11 Apr 2019
Asela Kumarasinghe, Concierge of Jumeirah Al Qasr, Dubai lets us in on little-known independent and luxurious boutique restaurants, shops and spas in the city.
Any wander through Dubai quickly becomes a stroll through an exclusive fashion show, everywhere you look, you’ll find iconic brands. However, there’s much more to Dubai than big, international brands. For those in the know, Dubai is home to exquisite, exclusive boutiques, ranging from sleek concept fashion outlets to award-winning culinary schools.
Luckily, Asela at Jumierah Al Qasr is about as expert as you can be on Dubai’s stunning off-the-beaten-path things to do. Having lived in the capital for almost two decades, he has gotten to know some of Dubai’s best kept secrets, as well as some of the city’s premier attractions. We recently caught up with him for his advice on where to go in Dubai’s ever-changing scene, his favourite boutiques, and what you absolutely cannot miss while you’re in town. Here is his comprehensive guide on exclusive Dubai.
Shopping in Dubai
“When I look back to when I first arrived here, in 2000, this city has changed immensely,” the concierge tells us. “It first took me two years to get familiar with Dubai: it’s a city blessed with all kinds of global fashion brands, to the point where if you name any brand, you should be able to find it here. The store interiors are all done uniquely, while the service clients receive is second to none. Clients are made to feel like royalty,”
“In addition to big brand stores, Dubai has a wide variety of boutique options. You can find many little-known stores dotted around town: there’s F7 Design, located in the Design District; The Rack by Kachins on Al Wasal Road, Atelier Des Artistes in Box Park Dubai, and Vesimi on Jumeirah Beach Road, just to name a few.”
“However, my favourite shop would have to be the Cartel Showroom, located in Dubai’s Design District. The Showroom is a sleek concept store featuring unique apparel by emerging local and international designers. Other highlights are the Culinary Boutique located on Jumeirah Beach Road, which provides world-class training and facilities for those pursuing cookery. Or there’s the Assawan Spa at Burj al Arab Jumeirah, whose calming interior is strongly reminiscent of bathing pools and hammams throughout the ancient Middle East, but combined with modern amenities such as Jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms and infinity pools.
Dubai’s Top Things to Do
In addition to boutiques, Dubai has a range of attractions that our concierge has grown to know and love. “If there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss in Dubai, it’s Madinat Jumeirah. Madinat Jumeirah has one of the most unique looks in the entire UAE, a miniature city that resembles a waterfront Arabian citadel. It’s a perfect spot for a relaxing, outdoor coffee, overlooking Dubai’s very own version of Venice.”
“There’s also high tea at the Sky View Bar located on the 27th floor of Dubai’s iconic Burj al Arab Jumeirah, the incredible “dancing” fountain of Dubai mall, the unique experience of skiing in the desert at Ski Dubai, Dubai’s breathtaking new monument, Dubai Frame, the fairytale Miracle Gardens, and the historic Bastakiya quarter, where you can indulge in local culture and traditional breakfast or lunch.”
Jumeirah has beautiful locations all over Dubai’s city centre and glamorous beach. Stay at Jumeirah Al Qasr to be at the heart of the Madinat action.