2015 was filled with great new finds! Here is a list of all of the places that made it as a MUST-TRY for everyone visiting or living in the UAE. These hotels and restaurants truly deserve their places as the ‘Best of 2015’.
DANAT JEBEL DHANNA RESORT
Why you should visit: Being here makes you feel like your a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The ocean is crystal clear and you can snorkel and do deep sea fishing in practically untouched water. If you need a getaway, this is your spot!
Location: Jebel Dhanna, Near Ruwais, Abu Dhabi. It is a 2-hour drive from Abu Dhabi and a 3-hour drive from Dubai.
BEST 5-STAR HOTEL:
WALDORF ASTORIA PALM JUMEIRAH
Why you should visit: This hotel is Dubai through and through. Its elegant, its opulent, its modern… The staff make you feel incredibly special. The rooms are beautiful and every detail of it is well-thought out. The amenities are incredible and its family-friendly. If your visiting Dubai, a stay at the Waldorf is a must.
Location: Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.
BEST 4-STAR HOTEL:
Why you should visit: How this hotel is considered a 4-star is beyond me! It’s beautiful and charming in every way. It’s the perfect combination of modern arabesque decor and hospitality. The fact that it’s located right in the middle of Downtown (only a 5 minute walk from Dubai Mall) is perfect for visitors.
Location: Downtown Dubai.
BEST 3-STAR HOTEL:
Why you should visit: Centro Sharjah is the perfect hotel if you want to getaway on a budget. We’ve been to a few different Centro hotels before, but Centro Sharjah is a different league from its sister hotels in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It doesn’t feel like a 3-star hotel at all. It has a very large lobby, pool and grass area. The fact that its away from the busy city center area of Sharjah is also really nice.
Location: Near Sharjah Airport.
BEST HOTEL FOR POOLS AND BEACH:
PARK HYATT ABU DHABI
Why you should visit: Not only is this hotel such a great getaway location, but it literally has more pools than you can count! We stayed there for 2 days, and it seemed like every time I passed through the outdoor grounds of the hotel, there was a new pool area that I hadn’t come across before. There are even small semi-private pools with their own seating areas, readily available for you to use. Along with the pools, there’s a great beach that looks just like the Hamptons! This is a must-visit if your in need of a pool day.
Location: Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi.
WELLNESS AND SPA, KHALIDIYA PALACE, RAYHAAN BY ROTANA
Why you should visit: The spa at Khalidiya Palace is a hidden gem. The masseuses are incredible at what they do! I would highly recommend this spa if your in need of some pampering.
Location: Khalidiya Palace, Rayhaan by Rotana, Abu Dhabi.
BEST BEACH CAFE/RESTAURANT/BAR:
Why you should visit: Ajman or Zanzibar? You really won’t be able to know– this restaurant is located on a beautiful tropical beach, and you can enjoy your food and drinks right on the sand as you listen to the waves crash in front of you.
Location: Kempinski Hotel Ajman, Ajman.
BEST ARABIC RESTAURANT:
Why you should visit: This is hands-down, the best Arabic restaurant in the UAE. The thought that they put into every detail of the restaurant, from the olives flown in daily, to the incredible taste of each traditional dish, its absolutely impeccable. The restaurant is classy and family-friendly, and the dining spaces are huge, both indoors and outdoors. It’s definitely a must-try for everyone living in this city.
Location: Kempinski Hotel, Mall of The Emirates, Dubai.
BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT:
Why you should visit: Bukhara has been around for the past 17 years, and with good reason. Their signature dish of a 2-pound Tandoori Lobster is the most incredible lobster dish we’ve ever tried, and also one of the best Indian dishes we’ve ever had. You have to taste it to believe it!
Location: Kempinski Hotel Ajman, Ajman.
BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT:
Why you should visit: This place is love at first sight. Its located in a villa tucked away behind Jumeirah Beach Road. The menu is authentic Italian, with a little bit of a twist. The chef, Chef Glady, is the most passionate chef we’ve met and he really puts his heart and soul into the food. You could come here over and over again and never be bored with his creations. I’ve been to Italy, and no other Italian restaurant (here or in Italy) that we’ve tried can even compare to how great Per Te is. Check it out and tell me I’m not right– I dare you 😉
Location: Behind Beach Plaza, Jumeirah 1, Dubai.
SOUL JAZZ BRUNCH AT IMPERIUM, JUMEIRAH ZABEEL SARAY
Why you should visit: We’ve been to plenty of brunches this year, but this one really stood out. First of all, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray is a beautiful property and you should definitely visit it if you have the chance– and a brunch is the perfect excuse to do so! The Soul Jazz Brunch held at Imperium is great, not only because the food selection is absolutely divine, but also because its such a fun atmosphere; live band and all! It’s family-friendly, and great for groups of people. Also, the chefs and staff are very kind and they were quick to accommodate every need we had.
Location: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.
BEST CASUAL RESTAURANT:
Why you should visit: Slider Station definitely made it big this year. Its probably the most talked about Dubai restaurant on Instagram, and rightfully so. The food is inventive and unique, and the restaurant is great for groups of friends. Their Commando Fries are so good, you’ll be dreaming of going back just for those (I am now, as I type this)!
Location: Galleria Mall, Al Wasl, Dubai.