Ibn Al Bahr Dubai

Ibn Al Bahr is a traditional Lebanese seafood restaurant at Club Vista Mare in the upscale Palm Jumeirah area of Dubai. It is known as the local hotspot for a fancy meal that doesn’t lose its marine authenticity.

The decor is reminiscent of a fisherman’s boat, with blue and white being the main colors including decorative elements made of rope. It happened by coincidence that I was dressed to match the theme!

Prepare your appetite because you wouldn’t want to miss a bite out of the dishes ranging from traditional cold fresh salads like tabboule and fattouch, to mezza (appetizers) such as hommos and fish tajin. read more

Brambles Dubai

Brambles is a bohemian inspired cafe in Barsha Heights Dubai that serves fresh wholesome items in a perfectly dainty atmosphere.

The details are what make the cafe unique, from the green elements adding an environmental touch bringing the outdoors in, to the faded pink that is integrated in the furniture and the tableware.

I am following a diet and eating out is sometimes a challenge, which is why I gravitated towards Brambles because it serves healthy and vegan options. I was very mindful of what I ordered, and decided to balance my food intake between trying new items while being aware of the quantity. The menu is wide and it’s quite a conundrum to decide what to order. That being said, you can’t go wrong with a guilt-free avocado pizza that has a rich vegetable based topping, including delicious cilantro. You can add an egg or chicken if you want a non-vegan option. Make sure to add appetizing salads to your table, a smart way to keep the calorie count low and the tummy full. read more

Jumeirah Creekside Hotel

Jumeirah Group sets the bar high in the hospitality sector and gives luxury travel a new meaning. I had previously stayed at Jumeirah Emirates Towers (click here to read about my experience) and was excited to discover another property, Jumeirah Creekside Hotel. Even after the perfection that was JET, I was confident that I would find something fresh this time around, with the architecturally intriguing Creekside structure that boasts a location that is close to DXB airport and multiple attractions. read more

Jumeirah Emirates Towers Dubai

Jumeirah is a name that is synonymous with luxury and lifestyle. I am no stranger to the Jumierah Emirates Towers, as I have previously attended a Christie’s auction launch with watches from the SIHH and private viewing of jewelry from the world’s most coveted collections. The hotel, although located on Sheikh Zayed road, feels isolated and peaceful. This is due to the grand and sweeping entrance that makes the property private and exclusive. During my stay and each time I headed out, attentive doormen would call a taxi on my behalf, making transportation easy and efficient. The lobby, other than being architecturally beautiful, is a calm place that allowed me to catch up on my daily business and correspondence. read more

Andes Dubai

One evening in May I cabbed my way from Sheikh Zayed Road to a building complex dubbed the World Trade Center. As the taxi dropped me off at the entrance of the private area, I walked past restaurants, a mall and a hotel until I reached a magnificent series of buildings lit up in contrast to the dark sky.

Andes is nestled in this Trade Center area, amidst the trees and beautiful modern architecture, and thus I entered.

The space is cozy in size, nothing too imposing that would leave a foodie feeling overpowered, with the exception of high ceilings and impressive decor inspired by what I can only assume is a citizen of the world. This mix of eclectic and quaint describes both the menu items and the ambiance. read more

Dubai Outlet Mall

I remember visiting the Dubai Outlet Mall almost a decade ago, and being a shopaholic myself, found the deals to be a dream come true. From designer items to athletic gear, one could spend an entire day rummaging through the aisles of the multi-brand mall. I recently dropped by to take a look at some new deals at the mall and was pleasantly surprised with an even more extended portfolio of brands all under one roof.

First I passed by Dynamic Sports outlet that hosts top notch athletic brands and gear where one can find a wide array of footwear, apparel and accessories. The central feature of this shop is the new addition of bicycles for those who wish to practice this sports with quality equipment at a good price. read more

Six Senses Spa Dubai

One cannot possibly think of world class spas without Six Senses coming to mind instantly. This renowned luxury spa is located in the most exotic destinations and offers an experience that truly transports you to nirvana. I had the pleasure of disconnecting one afternoon at the Six Senses Spa Dubai located in the ultra chic and modern Renaissance Hotel Downtown. I was greeted in a gentle manner that made me forget my entire stress and work overload, and handed a form to fill out. The form was by no means generic, although some questions were standard; however they delved deeper into the needs of each massage recipient in terms of anxiety, panic, and otherwise, so that the staff would be aware of the needed outcome of each individual service.  read more

Towers Rotana Dubai

Towers Rotana stands tall on Dubai’s prominent Sheikh Zayed Road and boasts a number of advantages due to this prime location. It is a 1 minute walk to the metro station (red line) that takes you pretty much anywhere you need to go, and if you prefer to cab the route, numerous taxis pass by the hotel every few seconds to take you to your destination. Around it and in walking distance everything you need in the city is there, grocery store, pharmacy and more essentials, including many local hotspots and cafes. This means that you are well surrounded by all that Dubai has to offer and will not have a second to spare from all this fun! read more

The Fish House Intercontinental Dubai

Dubai Festival City has been dubbed a self sufficient “city within a city” and includes residential, business and entertainment developments gravitating towards the waterfront. The Intercontinental in Dubai Festival City stands firm facing the water and boasts a spectacular view of the bay as well as the newly opened seafood restaurant, The Fish House.

