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!
Ground floor, Bur jal Salam, Trade Centre, 6th Street, Dubai.
2. Jones The Grocer
Multiple locations, jonesthegrocer.com
3. Baker and Spice - great views of the Dancing Fountains.
Multiple locations, bakerandspiceme.com
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
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.
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
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
1 Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai.
The Oberoi, Al A'amal Street, Dubai
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
West Crescent, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
2. Four Seasons Jumeirah
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
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.
The best place for live music
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.
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
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
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
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
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