United Arab Emirates

🎨 Art Spaces & Galleries

AYA doesn’t exist within our known universe.

It is a sanctuary, hidden beyond the far side of the stars, built to commune with the natural beauty of a mysterious cosmos. Now a gateway has opened, transporting us there to wander and wonder through the vibrant worlds enfolded within its chambers.

Travelers will play, drift, and dream as they command observatories full of stars, roam gardens blooming light, and traverse rivers that bridge the infinite. While the true nature of these chambers may never be known, spectacles will blossom, mysteries unfold, and dazzling powers unlock for visitors that stop to smell the roses.

🚣 Rivers & Lakes
Abra Creek Crossing

The bustling Dubai Creek has been the lifeblood of locals for generations, as the favoured site for early settlers and where the city's first port and pearling industry thrived. Today, it is still a lively spot, continuing to attract visitors year-round. For just AED 1 (US $0.27), you can hop aboard one of many traditional ferry boats, known as abras, to cross the creek that separates Bur Dubai from Deira, Dubai's city centre; the journey is one of the most affordable yet authentic experiences in the city. 

An abra, which means "to cross" in Arabic, runs every few minutes throughout the day between four stations along Dubai Creek. The first route goes from Deira Old Souk Abra Station (near the Spice Souk) to Bur Dubai Abra Station (west of the Textile Souk). The second, much busier route, runs continuously from Al Sabkha Abra Station (just southwest of Beniyas Square) to Dubai Old Souk Abra Station.

Photo by A.Savin

🍽️ Restaurants

Located on the 51st floor of the St Regis hotel, the restaurant offers unobstructed, 360-degree panoramic views of the iconic Palm Jumeirah coastline, the Arabian Gulf, Ain Dubai, and the Dubai skyline. Two elevators whisk patrons 230 meters up, unveiling a celebrated destination in the clouds; the highest restaurant on Palm Island.

The striking interior is framed by an expansive 3D-printed ceiling installation – intricate woodwork inspired by Japanese and Brazilian weaving traditions. Warm, deliberate lighting illuminates this masterpiece, while taking care to spotlight the cuisine and limit reflections across the immaculate skyline. At the heart of the dining room sits a theatre-style open kitchen showcasing an energetic robata grill and sushi bar. 

🍽️ Restaurants
Arabian Tea House

Welcome to Arabian Tea House Restaurant

A journey into Dubai’s past could well begin through the door of a quaint tea house in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, once known as Al Bastakiya. As you step into the Arabian Tea House (although old-timers would still prefer to call it the Basta Art Café), you are transported into the old times, authentic style with turquoise benches, white rattan chairs, lace curtains, and beautiful flowers,  enjoying your cup of gahwa (traditional Arabic coffee) in the shade of an old tree and the languid air swoons around you, dreamlike, as if it were always afternoon.

☕️ Cafés
Café - XVA Hotel

In the time since XVA Cafe has been open it has been hailed as ‘Dubai’s best kept secret’. The café serves freshly-prepared vegetarian and vegan food including a variety of main courses accompanied by salads, soups and desserts. Our chefs strive to constantly innovate their culinary vision through different cultures appealing to all pallets.
We welcome you to enjoy a refreshing mint lemonade in our green and cozy courtyard, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

XVA cafe is open daily from 7 am to 10 pm.

Shops & Shopping Centers
Souk Madinat Jumeirah

The perfect encapsulation of old and new, Souk Madinat Jumeirah is a clever shopping and dining destination next to the iconic Burj Al Arab. Offering a wonderfully modern take on an old Arabian town, it’s all about the electric atmosphere, incredible scents and the mix of bars, restaurants and coffee shops that run alongside the palm-fringed canals.

Shops & Shopping Centers, 🍽️ Restaurants, ☕️ Cafés
Al Seef

Sample flavours from around the world. From Arabic to American, Indian to Emirati, a vast array of foodie options is available at Al Seef, a waterside lifestyle destination on the shores of Dubai's historic creek.

Photo by Sahil ibn Sarafudeen on Unsplash

🛍️ Markets
Spice souk

Dubai''s Spice Souk is a colourful, aromatic and sensory experience. Discover new flavours and recipes as you explore the traditional spice market in Dubai's heritage area.

Savour the atmosphere of the past as you are introduced to the mounds of aromatic herbs and spices, all spilling from large baskets at every turn. Spices are sold both by weight and in packets. Like other souks, you can save money when you buy in bulk quantities - and vendors expect you to haggle.

Photo by Arjun Radeesh on Unsplash

🎨 Art Spaces & Galleries
Foundry Downtown Dubai

Foundry is a hybrid progressive art space founded as a response to the evolving cultural scene in the UAE . It is a new cycle of creative attitude consisting of a collaborative open work space, podcast studio, micro library, café and surrounding gallery spaces. Foundry’s innovative environment is a space for possibility and provides Dubai’s community, and the global art scene, the opportunity to thrive, connect, communicate and exhibit.

The space offers a comprehensive program of exhibitions, commissions, workshops, talks and film screenings, and brings a broad range of contemporary art and a cultural programme to the communities of Dubai, the UAE and the wider region.