x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 October 2017

Dinner in the Sky: What it’s like to dangle 50m in the air at a floating dining table in Dubai

The aerial concept, which sees 22 diners at a time hoisted 50 metres in the air over Dubai Marina, is arguably the most unique way to enjoy a meal anywhere in the world.

Senior chef from the Ritz Carlton, Elgin Alonso, prepares the brunch meal for serving alongside his colleagues during Dinner in the Sky over Dubai. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Senior chef from the Ritz Carlton, Elgin Alonso, prepares the brunch meal for serving alongside his colleagues during Dinner in the Sky over Dubai. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Terrifying, crazy and breathtaking could all be used to described the Dinner in the Sky experience.

Taking flight in Dubai from January 10, a maximum of 22 diners at a time will be hoisted 50 metres in the air over Dubai Marina to enjoy one of the most unique dining initiatives in the world.

The big dining table in the sky is not for the fainthearted, foodie dare-devils are literally strapped into a chair that can swivel 360 degrees. Once in the air you have nothing under you feet except for a small footrest and the desert air around you.

Each flight is 55 minutes in duration, in which time you are served a meal - catered by the Ritz Carlton - of your choosing (brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner), which is based on the session time.

So how does it play out and what is it like? At first, you’re checked in to your session at the Dubai International Marine Club, where you sign a disclaimer acknowledging the risk you’re taking, then it’s on to a shuttle bus for the short journey to the Dinner in the Sky location, which is situated opposite Skydive Dubai.

Once you’ve secured your valuables in your allocated locker — you can only take a phone and a camera up — it’s over to the table to be strapped in. Two straps are secured over your shoulders and one around your waist, and tightened.

Once everyone is strapped in, it’s onwards and upwards. It takes less than 10 minutes to get to 50m mark, and surprisingly enough, it’s smooth going. With a weight of six tonnes, the table floats in the air with minimal movement.

There are four catering crew onboard, all harnessed inm serving your meal and they are happy to take pictures for you. Their service is accompanied by music that includes mostly tunes that have a sky theme, think Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

About 15 minutes into the experience the platform slowly moves 180 degrees to give diners a complete view of the marina and Dubai’s other notable landmarks including The Beach at Jumeirah Beach Residences, Atlantis the Palm, the Burj Al Arab and the Arabian Gulf.

If you dare you can swivel your chair, if not the view is just fine from the table view, believe me.

The Dinner in the Sky initiative originated in Belgium and has already hosted more than 5000 events held in 40 cities in the world, including in Abu Dhabi in 2013. Although the concept is not new to Dubai — it has been available for corporate events in the past — this is the first time it is available to the general public and according to the UAE concept’s managing director, Ahmed Ishbair why not?

“Dubai is one of the best cities in the world, it has the view, the weather, the environment and we are very happy to be here,” he says.

“People love to try something new in Dubai,” adds Ishbair’s business partner Rafael Moreno. “It’s something nice to do, you can enjoy the stunning views and have a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The Dinner in the Sky experience, which is being catered for by the Ritz Carlton, will be available to the public at DIMC over the next four months with session times starting from 2.40pm on weekdays and from 11.50am on the weekends. Prices start from Dh499 per person and bookings can be made online at www.dinnerinthesky.ae.

The National was a guest of Dinner in the Sky.

mhealy@thenational.ae