Paris Hilton DJs while her sister Nicky takes a photo at the opening of Clé Dubai. Courtesy Arian Marcos / Katch PR
Paris Hilton DJs while her sister Nicky takes a photo at the opening of Clé Dubai. Courtesy Arian Marcos / Katch PR

Paris and Nicky Hilton’s whirlwind weekend in Dubai



Forever is a long time in celebrity circles – especially when you win a reality TV show to become Paris Hilton’s new BFF (best friend forever).

The celebrity socialite came to the UAE in 2009 to film Paris Hilton's Dubai BFF.

She was back in town this weekend and, during an exclusive interview with The National in her suite at The Address Downtown Dubai, we couldn't resist asking how she was getting along these days with Reem Al Alnezi, the Kuwaiti winner of the show.

“I talked to her like a year ago,” says Hilton. “She’s a very nice person, but when you’re meeting someone through a reality show, it’s kind of ...”

Fake? After all, she did accumulate several other BFFs in a series of similar shows around the same time. Even in 2011, when we caught up with her during a visit, she seemed to be cooling on the whole idea of competitive BFFs, saying: “I’ve really enjoyed doing it, but I have enough BFFs.”

Now, five years on, she is refreshingly honest about the experience.

“I’m a businesswoman,” says Hilton. “It was like a free commercial for my handbag line, my fragrances, my make up line ... so I thought of it as a business deal — it wasn’t like I’m looking for friends on TV.”

It was business that brought the 33-year-old to the emirates – she had been hired to perform a DJ set at the glitzy opening of the hot new restaurant concept Clé Dubai, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

However Hilton, who was travelling with younger sister, Nicky, found plenty of time for pleasure, too, posting videos of The Dubai Fountain, picking up a gown and clutches from Studio 8 Fashion in Dubai Mall, and posing for pictures with monkeys and leopards at the private zoo of the boutique’s founder, Sarah Belhasa.

While Paris is something of a regular visitor to the UAE, the trip was the first visit for Nicky, a designer who last month published the book 365 Style, but she said that she was a big fan of regional fashion.

“[In the Middle East, people] have so much fun with accessories, beautiful, unique jewellery, and everyone has the most fabulous handbag,” she says. “Everyone has great taste.”

The sisters spent Friday and Saturday night partying at Clé Dubai, which is in DIFC.

Other celebrity guests at the weekend bash included supermodels Alessandra Ambrosio and Irina Shayk, Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan, rapper Akon – and the Hiltons’ friend Khloé Kardashian, who turned up on Saturday in a figure-hugging, backless off-white dress.

“It was a lot of fun [to see Khloé],” said Paris. “We actually flew over together from LA. We’ve known each other since we were little.

“It was a really great party — everyone had so much fun. I think Clé is going to be an amazing place for people to go.”

For her part, on Saturday night Paris looked stunning in a clubby black dress from Alice + Olivia, while Nicky sported a long-sleeved offering with geometric patterns and sheer panels.

The brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Greg Malouf, an Australian of Lebanese descent, Clé aims to offer fresh fusions of “contemporary Middle Eastern” food.

Are the Hiltons fans of the region’s flavours?

“So much,” says Nicky, “it’s literally my favourite cuisine.”

“Me too,” Paris chimes in, “when we grew up, every Thursday night we would have Lebanese and Middle Eastern food, our whole life.”

With a reported net worth of about US$100 million (Dhs367m), some might wonder where Hilton gets the motivation to work at all.

“It runs in our blood”, says Paris. “The Hilton family all do big things. We are very determined, hardworking people.

“I live one of the most exciting lives in the world — I get paid to have fun, play music, entertain people and have the time of my life wherever I go, so I feel very blessed.”

The last time Hilton was spotted out and about in these parts was behind the decks at Dubai’s Cavalli Club in December.

Despite bagging recent headline Ibiza gigs, Paris’s switch from socialite to international DJ hasn’t exactly been trouble-free — withhouse-music veterans such as Paul Oakenfold queuing up to poor on scorn.

At Clé, Hilton played things safe, dropping remixes of sure-fire hits such as Get Lucky, Happy and Show Me Love, withmixing kept to a minimum and minders close at hand — presumably to ensure there wasn’t another Sao Paulo-style meltdown, Hilton’s notorious DJ debut during which she attempted to sing her own Last Night over a Rihanna song after miscuing the track.

Since then Hilton says she has “learnt so much” about DJing, and readily lists the various software she’s progressed through (newsflash, Serato fans: Hilton switched up to Traktor Kontrol S8 just last week).

“It’s very technical,” she explains. “It’s not like you just press play, there’s a lot that goes into it.

“I’m playing all around the world and I’m very proud of what I’ve built.”

