Traditional Afternoon Tea and First-Rate People Watching
There aren't many cities where I'd send visitors to a hotel lobby to hang out. Dubai is the exception.
Due to a combination of the sweltering year-round heat, the multicultural population, the opulence of the city's luxury hotels, and the interesting guests they seem to attract, Dubai's hotel lobbies are fascinating places to linger for a while to do some people-watching.
With its cooling marble floors, fountain afloat with rose petals, aromas of frankincense, tinkling of the piano or classical Arabic music, Dubai's most atmospheric lobby is easily that of the majestic Mina A'Salam hotel, part of the Madinat Jumeirah complex.
If you're serious about your people watching, slink across the oriental carpets and sink into one of the cushioned cane sofas in the sumptuous Al Samar lounge overlooking the lobby. Order a traditional afternoon tea with bubbly (from 3-6pm) including scones, Devonshire clotted cream, strawberry preserves, and loose-leaf teas served in a pretty Arabian teapot, that will be arranged on your carved mother-of-pearl inlaid wooden table.
If you're not that much of a people watcher, and you can handle the heat, head out to the terrace instead for wonderful views of the Madinat Jumeirah waterways, Burj Al Arab, and the Arabian Sea.