Emirates consistently ranks among the globe’s top five airlines, according to Skytrax’s annual World Airline Awards. The brand’s cabin crew flies an average of 80 to 100 hours per month to 150 destinations across 80 countries, but its home base is in Dubai. The crew members are experts in enjoying layovers in other cities and downtime in their own, so we asked Emirates flight attendant Lauren Guilfoyle about her favorite things to do in her vibrant hometown.
Jet lag is rough, but exercise helps. When you get back to Dubai after a long flight, where do you work out?
Whenever I have free time in Dubai, I’m doing something active. I’ve been a member at 136.1 Yoga Studio [now Trident Wellness Center] for almost three years, and I spend most of my days attending their classes. I live in the Marina, so my favorite places to walk around or go for a run are the Marina Walk or Jumeirah Beach Residence. Living in the Marina gives me the chance to walk or run to many different places compared to other areas in Dubai. Staying active helps deal with jet lag.
What are your favorite Dubai neighborhoods?
In Al Fahidi, you’ll find traditional — stone, coral, palm wood — and mud homes and older houses converted into restaurants. You really feel like you’re in the old Dubai. The Arabian Tea House there is a classic café. The food is completely authentic and traditional, with brick-oven-baked bread and 150 kinds of tea.
I also like Dubai Design District. It’s one of the trendiest and most fun areas, where you can find pop-up fashion shows, concerts and art exhibitions. It’s great for anyone who is creative and interested in fashion.
When you’re home in Dubai, where do you like to go for a night out?
One of my favorite places to go out at night is Pier 7, because there are [seven] floors, each with a restaurant serving a different style of food and drinks. Plus, each of the restaurants overlooks the Marina, and the view is stunning.
Another place I like to go out to is Casa de Tapas in Dubai Creek. It’s a little far from my side of town, but the delicious Spanish food is completely worth it.
What’s your favorite local eatery?
The Hamptons Café in Jumeirah is a super-quaint restaurant that I find not many [visitors] know about. It reminds me of the Hamptons in New York, allowing me to feel like I’m making a little visit back home. There are plenty of options from breakfast to dinner, but I just go for a great coffee and some dessert!
From all your layovers around the world, you must be an expert souvenir shopper. Tell us where you buy souvenirs in Dubai.
The Antique Museum. It’s an antique/trinket lovers’ dream. It’s a big bazaar with unique souvenirs, furniture and traditional handcrafts. You can find items from Dubai, Thailand and [all over] Africa. This is a great place to pick up souvenirs for your friends.
What do locals want visitors to know about Dubai?
That it’s a great city full of culture, amazing cuisine, shopping and arts. Whether you like to shop for the newest designer trends or lay on a gorgeous beach and take in the incredible skyline, the city has something special for each individual traveler.
And if you were going to stay in a hotel in Dubai, where would you book?
[Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star] Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach.