WITH KAT LEBRASSE
If you’re planning a trip to Dubai, then look no further.
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia to Mauritian parents, Kat is a fashion and lifestyle blogger that has been based in Dubai for the last 12 years. Having started her eponymous blog four years ago, she has become quite a local, being one of the first to discover the latest hot spots and things to do. Mother to a charming 2-year-old daughter Poppy, she shares her time between her blog, consulting for various brands, quality time with her husband, Paul and Mummy duty.
Read our interview below to find out Kat’s favourite spots and activities to do in sunny Dubai.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING IN DUBAI?
I’ve been in Dubai for a little over 12 years.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING HERE?
I love that it is such a melting pot of different nationalities. I feel so worldly living here as I’m constantly immersed in the many different ways other cultures do things, comparatively to Australians.
WHEN DO YOU THINK YOUR CITY IS MOST MAGICAL?
Dubai is most magical in the winter months. It is so mild here in winter that it is similar to an Australian spring. The city comes alive with outdoor events, festivals, concerts and markets. It feels as if there is something new and exciting on every weekend to try, and for all different demographics.
I love that it is such a
melting pot of different
nationalities and cultures.
FAVOURITE THING TO DO IN SUMMER & WINTER MONTHS?
In summer the city is actually a little sleepy. It is much quieter than any other time of the year as many people travel for long periods of time during these months. Looking at it from a different perspective, it can be quite a nice time to visit as it’s much calmer than wintertime. Summertime in Dubai is for indoor activities and the occasional visit to a nice, cool pool. If we’re after a great night out, the husband and I head to the Dubai Opera. We recently saw the most magnificent production of Les Miserables and are looking forward to going back for something equally as enchanting. In winter, I’m a big fan of anything that takes me outdoors. Ripe Market, held in Za’abeel Park is a favourite for our family. It is held every Friday morning and hosts a number of fantastic food and beverage stalls, arts and crafts, local vendors and an excellent organic fruit and vegetable area. Most people pack a picnic blanket and set up for a big part of the day to relax in the shade of the trees. During winter there are endless amounts of these types of “out of the box” type events, markets and festivals.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING TO DO DURING WEEKENDS?
As a family, on the weekends our favourite pass time is without a doubt hanging out at the beach. We are water people. And living in such close proximity to the beach means it’s a no-brainer. Having said that, we do also love good coffee and a great feed, so if Ripe Market is on, we often like to head there for part of the day or one of our favourite cafés. Best coffee in Dubai, in my opinion, is served at Tom & Serg, Common Grounds and The Sum Of Us. Helps that their food selection is top notch too.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO HANG OUT WITH POPPY?
Since having Poppy, Dubai seems to feel as if it is filled with children! But perhaps I just didn’t notice it so much before I had one myself. As a result, Dubai is a very child-friendly place. Most cafes and restaurants accommodate little ones, both with seating, children’s menu’s and often play areas. As my little one is extremely active, I’m endlessly grateful for any place that can help keep Poppy occupied! Aussie café Tom & Serg (what can I say, I’m still a patriot after 12 years!) is easily a favourite, thanks to their great kids play area and well, awesome coffee and tasty food. On the odd occasion, when we’re feeling especially brave, we take our little one to Dubai Parks and Resorts. Amongst the 5 theme parks there, Legoland and Legoland Waterpark are especially popular with our little lady.
ANY SPECIAL EVENTS & FESTIVALS THAT HAPPEN EVERY YEAR?
I love SOLE DXB (December 7-9). It’s a 3-day festival, dedicated more or less to shoes. More specifically, sneakers. It is celebrated for being a lifestyle platform for footwear, fashion, culture, art and design and brings the city’s “cool kids” out for a few days of fun.
Dubai Design Week (November 13-18) at D3 is another great annual event that brings people down from all over the city. Pushing the boundaries of form, function and aesthetics, international and regional designers across a range of disciplines descend on Dubai Design District (D3) to showcase how design impacts our lives in myriad ways. If you’re a foodie, the Dubai Food Festival (February 15-March 15) and Taste of Dubai (March 8-10) are for you. They’re all about food, music, fun and a culinary extravaganza. A few more personal favourites are Beach Canteen, Market OTB, Rise and the Dubai Jazz Festival.
WHAT RESTAURANT WOULD YOU GO TO AND SPLURGE FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION?
My all-time favourite restaurant for a guaranteed fantastic “splurge” meal is La Serre in Downtown Dubai. It’s a charming 2-storey French restaurant that consists of a boulangerie downstairs and classy bistro upstairs overlooking the boulevard. It never disappoints. Additional favourites are Marina Social, La Cantine du Faubourg, Robertos and Peyote.
SIGHTSEEING PLACES NOT TO BE MISSED?
Dubai is a tourist’s dream in my opinion. There are the obvious sites that you absolutely must visit, like the Burj Khalifa, the Gold Souk and Burj Al Arab. But the favourites of friends and family who have visited us are usually the less commercial things. Jumping on a local Abra (a small, traditional, wooden boat) across the creek, as opposed to a taxi, if you’re heading to the Gold Souk is often the highlight of the visit and then stopping into the Spice Souk en-route. On the same side of town is Al Bastakiya which is a heritage village and houses many stunning traditional galleries and beautiful, regional works of art.
ANY TIPS FOR PEOPLE VISITING FOR THE FIRST TIME?
Do a little bit of research before you visit and prepare a mini-itinerary. It’s not to say that you have to stick to it, but it helps to narrow down the absolute “must-dos” and the “if we have time’s.” There is truly so, so much to see and do in Dubai, that it can be overwhelming without some planning. On the other hand, perhaps sitting on the beach relaxing is your purpose, in which case, I recommend staying in one of the stunning resorts on Palm Jumeirah. Anantara and One and Only are particular favourites of mine. If you can do only one thing on your first visit to Dubai, make it a Desert Safari. It’s a guaranteed good time and gives you a great feel for the way Dubai used to be before it became the cosmopolitan hub that it is today.
AND FINALLY, WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT LIVING IN DUBAI?
Dubai has captured my heart over the last 12 years. There have been short periods when I’ve been slightly homesick and considered moving back to Australia, but the hustle, bustle and overall ambience of Dubai always reminds me of why I love it here so much. I think my favourite thing about living here is, by far the amazing friendships I’ve created. With so many expats living here- many away from their extended families- there is a real sense of community and our friends become our family. No week goes by where we are not together, having a BBQ, sharing a laugh or just watching our children play together while we sip away at a glass of wine. Being a social person, I absolutely love that!
With thanks to Kat Lebrasse X