1. BANYAN TREE AL WADI
Located near to Ras Al Khaimah’s main fish market, it’s no surprise that Banyan Tree, an Arabian-inspired resort hotel with villas that climb up and down the desert dunes, are offering something like the Soul Food package. Every Saturday until the end of the year, you can immerse yourself in the local fishing scene – the hotel’s executive chef takes you on a tour through the market – before heading to Al Waha, one of the hotel’s restaurants, to prepare and cook the catch of the day for your lunch. Follow this with a trip to the one-of-a-kind hydrothermal Rainforest Spa – think igloos, scented saunas and a vitality pool – to end your day in the most relaxing way imaginable.
Ras Al Khaimah, 07 206 7777, Banyan Tree
2. PEACOCK ALLEY
Tucked away in a quiet corner of the Palm stands the Waldorf Astoria, a grand hotel with an even grander sea view. Inside you’ll find Peacock Alley, a New York-themed café featuring crisp white décor, a terrace with more of those beautiful views, live piano music and one of Dubai’s best afternoon teas. There are two menus available: select the London option for dainty smoked salmon and horseradish, and cucumber sandwiches, plus warm, golden scones and pretty little fresh fruit tartlets. The Parisian menu offers foie gras terrine on brioche, open-faced crab and dill sandwiches and salted caramel éclairs (bitter, sweet, just the right level of salt and very addictive). Like the éclairs, Earl Grey chocolate tea is excellent – the first cup quickly turns into a fresh pot – with the food and drink combining to make an afternoon tea that is pure indulgence.
Waldorf Astoria, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, 04 818 2222, Waldorf Astoria
3.THEATRE BY RHODES
The cinema experience – pick ’n’ mix in one hand, fizzy drink in the other – has been revolutionised by Vox Cinemas. Working with chef Gary Rhodes, they have devised a fine-dining cinema concept and executed it thoughtfully: seats are huge, send-you-to-sleep comfortable and generously spaced, so there’s no risk of your enjoyment being ruined by the sound of someone chewing on their food. And what food it is: designed to be eaten in the dark, the dishes – macaroni cheese croquettes and rice pudding fritters, for example – go far beyond standard cinema fare. With personalised service (so sleek you’ll hardly notice it), this all feels very first-class airport lounge, the major difference being that you’re travelling to a made-up destination unknown.
Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, 600 599905, Vox Cinemas