While September in the UAE traditionally signals the start of a new season and therefore plenty of new openings, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to look forward to during the summer.
A host of hotels, restaurants and entertainment facilities have opened across the Emirates in recent days or will open before the season ends.
Here are some of the most exciting spots.
Palace Beach Resort Fujairah
Address Hotels & Resorts opened its second property in Fujairah on July 1. Dubbed "a palatial beachfront oasis", Palace Beach Resort Fujairah is a new 167-room resort located on Fujairah's Corniche Road and features deluxe rooms with views of the swimming pool, city or sea, executive suites measuring 67 square metres and the 109-square-metre two-bedroom royal ocean suite, which offers sea views, as well as a traditional Arabesque design aesthetic.
There are three dining venues — Al Bayt lobby lounge, Buhayra Lounge, which offers poolside snacks and drinks, and Ewaan, which serves Arabic and international dishes throughout the day. Additional facilities include a spa, fitness centre, cascading pool and children’s club.
To coincide with the opening, the property is offering a summer escapes deal, which includes a 30 per cent discount on a deluxe room or suite. The package must be booked before September 30 for stays until October 7.
Movenpick Resort Al Marjan Island
Another new hotel that opened on July 1 was Movenpick Resort Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah.
The five-star property is the first from Movenpick in the emirate and is situated on the man-made Al Marjan Island, famed for its leisure hotels and pristine beaches.
The newest resort on the peninsula is also home to the biggest floating water park in Ras Al Khaimah, complete with playgrounds, monkey bars, slides and overwater trampolines.
Located on a 300-metre stretch of golden shoreline, Movenpick Resort Al Marjan Island has 418 rooms all with ocean views, as well as sleek chalet-style suites right on the beach.
The First Collection Business Bay
Home-grown hospitality brand The First Collection opened its second property in Dubai, the four-star First Collection Business Bay, on Friday.
This follows the launch of The First Collection at Jumeirah Village Circle, which was included in TripAdvisor’s list of the Top 25 Hottest New Hotels in the World in 2021, the only one in the region to have received this accolade.
Located within walking distance of the Dubai Water Canal, the new hotel has 437 rooms and suites, many offering views of Burj Khalifa, which can also be seen from the property’s 25-metre swimming pool and sundeck. Additional leisure facilities include a gym and spa.
Dining venues include The Blacksmith Bar & Eatery, a home-grown, Deep South-inspired smokehouse that has its own butchery; Risen, a cafe and artisanal bakery that has numerous branches across Dubai and specialises in rich coffee blends and unusual tea selections; and the family-friendly all-day dining spot Vyne, which will serve Levantine cuisine.
Bars and restaurants
With temperatures creeping closer to 50°C outside, the new Ice Bar at The London Project on Bluewaters Island in Dubai is keeping things cool. The first licensed venue of its kind in the Gulf opened its doors on Friday, set inside a simulated ice castle, coinciding with the launch of The London Project's Summer Chills season.
Visitors to the Ice Bar can keep cool with chilled tunes, drinks in frozen glasses, hot plates and icy decor. There are faux-fur coats on hand for chilly guests.
The London Project's new raw menu pairs well with its limited-edition icy spot, with cold dishes on offer including Hokkaido scallops, oysters and Scottish king salmon.
Entry costs Dh99, including a complimentary beverage.
A new upscale restaurant, also at Bluewaters Island, opened on Thursday, with a menu that fuses Middle Eastern and Armenian cuisines.
The name VAGA draws from the term vagabond, describing someone who wanders and explores, and “VAGA epitomises this eclectic approach by melding the traditional and the contemporary of two distinctive cultures, taking each guest on an exhilarating journey of discovery,” the restaurant announced.
It boasts views of Ain Dubai and the Dubai Marina skyline, and the menu, created by chef Sufyan Alkebata, includes dishes such as manti, which is beef ravioli with mint, yoghurt and tomato sauce; lahmajoon, a classic Armenian dish of lamb mince, tomato, onion, parsley and chilli on a crispy base; and khorovats, a smorgasbord of grilled meat typical in Armenia.
The brainchild of Lyonese chef Aadel Ouaoua, RSVP will bring modern French fare to Boxpark in Dubai this month. Ouaoua is known for his passion for Japanese techniques, which he marries with Mediterranean ingredients and French flair.
At a recent four-hands dinner in Dubai, the chef served a carpaccio of sea bass with Stracciatella basilic oil and raspberry. This will be on the RSVP menu, although other dishes and details are yet to be revealed.
Replacing The Orangery at Phileas Fogg's in the Montgomerie Golf Academy in Dubai is new steakhouse Cleavers. Its menu offers a modern twist on British cuisine with a heavy focus on meat. Expect steaks, burgers, seafood dishes and a children's menu.
The interiors are more or less the same as The Orangery, and the terrace, children’s zone, The Arena and main dining area at family-style restaurant Phileas Foggs are all still there, too.
The official opening was on June 28.
Abu Dhabi Summer Sports
Last week, Abu Dhabi opened the biggest indoor summer sports programme in the Middle East. Called Abu Dhabi Summer Sports, it’s taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and it’s open every day until the end of August.
Participants can get involved in tennis, basketball and football or try out a purpose-built, one kilometre walking track that's free of charge for everyone to access.
The venue spans 27,000 square metres and has 25 indoor tracks and courts, all with air-conditioning.
It also has three seven-a-side football pitches, two five-a-side football courts, eight padel tennis courts, three basketball courts, three badminton courts and three volleyball courts. There's also a cricket court and a CrossFit track, with reservations required.
Visitors can also get to grips with a giant inflatable park dubbed Inflatafest. Filled with slides, climbing walls, obstacle courses and more, the bouncy structures are open to adults and children.
With plenty of free activities on offer, participants keen to try their hand at any of the indoor sports can reserve on the event’s website, or via Abu Dhabi Summer Sports' social media accounts.
Snow Abu Dhabi
The much-awaited snow park at Abu Dhabi’s new Reem Mall will open its doors before the end of summer, according to its Instagram account.
“#SnowAbuDhabi will be the perfect getaway for the #UAE summer,” it said in a caption on Instagram three weeks ago, although a specific opening date has yet to be announced.
When it does open, it’s going to be the largest indoor snow park in the world.
At the moment, only a few shops are open at Reem Mall, with plenty more to come, including myriad dining outlets, fitness facilities and a cinema.
Another anticipated entertainment destination in Abu Dhabi is Cinemacity at waterfront destination Al Qana. On Sunday, Al Qana posted about the “unrivalled cinema experience”, saying it’s coming soon for summer. Specific details on an opening date are yet to be announced.
Located on the north wing of Al Qana, it will be home to a range of immersive cinema experiences, including 3DMAX, VIP Cinema and a children’s theatre.
It can accommodate up to 9,000 guests across 15 screens and promises to bring a mix of local, Hollywood and Bollywood films.