Friday brunch at Palazzo Versace Dubai

Palazzo Versace is located just a stone’s throw from Dubai Creek in an area called Culture Village. Word to the wise — leave yourself a lot of extra time to get there, the hotel is anything but an easy find. Your best bet is to book a private car with GPS as we struggled to find a regular taxi driver who was willing to venture to Culture Village, which is still pretty much a construction site.

The atmosphere

Convivial, if not a little confused. While the hotel, in great part, oozes Italian elegance, Giardino restaurant seemed somewhat at odds with the Mediterranean theme. This probably has something to do with the very loud house music that was pumping through the near empty venue on the Friday my guest and I visited. Strains of Volare and That's Amore would perhaps have been more conducive to conversation and lent to a less forced party atmosphere. The decor is a verdant jungle-themed one — remember J-Lo's Versace dress from the Grammy's in 2000? Well, chairs, walls and napkins pay homage to the showstopping silk chiffon gown.

The food

Simply outstanding. In fact, any preconceptions my dining companion had were completely blown out of the water. The fare — apart from some Indian and Chinese offerings — was authentically Italian, prepared by Italian chefs cooking with Italian ingredients. The pasta was perfectly al dente and I particularly liked the cooked-to-order gluten free pesto linguine which was bursting with basil, garlic and pine nuts. The raw seafood bar was well considered and the grilled lobster with zingy lemon butter sauce was so good we had to have seconds.

Other sections that merited a revisit included the cheese, foie gras and dessert stations. Matching style and substance, an impressive chocolate Leaning Tower of Pisa and confectionery Colosseum had us snapping away on our smartphones.

Who is it best for?

Foodies, without a doubt. While there was mostly couples dining on the day we visited, Arabic families were also well served by staff who were incredibly quick on their heels.

The verdict:

How wonderful to be pleasantly surprised by brunch which many detractors feared would be a food and fashion cliché. In fact, it’s anything but. Our only wish is that the road to Rome was better signposted.

The National was a guest of the venue.

• Brunch at Palazzo Versace Dubai takes place every Friday from 1-4pm and costs from Dh350-650. For reservations go to www.palazzoversace.ae or call +971 4 556 8840

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

If you go...

Fly from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Chiang Mai in Thailand, via Bangkok, before taking a five-hour bus ride across the Laos border to Huay Xai. The land border crossing at Huay Xai is a well-trodden route, meaning entry is swift, though travellers should be aware of visa requirements for both countries.

Flights from Dubai start at Dh4,000 return with Emirates, while Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi start at Dh2,000. Local buses can be booked in Chiang Mai from around Dh50

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

The biog

Name: Marie Byrne

Nationality: Irish

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption

Book: Seagull by Jonathan Livingston

Life lesson: A person is not old until regret takes the place of their dreams

Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions
Points to remember
  • Debate the issue, don't attack the person
  • Build the relationship and dialogue by seeking to find common ground
  • Express passion for the issue but be aware of when you're losing control or when there's anger. If there is, pause and take some time out.
  • Listen actively without interrupting
  • Avoid assumptions, seek understanding, ask questions