Buro city guide: Dubai

Buro city guide: Dubai

Modern metropolis

Text: Yeong Sassall

The Persian Gulf city is a mecca for luxury shopping, fine dining and a surprisingly lively night scene, writes former local Jasmine Lindsay

Having recently relocated to Australia after a stint living and working in Dubai, I'm now forever looking for reasons to return. An ethnically diverse metropolis with a fast-developing indie art scene, gallery district and crops of cool organic cafes, there's more to Dubai than the ultra-modern architecture and out-of-this-world dining experiences it's become famous for. This is my guide to the city's hotspots.

But first, a quick tip: always carry cash as taxis don't accept cards, and walking isn't really done in Dubai as the roads aren't built for pedestrians - it's all about the limo service, taxis and Uber.

Top 3 coffee shops

1. The Sum of Us - the best coffee in town!

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Ground floor, Bur jal Salam, Trade Centre, 6th Street, Dubai.

2. Jones The Grocer

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Multiple locations,

3. Baker and Spice - great views of the Dancing Fountains.

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Multiple locations,

Top 3 restaurants 
The recommendations below are all fabulous for lunch or dinner - I also like La Petit Maison, Okku, Hakkasan and Boca. 

1. La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie

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My personal favourite is dinner at La Serre.  Arrive early for a French Martini at the stunning marble bar before you sit down and enjoy their mouth-watering French cuisine.

Vida Hotel, Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai.

2. Coya

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Newcomer Coya is also a must for dinner -  think Peruvian dishes with plenty of vibe.

Restaurant Village, Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah Beach Rd, Jumeirah 2, Dubai 

3. Zuma

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The business lunch at Zuma is a fantastic option, especially for those with busy agendas. It's my weekday go-to for a speedy lunch with a little glamour.

Gate Village 06, DIFC, Dubai.

Top 3 cocktail bars

1. 40 Kong

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1 Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai.

2. Iris

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The Oberoi, Al A'amal Street, Dubai

3. Asia Asia

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6th Floor, Pier 7, Dubai Marina.

3 best suburbs to stay

1. The Palm - home to my favourite hotel the One and Only Palm Jumeirah.

2. Jumeirah - the beach that stretches along Dubai's coastline with white sand and aqua waters.

3. Downtown - close to  Dubai's best bars and restaurants and the world famous Dubai Mall.

Top 3 hotels

1. The One and Only Palm, Jumeirah

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West Crescent, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

2. Four Seasons Jumeirah 

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Here you'll find one of Dubai's best restuarants, Coya (see above).

Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah Beach Rd, Jumeirah 2, Dubai

3. VIDA Hotel

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In Downtown Dubai, Vida is walking distance to Dubai Mall and home to fabuluous French restaurant La Serre (see above).

The Old Town, Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Dubai

Where to shop for local and international designers
Dubai Mall will tick all of your boxes. Split your shopping trip over two days so that you can really enjoy all the mall has to offer.

Financial Centre Road, Dubai

The best place for live music

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Two words: Music Hall.

Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

Dubai's best art galleries
Take a walk around DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre) and enjoy the many galleries it has to offer. Two of my fave Dubai eateries, Zuma and La Petite Maison, are conveniently located in the same precinct.

Sheik Zayed Road, Dubai

The best views of the city

1. My favourite view is of Burj Khalifa and the dancing fountains. The best vantage point is from one of the many cafes outside Dubai Mall.

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2. The Burj Al Arab is also a magnificent structure, which you can see from the Souk Madinat in Jumeirah.

3 tourist attractions your may not have heard of

1. Desert safari

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I always recommend a Desert Safari or a Balloon Tour via Platinum Heritage.  I love their authentic desert tours in 1950s Land Rovers.

2. Saadiyat Island

If you don't mind a little travel, Saadiyat Island is located about one hour out of Dubai on the border of Abu Dhabi and is home to one of my favourite  beach clubs (Saadiyat Island Beach Club). Turquoise water, a day spa, cabanas to lounge on and of course, rosé!

3. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

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Also located in Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a truly remarkable piece of architecture that is open to the public for learning and discovery. They offer free guided tours.

The best places to drop in for an exercise class

1. Physique57 - great barre classes.

City Walk, Al Wasal, Al Safa Road, Dubai

2. Flywheel - for high intensity spin classes.

Ground level, Burj Views, West Tower, Dubai

Dubai's best day spa

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I love the One and Only Spa on the Palm or The Armani Hotel Spa.

One & Only on the Palm, West Crescent, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

The Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, Burj Khalifa area, Downtown Dubai

Where to buy homewares

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Comptoir 102 in Jumeirah is owned by two Parisian girls. It houses an eclectic mix of fashion, interior design and furniture with a fabulous café. It's a little sanctuary away from the bustle of the malls. 

102 Beach Road, Jumeriah, Dubai

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