Welcome to Dubai International Airport, or should we say, welcome to Dubai. If you’re one the 50 million passengers transiting through the airport, don’t worry about not being able to get to the middle of the action – you’re already in the heart of the city.
DXB is the gateway to the world for 90 million people and you can jump deep into Dubai without even stepping outside. As the hub has soared to become the world’s busiest international airport for five years running, the unrivalled experiences for passengers have grown alongside. From state-of-the-art smart gates to ultra-fast, free wi-fi, live music to art initiatives, interactive and immersive video guides to the city to lifelike selfie photo hotspots, there really is no airport in the world like DXB.
And, that’s before we’ve even mentioned the stellar cast of restaurants, bars, retail destinations, spas, hotel, gym, trampoline park, gift shops, designer fashion outlets and dedicated family zone. Excited? You should be.
Welcome to your brand-new DXB.
Flour + Stone
Bakers here want you to travel the world one flatbread at a time. And travel you should. Here you’ll find the humble flatbread being celebrated and made using fresh, simple dough topped with exciting ingredients to bring incredible flavours from across the region and beyond. Flour + Stone serves a wealth of Arabic flatbread specialities including pide, manakish and mana’eesh zaatar. Other countries that have inspired the menu include France, Lebanon, India, Palestine, Morocco and Turkey. One bite of a ka’ak and you’ll be booking your night trip to explore the backstreet eats of Old Dubai.
Concourse A, Terminal 3.
S34 Gahwa Mezze Bar
You can relish the exquisite flavours of the region at the excellent, traditional dining destinations right here in DXB. S34 Gahwa Mezze Bar is a home-grown treasure taking inspiration from the gahwas (coffeehouses) usually found within the back alleys of old towns across the UAE. You’ll find authentic dishes such as samosas and sambousek, Ras El Hanout lamb shoulder, kibbeh flan and moussaka. There’s also a range of breakfast plates, pitas, wraps and flatbreads, perfect alongside authentic tea and coffees.
Concourse C, Terminal 3.
One of the airport’s top family restaurants is constantly evolving and changing its menu. Tranzeet is an American-style diner (complete with rotating sign and cosy leather dining booths), but with an Arabic twist. That means you’re as likely to find monster milkshakes and even bigger burgers as you are deliciously baked shakshoukas and Arabic pastries. And, health-conscious diners you’re in luck as the prettiest dish is saved for you: perfectly poached eggs sitting on a bed of electric pink beetroot hummus. Delicious.
Concourse B, Terminal 3.
Whether you’re on the hunt for a Mother’s Day gift, holiday souvenir or just a token of your trip to DXB you’ll find everything you need and more here. Back at S34 Gahwa Mezze Bar (Concourse C, Terminal 3), the charming restaurant is elevated by an art wall created by local artists from the Mawaheb studio – a creative hub for people of determination in Dubai, just a stone’s throw away from DXB. Some of the crafts created at Mawaheb are also available to buy for anyone keen to support the city’s creative community. Gifts include artworks, key chains, coffee mugs and notebooks.
In Dubai Duty Free (various locations throughout DXB), you’ll find an array of exciting Dubai souvenirs. Whether it’s a gold-plated statue of the Burj Khalifa, a colourful camel created in a jar of sand, an “I love Dubai” hoodie, bespoke notepads and stationery, key rings, fridge magnets, mugs, cups and caps you’re spoilt for fun choices. Not only that, but you can also tuck into Bateel dates which are sold throughout DDF locations. Rooted in Arabian culture and hospitality since 1936, Bateel enjoys an unparalleled legacy as the world’s only gourmet date grower, producer and seller.
For those looking for an alternative and arty present, then a trip to Gallery One (Concourse B, Terminal 3) is essential. The retail spot stocks premium arts and crafts, high quality stationery, greeting cards, pop art pictures, photo frames, soft furnishings and plenty of other chic gifts.
Finally, for those who want to inject some rock ’n’ roll into their holidays then head to newcomer Hard Rock Cafe (Concourse B, Terminal 3). It sits in the heart of the airport’s family zone, a dining, retail and entertainment destination complete with indoor park area, and stocks exclusive DXB and Dubai merchandise.
