Written by root. Posted in FEATURES


Published on July 04, 2019 with No Comments

Past well-known skyscrapers and shopping malls, Dubai still has a few surprises up her sleeves.



Those who have visited Dubai will regale you with stories of how this city must be seen to be believed. Record-breaking architecture stands alongside traditional quarters, while man-made islands jut out of the coastline are a nod to man’s perseverance to defy the odds. It’s easy to tick off your sightseeing list when you’re in town, but sometimes it is also best to take the time to look past the obvious.

For instance, think about skipping the mega malls for a more intimate experience. The Parisian concept store Comptoir 102 takes on the vibe of a private home and houses beautifully curated selection of homewares, fashion, furniture, gifts, art books and jewellery. You can spend hours browsing through the shop but do not leave before settling down at its café. With a seasonal menu sourced from local organic farms that is also sugar- and dairy-free, this is a place to pacify your boho-chic spirit and inner health warrior. Not to be missed are the avocado crostini and vegan chocolate mousse.

For more of experiential shopping, consider Ripe, Dubai’s version of a farmer’s market. What started out as a few stalls selling organic vegetables has expanded into a genuine weekend destination with pop-ups around the city. Here is where you can shop for local, organic fruits and vegetables as well as goods from more than 100 local businesses selling specialty foods, clothes and jewellery. Keep up-to-date with Ripe’s latest destination by following them on social media.

Likewise, Box Park is fashioned to provide an alternative and unique hang out place for both locals and guests. The name was derived from the shipping containers stacked together to form the various stores and restaurants. Today, Box Park attracts the young and hip eager to explore the eclectic mix contained here. There are restaurants, art installations, pop-ups and niche little shops selling everything from bicycles to stationery. Check out the Box Park website before you go for special events and offers. And don’t forget Roxy Box Park. Touted as the region’s first boutique cinema experience, it boasts of luxurious touches such as hand-stitched Italian leather-trimmed seats and an old-school, retro vibe with cutting-edge, modern technology.

To discover another side of Dubai that is rarely seen, Frying Pan Adventures encourages you to join any of its food tours for a culinary exploration with a difference. Guests can opt for walking tours that will take them to wander along parts of the city few tourists visit while tasting dishes from Lebanese, Yemini and Palestinian cafés and restaurants; or they can hop aboard an air-conditioned coach and traverse across four Old Dubai neighbourhoods. Whichever the option, you are guaranteed to experience Dubai culture through its authentic flavours and stories. Founder Arva Ahmed aims to share her love for the older, more authentic and less extrovert part of the city, which has also led her to find the best falafel in Dubai. We’re not going to tell you – you just have to find out for yourself!

Finally, take yourself out to another world by seeking a spa in the city. Mixing ancient and New Age treatments, Dubai’s spas bring pampering to a whole new level. From steamy hammams to indulgent rose ghassoul clay body masks, there is no shortage of opulence to unwind with. At One & Only Residence & Spa, the traditional hammam is administered by genuine “Tayels” or “Tellaks” – masters of the craft. Beginning with the traditional black soap, this delicate skin treatment also includes exotic body wraps and facial massage that combines the richness of the Argan tree, the majesty of roses and the authenticity of almond flowers for an authentic and traditional experience.


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