Incredible new hotels, restaurants and culture make Dubai worth a visit in 2021

Incredible new hotels, restaurants and culture make Dubai worth a visit in 2021


With the mercury nudging 35C in autumn, Persil-white beaches and now amber-listed, it’s easy to see why Dubai is, well, hot right now.

‘Things are looking exciting, what with the Expo in October, new hotels and restaurants opening, as well as the extraordinarily designed Museum of the Future making its debut,’ says Dubai-based writer Nicola Chilton.

Expo 2020 was, of course, meant to open last year, but from October 1, this vast world fair will see 190 countries bring their culture and inventions to the
emirate (from £20).

And like a giant steel signet ring, the Museum of the Future is the architectural wonder designed by Shaun Killa, which will explore science, technology and innovation when it opens later this year.

But that’s not all that Dubai has to offer…

Glamour pads

Even a global pandemic can’t stop hotel construction in Dubai. The Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk (rooms from £132pn), brings together the art of western Europe with ancient Egyptian culture.

It also features a L’Occitane spa and Brasserie Boulud, Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud’s first restaurant in UAE (mains from £20).

Another launch is the Address Beach Resort (rooms from £233).

Part of Jumeirah Beach Residence, the first beach pad from the Address stable has the world’s highest infinity pool, on the 77th floor.

Next year, the Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences – aka Atlantis 2 – will open on
Palm Jumeirah offering luxury apartments and hotel rooms, 90 (yes, 90) swimming pools and a clutch of restaurants with celebrity chefs, including Heston Blumenthal and José Andrés.

Diner’s Club

Dubai is already foodie heaven and now the luxurious Burj Al Arab has opened Sal, a super-cool Mediterranean restaurant overlooking the Gulf (mains from £23).

Meanwhile, Dutch chef Schilo van Coevorden is also bringing his Asian delights to Taiko Dubai (sushi from £4) at Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk.

Try his David Bowie inspired cocktail – the Space Oddity mixes whisky with apricot brandy, raspberry fruit leather and apple juice (£14).

There’s also the cool Time Out Market with 17 kitchens, including Vietnamese Foodies, Pitfire pizza, Reif Japanese Kushiyaki and vegan Little Erth.

Money-saving trips for you Dubai trip

  • Not everything has to cost a king’s ransom. Download the Guzzle app on Google Play or Apple for listings of happy hours and all-you-can-drink brunches.
  • Girls, you’re in luck. For free drinks and cheap food check out for the latest hot bars and clubs hosting Dubai’s legendary ladies’ nights.
  • For cheap eats head to Old Dubai. You will find authentic Persian kebabs at Al Ustad, near Sharaf DG metro (mains from £5).

World-beating entertainment

Dubai’s fondness for adding the suffix ‘est’ to everything it creates – the longest, fastest, tallest, etc – reaches new, well, depths with Deep Dive Dubai, the world’s deepest swimming pool.

It sinks down 60m and is filled with 14 million litres of water heated to 30C.

Experienced divers can explore an ‘abandoned city’, but there are also courses for beginners, the chance to try free-diving, and even plain and simple snorkelling for those who’d rather stay near the surface (tickets from £78).

Palm West Beach has opened with a mile-long waterfront on Palm Jumeirah lined with sparkly trees and hip dining spots like Aussie gourmet cafe Jones The Grocer.

And locals have welcomed The Arts Club Dubai, the first outpost of the London members’ club.

British Airways flies direct from Heathrow to Dubai from £332 return.

Dubai is currently on the amber list; always check entry requirements at

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