18 November 2018Last updated

Spend time

13 things to do in the UAE this May

Our top picks and tips for making the most of the month

Faye Bartle
8 May 2017 | 12:39 pm


1. Escape to Al Zorah...

For a tranquil break on your doorstep, escape to The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah. Located along the Ajman coast just 25 minutes from Dubai International Airport, the property is nestled within a vast ecological wetland that is home to almost 60 species of birds and marine life. Designed by Italian architect Piero Lissoni, the new resort has stunning ocean views, with two-and three-bedroom villas available for families. Unwind and clear some head space by renting a sailboat from the nearby marina, visiting Sensio Spa for an ayurvedic treatment or taking a dip in the 80-metre long swimming pool. Introductory offer Dh1,500 for a room with private terrace valid until 25 May. 


2. Do a pre-summer detox...

Kick-start a healthy new you with the selection of holistic spa and fitness detox packages available at Palace Downtown, Dubai. From deep tissue massages to Dead Sea salt scrubs and nourishing meals, you can blitz toxins from all angles. We love the sound of the Wrap Me Up package at The Spa, which comprises a 45-minute organic salt glow, followed up by four 75-minute organic seaweed body wrap sessions (Dh2,850). Or, sweat it out with Detox and Re-shaping Personal Training Sessions (Dh2,016 for 12 x 60-minute sessions). 04 428 7805, 


3. Fuel their dreams...

Let the kids stay up to watch Dubai Festival City’s newest hi-tech show by Imagine, A Child’s Dream. Featuring aeroplanes, whales, a treehouse and dancing robots, the show takes viewers on a journey through the mind of a young child, with dramatic effects including lights, lasers, fire, bubbles and water. Visit the Dream Station, where children can draw their dreams for a chance to see their sketches projected onto InterContinental Dubai Festival City. The show starts May 4 and runs daily after sunset, every hour across Festival Bay. Dream Station will be open from May 4-18 from 6pm.


4. Empower your helpers

Our helpers are the rocks that hold our lives together, so make sure yours is empowered to build a better future for herself by keeping her professional knowledge up to date and providing the tools she needs to take charge of her finances.

“Most nannies don’t get formal training on childcare, such as nutrition and first aid,” says Padmini Gupta, co-founder of Rise – an app which can be downloaded by sponsor families and helpers for access to affordable childcare and education costing from Dh50 to Dh500. “Also, most nannies don’t have a financial plan to save for the future. Having a bank account helps her move towards financial independence.” Check out the Rise app, available on Google Play and iOS, 


5. Have a Mother’s Day meal

Join in the international Mother’s Day celebrations by heading to Flow Kitchen’s Ultimate Family Brunch at Fairmont The Palm on Friday, May 12. All mums will be entered into a raffle draw to win a VIP treatment at the resort’s Willow Steam Spa. Plus, families bringing mum for a meal will be in with the chance to win a family pass to Dubai Parks and Resorts. Tuck into the yummy buffet and keep the children entertained thanks to the dedicated kids’ corner, which offers two hours of interactive activities. Those aged three and over have access to Fairmont Falcons Kids’ Club. Noon to 4pm. From Dh255 per person including soft drinks. Dh100 for ages six to 12 (includes two hours of activities). Ages five and under go free. 04 457 3457, 


6. Attend a culinary workshop...

Learn more about organic food and healthy eating at a culinary masterclass at Il Borro Tuscan Bistro Dubai. Located at Jumeirah Al Naseem, the restaurant is launching a series of interactive sessions in its private dining room hosted by the venue’s executive chef Maurizio Bosetti and Suzanne Husseini, author of When Suzanne Cooks. Groups of 10 to 12 will learn the art of pasta making and practise making healthy meals and desserts that are easy to re-create at home. The first masterclass will be held on May 8 at 11am, with further sessions soon to be announced. 04 275 2555, 


7. Get a check-up...

Zulekha Hospital is launching the fourth edition of its Cervical Cancer Awareness Initiative, which aims to provide vital education about the disease, including the importance of early detection. During May, Zulekha Hospital branches in Sharjah and Dubai will be offering free specialist gynaecologist consultations, Pap tests and HPV vaccines. Last year, more than 1,400 women benefitted from the services and it’s hoped that the 2017 campaign will inspire an even further reach. 


8. Prepare your skin for the summer...

Keep skin hydrated and protected against harmful UV Rays and pollutants with the Organic Harvest Activ Rentention Sea Buckthorn range. It’s ideal for taking you through the long, hot summer. We like the Hydrating Serum, which contains antioxidant-rich plant oils for a smoother complexion. From Dh100-190, available at LuLu hypermarkets in the UAE. 


