Photo: Mosque and the skyline of Sheikh Zayed Road - KHL
I returned to Dubai in February for my traditional escape from Carnival in my home city Düsseldorf. With the increasing demand (460,000 visitors per year from Germany alone) Dubai seems to get more expensive every year during the high season. And February is obviously extremely popular because of the very pleasant climate. So I booked the Meliá Hotel – a five-star property (opened in 2012 and the first Spanish 5star hotel in the Middle East) close to the Creek. The cool design is very impressive – the lobby is open up to the building`s ceiling with 10 its floors. You should not suffer from vertigo when taking the panorama elevators. Make sure to set aside a budget for cab rides since the Meliá is a 15-minute walk away from the next metro station. You can reach the old souk at the Creek in approximately 20 minutes, for all other sites you may wish to take a taxi (luckily, cab rides are not that expensive in Dubai). There are a few restaurants close to the hotel which houses an award-winning, very elegant Indian restaurant as well as Alazya, an all-day eating place with reasonable prices.
Photo: KHL in the impressive lobby of the Meliá Dubai - Alexander Lavradar
The absolute highlight of the Meliá Dubai is its spectacular rooftop with a small pool, deckchairs, cool furniture and a skyline view almost second to none. In the evening, this place is popular for sipping a drink while enjoying the awesome view. Likewise recommendable is the YHI Spa under the management of Ferdinand, an excellent, very friendly therapist from the Philippines. After your treatment, you may enjoy the private jacuzzi (obviously the largest hotel jacuzzi in town) with cool water massages. Ideal for a great relax in between sightseeing. Just next to it is a small but well-equipped gym. You will find water bottles there as well as in your room and on the rooftop terrace – a very nice treat. Ah, there is also sunscreen available (three different grades) when you want to chill at the poolside – good for people like me who always forget something at home!
Photo below: Private jacuzzi at the YHI spa /Meliá Dubai - KHL
Apart from Ferdinand, a young lady called Deepa (born in Nepal) impressed me very much. She welcomes the guests at the Azalaya restaurant. On day two of my stay, she already knew that I like a double espresso for breakfast. When I was coughing over dinner, she was concerned about my wellbeing and offered me hot water with ginger. „Chew the ginger if you can, it will help you.“ The next morning she wanted to know if I felt better. Wow, that`s what I call great service. Deepa would definitely be my „Employee of the Year“.
Photo: Deepa from Nepal - my favourite hotel employee at the Meliá Dubai! - KHL
The design rooms are pretty cool – the bath is integrated and separated from the bed by a glass wall with nice white curtains. I liked the separate shower as well as the excellent comfort of my bed and the skyline view. Another advantage is the fact that the room can be turned completely dark at night – so important for a perfect sleep. All in all, I can recommend the Meliá Dubai – just be aware you are not downtown but in a rather faceless residential area.
So what is new in town? A lot, this is Dubai. The Citywalk shopping and entertainment complex (flat buildings with a great skyline view) is complete. Very elegant boutiques, cafés, restaurants, cinemas and museums and a real catwalk for locals. I loved the Dubai Canvas with painters from all over the world. My tip for dinner is the Farzi Café – a cool eating place (Indian cuisine with a global feel, very interesting ... and tasty!). Creative meals and non-alcoholic drinks (be aware that they don`t serve alcohol like many other places) – simply enjoy the great food, the excellent service and watch well-off locals who seem to love this place. P.S. I loved the cool slogans on the wall and their hashtag - #farzified.
P.S. I have to thank my blogger friend Sarah Zonio for recommending this place - and for joining me for dinner!
Photo: Terrace of the very popular Farzi Café - KHL
Photo: What a creative food presentation! "Chole Kulche", a vegetarian Indian specialty at Farzi Café (Image kindly provided by Farzi Café).
Another project under way is the Dubai Water Canal, fed by sea water. It is three km long and leads from Business Bay to the Gulf. It will soon be a great residential area with private marinas, a beautiful walkway, ideal for strollers, joggers and bikers.
Photo: KHL at the new Dubai Water Canal - Alexander Lavradar
The Dubai Opera is another highlight. The city is aiming at becoming a cultural capital as well. ... and other world-class singers have already performed in this spectacular building which opened in August 2016.
The Dubai Photo Gate is currently under construction. A huge gate (not really an architectural beauty) that will allow photographers to take the best shots of the downtown skyline. Open in...
There are quite a few new theme parks, in particular for families. Check out their website.
Construction is going on ANYWHERE in this city. New hotels come up
– just wondering if the demand for them will grow at a high pace. Next to the
Dubai Palm, a giant wheel is under construction on a small island – it is
supposed to become the largest in the world. A local friend told me though that
the construction has not advanced a lot recently so this may take a while – but
you never know in this megacity that never stops.
Photo: KHL at Dubai Marina - Alexander Lavradar
Simon C. Pitt is Australian and has been living in Dubai for the past two years. He recommends "The Farm" - wholesome food in a green area (you won`t find that too often in Dubai) outside the city.
You will find further tips for Dubai in my blogpost published in February 2016 - including the Lime Tree Café, my all-time favourite coffee hotspot, and the XVA Gallery in the historic Fahidi neighbourhood. Great food and drinks in both spots in a very casual, unusual ambiance.
Photo: Creative art in the Al Fahidi district - KHL
Photo: KHL enjoying a walk on the Dubai Palm - Alexander Lavradar
Photo: View from the Dubai Palm - Alexandar Lavradar
Photo: KHL waiting for an Indian dinner at the Meliá Hotel - Alexander Lavradar
Photo: Great view from the rooftop of the Meliá Dubai even on a cloudy day - Alexander Lavradar
Photo: So impressive - the lobby of the Melià Dubai Hotel - Alexander Lavradar
Photo: Fancy Art at the Dubai Citywalk - KHL
Photo: Interesting lights at the Dubai Citywalk - KHL
Photo: Yes, you can find green spots in Dubai! - Alexander Lavradar