home with a memorable stargazing session courtesy of a telescope and personal astronomer.

DINNER A DEUX

Dubai is spoilt for choice when it comes to romantic dining options so we polled the Nasma Luxury Stays team for their top recommendations. Gourmet dining at the height of luxury is on the menu at Atmosphere Restaurant & Lounge on level 122 of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa; or opt for dinner on the water, quite literally, with a culinary abra tour along the winding waterways of Madinat Jumeirah, stopping off at three of its most popular restaurants.

And for the ultimate in private dining in the opulent comfort of your luxury Nasma villa or apartment, we can arrange for a private chef to create a tailor-made epicurean menu just for two.

THE NASMA GUIDE TO… DUBAI WORLD CUP

Powerful, graceful and synonymous with the region, the Arabian horse still plays a major role in Emirati culture and heritage. With the 23rd running of Dubai World Cup – the world’s richest horse race – set to take place on Saturday 31st March 2018, we’ve put together the ultimate equestrian guide to the city’s best equine pursuits.

A NIGHT AT THE RACES

The Nasma Luxury Stays team loves an evening out with a difference and the horse racing season is in full swing this month ahead of Dubai World Cup weekend, but if you can’t make the main event you can still enjoy on-track excitement with race nights taking place on 1st, 3rd, 10th, 15th and 17th March.

The spectacular Meydan Racecourse is the home of UAE racing and offers viewing and hospitality packages to suit every budget. A limited number of free admission tickets to the main grandstand are available on non-international carnival race nights but we recommend you upgrade your experience, whether it’s an al fresco seat in The Premium area or drinks and dining from the comfort of a grandstand suite (dubairacingclub.com).

Super Saturday (10th March) is the official ‘dress rehearsal’ for Dubai World Cup day, and a less pricey alternative to the big-ticket occasion; with an opportunity to meet your favourite equine stars and mingle with the city’s social set.

Flying home before the 31st? Our Nasma top tip for a sneaky peek at the pre-race action is a ticket to enjoy Breakfast With The Stars on Thursday 29th for an exciting early morning experience including live entertainment, raffle draws, interviews with the trainers and jockeys and a lavish breakfast buffet.

THE MAIN EVENT

Nine races and a total prize purse of US$30 million attracts more than 60,000 spectators for an afternoon and evening of thrilling dirt and turf action culminating in

the final US$10 million race and grand finale concert (Sia was the 2017 headline act).

An Apron Views ticket is your entry level option with access to grandstand seating, a full coterie of beverage options out on the lawn and the Rails Food Court inside the Meydan Grandstand. Book before 18th March and early bird tickets are a steal at AED 472.50 (normal price AED 630).

For a one-of-a-kind experience, it has to be the Cigar Suite on level five. A private table and terrace access overlooking the Parade Ring is all yours with an endless menu of afternoon tea, à la carte and buffet flavours complemented by free-flowing beverages and bubbles. At AED 4,987.50 per person (minimum two guests), it’s an investment, but is definitely unforgettable (dubaiworldcup.com).

DRESS TO IMPRESS

Think Ascot meets Melbourne Cup and you’ve got the picture with dapper suits, designer dresses, gravity-defying hats and heels the order of the day.

Do keep it classy. Our resident style insider, Malak at United Designers, stipulates hem lengths below the knee and a restrained décolletage, but morning suits for gentlemen are not a requirement. Oh, and if walking on grass in those ultra-expensive Louboutins isn’t for you, then stylish wedges are the answer.

Dubai’s upscale malls and boutiques are all geared up for race day. A Nasma Luxury Stays favourite is local hat designer Evelyn McDermott (evemcdermott@mac.com), while Ana Bella Millinery travels the world crafting custom headgear (anabellamillinery.co.uk) and Oasis Fashion at WAFI Mall is a popular go-to for hats and accessories. Fashionistas in search of something a little different should head to United Designers’ flagship store at Mirdif City Centre.

Strut your stuff on race day and enter the Dubai World Cup Style Stakes with a chance to win fabulous prizes and an honorary ‘best dressed’ title.


SADDLE UP

If you’re here with little ones then the Meydan Stable Tour (Tues/Weds in season; stabletours.meydan.ae) is a great way to introduce children to Dubai’s equestrian scene. Discover how the thoroughbred racing stars get ready to compete with a behind-the-scenes tour that kicks off with a five-star buffet breakfast at the adjacent Meydan Hotel where you can watch the horses working out on the track.

Head to the stables to learn how horses are groomed and conditioned, check out the Jockeys’ Room, Saddling Paddock and Parade Ring. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see the horses exercising in their own swimming pool in what can only be described as the equine equivalent of a luxurious villa stay with us.

Dust off your jodhpurs and feel at one with nature with an early morning hack, beach ride or dressage lesson at any one of a number of excellent equestrian centres. We recommend Jebel Ali Equestrian Club for beginner lessons and ladies only rides (jebelaliequestrianclub@gmail.com) or Emirates Equestrian Centre for more experienced riders (emiratesequestriancentre.com).

