From safari parks and waterside venues to indoor rainforests and eco-friendly restaurants, Dubai’s list of attractions keeps growing. Here are some of the most exciting projects recently launched or in the pipeline
Dubai Safari opening on track
When it opens in Autumn 2017, Dubai Safari in Al Warqa will be home to 10,000 animals including lions, antelopes and elephants. The park will offer the wildlife a safe habitat, with enclosures featuring air-conditioned rocks, chilled pools and misting machines to keep them cool during the summer months. The attraction will comprise an Arabian village, Asian village, African village, Americas village and Australian village, while plans are afoot for an on-site hotel, giving visitors the opportunity to truly make the most of the incredible safari experience. Phase two will feature animals from the Americas.
Madame Tussauds to make Dubai debut
Home to the waxy doppelgängers of Barack Obama, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Shah Rukh Khan, Kim Kardashian, Neymar Jr and Lionel Messi, to name a few, Madame Tussauds will debut in Dubai this year. Madame Tussauds Dubai will be located on Bluewaters Island, next to what will be the world’s biggest observation wheel, Ain Dubai. The exact celebrity line-up set to be immortalised in wax is yet to be revealed.
Dubai Canal dream unfolds
Plans for Dubai Canal were conceived in the 1980s during the rule of His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, as an extension of Deira Creek. The November 2016 opening of the water canal, crossed by numerous bridges and flanked by a winding boardwalk, is just one part of a much larger project that will ultimately feature malls, parks, running tracks, residences and hotels. For now, visitors and residents can enjoy spectacular sunsets along the boardwalk, taking in the Dubai Canal waterfall, while watching the nearby skyscrapers, Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road and Business Bay light up after dark.
Offshore boardwalk makes waves
Since opening in November 2016, the Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk has become one of the city’s most popular weekend destinations. Featuring 30 food trucks, 11 kilometres of walkway and an abundance of spectacular views, the boardwalk is built over the rocks of the Palm's breakwater. Stretching from the Rixos hotel on the crescent's east side, running past Atlantis, The Palm all the way to the One & Only The Palm on the westside, the pedestrian-only boardwalk gives visitors the chance to relax and enjoy Dubai’s stunning skyline from a unique perspective. With a line-up of laidback and stylish cafés, kiosks and food trucks in the offing, it’s the perfect way to step away from the city’s breakneck pace and soak up the sun.
Hug the world’s largest indoor tree at The Green Planet
A tropical paradise in the urban heart of Dubai, The Green Planet at City Walk opened in September last year and is the region’s first bio-dome, recreating the enchanting world of a tropical forest with a rich biodiversity of more than 3,000 plants and animals. The enclosed ecosystem has the rich green canopy and natural vegetation of the tropics, which allows indigenous species to flourish and thrive. The building also houses a giant 25-metre tree, which is the largest indoor man-made and life-sustaining tree in the world.
Eat healthy, be HAPI
It is Dubai’s hottest new healthy, eco-friendly café, but the words raw or vegan do not feature in the HAPI vocab. With wholesome egg pots, nutritious bone broth served with generously buttered baps, sirloin steak or hot smoked salmon with sides of chunky sweet potato wedges and soft-serve ice creams on the menu, HAPI follows an ‘eat, move, play’ philosophy. Never skimping on flavour, HAPI’s health credentials stem from its balanced view of well-being, with its delicious culinary offerings complemented by a parkour playground, consultation room and yoga room, all under one roof. Since opening in November it’s already become a firm hit with foodies.
Armani/Hashi introduces ‘Scent of the Sea and Sakura’
Upscale Japanese restaurant Armani/Hashi celebrates the sea urchin and edible traditions fostered by Japan’s cherry blossom festival together this season with a duo of imaginative four-course menus styled to intrigue the eye and the palate. Guests can enjoy the creamy Uni heart of the spiky sea urchin, a highly-prized delicacy caught off the coast of the rugged northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and served three ways, including tempura and ceviche, or treat themselves to some of the fresh fish flown in daily. The restaurant offers panoramic terrace views of the iconic Dubai Fountain coupled with the beat of the restaurant’s resident DJ and serves up sushi, sashimi and other authentic Japanese dishes for a culinary occasion that will delight all the senses.
Re-styled dining concept at RARE
Award-winning restaurant RARE at Desert Palm PER AQUUM has finally reopened its doors. Executive chef Stefan Beutler has brought together a talented team of chefs to develop an innovative menu that redefines grilling. All ingredients have been carefully selected from local and overseas farms that are known for delivering the best produce. The kitchen incorporates an oak-burning woodfire grill that allows dishes to be slow cooked.
Shopping in Dubai
Retail therapy at Gate Avenue, DIFC
The upcoming Gate Avenue at DIFC, a premium lifestyle, cultural and entertainment boulevard, will take the city’s retail offering to the next level. The project will include indoor- and outdoor-themed walkways, more than 200 dining, boutique, retail and entertainment options, and a new mosque.
Affordable prices in a Tuscan setting
The Tuscan-themed The Outlet Village offers the best designer brands at affordable prices in a luxe environment. Taking inspiration from San Gimignano, a spectacular Tuscan hilltop town and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the Italian countryside, the shopping hotspot, which opened in September, is the place to find big brands such as Roberto Cavalli, Calvin Klein, Tumi, Cole Haan, DKNY, Villeroy and Boch, and Aati, all at discounted prices.
City Walk expands
The first phase of this Jumeirah development is now open. Spanning a total area of 13,000 square metres, City Walk is reminiscent of European-style streets, lined with designer stores and restaurants. There are water features, play areas for children, and plenty of al fresco seating too.
Etihad Museum tells the UAE’s fascinating story
Etihad Museum, which opened in January, tells the story of the founding of the United Arab Emirates. Fittingly located next to Union House, where the signing of the treaty establishing the UAE took place in 1971. The museum’s design emulates the waves and folds of a manuscript, with seven columns built to resemble the pens used to sign the original declaration. A walk through the museum complex, comprising eight pavilions, brings the nation’s historic narrative to life - from a documentary film about the history of the UAE and an interactive map and timeline illustrating the area before the formation, to the complexities of the unification process and the creation of the constitution.
La Perle by Dragone brings drama to Dubai
The region’s first permanent stage show, which will debut in mid-2017, is going to be nothing short of epic. La Perle by Dragone will be staged in a custom-built 1,300-seat aqua theatre that features a pool filled with 2.5 million litres of water. The performance will feature 65 artists from 23 countries staging stunts including 35-metre dives and 15km/h flights around the auditorium on high-powered winches. The high-octane production will be specially-scripted for Dubai and is a one-of-a-kind draw for families, as well as leisure visitors to the city. Move over Vegas and Macau, there’s a new show in town!