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Access to the restaurant is from the main lobby as well as from the promenade. I chose to experience the full hustle and bustle of the hotel and upon descending to enter The Fish House, I was led by the decorative bronze fish on the wall down the ramp to reach the indoor seating area. The color scheme is a soothing blue and white, reminiscent of Provincial France with a touch of modernity. The bay windows and doors across the floor welcome light to fill the space as well as make way to the terrace facing the iconic Ferris wheel.

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I had a glance at the menu, and the friendly and knowledgeable waitress explained to me that I can either have their signature dishes or personalize my own fish. I chose the latter and was lead to the display of fresh fish (catch of the day) where I chose mine, with the weight I pleased along with the mode of cooking, sauces and sides.

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As I was seated outside enjoying the calm ambiance, the resident mixologist approached me to discuss my drink options. Soon I realized how skilled he was by analyzing and pairing my drink based on my choice of fish, how fatty or not it was, and its first bite and aftertaste all contributed to his recommendation of the gin based cocktail “The Botanist”. He made sure I had a taste to give him my approval, as well as another visit to check if the fruity yet citrusy drink was a success with my choice of spicy side dishes.

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I opted to forego the appetizers to leave my full appetite to the main course, but I was offered this delicious plate of traditional Baba Ghannouj with fried fish while my order was being prepared.

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I’m a sucker for spices and strong flavors, so both sauces I chose were very spicy, but I experimented with the sides and ordered the harissa and Spring onion potato salad. It is relatively sweet in flavor due to the marination, the eggs compliment it and the onions add a bold crunch to the mix. The result is smooth on the palate.

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The “Salsa” sauce with mango, jalapeno, green onion and tomatillo is an explosion of contrasting flavors. Is it sweet? Is it tangy? Is it spicy? Each bite combines the three and the result is a delicacy whether eaten alone or with the fish.

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The saffron rice with almonds and orange peel is a more sober choice for a side dish, but is nowhere near boring. The very visible orange peel add a twist to the familiar fish pairing, and due to its subdued nature, it goes very well with the sauces I chose.

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The “Harra” sauce with tomato, coriander and peppers is an obvious choice for my spicy food preference, and is more consistent in its chili than the sauce with the mango, the latter being an explosion of flavors, thus rendering the former a key ingredient to the fish experience.

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Hammour fish grilled to perfection, crispy on the outside and oh so tender. Never have I tasted a fish so skillfully prepared and juicy, I was at a complete loss as to whether I should eat it alone or with the side dishes. In fact I did both in rotation, I kid you not. One bite solo, one with each of the sides, that’s how delicious this expert dish was.

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As much of a sweet tooth I have, I was unable to fathom having any extra bite to eat, yet I was kindly offered this Caramelized Pineapple Ravioli, a specialty of the restaurant. I couldn’t refuse and I’m glad I didn’t, because the sweet pineapple and caramel was just what I needed after a hefty meal full of rich herbs and flavors.

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The Fish House is without a doubt redefining the entire seafood experience as we know it. Long gone are the days of simple and straightforward fish based meals, be prepared for a feast for the senses, indulge in their signature dishes or customize your own according to your liking. I can say with confidence, that I have never had a meal that centered around fish that was this perfected, from the stunning decor, the welcoming staff, the adept mixologist, the chef, the breathtaking view and laid back ambiance.

The Fish House Intercontinental Dubai Festival City is now on my must visit list each time I go to Dubai, and I wholeheartedly recommend you do not miss out. You can thank me later!

Visit the website for more information: The Fish House Dubai

Contact: +971 (04) 701 1127      thefishhouse.dubai@ihg.com

Instagram @thefishhousedubai

Facebook @thefishhousedubai

 

 

 

 

Manzil Downtown Dubai

In a world full of standardized hotels and themes, stands one who stays true to the Oriental setting it is in and spreads the renowned Middle Eastern hospitality to international guests.

I had heard a lot about Manzil being the home away from home, and wanted to experience first hand what that meant. Being a solo traveler in a not so far away country, I didn’t expect to miss home this much, and I hadn’t realized it until I arrived and it hit me. I crave the familiarity of my country in my surroundings, and I was in awe of how Manzil brought the Arab culture closer to the rest of the world.

The entrance of Manzil is breathtaking in its simplicity. Men in traditional costume greeted me once I arrived, as I was led to the main lobby. The vertical elements of the chandelier mirror the many single flowered vases and create continuity. All throughout the hotel, there is the recurring pattern of the arabesque floral element, straight out of the architectural window that is called a “mandaloun”.