And for a suitably refined experience to wrap up your Nasma Luxury Stay, the Dubai Gold Cup Polo Series 2018 is a perfect day out with fast-paced chukka action and a choice of bespoke hospitality packages (dubaipologoldcup.com).

DISCOVER DUBAI WITH A LUXURY FAMILY STAYCATION

For visitors and UAE residents, the arrival of Spring isn’t necessarily marked by an obvious change in season, but April is still a great month to get out there and make the most of Dubai’s fantastic line-up of outdoor activities. And where better to begin, than with a luxurious Nasma staycation.

Kids on Easter holidays? Avoid the inevitable cries of ‘mum, we’re bored!’ and hit the city with a stay in a stylish family-friendly apartment in the vibrant urban City Walk enclave, buzzing Dubai Marina community or upgrade to a luxurious villa on Palm Jumeirah for an escape from everyday reality.

We’ve put our thinking caps on to cherry pick the most fun-filled family activities on offer around town to get you out of the house, into the fresh air and making sure that every member of the family has an unforgettable stay in this dynamic city.

BLOOMING MARVELLOUS
An Emirates A380 made out of flowers? Only in Dubai. A short drive from Mall of the Emirates end of town, Dubai Miracle Garden, is both a calming retreat from the frenetic pace of city living and a rainbow-hued tribute to the ingenuity of its green fingered gardeners. Millions of floral blooms have been used to shape iconic figures and breathtaking structures. Check out the A380 or, our personal favourite, the supersized Mickey Mouse made out of around 100,000 flowers. The adjacent Butterfly Garden is also lots of fun. dubaimiraclegarden.com

BESIDE THE SEASIDE
The latest beachfront destination to take shape, La Mer on Jumeirah Beach Road, is from the same team that designed The Beach at Jumeirah Beach Residences. Decked out in a vaguely piratical style with wooden boats and rope ‘n’ bucket showers this 100% family focused area is fronted by shallow Gulf waters, making it ideal for small children. It’s also dotted with play and splash areas, while grown-ups will love the sea hammocks, and a wealth of causal eateries means there’s no need to pack sandwiches. lamerdubai.ae

OUTDOOR EDUTAINMENT

Part of the Dubai Parks and Resorts development, Legoland Dubai and Legoland Water Park offer a double dose of interactive al fresco fun for those with younger children. Colourful edutainment awaits plus plenty of entertaining rides including the Lego favourites – Rescue Academy and Legoland Driving School. End the day with a dip and splash in the waterpark. dubaiparksandresorts.ae

HIGH WIRE ACTION

One of our top picks for adventurers of all ages, Aventura Park in Mirdif is home to 35,000 square metres of adrenaline-inducing activities with no less than 85 tightrope walks, ladder climbs, log crossings and high wire zip lines to enjoy. Located in the Al Mushrif Park forest, there are six circuits available with options to suit all ages and abilities (the family-focused Explorador course is super fun but we dare you to brave the Xtreme circuit with its 25-metre leap of faith). aventuraparks.com

ACTION CENTRAL

A perennial favourite any time of day, Kite Beach is a community hangout with sun, sand and fun guaranteed. But it’s more than just a beach and 14-kilometre-long promenade with XGrounder skate park, tons of watersports action (think kitesurfing, wakeboarding and stand-up paddle boarding) as well as some of the city’s coolest food trucks and casual cafés. Kids are lining up to check out the new XPark Jr., a forest themed adventure playground populated with trees to climb, streams to splash in, more climbing nets, wooden forts and its own petting zoo. kitebeach.ae

OPEN WATER

Take a road trip out of town to the foothills of the Hajar mountains for a kayaking session at Hatta Dam where you can rent anything and everything from a single kayak to a pedal boat, floating doughnut or water bike (life vests included). Alternatively, the Hatta Trail Centre is the place for mountain biking adventures and suitable for both beginners and experienced trail riders. hattakayak.com, hattamtb.ae

THE NASMA LUXURY TOUCH

We know that taking a family trip, even if it’s just a staycation in another emirate, can be a challenge when it comes to packing the kids up for a few days away. Our team is on the ball as always, and part of the Nasma Luxury Stays check-in experience is a welcome basket filled with baby or kids’ essentials – just to get you started.

Every mum and dad also deserves a night off, and with on-call babysitting services part of the Nasma added extras collection, we promise to keep your little darlings safe and sound while you enjoy an evening for just the two of you. We also offer newborn baby care courtesy of our highly qualified neonatal team from Emirates Home Nursing.

And even a night in can have some added magic with our on-call catering service on hand to rustle up a romantic dinner for two, a laidback family barbecue, or a basket of fresh-baked goods delivered to your door for a lazy breakfast.
Just call your Nasma Luxury Stays hostess 24 hours in advance and you’re good to go.

THE NASMA GUIDE TO… PERSONAL PAMPERING IN THE CITY

Dubai’s reputation as a fast-paced, action led destination is well deserved, but it’s also packed with pampering and wellness spots, boasting some of the region’s best spas and salons.