Clé Dubai, at Al Fattan Currency House, DIFC, in Dubai, is open daily, from noon until 2am. Call 04 352 5150 to book a table

rgarratt@thenational.ae

UAE rugby in numbers

5 - Year sponsorship deal between Hesco and Jebel Ali Dragons

700 - Dubai Hurricanes had more than 700 playing members last season between their mini and youth, men's and women's teams

Dh600,000 - Dubai Exiles' budget for pitch and court hire next season, for their rugby, netball and cricket teams

Dh1.8m - Dubai Hurricanes' overall budget for next season

Dh2.8m - Dubai Exiles’ overall budget for next season

Superpower

Director: Sean Penn, Aaron Kaufman

Rating: 3/5

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

THE BIO

Family: I have three siblings, one older brother (age 25) and two younger sisters, 20 and 13 

Favourite book: Asking for my favourite book has to be one of the hardest questions. However a current favourite would be Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier

Favourite place to travel to: Any walkable city. I also love nature and wildlife 

What do you love eating or cooking: I’m constantly in the kitchen. Ever since I changed the way I eat I enjoy choosing and creating what goes into my body. However, nothing can top home cooked food from my parents. 

Favorite place to go in the UAE: A quiet beach.

Company profile

Name: JustClean

Based: Dubai with offices in other GCC countries

Launch year: 2016

Number of employees: 160+ with 21 nationalities in eight cities

Sector:
online laundry and cleaning services

Funding: $30m from Kuwait-based Faith Capital Holding and Gulf Investment Corporation

While you're here
Racecard

6pm: The Pointe - Conditions (TB) Dh82,500 (Turf) 1,400m

6.35pm: Palm West Beach - Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (T) 1,800m

7.10pm: The View at the Palm - Handicap (TB) Dh85,000 (Dirt) 1,400m

7.45pm: Nakeel Graduate Stakes - Conditions (TB) Dh100,000 (T) 1,600m

8.20pm: Club Vista Mare - Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 1,900m

8.55pm: The Palm Fountain - Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 1,200m

9.30pm: The Palm Tower - Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (T) 1,600m

One-off T20 International: UAE v Australia

When: Monday, October 22, 2pm start

Where: Abu Dhabi Cricket, Oval 1

Tickets: Admission is free

Australia squad: Aaron Finch (captain), Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey, Ashton Agar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Chris Lynn, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Darcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa, Peter Siddle

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

RedCrow Intelligence Company Profile

Started: 2016

Founders: Hussein Nasser Eddin, Laila Akel, Tayeb Akel 

Based: Ramallah, Palestine

Sector: Technology, Security

# of staff: 13

Investment: $745,000

Investors: Palestine’s Ibtikar Fund, Abu Dhabi’s Gothams and angel investors

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Where to buy art books in the UAE

There are a number of speciality art bookshops in the UAE.

In Dubai, The Lighthouse at Dubai Design District has a wonderfully curated selection of art and design books. Alserkal Avenue runs a pop-up shop at their A4 space, and host the art-book fair Fully Booked during Art Week in March. The Third Line, also in Alserkal Avenue, has a strong book-publishing arm and sells copies at its gallery. Kinokuniya, at Dubai Mall, has some good offerings within its broad selection, and you never know what you will find at the House of Prose in Jumeirah. Finally, all of Gulf Photo Plus’s photo books are available for sale at their show. 

In Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi has a beautiful selection of catalogues and art books, and Magrudy’s – across the Emirates, but particularly at their NYU Abu Dhabi site – has a great selection in art, fiction and cultural theory.

In Sharjah, the Sharjah Art Museum sells catalogues and art books at its museum shop, and the Sharjah Art Foundation has a bookshop that offers reads on art, theory and cultural history.

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 261hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 10.5L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh129,999 (VX Luxury); from Dh149,999 (VX Black Gold)

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

SPEC SHEET: NOTHING PHONE (2a)

Display: 6.7” flexible Amoled, 2412 x 1080, 394ppi, 120Hz, Corning Gorilla Glass 5

Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 7200 Pro, 4nm, octa-core

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256GB

Platform: Android 14, Nothing OS 2.5

Main camera: Dual 50MP main, f/1.88 + 50MP ultra-wide, f/2.2; OIS, EIS, auto-focus, ultra XDR, night mode

Main camera video: 4K @ 30fps, full-HD @ 60fps; slo-mo full-HD at 120fps

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.2

Battery: 5000mAh; 50% in 30 mins w/ 45w charger

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Google Pay)

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP54, limited protection from water/dust

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Black, milk, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2a), USB-C-to-USB-C cable, pre-applied screen protector, SIM tray ejector tool

Price (UAE): Dh1,199 (8GB/128GB) / Dh1,399 (12GB/256GB)

Company profile

Name: Maly Tech
Started: 2023
Founder: Mo Ibrahim
Based: Dubai International Financial Centre
Sector: FinTech
Funds raised: $1.6 million
Current number of staff: 15
Investment stage: Pre-seed, planning first seed round
Investors: GCC-based angel investors