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City Secrets | Dubai

A visit to Dubai, the most populated and glamorous of the Arab Emirates, promises to be nothing short of a surreal experience. Excessive local wealth has enabled this once traditional town to shift into a hyper modern city, home of the highest skyscrapers in the world, the first seven star hotel, and luxurious man-made islands in the midst of a desert a mere 45 miles from the Persian Gulf. We have asked our globetrotting Dubai locals for advice on where to go and what not to miss in this middle eastern version of Disneyland.

A visit to Dubai, the most populated and glamorous of the Arab Emirates, promises to be nothing short of a surreal experience. Excessive local wealth has enabled this once traditional town to shift into a hyper modern city, home of the highest skyscrapers in the world, the first seven star hotel, and luxurious man-made islands in the midst of a desert a mere 45 miles from the Persian Gulf. We have asked our globetrotting Dubai locals for advice on where to go and what not to miss  in this middle eastern version of Disneyland. 

 

 

 

 

 

Symphony

 

 

This two-year old high-end concept store has brought many members of the international glitterati including fashion press, and globetrotting it-girls to it?s multi-brand venue on the ground floor of the majestic Dubai Mall. This white, romantic space features contemporary and Arabic interiors, and looks more like a home away from home for the uber wealthy than a shop. Aside from carrying 60 top international brands, Symphony also sponsors the work of local up-and-coming designers like Abayas, DAS Collections, and Ashi Studio.

 

 

Ground Floor, Fashion Avenue, The Dubai Mall

 

 

+971 4.330.8050

 

 

 

 

 

Level Shoe District

 

 

Who ever thinks that shoes are not art pieces worthy of museum exhibits is wrong, especially in the eyes of the owner of this 96,000 square feet space that hosts the most impressive collection of shoes in the world.  Aside from the vast array of European brands, the space also has a concept store with in its store called- The Zoo  which carries a large selection of Middle Eastern brands. Each client is assigned their own personal shoe stylist to keep track of their multiple purchases and coordinating outfits. Even if you are not seriously shopping this store is worth a visit to admire the amazing composition of art nouveau, pop art, and modernist interior architecture and design.

 

 

 

 

The Dubai Mall, Financial Center Rd, Dubai.

 

 

+971 4.5016.888

 

 

 

 

 

Alserkal Avenue

 

 

This warehouse-filled block within the industrial area of Al Quoz  is considered Dubai?s art district, it?s 20+ gallery spaces have alittle something for everyone. With events like Art Dubai coming up in March, this area is home to galleries representing international artists like Germany-based Iranian artist Anahita Razmi,  who is currently showing at Carbon 12.

 

 

 

 

Exit 43 off Sheikh Zayed Street 8, Al Quoz 1, Dubai 

 

 

+971 4.416.1900

 

 

 

Bastikiya & the XVA Cafe

 

 

Stepping away from Downtown Dubai is a must for anyone on the hunt for the local treasures of the city.  A ride on abra, the local water taxi, takes you to the historical centre, a neighborhood of long, narrow streets called Al-Bastikiya.

 

 

 

The XVA Art Hotel, Cafe, and Gallery is the ultimate representation of Dubai's restored past in the form of a boutique-size construction. The marble architecture and intimate outdoor cafe is the perfect spot to find healthy vegetarian meals and home made ice cream.

 

 

 

Al Fahidi Neighborhood, Dubai

 

 

+971 4.353.5383

 

 

 

Dubai Souks

 

 

Along the creek in the old town you will find the Dubai souks, these are a series of different markets that specialize in spices, textiles, food, and gold. Dubai which is often called the "City of Gold" takes its name partially from the little shops that line the souk filled with vast quantities of traditional and modern gold jewels, if you are looking for something unique that represents your own taste,  here they will be happy to craft  just about any custom design. Remember to bargain; otherwise you won't be shopping like a local.

 

 

 

 

 

The textile souks in Bur Dubai are also a great source for original design and are filled with stunning fabrics from India and the Far East. First, you purchase the fabric of your dreams from our favorite shops Meena Bazar or Rivili, then you take your fabric to the local tailors at the Satwa Souk to be made into custom-made clothing in traditional Middle Eastern style.

 

 

 

Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai

 

 

 

 

The World Dubai

 

 

There are all types of short getaways possible from Dubai especially if you are looking for an easy romantic weekend away.  The most popular escape is a visit to one of the private islands of the man-made archipelago The World. The Royal Island Beach Club is the first man made world  class island resort that is operational.  A day lounging here on the beach   in your private chalet with Dubai's skyline in the back round is totally worth the 30-minute water cab ride from downtown.

 

 

The World, Dubai 

 

+971 50.6176507

 

 

 

 

 

TAMBOURINE, Cow Print Silk Dress,

 

 

$280

 

 

DEZSO BY SARA BELTRAN, Andara Cuff,

 

 

$4,365

 

 

SILVIA TCHERASSI, Donza Sequin Clutch,

 

 

$480

 

 

KISMET BY MILKA, Infinity Ring,

 

 

$375

 

 

GRAND BAZAAR, Long Trojan Earrings,

 

 

$100

 

 

ANNDRA NEEN, Braid Cuff,

 

 

$475

 

 

LUXE CITY GUIDES, LUXE Dubai,

 

 

$9.99