Monday March 4th, 2024
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A Lovebirds' Guide to a Different Kind of Valentine’s Day in Dubai

From perfume making to jumping off a plane, this roundup of activities will help you change it up this romance season.

Layan Adham Ismail

A Lovebirds' Guide to a Different Kind of Valentine’s Day in Dubai

When we think of Valentine’s Day, the mental image of a rose-petal-covered, gourmet-spread-inclusive lavish affair at any of Dubai’s world-class luxury hotels is pretty much the standard. If it doesn’t have chocolate-covered strawberries, red (always red) teddy bears and a heels-and-full-freaking-glam requirement, then it’s not being done right. Right? Wrong!

As mouthwatering as a sumptuous candlelight dinner with one’s paramour sounds, this year, some lovebirds are doing away with the opulence of Valentine’s past and, instead, are opting for something a little more outside the (Tiffany) box. So, for your consideration, here’s our “unconventional yet special” roundup for Valentine’s Day in Dubai.

1. Hot Air Balloon Ride with Ithara.ae

Why spend your romantic getaway on land when you can (kinda) defy gravity instead?  

Grab your boo, hop into a hot air balloon and escape the draining world (and your collective exes) below. As you soar across the sky, bask in the calming sight of camels, sand dunes and, since this ride starts at dawn, the vibrantly coloured sky.  

And while you’re at it, indulge in a delectable breakfast in the clouds as you watch you S.O. squeal in delight because the package also comes with an oh-so-romantic flower bouquet and a gourmet chocolate box. 

Location: Margham Dubai

Time: Dawn Price: AED 2,499

Booking: www.ithara.ae

2. Oo La Lab’s Fragrance Design and Mixology Session

I would easily bet the laptop I’m currently typing on that you’ve been given perfume as a present at least once in your lifetime. I’m pretty sure if the Family Feud question was about “most common gifts'', one of the top answers would have been: perfume. And probably “regifted salad bowls”. 

This gift-giving season, I implore you to add a little spice to what is rapidly becoming a cliché (or classic, depending on the age of your soul) gift, and maybe become the maker of your own scent. 

Crowd-favourite Oo La Lab is hosting a multi-sensory perfumery couples workshop, fittingly dubbed ‘Chemistry of Oo’, which includes their limited edition ‘Love Palette’ - a collection of ingredients “selected to tease out our passionate side”. I don’t know what that means but it sounds insanely intimate. 

There, you and your partner can create your own personalised scents, so that if he swears nothing’s going on with Karen from Accounting, but when you meet her, she smells like leather and moss, you’ll know exactly what went down. 

Location: Alserkal Avenue

Time: Several Slots Available 

Price: AED 600

Booking: www.oola-lab.com

3. Beachside Cinema Experience at Centara Mirage Beach Resort 

Okay, there’s nothing wrong with pampering yourself a little. And for this one, you may need to loosen the purse strings because it’s an exclusive experience that only guests staying at Centara Mirage Beach Resort can enjoy. 

Treat yourself and your lobster (if you didn’t get this Friends reference, I’m officially too old) to a lavish hotel stay. Then, as the sun begins to set, head on over to the beachside plush seating area for a breezy cinematic experience against the backdrop of the twinkling Dubai skyline. 

You may even want to bring the children (inner ones, as well) because the movies on offer are two timeless romantic classics: Tangled, followed by Beauty and the Beast.

Location: Dubai Islands

Time: Tangled at 6 PM / Beauty and the Beast at 9 PM

Price: Complimentary for Guests

Booking: www.centarahotelsresorts.com

4. Candlelight Concert Valentine’s Special 

This one’s for the wistful nostalgics among us, those who equate romance with two classic and ageless elements: music and candles.  At Candlelight Concert, the celebrated series that transforms breathtaking venues into decadent performance spaces, you and your suitor can enjoy some live classical music, while the light of hundreds of candles bathes you in a soft orange glow. If you need to sigh, I’ll give you a minute. 

Adding more oomph to an already swoon-worthy experience, Candlelight Concert Valentine’s Special string quartet, The Strings, will serenade a sea of couples with their classical takes on contemporary love songs from Moulin Rouge, The Lion King, Cinema Paradiso, La La Land, and more. 

So, if you’ve ever watched Bridgerton and melted at the sight of Kate and Anthony swaying to a classical rendition of Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball, you’d better take out your credit card because it’s selling out fast. 

Location: Royal Lawn, Raffles The Palm

Time: 6:30 PM and 9:30 PM

Price: AED 200 upwards

Booking: www.feverup.com

5. Fishing Kayaking Tour with SeaYou

Something about waves gently lapping against a kayak as it slowly crosses a serene body of water just sends the butterflies in my stomach into a frenzy. Now, imagine all of that taking place in stunning Palm Jumeirah.

Dubai’s SeaYou Watersports will let you book a two-person kayak and paddle away with your most recent flame, stopping right under Crescent Road Bridge, where you can lay back, breathe in the fresh air and, maybe even reel in a fish.  

Location: Palm Jumeirah 

Time: Several Slots Available 

Price: AED 300

Booking: www.seayou.ae

6. Tandem Skydiving with Skydive Dubai

Take High School Musical’s famed lyric “we’re soaring, flying” to a whole new level this Valentine’s Day by jumping off a plane and professing your love to your two-month fling, as you descend down towards the iconic Palm Jumeirah Island. 

And to immortalise this adrenaline-infused moment, which will include views of the World Islands, Ain Dubai and Burj Al Arab, Skydive Dubai will send you pictures and a video of your adventure, so your friends can make fun of your banshee-like screaming later. 

Location: Palm Jumeirah 

Time: Several Slots Available 

Price: AED 1,799 upwards

Booking: www.skydivedubai.ae

7. Chocolatier Private Chocolate Workshop and Factory Tour with CoChocolat

Nothing says “I love you” or “we’ve been dating for two weeks but you seem cool” quite like chocolate. This year, you and your partner in crime (and sweets) should definitely put Valentine’s at Co Chocolate Factory, the first farm-to-table chocolate factory in the region, on your bucket list. 

Not only will you go on a guided tour (not like the one in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, don’t worry) and learn about the process of making delicious cocoa treats, but a chef will also help you make, mould and package your own chocolatey creation. 

Location: Seeds Castle Food Manufacturing, Warsan Third

Time: Several Slots Available 

Price: AED 719

Booking: www.ithara.ae

8. ARTfém’s “LOVE” Paint & Dine Workshop

Finally, for all the art and food lovers out there, ARTfém is fusing two of your favourite pastimes this romance season, offering lovebirds the chance to join its “LOVE” Paint & Dine Workshop. 

If you can’t even draw a circle right, don’t fret. With professional guidance, you’ll be able to create a masterpiece (or at least something not hideous) over the course of three hours of creativity, verdant surroundings, and palatable snacks. 

Location: Emirates Golf Club

Time: 7 - 10 PM

Price: AED 395

Booking: www.ithara.ae

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