Design your year-end getaway now, and get set to experience all that Dubai has to offer during the festive season.
Get in the festive spirit
Hit these hotspots for an unforgettable Christmas:
The world-renowned Atlantis, The Palm’s ‘Cirque de Cuisine’ for its all-you-can-eat-and-drink concept on December 6 featuring signature dishes, live cooking stations, extravagant buffets and delicious drinks from signature restaurants including Nobu by Nobu Matsuhisa, Gregoire Berger’s award-winning underwater restaurant Ossiano and recently-opened Michelin star Cantonese restaurant brand, Hakkasan. Entertainment is also provided by Cirque le Soir fire-blazing performances, feather fan dancers, magicians and acrobats.
The annual Festive Market at Madinat Jumeirah, the Festive Market at Dubai Festival City Mall, the Winter Garden Market at Habtoor Palace, the Festive Market at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, the Raffles Christmas Market, and the Atlantis Festive Village. An anticipated highlight in December, these markets feature a selection of retail vendors selling fashion, jewellery and homeware pieces by boutique brands, food stalls, children’s activities and Christmas trees.
Go off the beaten track for a true winter sun holiday
Escape to Dubai’s exclave of Hatta and hike through mountain passes and wadis (dry canyon riverbeds), take a dip in rock pools or kayak across Hatta Dam’s stunning blue waters. Also, experience tranquil eco-lodging experiences at Hatta Damani Lodges and Hatta Sedr Trailers or overnight tent-stays at the dedicated Hatta campsite.
Discover The Al Qudra Lakes, a series of manmade lakes sprawled across 10 hectares of Dubai’s Saih Al Salam Desert. Tuck into a picnic after a go at the Al Qudra Cycling Track, and spot local wildlife such as including flamingos and swans in their natural habitat.
Trek through the Al Marmoom Desert, home to the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, the largest tourism project of its kind in the region, and the first unfenced desert conservation reserve in the UAE. The whole family can visit animal and bird observation platforms, star and sunset observations decks, and even an outdoor theatre.
Experience desert life with a Marmoom Bedouin Experience, as you learn to saddle, ride and look after their own camel as part of a caravan travelling through the desert before they arrive at the camp. Other highlights include a falconry display, traditional breakfast or dinner at the Bedouin village and stargazing.
Stroll through Dubai Miracle Garden — a 72,000sqm garden with remarkable structures and 50 million blooming flowers covering different exhibits — and the Dubai Butterfly Garden which houses over 35,000 species of butterflies in ten custom-built domes.
Discover the city’s newest lifestyle spots
Dubai's latest island destination, Bluewaters Island, boasts 200 retail and dining concepts in a modern district showcasing stunning views of the Arabian Gulf. It is also home to Aubin Dai, the world's largest observation wheel.
The Pointe, Dubai’s newest waterfront destination on Palm Jumeirah, is a 130,000sqm retail, dining and entertainment complex hosting spectacular fountain shows, a vibrant promenade, more than 80 restaurants and shopping outlets.
A seasonal shopping location, Global Village enables visitors to explore different countries around the world — from London’s Big Ben to the Taj Mahal. The family can discover more than 75 countries displaying traditional handicrafts and snacks across 30 pavilions.
Catch world-class musical performances
The Dubai Opera presents The Nutcracker Ballet by the prestigious St. Petersburg Tchaikovsky Ballet Theatre from December 4 to 7, and Handel's Messiah by the renowned Tchaikovsky Theatre of Ballet Orchestra and newly inaugurated Dubai Opera Festival Chorus on December 8.
From December 12 to 14, you can catch Jingle Bell Favourites , a family concert of carols and much-loved Christmas classics such as Jingle Bell Rock, Frosty the Snowman and Silent Night performed by the London Concert Orchestra Show Band, Capital Voices and West End soloists.
Dubai's first resident show La Perle by Dragone hosts 10 performances a week, twice a night, in a purpose-built theatre in the heart of Al Habtoor City. Be awed as 65 world-class performers from 23 countries perform acrobatics, contortion, flying, diving and gravity-defying motorcycle stunts against a state-of-the-art technology backdrop of waterfalls, torrents and floods. Quote the promo code “GOVBW26” to get 70 per cent off ticket prices.
If you can, squeeze in a visit to Theatre by Queen Elizabeth 2, a 515-seat theatre onboard the world-famous ocean liner that is now a permanently floating hotel on the docks of Dubai’s Port Rashid Marina, for local and international arts, entertainment and culture.
Ring in the new year
Dubai’s legendary New Year’s celebrations promise spectacular fireworks illuminating the city’s night skies across the city, including Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Atlantis, The Palm, and Dubai Festival City Mall coupled with the record-breaking IMAGINE light, water and fire show.
Enjoy an elegant Gala Dinner celebration on New Year’s Eve at one of these venues:
- The Enchanted Forest Gala Dinner at Jumeirah Beach Hotel featuring delectable international cuisine by the hotel’s beautiful seafront offering views of fireworks with the Burj Al Arab hotel as a backdrop.
- The Midnight Gala Dinner at Madinat Jumeirah offering diners access to the Shimmers Beach Party with spectacular views of the Burj Al Arab fireworks at midnight.
- Catch fireworks and live performances at the Burj Al Arab, and unwind with exclusive access to the infinity pool and jacuzzis while sipping on bespoke beverages and savouring international cuisines whipped up by signature chefs.
Atlantis, The Palm’s Gala Dinner promises fantastic views of the Dubai skyline, a decadent buffet, live cooking stations and for the first time — four two-metre-tall caviar fountains.
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