13 great things to do in the UAE this weekend
Dubai World Cup
Whether you’re going to see the live sport, entertainment or the array of colourful and fashionable fascinators, the Dubai World Cup is one of the biggest events on the region’s calendar. International and regional celebrities gather amongst us dolled-up average Joes and Josephinas (though there are prizes for best dressed at stake), while jockeys and their steeds battle it out over nine group races for the $10 million prize pot. The entire race is worth a total of $30 million, which makes it officially the world’s richest day of racing. Off the track, lush spreads of gourmet food are served. Head over for one of the Thursday evening race meetings or Saturday afternoon cards where a great value terrace brunch is set to take place. Oh, and there’ll be a massive fireworks display and a perfromance from US rapper, Flo Rida to round it all off. General admission starts at AED40.
When: Saturday, March 31
Where: Meydan Racecourse
Price: From AED40
Remember that boy band that was famous at some point? One Direction? Of course, you do. Well, former member Liam Payne is coming to Dubai to put on free performance at Global Village Main Cultural Stage this week. As a solo artist, he’s already making a name for himself with a number of sold-out shows everywhere he goes. The fact he’s putting on gig that’s completely gratis to get in (well, apart from the AED15 park entry fee), is quite the coup for Dubai.
When: Friday, March 30
Where: Global Village
The Green Planet
The vertical tropical rainforest is perfect for wildlife enthusiasts. Aside from an extensive array of flora, guests can interact with a number exotic animals – the sloths are adorable! General admission starts from AED95, all UAE residents will receive up to 25 percent discount. If you plan on staying a while, we recommend you get the HubZero and Green Planet pass for AED120 – the rides and games at HubZero are great for those seeking an adventure of a different kind.
Where: Green Planet, City Walk
Price: AED95 for general admission with 25 percent discount for all UAE residents (UAE ID’s are required)
Contact: +971 4 317 3999, website
Night Jump with Skydive Dubai
If you don’t already have a license and 100 skydives under your belt, then look away now. But if you’re an adrenaline-fuelled thrillseeker who does have all of the above, get yourself down to the Skydive Dubai Desert Campus for not one, but two night jumps – one hop-n-pop and one full altitude fall.
When: Thursday, March 29
Where: Skydive Dubai Desert Campus
Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara
It’s touted as an “urban sanctuary in the heart of the capital” and the impressive waterfront hotel couldn’t feel more like a retreat if it tried. Relax in the Mangroves lounge or at the infinity pool – or just chill out in your luxury room. We recommend trying the delicious and authentic Thai cuisine at Pachaylen and maybe a pre-dinner drink at Impressions, the stunning rooftop lounge. The setting is impressive, but you can really unwind by opting for a relaxing treatment at the Anantara Spa with two Vichy shower rooms a dedicated slimming room and the vast Turkish hammam, featuring two private hammam rooms, an open hammam area, sauna and steam rooms.
Where: Abu Dhabi
Price: From AED875 per night
Contact: +9712 656 1000, website
Ladies night at Gaucho
Ladies can end the weekend in some style on Saturdays between 8pm-11pm at Gaucho, which has a rather appealing new terrace to enjoy at this time of year. Guests will be greeted with three roses which can then be exchanged for a beverage throughout the night.
When: 8pm-11pm, Saturday
Where: Gaucho, DIFC
Contact: +971 4 422 7898, website
Fun House Brunch
You don’t have to be a British ’80s/’90s kid to enjoy this one-off brunch, but it help. Pat Sharp, who’s best known for presenting kids TV show Fun House, is DJing at this special ’80s-themed Fun House Friday brunch at McGettigan’s, which’ll take us back to yesteryear with an epic set list of nostalgic tunes. It’s AED269 for drinks and access to all the stodgy goodness on the buffet and à la carte menu that’s served to your table between 1pm-6pm.
When: Friday, March 30
Where: McGettigan’s JLT, Dubai
Price: From AED269
Easter Garden Brunch
Celebrate Easter with a relaxing afternoon at Fujairah Rotana & Spa. The venue’s cooking stations and live entertainment will keep the elder folk entertained while the kids take part in an action packed Easter egg hunt. There’ll be a raffle draw and a special fluffy guest will be making an appearance too.
When: Friday, March 30
Where: Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa
Price: From AED169
Contact: +971 9 204 2138, website
If you like brunch that packs a bit more protein than most, Barbary has a menu that could pique your interest. Kick off the morning with some steak and eggs, because why have steak for dinner when you could have it for the most important meal of the day? There’s also a deli platter with a selection of three cured meats, cheese, pickled mackerel and seasoned fruits with jam. While Barbary's brunch may be a bit meatier than most, there are steel-cut oats options with Greek yogurt and wild-berries, and buttermilk pancakes with poached peaches for vegetarians.
When: Saturday, 12pm-5pm
Where: Wyndham Hotel Dubai
Price: À la carte menu, prices vary; AED47 for mixed drinks; AED38 for grape; AED39 for hops
Contact: +971 4 247 6688, website
This Manhattan loft-style destination has a brunch menu of creative dishes. There's popcorn shrimp and a green apple and goats cheese bruschetta platter, for starters, followed by roast chicken, lamb pot pie or glazed beef brisket as your headline main dish. The finale offers a fantastic Madagascar vanilla bean crème caramel.
When: Friday, 7pm-10pm
Where: Media One Hotel
Price: AED269 with soft drinks; AED369 with house beverages
Contact: +971 4 443 5403, website
BASE presents Black Coffee
Electronic music producer and Soulistic Music label founder Black Coffee is known for his “Afropolitan house” and his South African Music Award-winning album Home Brewed, among many other accolades and records. Now he’s going to be known for an awesome set in Dubai when he headlines Base at the weekend. It’s free entry for ladies, too.
When: 10pm-4am, Thursday, March 29
Where: Base Dubai, Dubai Design District (d3)
Contact: +971 55 313 4999, website
Tiger Sessions with John Graham aka Quivver
Skanna, Quivver, John Graham – whichever name you know him by – will be headlining Pure Sky Lounge’s Tiger Sessions this weekend. Doors open at 9pm and there are some VIP tables (minimum spend applies) there to be booked, too. Wear comfy shoes because the British DJ will have you dancing all night.
When: 7pm-3am, Friday, March 30
Where: Pure Sky Lounge, Hilton Dubai, JBR
Contact: +971 56 298 3690, website
Ritual presents Dennis Cruz (Sunset)
Spanish DJ Dennis Cruz has won plenty of awards in his time, including Beatport’s 3rd Best Tech House Artist. Enjoy his tunes and the upbeat vibes at Zero Gravity. It’s free entry after 5pm and then AED100 for men after 8pm. Take note; only couples and mixed groups are allowed. So, bring friends.
When: 8am-3am, Friday, March 30
Where: Zero Gravity, Skydive Dubai
Contact: +971 55 500 9111, website