UAE residents looking to make the most of the last few days of winter have a new spot to kick back, relax, and take in some of the best views of the country’s natural beauty.
One Degree Cafe has launched a winter pop-up experience, located on the Dubai-Sharjah border, approximately a 40-minute drive from Downtown Dubai.
The space is set right in the middle of the desert, with mountain and dune views from every angle. It also features a number of eclectic seating options, from chairs to plush sofas to makeshift canopies on the sand. There are other interesting knick-knacks that add character to the place including a vintage television and radio, a mirror and a swing.
Diners can enjoy the open-air seating while indulging in a range of hot and cold beverages. One Degree is especially known for using premium Arabica coffee beans, so you can't go wrong with a cuppa. It also has a range of acai bowls and desserts, from tiramisu to mango mousse.
Ever since its launch on January 27, the winter pop-up experience has developed quite a following, with numerous people making the drive just for sunset views of the desert, and premium coffee.
“The project has been immensely successful. People from across Dubai seem to know about it even though we’ve only been open for a month,” says owner Ahmad Abdulla Alketbi.
Alketbi says the inspiration for the winter pop-up experience came from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, who said "UAE's winter is the most beautiful in the world".
“We wanted to create something new for people who want to enjoy this weather and the beautiful UAE desert. Especially with the coronavirus, people want to go somewhere that is open, where social distancing is easily possible,” he says.
Alketbi adds that the location was chosen because it is the middle of the UAE, easy to reach from the Northern Emirates, and only a 35 to 45 minute drive from Dubai. It also helps that the trip can be made even with a small car.
"In the olden days, this route used to be a connection between Dubai and Sharjah – people used to travel via camel. It's right in the middle," he says.
The location is also an eight-minute drive away from the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, and he encourages all visitors to also explore the surrounding area (and maybe even catch sight of an Arabian oryx or two) during their trip.
“I want to thank Dubai Municipality, Dubai SME, Dubai Tourism and RTA for their support with this project,” he says. “This year, we launched a bit late – but next year we will be bigger and better.”
For those who might not be able to make the drive, One Degree also has two other locations in the UAE – one in Jumeirah, Dubai, and one in Ajman. A third branch is also scheduled to open soon in Al Warqa.
The One Degree winter pop-up will be operational until the end of Ramadan. It is open from 2pm to midnight every day.