Drake’s love for Dubai is no secret. In fact, the Toronto native, who has visited the city twice, has been quite vocal about his admiration by way of Instagram photos and lyrics, including a line in “Free Smoke”, from his latest album, More Life: “I want to move to Dubai, so I don’t never have to kick it with none of you guys.” We can’t blame him – with its never-ending skyline, year-round sunshine, and unrivaled shopping (largest shoe store in the world, anyone?), it’s hard not to fall for the Gulf city. Here, five ways to enjoy Dubai like the world’s biggest rapper.
Mingle with royals
Drake’s first visit to Dubai was during his Would You Like a Tour? world tour, and he developed a close friendship with HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed Almaktoum, the son of the ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Almaktoum. The friendship continued to blossom, and this past June the rapper posted a heartfelt birthday message for his royal friend. But you don’t have to be a famous rapper to rub shoulders with royalty. Dubai’s Sheikhs and Sheikhas love to eat out just like the rest of us – they have been frequently spotted at a number of Dubai’s trendy restaurants, including Nobu and Ají on The Palm, as well as award-winning restaurant and lounge Bazxar in DIFC. You’ll also spot them enjoying the races (horses and cars respectively) at the annual Dubai World Cup every March and Abu Dhabi’s Formula 1 in November (at which Drake performed this year.)
Enjoy the beaches
Dubai is a mecca for extreme water sports and activities. During his weeklong stay, the rapper partook in various water activities including flyboarding on JBR beach. If you’re looking to get your adrenaline pumping, take a cue from Drake and rent a jet ski or surfboard from Surf House Dubai. If you’re looking for something more laid-back, you can take in the Arabian Gulf waters while enjoying a seafood menu at Pierchic, a fine-dining restaurant situated at the end of a rustic, wooden jetty. Luxurious beach clubs are also a go-to during the warmer months. Nikki Beach, Zero Gravity, and Cove Beach overlooking the Burj al Arab are perfect daytime getaways for sunbathing by the beach while listening to catchy tunes by some of the biggest DJs in the city.
Savor the Marina skyline
Dotted with futuristic skyscrapers, including the twisted Cayan tower and the tallest residential building in the world (the Princess Tower, which has 101 floors,) the Marina skyline is one of the majestic views that the city has to offer. Jetty Lounge’s beach-front positioning allows guests to take in the iconic skyscrapers, and Bar 44 is an outdoor rooftop lounge with a 360-degree view of Dubai’s skyline. Or you can round up your closest friends and take in the high seas and Marina view by renting a private yacht. Those looking to really indulge can spend the night at the highest penthouse in the world, situated on the 90th floor of 23 Marina Tower – it has five bedrooms, a private gym, and pool spread over 3 500sqm, and a jaw-dropping view overlooking the Palm. All for AED 16 500 per night on Airbnb.
Immerse yourself with the wildlife
Rashed Saif Belhasa is the 14-year-old child of one of the UAE’s most powerful men, and plays host to nearly all of the celebrities who touch down in Dubai (including Khloe Kardashian, Lionel Messi, Nicki Minaj and Drake), inviting them to his home to feed the exotic wildlife on his family’s private farm. You can’t exactly bottle-feed lion cubs at whim, but you can swim with sharks at Dubai Mall’s Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, train penguins at Ski Dubai or go on an adventurous expedition at Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, which is home to more than 10 000 free-roaming animals.
Partake in the national pastime: brunch
Treat yourself to a Drake-approved pre-luncheon at seafood restaurant Catch in Abu Dhabi (you might just catch a glimpse of the rapper). The sky-high Weslodge Saloon, located on the 68th floor of the J.W. Marriot (the world’s tallest hotel) was brought into the Emirate from Drake’s hometown Toronto, and offers various après breakfast packages every Saturday. Miss Lily’s, originally from New York City, is a Caribbean hotspot with some of the best ska and reggae tunes in town and offers a Saturday brunch for those who couldn’t make it on Friday.