It’s the world’s most famous man-made island, a jaw-dropping creation that has to be seen to be believed – but Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah is much more than simply a sight to behold (Photo: Getty Images)

It’s the world’s most famous man-made island, a jaw-dropping creation that has to be seen to be believed – but with great shopping, dining, beaches and unique things to do, Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah is much more than simply a sight to behold. From sky-high cocktails and paddleboarding adventures, to decadent brunches and sumptuous spas, here’s how to spend an unforgettable 48 hours on the Palm.

Friday evening: the high life

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The fabulous St. Regis Dubai, The Palm occupies the first 18 floors of the cloud-grazing Palm Tower Dubai (Photo: Marriott Hotels International)

Once you’ve checked into your hotel, you’ll need to get your bearings on this remarkable neighbourhood – so where better than the 52nd floor of Palm Tower Dubai? Head up to The View at The Palm at sunset for a bird's-eye perspective on the trunk, fronds and outer crescent of the island, just as the city lights burst into life.

The St. Regis Dubai, The Palm actually occupies the first 18 floors of this cloud-grazing tower, and is also connected to Nakheel Mall – so you’ll enjoy exclusive access to luxury dining and shopping too. For Middle Eastern designers, check out DubaiWear, 963 Ayesha Depala and Jawhara Jewellery. The evening is prime time for shopping in Dubai, so this is a great chance for some people-watching and socialising too.

For supper, delve into the Japanese/Brazilian menu at SUSHISAMBA, featuring sizzling robata (Japanese-style charcoal cooking), freshly rolled sushi and succulent ​churrasco (Brazilian barbecue cooking). SUSHISAMBA's work-of-art cocktails include the SAMBA 126, a citrus-sweet blend of ​​gin, yuzu and Champagne foam – it's the perfect fuel if you're heading to Soho Garden Palm, the island’s biggest nightclub. With VIP booths and live DJs, it’ll keep you dancing till dawn. 

Saturday morning: skydives and spectacular swims

Start the weekend in style at AURA SKYPOOL Dubai, the world's highest 360° infinity pool. Up on the 50th floor, you can see Dubai’s entire skyline in full: from the glimmering spire of the Burj Khalifa and JBR’s forest of towers, to the yachts whizzing across the turquoise-blue Arabian Gulf. After a few spectacular laps, order a cold-brew coffee and Asian brunch bowl – loaded with poached egg, kimchi, avocado and more.

If you want to get even higher than the 50th floor, local adventure company Skydive Dubai operates from nearby Jumeirah Beach (on the mainland), and its divers whirl and loop right over The Palm. Tandem jumps start from 10am: it’s worth booking an early slot, as the sky can get hazy as the weather heats up.

Saturday afternoon: living it up

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Give yourself time to indulge in a leisurely poolside feast at W Dubai – The Palm (Photo: Marriott Hotels International)

On weekends, Dubai is all about brunch – UAE style – which starts at lunchtime, and features everything from top-quality steak and seafood, to free-flowing Champagne and caviar. There are brunches to suit every mood and taste – for a glitzy poolside feast look to W Dubai – The Palm, where brunch at the exclusive WET Deck pool club includes a range of cocktails, food, a live DJ and sun-kissed cabanas.

Alternatively, combine decadent dining with panoramic Dubai views at Luchador’s Mucha Lucha, a free-flowing feast of Mexican bites. Think tacos, ceviche, churros and more – plus options for bottomless margaritas and beers. Across the water, the towers of Media City and the Burj Al Arab glitter in the afternoon sun.

At The St. Regis Dubai, The Palm's Cordelia restaurant, the 'North 37 Degrees' brunch runs indulgently right across the Mediterranean from Europe to the Middle East, including a memorable range of specialty salt-baked creations.

Saturday evening: a glam night out

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Grab a table at Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah, Dubai's rooftop bar for stunning views and expertly mixed cocktails (Photo: Marriott Hotels International)

If you're in the mood to party after brunch, book a table at Above Eleven in Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah, Dubai: this rooftop bar serves cocktails and platters with a Japanese-Peruvian twist, while the Ain Dubai observation wheel illuminates the skyline beyond. Or head to Señor Pico, where the zingy Mexican cuisine complements party-starting cocktails like their signature take on the margarita, Pico's Pomelo, or jalapeño-infused Sandia Cooler.

Another option centres on the Palm Fountain – the world’s biggest water display – which bursts into life every thirty minutes from 6pm to midnight. With 3000 LEDs, jets reaching 105 metres high and a brilliant playlist, it’s an impressive backdrop for dinner and shopping at The Pointe mall. For a front-row view, head to the fountain-view terrace of A Capella, whose Saturday night offering includes shisha, sharing platters and live Bollywood music until 2am.

Sunday morning: hitting the waves

Sink into your sun lounger on Aloft Palm Jumeirah's private beach

Sink into your sun lounger on Aloft Palm Jumeirah's private beach (Photo: Marriott Hotels International)

Banish the cobwebs with a watersports adventure, which can be as calming or as invigorating as you like. How about stretching out in the sun on a SUP yoga session, gliding above the waves on an e-foil flight, or admiring the Palm’s millionaires' mansions on a kayaking trip? Ignite Watersports (bookable via your concierge) offers all of these activities and much more – plus ice baths, yoga and boot camp on the beach.

No’Shu Beach, the private stretch of sand at Aloft Palm Jumeirah, also has paddleboards and kayaks for hire, plus swan-shaped paddleboats that hold up to four people. In the latter, you’ll need to get those legs pumping, so fuel up on No’Shu’s beach menu: think spicy chicken wings, loaded nachos, and burgers with all the trimmings. 

Sunday afternoon: some well-deserved R&R

After a day spent exploring Palm Jumeirah, unwind with an indulgent pampering treatment at AWAY Spa

After a day spent exploring Palm Jumeirah, unwind with an indulgent pampering treatment at AWAY Spa (Photo: Marriott Hotels International)

After the morning's adventures, it's time for some pampering. This afternoon is all about relaxation, whether at the beach, the pool or the spa. There are no free public beaches on Palm Jumeirah, but if you’re staying at one of Marriott’s hotels you’ll enjoy unlimited access to both private white-sand beaches and sun-kissed swimming pools, with waiter service right to your sunlounger. 

Alternatively, unwind with deep-tissue massages and detoxing body wraps at Saray Spa, whose thermal suite also includes a hammam, sauna and steam room – the perfect afternoon retreat. Meanwhile, AWAY Spa offers pampering treatments galore, such as the Glow Up package: a four-and-a-half hour session that includes a candle-lit massage, prescription facial, mani/pedi and health-boosting lunch in its restaurant. You’ll leave feeling pampered and replenished.

Need to know: getting around on The Palm

Palm Jumeirah is around a one-hour drive from Dubai Airport, depending on traffic – and its closest neighbourhoods are Dubai Marina, Jumeirah and Media City. The Palm Jumeirah Monorail runs from Palm Gateway station (on the mainland) along the trunk to the crescent, with stops at Nakheel Mall and The Pointe. Metered taxis are plentiful, and it’s worth downloading ride-booking apps Uber and Careem.

Published: January 23, 2023

Article Tags:  Dubai , Palm Jumeirah , United Arab Emirates

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