Dubai: New Year’s Eve revellers at Downtown Dubai will have the best views of the spectacular fireworks when ringing in 2019.
But it will cost them.
Whether it is to gain VVIP access to one of the hottest clubs in town or merely to have front-row seats to the action, partygoers will have to make an investment.
Following property developer Emaar’s confirmation that Burj Khalifa’s fireworks will be “bigger, better and brighter” than any year so far, the New Year’s Eve celebrations will certainly be a night to remember. The world’s tallest tower is set to greet 2019 with a fascinating display integrated with LED shows, laser displays and “spellbinding” fireworks.
The "never-before-seen" fireworks display this year will also be telecast live on televisions globally and beamed on big screens in Downtown Dubai.
Residents who want to avoid the crowd amidst the hundreds of thousands of people expected to show up can do so by reserving their own seat at restaurants ahead of time.
High prices are on the menu, but to what extent will their pockets feel the pinch?
If you’re looking for a seat on the waterfront promenade, the fast food chain Five Guys are offering customers an unlimited choice of burgers and hotdogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, fries, sodas and milkshakes all for the price of Dh1,500 per person. However, the slightly less expensive Dh1,200 option will seat visitors a bit further back on the outer terrace.
Canadian coffee shop Tim Hortons will offer a five-course meal that will set customers back by Dh2,000 if they want to sit next to the Dubai Fountain, Dh1,500 for the outdoor seating area or Dh1,000 for a seat inside the Dubai Mall.
The price to book a table at Downtown Dubai has remained relatively constant when compared to 2015. Three years ago, previous reports indicated that residents had to fork out Dh1,800 per person at IHOP (International House of Pancakes), Dh1,500 at Asian-themed US franchise P.F. Chang’s, and Dh1,800 at Texas Roadhouse.
Speaking to Gulf News, Tyrone Reid, chief executive officer at Al Abbar Enterprises, said: "We have reduced the price compared to last year for Social House and Karak House. Both restaurants have full Burj Khalifa views and we believe it will be as busy this year. This is the first New Year’s Eve for Gia [restaurant] in the Dubai Mall and it is looking extremely promising".
One of the most extravagant ways to ring in the new year could very well be Meydan’s WHITE Dubai party, which offers VVIP tables for Dh50,000 with direct views to the Burj Khalifa fireworks.
A VIP lounge will cost Dh40,000, while Dh5,000 will be charged for a small high table.
In 2016, Dubai was ranked the world’s most expensive city to celebrate New Year, according to a report by international currency exchange firm Travelex, with an average cost per person reaching Dh2,200.
Residents have more than their fair share of options on where to celebrate, ranging from the elegant and posh to family-friendly and casual dining experiences.
But not everybody agrees with the price tag.
“For a fast-food restaurant to charge Dh1,500 per person, this gives tourists visiting the city a [different] impression. Yes, Dubai has a luxurious side and initially this was the main allure for tourists from a certain income bracket. However, in more recent years, restaurants have begun catering for tourists on almost any budget,” said Melissa Ozkara, a Turkish expat who grew up in Australia.
“Hotels have more flexibility when charging high rates for New Year’s Eve. The hotels located directly around Burj Khalifa cater to a certain type of tourist who inevitably has net worth or income to match. It’s understandable they would be charging pricey rates for the big event,” she said.
Ozkara, who plans to spend her New Year’s Eve at a friend’s house on the Palm Jumeirah, pointed out that the celebrations would certainly have premium price tags attached to them, but suggested that a fairer pricing strategy would be more beneficial for the tourist industry.
Emilene Parry, a British expat, said that such prices might discourage tourists from booking a table and steer residents towards finding a cheaper flight to travel abroad.
“It is usual for prices to be hiked but I would not have expected them to be that high. I think more people would choose to celebrate at home or a friend’s house,” she said.
Dubai’s iconic seven-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab, will also host its widely acclaimed fireworks display to ring in the New Year, illuminating the hotel’s distinct architecture against the backdrop of the Arabian Sea.
Rockfish at Jumeirah Al Naseem, Madinat Jumeirah
New Year’s Eve revellers can enjoy a seafood dinner with live entertainment throughout the night, for Dh3,800 per person including an eight-course set menu and a free flow of selected beverages.
Alternatively, one of the best locations to watch the Burj Al Arab fireworks for free is from Kite Beach, a public beach adjacent to Burj Al Arab.