Five-day beach break in Dubai
Unearth seaside neighbourhoods, cool cafés, gourmet pit-stops and some of the lifestyle developments that have made Dubai famous. Pick a starting point, and drive down Jumeirah Road for an effortless self-guided tour of the city's beachside hotspots.
Dubai’s cool beachside district, La Mer, is designed to keep visitors engaged and entertained with a wide range of things to do and see, on the sand and off. Wander along the wooden boardwalks to discover the waterside restaurants, fashion pop-ups, boutiques and lounges contained within the 13.4 million square foot seaside development.
Eating out options are plentiful, whether you’re in the mood for modern Lebanese at Babel, Indian fusion at Masti, fresh salads at Slab, shellfish at Aprons & Hammers, or French pastries at Maison de Juliette. While the ocean is the perfect temperature to take a dip, the new Laguna Waterpark is a bit more thrilling, being home to a cool surf park and oodles of twisting and turning water slides.
A 15-minute drive from your first day’s beach stop, you’ll find one of Dubai's best known landmarks, Palm Jumeirah. The world's largest man-made island features an impressive 78km of shoreline in the shape of a palm frond. Drive up the ‘trunk’ (or catch the monorail for an elevated view over the island), and turn right at the top to explore the world-famous Atlantis, The Palm hotel.
Right in front of the five-star hotel, take a stroll down the oceanside boardwalk popular with the Palm's residents. Lastly, stop off for a long lunch at one of the restaurants that line the Club Vista Mare district on the trunk, with delicious Peruvian, seafood, Japanese and Italian options available in the al fresco seating overlooking the private beach.
Catch one of the traditional abra boats down the winding system of canals to the Madinat's private beach for a day in the sun. Passes can be bought at reception if you're in the mood for some sun-lounging, or stick around until sunset to take part in a yoga-on-the-beach class.
Headed up by one of the accredited yogis from the Talise Spa and with drop-ins welcome, you'll be led through a session, with the Burj Al Arab as the perfect backdrop for a tree pose selfie. Yoga classes also run in the daytime during the cooler winter months. After sunset, follow up with dinner at Shimmers. The casual beach restaurant, offering authentic Greek dishes, is metres away from the waves.
Further down Jumeirah Beach Road, you’ll find Kite Beach, known for the hordes of colourful kites that fill the skies most weekends. Offshore, the theme continues, with kite and parasailers swooping and soaring metres above the water’s surface. Emirati-owned burger truck, Salt, sits between the sands and the well-kept running track; its American-style burgers and cheese fries making a hearty meal for sunseekers.
Further down Jumeirah Road and a street above the palm tree-ringed public beach is a hub for early-rising sporty types, with paddle boarders, wake-surfers and ocean kayakers fresh from the water congregating for a cold-press coffee and smashed avocado toast.
The Beach at Jumeirah Beach Residences
The always-expanding neighbourhood of Jumeirah Beach Residences (affectionately known as JBR to locals), is an extensive stretch of boardwalk, with ocean-facing restaurants, hotels and a beach that offers a fun floating obstacle course and moonlight cinema events, in addition to dips in the Arabian Gulf. Dining options range from Michelin-awarded chef Tom Aikens' Pots, Pans and Boards sharing-plate concept to Middle Eastern flavours at CupaGahwa, where you can freshen up with coffee, tea and delicious desserts.
A short walk away is Bluewaters Island, where there are yet more options to stay and play. Home to luxurious Cove Beach, Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai resort and the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant by Gordon Ramsay – it’s well worth a visit while in the neighbourhood.