Establishment neighborhood
Remaliya at Dubai Ladies Club
Jumeirah Rd., Jumeirah
While distance doesn't make it an easy trip to plan for those coming from the Americas and around, as a city, Dubai is well-suited for a girls trip. For starters, it's extremely safe, and more so than other popular celebratory destinations (say, Miami or Vegas), the culture here has a real respect for privacy, which is refreshing if all you want to do is get some quality time with your girl gang. Plus, there are some fun ladies-only activities, one of them being a trip to the Dubai Ladies Club. Located on the beach, the club offers membership and day rates, for access to the pool, tennis and squash courts, spa, fitness classes, and so on. (There are also options for kiddos, too.) For a peek into the club life, come for breakfast or lunch at Remaliya—the pretty cafe (which also has an outdoor terrace for not-scorching days) makes some of the most refreshing smoothies and juices in the city. (Note that Remaliya is open to men on Mondays until 2pm.)
Burj Al Arab Terrace, Jumeirah
In 2016, the Burj al Arab added an outdoor terrace that perches over the Persian Gulf. (Another impressive architectural feat for the city: The 10,000-square-meter deck arrived in eight sections and was installed in twelve weeks.) The swimming pools (one fresh, one salt water) and air-conditioned beach cabanas are just for guests, but anyone can dine at the restaurant, Scape. Come for sunset, views of the gulf and city, plus a new angle to see the Burj al Arab from, up close. The cocktails are good and the food menu can satisfy a range of diners—try the crispy chicken with BBQ miso and a carrot-ginger purée.
Kite Beach, Jumeirah
Started by two women, Amal Al Marri and Deem Albassam, Salt began as a temporary food truck at Kite Beach. (This sounds like a familiar story in many cities but food trucks weren't a thing in Dubai when they tried it, and they still aren't at the level of what you'll find in LA, NYC, London, etc.) While a lot of Dubai's eating and entertainment happens indoors (mall culture is huge here), Marri and Albassam wanted to create a fun spot for locals to hang outdoors. Salt now has a permanent spot at Kite Beach, and it's wildly popular. The menu—sliders, fries, softies—is indulgently good beach food. If you're feeling adventurous, the cereal latte is a bestseller. (There's also a Cheetos-fried chicken sandwich option...)
Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah
Built directly onto a private wooden pier with a stunning glassed-in terrace and bay views, this is the ideal place for a romantic evening. While not particularly glitzy, the ambiance is undeniably elevated, as is the seafood-centric menu: the caviar, lobster, and fresh fish are offered in every imaginable incarnation. Dinner is always a sure thing, though the locals like to flock here for the boozy brunch, which can't be overstated: Brunch is huge in Dubai—really the thing to do on Fridays (which is the UAE's Saturday).
Kite Beach
Kite Beach, Jumeirah
Best known for its prime kitesurfing conditions, hence the name, this busy beach has something for everyone: Try your hand at the water sports (rentals available on the spot) or simply relax and take in the beautiful views of the Burj Al Arab. In addition, there's a dedicated kids area with trampolines, a climbing gym, and a skate park—plus favorite food joint, Salt. And if your phone is running low on juice, there are charging stations right on the beach.
Omnia Gourmet
Jumeirah Fish Harbour, Jumeirah
Dubai imports almost all of its food, so the organic and local emphasis at Silvena Rowe's first Dubai restaurant makes a statement—she sources her cheeses, meats, eggs, fish, and produce locally. The offerings, like orange blossom glazed chicken or a zucchini linguine and avocado pesto, are light and health-centric yet accessible, and there's a gorgeous lineup of paleo and superfood-packed pastries and desserts, like a gluten-free raspberry and chocolate brownie and chia seed pudding. The insanely cool interior, with a peacock mural on the wall, wicker chairs, vegetation hanging from the ceiling, is another big part of the appeal.
Baker & Spice
Town Centre, Jumeirah
Baker & Spice's casual menu is a balance of Western and Middle Eastern dishes, and changes based on what's in season (they source most of their produce from UAE farmers). The breakfast menu is full of healthy-ish classics like Turkish eggs, avocado toast with dukkah, and a famously good shakshouka, and lunch is a mix of fresh salads and hearty comfort food, like burrata salad with beetroot carpaccio, pumpkin and goat cheese tortellini, and roast chicken and potatoes. If you don't have time to order off the menu, you can also pick up fresh-baked bread, tarts, pastries, and pies to go. Now in its seventh season, their Friday farmer’s market at Business Bay is an amazing resource for locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables. There are locations in Al Barsha, Jumeirah, Souk Al Bahar, Souk Al Manzil, and the marina (oh, and they cater).
Comptoir 102
102 Beach Rd., Jumeirah
Amidst a sea of skyscrapers and grand malls, this Parisian concept shop—which is both a healthy café, organic market, home goods, clothes, and jewelry store—is a welcome boho-chic respite right by Jumeirah beach. The café uses ingredients from local organic farms, and the entire menu is sugar- and dairy-free, changing daily to reflect the day’s harvest; they have a robust juice and smoothie menu, great salads, and standbys like buckwheat pancakes and chia seed pudding. Definitely wander over to their curated shops, where you'll find some unique jewelry, Jérôme Dreyfuss handbags, and craft furniture (plus great hostess gifts) sourced from around the globe.
Burj Al Arab
Before Dubai was Dubai, and before the Burj Khalifa was built, there was the Buj al Arab—really the only landmark that existed in Dubai fifteen years ago. One of the world's iconic hotels, it's regularly referred to as the only seven-star hotel (there's no such thing), and known for it's impeccable service, with a manned butler station positioned on every floor. The suites (particularly their specialty versions, like the Presidential and Royal), are over the top in every sense—enormous spaces filled rotating canopy beds (some with gilded mirrors overhead), man-cave-like library rooms, formal dining tables, private cinema spaces, different patterned rugs and pillows everywhere, sweeping grand staircases, gigantic marble columns, dressing rooms bigger than most NYC-sized apartments, tubs bigger than most NYC-sized bathrooms, and gold, gold, and more gold. It's sensory overload to be certain, but the fact that the decor hasn't been brought into this decade is all part of the shtick. Actually staying here will cost you—but plan to see the inside of the Burj Al Arab while you're here in any case, because it's a trip in and of itself. (You won't miss the exterior, which…
The Lime Tree
Jumeirah Beach Rd., Jumeirah
The Dubai OG of concept cafes with a healthy bent, The Lime Tree is a New-Zealand-style eatery that is now three locations strong. The original, opened in 2001, is near the beach, next to Jumeirah Mosque; meant to feel like a villa, with an upstairs balcony and courtyard garden, it's a popular mom-spot post dropping kids off at school. There's a location on Sheik Zayed Road in Al Quoz, and another in Al Quoz, in walking distance from the shops and galleries of Alserkal Avenue, where you're likely to find people posted up on laptops in one of Lime Tree's nooks or at the long picnic-style tables. Lime Tree serves organic coffee and teas, organic free-range egg scrambles, quiches, and salads, plenty of gluten-free bakery items. Everything is made in house, and they cater, too.