For beachside romance
If your idea of romance involves al fresco dining and beach views, then there are plenty of options. For Dh3,000 per couple you can settle into a private cabana under the stars at Rixos The Palm Dubai (04 457 5454) and enjoy a four-course meal (drinks included), while listening to live music. The package also includes a spa voucher, red rose, chocolates, a photo shoot and entry to the Valentine's Party at White X Beach & Lounge.
On the other side of Palm Jumeirah at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, couples have the option of being picked up by a chauffeur before heading to a private gazebo on the sand and sampling a special five-course menu with drinks, all served by a private butler, for Dh3,900 per couple. A chauffeur will deliver you home again and women will be presented with roses and a gift hamper. Call 04 453 0444.
Staying Palm-side, an evening on Nasimi beach at Atlantis, The Palm, is perhaps not quite as exclusive, but then neither is it as expensive at Dh475 per person, including drinks. You'll still be seated by the beach, though, and the menu is peppered with luxurious ingredients: oysters, caviar and wagyu beef included. Call 04 426 2626.
The Park Hyatt out on Saadiyat Island is one of the most romantic spots around, so what better way to start a Valentine's evening than up on the Beach House rooftop? You can then either dine on oysters, octopus and burrata cheese downstairs (Dh700 per couple) or move across to The Park Bar & Grill for a candlelit four-course menu (Dh900 per couple). All Valentine's Day meals include a bouquet of flowers and box of chocolates. Call 02 407 1234.
The menu at Le Deck at the Monte-Carlo Beach Club - also on Saadiyat Island - has an experimental twist to it this year, with dishes such as seared scallops with bisque foam and cured duck breast accompanied by pressed melon and a chicken liver cigar. The four-course meal costs Dh350 per person and includes a pre-dinner drink at Sea Lounge, red roses and chocolates. Call 02 656 3500.
Hey Sugar bakery is selling a variety of different Valentine's themed sweets including heart-shaped cakes, cupcakes, cake pops and cookies on a stick. You can also get creative and send an edible love letter, by way of its customised biscuits. Call 800 Hey Sugar or 04 344 8204 to place an order.
If your love is best expressed by way of a cupcake, head to the Hummingbird Bakery in The Dubai Mall. Its Valentine's Day mini delights box costs Dh100 for 12 little treats, while its Valentine's Day cake - a red sponge with cream cheese frosting - is Dh220 and can be decorated with an individual message. Red velvet, vanilla and chocolate Valentine-themed cupcakes are also available. Call 800-HBIRD or order in store.
Oushé Gourmet Bakeshop recently opened in Al Barsha and is launching a limited-edition Valentine's Day Red Velvet Cream Cheese (Dh12), consisting of a walnut and chocolate chip-filled brownie laced with Turkish coffee and topped with red velvet and cream cheese swirls. Call 04 385 0011 or visit www.oushe.com to learn more.
The Abu Dhabi bakery Maison Sucre's Valentine's Day repertoire also includes personally inscribed cupcakes and cookies as well as larger three-dimensional cakes, including those shaped like engagement rings and teddy bears. Call 02 639 6622.
Anti-Valentine's Day options
If Valentine's Day isn't your thing then fear not, you don't need to spend the night at home on Thursday. The Gramercy in DIFC is holding an anti-Valentine's Day party, complete with a themed menu - think "egg in your face" steak, "two faced" sea bass and "torn hearts" salad - as well as live music and darts. Call 04 437 7511.
Qube Sports Bar at Meydan is screening live action from the races, as well as continuous football matches on its four big screens on Thursday. A DJ will be in situ until 3am and there's also a gift in store for all the women who attend.
And if you can't bear schmaltz but just want to hit the dance floor, Embassy Dubai is holding a Divas and Devils Party in the Clouds night at Club 43 from 11.30pm. Call 04 317 6000.
Upping the ante somewhat, Madinat Jumeirah is offering a Valentine's Day package costing a cool Dh100,000, a price that even it agrees is "budget busting". So, what do you get for all that money?
After checking into the royal or presidential suite at the Madinat Jumeirah, guests will be whisked over to the Burj Al Arab (in a Rolls-Royce, of course), where they'll embark on a helicopter ride over Dubai. On their return to the hotel, dinner will be served on a private terrace overlooking the resort. A trio specialising in romantic music will provide the entertainment, while a photographer will be on hand to capture what is quite likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For bookings or to learn more, visit the hotel's website www.jumeirah.com and click on Exclusive Offers.
At the opposite end of the price scale, Sea Mood restaurant in Satwa is offering a "hearty" Valentine's special - a grilled, heart-shaped dory fillet served with a bouquet of sautéed shrimps, prawns and saffron rice, no less - for Dh100 per couple. In addition, Sea Mood is committed to only serving sustainable seafood, so not only is the meal budget-conscious, it's also ethically sound. Call 04 385 7977.
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