Whether you’re in the city for a weekend escape, a late spring sojourn or here with mom to treat her for Mother’s Day, we recommend factoring in some well-deserved downtime to complement your Nasma Luxury Stay experience

COUPLES’ ONLY

Couples’ spa treatments are quite the done thing here in Dubai and a fantastically intimate way to enjoy quality time together. Any number of luxury hotel spas offer tailored experiences for two; we love Anantara Spa (anantara.com/palm-dubai) out on Palm Jumeirah where the setting and scenery only add to the magic of the moment. This Asian-inspired sanctuary has something for every spa aficionada. For the two of you, the team at Nasma Luxury Stays say go for the signature three-hour Palm Retreat journey. A collection of soothing therapies that includes a romantic milk bath, top to toe exfoliation, hydrating nourishing body wrap, de-stress Arabian massage and personalised facial, you’re guaranteed to emerge feeling refreshed and ready for anything.

HAMMAM TIME

You can’t come to the Middle East and not experience a traditional hammam. If you only have time for one spa session, head out to Talise Ottoman Spa (jumeirah.com) at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on Palm Jumeirah where Turkish inspired architecture and the capable hands of an experienced hammam masseuse await. Surrender to the setting as you lie back on a warmed marble slab under a vast decorated domed ceiling and enjoy every second of the 60-minute Royal Ottoman signature treatment. The traditional invigorating kese mitt polish and pillowy foam massage are quite unique, and having your hair shampooed is a delightful throwback to childhood. A sweet finish is delivered with your body enveloped in a skin-loving honey mask. We suggest you continue the pampering back at your vacation home with a Nasma Luxury Stay partner chef to cook up an equally memorable dinner….

ULTIMATE INDULGENCE

Dubai and decadence are a natural fit and The Spa at Palazzo Versace (palazzoversace.ae) in the emerging Culture District is as opulent as its namesake. If you have an entire day to spare, an unlimited credit card and can bear to tear yourself away from the comfort of your Nasma luxury rental, why not spoil yourself – or a loved one – with The Ultimate, a 7½-hour pampering session offering five luxurious treatments. A chauffeur driven car will pick you up from your Nasma Luxury Stay home for breakfast at the hotel’s Giardino restaurant before a signature hammam ritual, ceremonial massage, two-course lunch in a private poolside cabana, followed by a radiance facial, blow dry, luxury mani-pedi and Cinderella-esque ride home.

MUM AND ME

Where in the world could there be a Hello Kitty spa (hellokittybeautyspa.com) other than Dubai? This Town Centre Jumeirah mall enclave is top-to-toe branded in all things feline and is the perfect mother-daughter beauty destination. Treat your little princess (or let your little princess treat you) to a Queen Mother and Her Kitty-ness mani-pedi session for two, which also includes a blow dry for both of you, make-up application, a sugar-loaded cupcake and drink. Note to mums: the salon only uses all-natural kid-friendly products.

PERFECTLY GROOMED

A well-groomed man makes a unique impression and for the city’s sartorially switched-on, this starts with a session in a top men’s salon. Barberia Italiana (04 336 0024) in Mercato Shopping Mall on Jumeirah Beach Road is a current grooming hotspot where the menu includes the salon’s signature shave. A true old school treat, the experience is styled using traditional Italian barber shop techniques and includes a facial massage with cream, hot towel, the requisite shave, a matte mask, cold towel to close the pores and splash of after shave lotion. Perfecto!

FINISHING TOUCHES

If you’re planning a big night out to Dubai Opera or dinner at an on-trend five-star eatery then you’ll want to look your best. Leave the finishing touches to the experts and pop over to the Blowout Bar (blowoutbar.ae) in the Golden Mile Galleria on Palm Jumeirah for a blow dry and styling fix that will leave you suitably glammed up for the evening. A regular haunt for the Nasma Luxury Stays team, we love the themed menu, which offers a choice of finished from a signature blowout (straight with a touch of body) to the beach babe look (tousled waves) and the super sophisticated vintage vogue (old Hollywood red carpet glamour).

INSIDE-OUT WELLNESS

Dubai may be heavily reliant on imported food and ingredients but there is a growing market appetite for locally produced and organic produce. Pamper yourself from the inside out and pick up some kitchen essentials and other delicious goodies at Greenheart Farms (greenheartuae.com) for delivery directly to your Nasma rental home and Organic Foods & Café (organicfoodsandcafe.com, various locations), which is also a great healthy Saturday brunch destination. If a Nasma Luxury stay means zero time in the kitchen, Dubai has a wealth of health-oriented cafés to choose from – try Life’n One’s (lifenone.com) villa garden oasis for vegan eats, on-trend Comptoir 102 (comptoir102.com) on Jumeirah Beach Road or the delightful Wild & The Moon (wildandthemoon.ae) in the Alserkal Avenue arts hub in Al Quoz.