Under-the-radar Dubai experiences

Words by Georgie Young

27 December 2022


From an EDM-inspired retreat to an underwater city, stay ahead of the crowd with these lesser-known activities

Providing an up-to-date list of new Dubai experiences is somewhat of a Sisyphean task. The glitzy emirate has garnered a reputation for its near-constant stream of openings, pop-ups and world-first activities. To keep you up to speed, we asked Quintessentially Dubai which new or as-yet-undiscovered experiences they think are about to take off. Here are six of their suggestions.

A festival-inspired desert retreat

If you missed out on Tomorrowland tickets, fear not: the Belgian EDM festival has settled in the Dubai desert for the next seven months. The experience – called Terra Solis – offers something a little more luxe than its Flemish counterpart, fusing big-name hospitality and glamping-style accommodation with a lively music scene. Book an Orion Pool Lodge for all-out, air-conditioned extravagance; you can entertain up to 10 guests and are comfortably close to the central pool scene.

Luxury glamping-style accommodation is at the heart of this EDM-inspired retreat

Play sports on the roof of Burj al Arab

One of Dubai’s most recognisable hotels is also one of its tallest. Towering over 200m above the Arabian sea, the Burj al Arab is crowned with a rooftop helipad which can be converted into pretty much any sporting space. If you need a little inspiration, previous takeovers include a tennis match between Andre Agassi and Roger Federer, and an – unfortunately cancelled – Floyd Mayweather and Don Moore boxing match.

Play basketball on the roof of Burj al Arab Credit Daily Star 670x670

Play sports on the roof of Burj al Arab

Explore Hatta by helicopter

Think Dubai and it’s likely that glitzy skyscrapers and rooftop brunches come to mind. However, the teal waters and auburn mountains of Hatta – a tiny village to Dubai’s east – are just a helicopter flight away. The scenic journey crams skyscrapers, deserts and mountains into its 20-minute duration, before eventually arriving at the Hollywood-esque HATTA sign poised atop the mountains. Whilst you’re there, explore the traditional village via hikes, hacks and guided bike tours, perhaps opting to stay the night at luxury hotel, JA Hatta Fort.

Hatta’s teal waters and bronze mountains are ripe hiking territory

Dive into an underwater city at Deep Dive Dubai

Another superlative experience, this diving centre is the world’s deepest swimming pool, spanning depths of 60m. To put that into context, that’s the same height as a 20-storey building or the same volume as six Olympic-sized swimming pools. The pool itself is shaped like a giant oyster – a nod to the UAE’s pearl-diving heritage – and looks like a post-apocalyptic, underwater city, complete with sound and lighting systems that create various moods and scenarios.

Both beginners and experts are welcome to explore Deep Dive Dubai’s underwater world

Craft your own signature scent

For centuries, fragrance has been a crucial part of cultural and personal rituals in the Middle East. At this private workshop by Oo La Lab, you will work with a fragrance mixologist to design your very own signature scent. During the session, you will deconstruct complex, fine fragrances into their primary building blocks before assembling a ‘personal scent wardrobe’ that’s blended to form your unique perfume. It’s then bottled and presented in a personalised vessel to take home.

Make your own bespoke perfume 670x670

Create a fragrance as unique as you during this bespoke workshop

Have a multi-sensory dining experience

Those familiar with Ibiza are likely to have come across Sublimotion – a high-tech dining experience that promises true sensory immersion (and, of course, exceptional dishes). It has now opened a Dubai outpost at the Mandarin Oriental Jumeriah Beach, where just 12 diners are invited to take dinner and a show to Dubai-standard levels. Expect 360-degree screens, projections on every wall, surface and table, and a secret menu created bespoke for each group.

Dinner is a multi-sensory affair at Sublimotion

Indulge in a 24-carat gold treatment

Gold is unequivocally omnipresent in Dubai; there are even gold bar ATMs in some of its malls. However, as gold is also known for its purifying and anti-inflammatory properties, there are also lots of 24K treatments at spas around the state. Our pick: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, where your entire body will be wrapped with a purifying mask made entirely out of fine golden chains.

Indulge in a 24 carat gold facial 670x670

Gold has anti-inflammatory properties and draws out impurities in the skin

This is just a sample of the experiences Quintessentially Dubai can arrange for you. To find out more, please speak to your lifestyle manager, or click here to learn about a Quintessentially membership.

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