Whether it’s a T-shirt, hoodie, cap or cup you’re after you’ll find plenty of unique collectibles.
Art and entertainment
Perhaps two of the most important initiatives launched in the airport are artDXB and musicDXB, which further enhance Dubai’s cultural fabric for passengers through a series of live gigs and art installations.
Esteemed Emirati artist Diaa Allam created two bespoke pieces at the launch of DXB’s new vision. One of which is available to view before boarding the Skytrain.
Concourse B, Terminal 3.
Emirati artist Jamal Habroush Al Suwaidi’s uses the rich culture and heritage of his home country to influence him. Arabic calligraphy forms the basis of his sculpture.
Concourse D, Terminal 1.
Graffiti henna hands
Look out for this new arrival while you’re collecting your bags.
Arrivals, Terminal 3.
Last year saw British singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner play a live busking set right here in the airport and this year promises to continue welcoming a regular rotation of similar shows. It’s all part of musicDXB, an ongoing initiative to bring musical talent from far and wide to the 90 million-strong audience found in DXB. There is a special focus on giving local UAE artists an exciting platform to perfect their trade, so keep watch this space for updates and schedules for a series of pop-up performances happening throughout the airport in 2019.
Dates and acts TBC.
Al Suwaidi’s striking gold sculpture My Dallah is an abstract representation of an Arabian coffee pot and cup, known as the “dallah” and “fenjan”, which are important components of the UAE culture.
Arrivals, Terminal 3.
Spirit of Dubai and Mawaheb artworks
This permanent piece created by Mawaheb is a pop art-inspired diorama illustrating daily life at DXB. The Spirit of Dubai is the coming together of Emirati artist Abudllah Lufti’s work, complemented by a graffiti installation on the opposing wall.
Walkway between Concourse B and C, Terminal 3.
Year of Zayed Gallery
Stunning pieces celebrate last year’s commemoration of HH Sheikh Zayed, Founding Father of the UAE. They include Emirati artist Diaa Allam’s portrait plus photographs from landmark dates in the UAE’s history.
Departures, Terminal 3.
Spas and lounges
Get the VIP treatment with a trip to any of the Ahlan or marhaba lounges throughout DXB. Both offer exemplary Meet & Greet services, luxury car transfers between airport and home/hotel, first-class dining and bar areas, showers and indulgent spa treatments at the Timeless Spa (via Ahlan) that are only elevated by traditional Arabian hospitality.
Various marhaba locations, marhabaservices.com.
Various Ahlan locations, ahlan-dia.com.
Take Dubai home with you
You can now virtually explore Dubai through this interactive and immersive digital installation which draws on wide array of content to optimally showcase the city’s destinations. These include the Burj Khalifa, deserts, Palm Jumeirah, Old Dubai, Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, beaches and more. Passengers can register to receive free personalised stopover itineraries plus entry into monthly competition offering a chance to win a luxury holiday in Dubai.
Concourse A, Terminal 3.
Brand-new to the airport are a series of selfie spots throughout the airport. The floor stickers each have a different Dubai background, which means you can effectively take snaps as if you’re at the top of the Burj Khalifa. With the 3D technology, you can capture the best selfies of the city without leaving the airport. There are a range of landmarks as well as aspects and elements of the city, including the beaches and Old Dubai. To enjoy them, just and one, stand on the marked spot and snap your picture.
Dubai Airports mobile app
The brand-new version of this mobile travel experience is bigger and better than ever. New features include a completely redesigned interface, making relevant flight information easier to find and an optimised technical performance of the app so it’s now even faster. Plus, you can find up-to-date information on the shops, services and restaurants at DXB as well as a new airport map. There are now location-based itineraries.
Free. Download on App Store or Google Play.
Keep up-to-date with all things going on in DXB via this very blog destinationDXB.com, which launched last month, as well as the most comprehensive guide to Dubai and beyond at www.timeoutdubai.com