Ahlan, fellow Rovers,

My name is Noor and I’m originally from Hamra in Beirut. My younger sister Tala and I arrived in Dubai a few days ago to celebrate the Holy Month of Ramadan with our family and friends in the UAE. I have visited the Emirates on numerous occasions and usually stay with my parents, who have a small holiday villa by the beach in Jumeirah. However, on this occasion we have decided to book into the newest hotel on everyone’s lips, Rove Downtown Dubai.

A group of my friends recently visited the hotel for dinner at The Daily Downtown Dubai and raved about the cool, cutting-edge interiors, bright regional art displays and central city location. We were sold and booked in for a 10-day stay.

Our shared Rover Room was the perfect base, boasting two super comfy beds, a modern, spacious bathroom with a power rain shower, plenty of high-tech amenities and amazing views of the tallest building on the planet, the Burj Khalifa.

As a practising Muslim and with Ramadan now in full swing, my sister and I are keen to explore the Khaleeji traditions and Iftars available in the UAE.

First up, my parents informed us of a few rules to follow during the Holy Month in the UAE. While we also abide by many of these in Beirut, the Emirates has a few extra policies to respect during Ramadan.

First up, there is no eating, drinking or smoking in public during fasting hours (if you are a non-Muslim, this can be done in private). Fasting follows the sunset and sunrise, so Tala and I pick up a prayer-timing sheet from a local mosque to keep in the loop of things.

While I do not usually wear the full abaya back home in Beirut, during Ramadan I will don a hijab veil to cover my hair. During the Holy Month, one must always be sure to dress more modestly in covered clothing, especially over knees, shoulders and décolletage. I usually opt for loose, flowing kaftans, which are modest and also comfortable to wear in the summer heat.

Ramadan is also wonderful time of year to give back and help those in need. My family and I donate and work with several charities during the Holy Month, including the Emaar Foundation’s Ramadan For All, an initiative focused on helping as many people as possible during the season of giving. You can learn more here: https://www.emaar.com/en/who-we-are/emaarfoundation/ramadan-for-all.asp

Many of the city’s restaurants and cafés are closed during fasting hours. However, our hotel front desk team informs us that The Daily Downtown Dubai is open for dining in and also takeaways from their popular ‘Grab and Go’ menu section. The newly opened restaurant also puts on a relaxed Iftar in the evening, which we enjoyed on our first night in the city a few days ago. There was a tasty spread of delicious healthy salads and Arabic starters, along with fine cut succulent meats and fresh fruit juices. The buzzing eatery also serves the best cup of coffee in town, so make sure you grab a cup before you head out for further celebrations.

We also got the chance to visit 3in1 (just a short walk from Rove Downtown Dubai) at the Vida Downtown Dubai for their Suhour under the stars. This pre-dawn meal is eaten before the fajr prayer and acts as a brilliant opportunity for friends and family to meet and nibble on Arabian bites before heading to the mosque.

Next on our list, we’re looking forward to trying the traditional Iftar at The Courtyard at Manzil Downtown Dubai. I enjoyed a meal at the restaurant on my last trip to Dubai and loved the Arabesque setting and beautiful gardens.

As my sister Tala will be celebrating her birthday on this visit, my family and I are planning on throwing her a get-together at The Palace Downtown Dubai. The venue provides intimate Lakeside Tents at the Ewaan Lounge overlooking the Burj Lake. We’ll be feasting on the restaurant’s à la carte menu filled with all her favourite Middle Eastern bites such as fattoush salad, hot mezzes, mixed grill meats and sweet dates for dessert.

There are plenty more Iftars and Suhours to devour and enjoy in the city. From buffet spreads on the green golf lawns at The Address Montgomerie Dubai to an array of culinary treats at Palermo, located at the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, if you plan on experiencing the Holy Month in Dubai, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Ramadan Kareem,          

Noor