WHEN it comes to relaxing, we’re all different. Some of us like to chill by the pool, maybe do a spot of yoga, while others unwind by being active and super sporty. However you like to relax, Dubai has everything you need for a stress-busting holiday: from blissful hotels and beaches to brilliant outdoor activities – all accompanied by glorious sunshine.
Fancy a new challenge? The calm waters of Palm Jumeirah are ideal for beginners to find their feet on a SUP (stand-up paddleboard). Ignite Water Sports provides equipment and tuition – plus you can soak up the views while you learn. Or take it up a level with a SUP yoga session on the water at Kitesurf School Dubai. Want something even harder? Try a SUP fitness class at Drift, an intense on-board HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout in one of Dubai’s most Instagrammable pools.
Runners will love the 7km soft-surface seaside track along Jumeirah Beach, not to mention the 9km loop through the skyscrapers and harbours of Dubai Marina. Or go that extra mile and join the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, usually held in January. Two-wheeled fitness fans can tackle the 86km desert cycling track in Al Qudra, or Nad Al Sheba’s less extreme 4km, 6km and 8km loops around a converted camel race track. You can also bounce away the stress on trampolines, parkour and ninja courses at Bounce-X, a freestyle terrain park that’s basically a grown-up adventure playground. And keep an eye out for Dubai’s calendar of sporty events, which includes the Dubai 30×30 Fitness Challenge that takes place every November with more than 2,000 free classes and sessions at 150 locations across the city.
Question of balance
If you find the usual downward dog a bit boring, Core Direction takes yoga to new heights with early morning classes at the top of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa. Or practise your fish pose with morning yoga classes at The Lost Chambers Aquarium at Atlantis, The Palm, as 65,000 exotic marine creatures glide by. Or join one of Yoga House’s weekend retreats, where you can soak up the desert serenity as you meditate, stargaze and camp overnight to experience sunrise yoga.
For those who like to be pampered into a state of bliss, Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray cocoons you in warmth and luxury with its traditional Turkish hammam, where you’ll be soaked, scrubbed and cleansed in a centuries-old ritual. While beachside Rayya Wellness offers detox programmes from three days and up, including consultations with a wellness coach and naturopathic doctor, a cleansing diet plan and a personalised programme of daily wellness activities. All featuring well-considered safety and hygiene measures.
For a relaxing escape in the dunes within easy reach of the city, head to Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa, where you can ride fatbikes through the soft sands before soaking tired muscles in the desert infinity pool. Beachfront resort Fairmont The Palm offers intense fitness classes such as Prama by Pavigym performed on an interactive floor with LED lights and music (imagine an oversized Dance Dance Revolution machine). Or for the ultimate wake-up call, you can fight against liquid resistance on an Aquaspin bike submerged in water. Have a well-earned splurge at Jumeirah Al Naseem – with its beachside location and great restaurants, it has adult-only rooms and pools for a soothing stay.
Immerse yourself in nature, watching the migratory birds and wildlife at Ras Al Khor, an impressive inner-city wetlands created in partnership with the WWF. The network of salt flats and mangrove lagoons attract everything from ospreys to over 500 bright pink flamingos. Or kayak the serene waters of Hatta Dam, high up in the Hajar Mountains. Just you, clear water, the dramatic mountainscape … and a holiday you'll never forget.
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