When we think of Christmas, most of us in the UK conjure up visions of snow, reindeer and a jolly man dressed in red, even if it ends up not being a white Christmas. Just imagine then what it would be like to celebrate the season in a warm climate in a city located in the heart of the desert. This is exactly what those holidaying in Dubai over the festive period will experience.
Despite feeling like a long way from home, there are still plenty of opportunities to keep traditions alive. Eating Christmas dinner, meeting Santa Claus and getting loved ones together are all still possible, even in the sunny climes of Dubai. Read on to discover my top six places in Dubai to enjoy the Christmas season in 2016.
Six places to celebrate Christmas in Dubai
The Viceroy at Four Points by Sheraton Dubai
Located inside the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel is a little piece of home, as The Viceroy is a wonderful facsimile of an English pub. As well as beer on tap and comfy chairs, there’s a homey feeling you can’t quite put your finger on. This Christmas it is offering a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings and a glass of wine for 99 dirhams (£21.58), which is a great deal.
For anyone in your party who wants to skip the festive bird, there’s the option of steak instead. Christmas dinner is served between 12 noon and 2am.
Festive Village at Atlantis The Palm
Atlantis The Palm is going all out for Christmas, as Poseidon’s Court opposite the Ambassador Lagoon is turned into a winter wonderland. As well as gingerbread houses, plenty of mince pies and Christmas cake to enjoy, there will be a number of activities to get involved in.
The kids will love having glitter tattoos to give an extra sparkle to their festive outfits and they are bound to be fascinated by the river of chocolate that flows through the attraction. The whole experience will be topped off by a chance to meet Santa Claus, before dining at one of the hotel’s world-class restaurants, where various Christmassy options are being served.
Al Mansour Dhow at Radisson Blu Hotel
Instead of trying to recreate Christmas exactly as it is back home, embrace the fact you’re in Dubai and opt for a special excursion. The Al Mansour Dhow is operated by the Radisson Blu Hotel, but sets sail along the creek with all of its beautiful lights twinkling.
The two-hour voyage aboard the traditional vessel will take you past some of the emirate’s most iconic landmarks. The highlight of your trip, however, will be the meal, which is set out as an impressive buffet. As it’s Christmas, the dishes on offer include roast meats, as well as delicious sides and sumptuous desserts.
Accents at the InterContinental Dubai Marina
The restaurant at the InterContinental Dubai Marina has gained a reputation for its fantastic Friday brunches. While it has mixed things up for Christmas, the standard remains the same and the modern décor and views over the marina are still unparalleled.
Families can enjoy a four-course sharing menu, with everything from the traditional turkey to more exotic oysters featuring among the dishes. It’s not just the food that is expected to delight, either, as a visit from Father Christmas and a seasonal choir will also help diners to get into the spirit.
Ewaan at the Palace Downtown Dubai
Think fusion in Dubai and Ewaan the The Palace Downtown Dubai often comes to mind, but as well as its mixture of Arabic and Oriental specialities, it is adding in some traditional Christmas flavours you may recognise. These include a turkey dinner, warming pastries and pies, but also a visit from Santa Claus and the opportunity to make some gingerbread yourself.
All of this will be accompanied by a live band and guests can opt to sit outside while they eat in a subtle remember that they’re somewhere altogether warmer than Britain this festive season.
La Farine, Festive Market at the JW Marriott Marquis
Situated within the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road, La Farine is a café and bakery well-known for its freshly baked bread and other French delicacies. It’s not a surprise that that its Christmas offering has a giant gingerbread house at its core.
Some 600 kilograms of flour, 150 kilograms of sugar and 60 kilograms of spices were used to create the centrepiece, which is quite a spectacle to behold. If that isn’t enough to get you into the Christmas spirit, then the festive market, featuring a roast chestnut cart and hot chocolate van certainly will!
Pick your place and celebrate Christmas in Dubai, you can't go wrong!
So whatever you decide to do to celebrate Christmas in Dubai, it's safe to say that you have plenty of options. This may even make it all the harder to decide, as they all sound like a lot of fun for the whole family.