Inevitably, a new year brings with it the promise of a new start. New resolutions follow, many of which are broken almost as soon as they are made.
But with the month-long Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) beginning today, there’s a month of opportunities to make things work. Over nearly two decades, the event has morphed from a retail promotion into a lifestyle and entertainment extravaganza that aims to showcase the emirate at its best, and in doing so, improve the lives of its residents.
Without further ado, we list a few ways you can put this festival of deals and discounts to work for you.
Yvette Enriquez, Assistant Spa and Recreation Manager, The Spa at The Address Dubai Marina, says spas such as hers encourage residents to fulfil their new resolutions by living a more balanced, healthier lifestyle. In conjunction with DSF, she has several detox promotions on the menu for January, including a marine algae wrap that promises to cocoon, decongest and revitalise — all for Dh480. At the Radisson Hotel Dubai Media City, a two-hour soak, scrub and massage treatment is priced Dh490.
January is also the perfect time to kick off a new fitness regime. Several new gyms aim to open their doors over the next few weeks, bringing new concepts and ideas to the emirate, and existing hotels have special deals on annual health-club memberships. At The Address Dubai Marina, this costs Dh2,600 and includes limited personal training sessions.
One DSF highlight is the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, held this year on January 25. Even finishing the three-kilometre Fun Run guarantees bragging rights.
Or simply head to the weight-loss show, which takes place at the Dubai International Marine Club on February 1 and 2. Inspirational talks, free workout classes and new products will all be displayed at the event.
There’s no time like a month of sales to kick that wardrobe upgrade into action. Shabnam Hashir, Senior Brand Manager at bebe, says that DSF is a great time to shop because most retailers are on sale and offer some fabulous bargains. “So a wardrobe that would normally cost Dh10,000 to Dh15,000, would cost only half the price during DSF. Need a better reason to shop?” she asks.
Sure, some sale items are last season’s designs, but one secret fashion insiders keep to themselves is that trends can often last two or three seasons. Snake prints will continue to be everywhere in spring, for example, as will bejewelled shoes. Plus, classics and basic separates never go out of style. Shop carefully and your new wardrobe can last well into the year.
How many years have you lived in the UAE and promised to get to grips with the Arabic language and culture? Now’s your chance. Download a free basic Arabic course from Eton Institute’s website. If that’s simply too much work, head to the promenade in Dubai Festival City, where a Bedouin lifestyle camp provides an authentic look-see into how the region’s nomads, from Yemen, Algeria and Morocco to the UAE, lived.
If you already know some Arabic, you’ll be delighted that the famous Rahbani family is bringing its latest production to Dubai. A Ard El Ghajar or On the Land of the Gypsies is a musical that is staged in two acts that has won rave reviews across the region. Shows run from January 10 to 12 at the Burj Park in Downtown Dubai. Company President and CEO Marwan Rahbani says: “Dubai is constantly engaged in fostering better understanding between cultures and DSF plays a stellar role in showcasing Dubai’s multicultural dimensions across the world. Being involved in DSF gives us an opportunity to showcase the scope of our work to visitors from different cultural backgrounds.”
The city with perhaps the most world records to its name — surely that’s a record in itself? — will cross another milestone this month. More than 2,000 chefs will gather at Meydan tomorrow to cook up a new record. If you’re a cook or a chef at any hotel, catering company, private house or restaurant, put on your chef’s whites and head to the venue at 2pm tomorrow.
Never mind if you’ve never won anything in your life before, winning’s never been so easy. Typically, DSF holds raffle draws for cars and gold, many of which you enter simply by spending up to Dh300 at participating malls. At Mercato mall, for example, shopping worth Dh200 lets you enter a raffle to win a 2013 Toyota RAV4 — a car that isn’t even on the roads yet! Talk about an instant life upgrade.