Manzil Dubai Entrance

As I was heading to the check in counter, I crossed the seated area which perfectly enhanced the welcoming experience. The decor is consistently brown and beige with a pop of orange, thus leaning towards the warm shades which automatically drew me in and made me feel at ease. This space is well lit during the evening as well, and the calm ambiance and privacy makes it a prime location to host a business meeting during your stay.

Manzil Dubai Lobby

The elevator operates by using an access card to reach the designated floor, thus adding a sense of security to the experience. Continuing my journey from the elevator and into my room, I noticed a unified theme running through, which is bringing the Orient to the Occident. The screens and every single item from the menu to the bathrobe conveys an Arabic word and translates it into simple English. Words such as: Hello, Family, Welcome, and “Naiman” the after bath greeting.

Manzil Dubai Concept

Manzil Dubai TV

Manzil Dubai Business

My in room welcome was a delicious one, a mix of delicately made cakes, macaron and baklava. I was taken aback as I received a phone call after my shower, and soon after opened my door to this tasty treat!

Manzil Dubai Welcome

My room was in tune with the hotel’s decor but a tad cooler in terms of color scheme, minimalist, white and gray, with Arabic calligraphy as wall art. As soon as I laid eyes on the interior, I knew that I would have a hard time leaving this nest. The view from the window of Burj Khalifa is as iconic as it gets, the vanity and desk area for preparing tea and coffee is roomy, and the couch is ideal for my morning planning and nightly correspondence.

Manzil Dubai Luxury

The windows start from the ground up, thus giving the guest the feeling of being outside while staying in the room. It is a magical spot at sunrise as well as at night when you can see the shiny lights of the downtown area of Dubai.

Manzil Dubai View

Manzil Dubai Room

The spacious bathroom has it all, including private doors for the toilet and the shower. The sleek design of the mirror and bathtub add a soothing modernity to the overall ambiance.

Manzil Dubai Mirror

Manzil Dubai Bath

Every corner in the room is functional and well lit, including a large closet space, all fitting to the contemporary Arabesque style.

Manzil Dubai Desk

Manzil Dubai Amenities

As I stepped outside the mezzanine floor, I found myself surrounded with architecture, the kind that balances the old and new. On one hand there is the hotel, peaking inwards to the courtyard, seeming to blend with the yellow stone buildings. In the farther plane there are the towers, reflecting the majestic city, the entire scene looking picturesque with the palm tree leaves hanging low to give shade to the area.

Manzil Dubai Architecture

Crowning this environment is the pool, nestled within the busy hotel yet so peaceful. The perfect place to swim, tan, or even relax on the loungers in the shade while sipping on a cocktail from the bar. The water is tepid and relaxing, hours are guaranteed to pass by in no time.

Manzil Dubai Pool

The hotel restaurant at the ground floor is Boulevard, an all encompassing Levantine menu, categorized into specialties from each of the area’s countries. For lunch, I had the Indian inspired spicy Butter Chicken with an Aperol Spritz, and for dinner a light and tasty Quinoa Salad with an Old Fashioned. Throughout the day the courtyard is buzzing with hotel guests, chitchatting over shishas and laughing the night away, I didn’t feel the need to leave the premises, as the ambiance was lively and the service was perfection.

Manzil Dubai Cuisine

Manzil Dubai Restaurant

Manzil Dubai Food

Manzil Dubai Dinner

The breakfast is situated at the same level but spreads into the internal area as well as the dining space that faces one of the main roads. The variety ranges from continental to local and includes many brunch items guaranteed to satisfy your palate and hunger. Coffee is served in a traditional pot, with a strong taste to fuel your day.

Manzil Dubai Breakfast

Manzil Dubai Bar

Manzil Dubai Kitchen

Manzil Dubai Omelette

I knew I’d have withdrawal symptoms leaving this welcoming hotel, I truly felt comfortable, relaxed, within familiar settings. The luxury wasn’t overpowering and imposing, but more nurturing and made me feel at ease.

After my first hand experience, I must say that Manzil is my home away from home. The staff from the valet to the reception is friendly and eager to explain and show guests around, the food is impeccable, the room is anything one can ask for in terms of cleanliness and comfort. The location in Downtown Dubai reduces the need to use public transport or to rent a car as long as your trips are within the area. It is a few steps from Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall, the Dubai Opera and the fountain to name a few. The surrounding area is alive with restaurants, and the hotel is truly central. I will definitely be heading back sometime soon, and I recommend you consider it for your next visit to Dubai!

Manzil Downtown Instagram handle is @manzildowntown and #manzildowntown for image search.

Reservations on this link: Manzil Downtown

Manzil Downtown
Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard
The Old Town, Downtown Dubai
PO Box 114822, Dubai
United Arab Emirates

Tel: +971 4 428 5888
Fax: +971 4 428 5999