Ask a concierge: Dubai

At the Shangri-La Hotel Dubai, concierge Renel R. Gamboa draws on 24 years of experience to guide visitors toward the best things to do and see and the best places to dine. Here he offer guidance to business travelers visiting the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates.

What should business travelers pack?

The temperature in Dubai is most comfortable from November through February. The rest of the year it’s typically very hot, so remember to bring sunscreen; a hat or other head covering; and lightweight clothing. Most offices and restaurants are air-conditioned.

What are your top restaurant recommendations for a business lunch or dinner?

Referred to as the food city of the UAE, Dubai is home to several outstanding restaurants. For a business meal, I highly recommend Pierchic, a seafood restaurant overlooking the Arabian Gulf (access via the Al Qasr pool and beach area, Madinat Jumeirah; Ph: +971 4 432 3232). Of course a trip to Dubai is not complete without trying local Emirati cuisine. Siraj (Souk Al Bahr downtown; Ph: +971 4 513 6207) stands as one of the most authentic restaurants and is only a stone’s throw from the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, and the performing Dubai Fountain.

What’s one thing that always surprises guests about your city?

A private terrace can be booked for a small party—even two people—at our Level 42 restaurant, which boasts beautiful views of Burj Khalifa and the entire city. Many marriage proposals have taken place there.

If business travelers only have a few hours for leisure, what must they see in your city?

The Dubai Museum is a must-see. It gives travelers a glimpse into the city’s history and early industry, such as pearl diving, date cultivation, pottery and weaving. The Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood also is worth a trip. An abra boat ride crossing Dubai Creek to the gold and spice market also makes for an unforgettable experience.

What’s the best option for outdoor exercise in your city?

Al Barsha Pond Park offers a circular cycling and jogging track on 50 acres of greenery. In addition, our hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool and tennis and squash courts.

Business know-how

Concierge Renel R. Gamboa’s top tips for getting business right in Dubai:

  1. During the holy month of Ramadan (which begins May 27, 2017), business hours are shortened. Eating and drinking in public is prohibited during fasting hours, from sunrise to sunset. Visitors should dress modestly during this time.
  2. Local men and women generally will not shake hands with someone of the opposite sex. In place of a handshake, you can place your right hand over your heart.
  3. Locals appreciate when visitors offer basic Arabic greetings, such as assalam aleikum, which means peace be upon you.

Concierge Renel R. Gamboa