9. Indulge in some retail therapy...

One of our favourite shopping destinations, S*uce, has opened a shiny new location at Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach. The one-stop-shop for holiday essentials is home to contemporary resort brands such as Rhode Resort, swimwear by Stella McCartney and a playful selection for little ones. Top pampering finds include Gisou Honey Infused Hair Oil and scented candles from Nuhr. Sunglasses from Hadid Eyewear, hand embroidered artisanal totes and slogan summer hats will provide the perfect finishing touches to your holiday ensemble.

10. Try these 3 iftars 


For Larger Groups
Round up your friends and head to Dubai World Trade Centre for iftar at the Majlis in Za’abeel Hall 6. Tuck into a vast selection of Arabic cuisine in a stylish Arabesque setting, which can cater to private gatherings up to 24 guests. Served daily from sunset to 9 PM, for Dh150. 


For Families
Enjoy a traditional iftar for all the family at Azur at Raffles Dubai, which has a delicious selection of authentic dishes including mezzeh, lamb ouzi and Arabic mixed grill washed down with classic juices such as tamarind. Just save some space for the sticky date pudding. Served daily during Ramadan from sunset until 9 PM for Dh185 per person. Dh90 for ages six to 12. Those aged six and under dine for free (along with two paying adults).04 324 8888, 


For the Style Set
Vida Downtown is putting a contemporary spin on iftar with a revamped spread by Chef James Knight-Pacheco, which includes hot mains served directly to the table on large sharing boards. Afterwards, browse the pop-up concept from Fashion Exclusive, which will spotlight emerging designers from the region. Iftar takes place at 3in1 from sunset to 9 PM. Dh170 for adults, half price for ages six to 12 and free for those aged five and under. 04 4238899 


11. Staycation...

Lapita Hotel

Where: Dubai Parks and Resorts
How much? Prices vary, but you can get a deluxe room from around Dh700 a night
Contact: 800 AMAZING (2629464),
This new Polynesian-styled hotel has all the fun that you’d expect from a place just a stone’s throw away from Legoland and Motiongate Dubai, but a higher quality finish than you’d probably anticipate considering the heavy theming (it’s an Autograph hotel, a collection of boutique hotels from Marriott that also boasts the new La Ville Hotel & Suites in City Walk). We stayed in a deluxe room with a baby and toddler, and the cot and pull-out bed worked perfectly, and even came with a complimentary wash bag of kiddie toiletries. We enjoyed a brilliant time at the brunch – there’s a huge variety of food for adults, as well as a kids’ buffet and play area. The kids’ pool has a fantastic lazy river and splash pad area that are enough to merit coming for on their own, and Lapita offers a Daycation brunch package that includes pool access if you don’t want to stay overnight. Overall, the staff were eager to please and efficient, and the food was impressive. For those travelling with very little ones, note that our bathroom only had a shower, which made for a slippery wash session with the baby!


12. Brunch...

Dukesy Brunch

Where: West 14th at Dukes Hotel, The Palm
When: Fridays, 10am-6pm
How much? Dh195-Dh419 for adults, Dh97.50 for 6–11 year-olds, free for 0–5 year-olds.
Contact: Call 04 447 7601 or email
Named after the Dukes Hotel kids’ club, the Dukesy brunch is all about the kids – and, as a consequence, also the adults, as the children being entertained gives parents a chance to unwind themselves! The actual food selection itself mainly consisted of Arabic grills, pasta and salads, but the highlight of this brunch is definitely the agenda of activities, which include bouncy castle, face painting, supervised beach games, kids’ cinema, PlayStation, jungle gym, trampoline, football and cupcake decorating, all overseen by kids’ club staff. Access to the pool, lazy river and beach are included, and every event is themed for dressing-up potential. 


13. Pamper yourself...

Jenny Rose Hair & Beauty Salon

Where: Motor City
What: Elemis facial and Olaplex hair treatment and blowdry
How much? Skin-specific Elemis facial from Dh350, hair treatments from Dh120 and blow-dry from Dh100
Contact: Call 04 551 6620 or visit
This Motor City salon is bright, welcoming and chic, and stocks the best international products including Elemis, one of our favourite beauty brands. We tried a soothing Collagen Boost facial, applied by a lovely Nepalese therapist called Baby. This 90-min treatment was blissful and effective – my dehydration lines had all but gone by the time I resurfaced. Next up I tried out the famous Olaplex treatment, used to strengthen and nourish dry hair. Combined with a skilled scalp massage and blow-dry, I left feeling like a new woman. A great local salon.

Faye Bartle

Faye Bartle