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Dubai’s famous boozy brunches get a reboot as Saturday becomes the brand new Friday


The UAE is tackling this issue of work-life balance and the federal government recently rolled out a 4.5-day working week for Emirati government employees.

Laszlo Szirtesi | Getty Images News | Getty Images

They are saying it’s dangerous twiddling with a winning formula — especially when that formula leads to massive revenue for Covid-battered restaurants and is certainly one of the pillars of a rustic’s tourism offering.

So, when the UAE government announced it was shifting its weekend from Friday and Saturday to Saturday and Sunday to align with global markets initially of the 12 months, Dubai’s hotels were quick to reassure its fun-loving residents that their best fear hadn’t been realized — brunches weren’t “over,” they were just moving to Saturday.

Brunches in Dubai are legendary and have all the time been unapologetic of their sheer extravagance. Traditionally starting at around 12.30 p.m. and ending a while after 4.30 p.m., these all-you-can-eat and drink get-togethers bolster Dubai’s image as a Champagne bottle popping, sunshine soaking, lobster cracking, party playground.

In point of fact, brunches are a much-anticipated end-of-week treat for town’s hardworking residents — and make no mistake, despite the designer labels and bumper to bumper supercars, it is a city where people work extremely hard for his or her tax-free dirhams.

In a recent study by mobile tech company Kisi, Dubai got here out highest for many overworked population within the category of labor intensity, meaning full-time employees often work 48 hours per week.

The UAE is tackling this issue of work-life balance and the federal government recently rolled out a 4.5-day working week for Emirati government employees, meaning they now get a half day Friday with time for worship and family gatherings on the Islamic holy day.

Nonetheless, many of the expat dominated private sector will still work the total day on a Friday — hence restaurants switching brunches to a Saturday — a change that Dubai’s foodies appear to have adjusted to with a shrug.

In actual fact, the one major problem hungry weekenders now have is which brunch to pick from, with lashings of recent options right across the emirate similar to Bleu Blanc on the newly opened The St. Regis Downtown Dubai. Guests there can tuck into extravagant creations similar to a wagyu beef doughnut with truffle mayo and revel in limitless Champagne for 700 UAE dirhams ($191) a head.

Not to say old fashioned “classic” brunches like Bubbalicious at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi resort, where diners can unleash their tastebuds across three restaurants and an unlimited outdoor terrace for 695 dirhams with unlimited fizz, including an unlimited fresh seafood display topped up with lobster, crab, prawns, mussels, and piles of freshly shucked oysters.

“I do not think people needed the slightest encouragement to return to brunches after the weekend change,” David Tully, head of media at Dubai’s Middlesex University, told CNBC.

“They may switch brunches to Tuesdays and folk would discover a way — Dubaians just cannot say no to an expensive, excessive smorgasbord. Covid cannot destroy a time-honored tradition, nothing breaks the brunch stride on this town.”

The American expat added: “I believe Aristotle called it Catharsis — after the slog of the work week, people need a bit of Dionysian excess on the weekend to let off some steam.”

Brunches are a much-anticipated end-of-week treat for town’s hardworking residents.

Karim Sahib | Afp | Getty Images

Meanwhile, Stephanie Hughes, the British managing director of a Dubai communications firm who has been an avid brunch-goer since moving to the UAE in 2014, says the brand new Saturday brunch is thing.

“It’s higher because we now go to brunch and revel in an ideal time out after which have a relaxed, traditional Sunday roast the following day to get better from the festivities,” she told CNBC.

She added: “There now also appears to be more brunch selection, higher quality of food and different timings to pick from.” 

Swedish expat Victoria Stevenson, who goes to brunch most weekends along with her Scottish husband, says she’s also noticed Dubai venues have upped their game to drag within the punters.

“I believe entertainment has develop into more a component of the brunches; once we return to Europe for a visit, we’ll really miss the scene,” she told CNBC.

Although some brunches did proceed through the height of the pandemic, most were dramatically pared down and included safety measures similar to table spacing, hourly table sanitization, screens, and table service versus the standard buffet arrange.

Lots of the stricter protocols have now been dropped by Dubai’s hotels — even though it could also be a while before table service gives method to the standard buffet and multiple food stations arrange.

Not that it matters.

Hotels are doing all they’ll to woo back big-spender brunch clientele and their efforts look like paying off with bookings soaring in recent weeks in what appears to be a by-product of so-called “revenge tourism” — a recent concept that refers to consumers being more wanting to travel after lockdown restrictions.

“There has definitely been higher demand this 12 months,” Elif Yazoglu, general manager at DoubleTree by Hilton in Dubai’s beachfront Jumeirah Beach Residence, told CNBC.

“There is a need for everybody to return to normal, be social, share a meal with family and friends, have casual conversations, and numerous laughter — brunch is a relaxed weekend option to do this.”

Yazoglu says the hotel’s brunch moving to a Saturday has been smooth sailing by way of guest acceptance.

“For the reason that weekend itself shifted for everybody, those that were previously off work on a Friday but now work that day obviously prefer Saturday brunches.”

She added that after a tricky couple of years for the hospitality industry on account of Covid, 2022 has been upbeat — supported by great weather, the thrill round Expo 2020, and travel trends going back to normal.

“We have now also noticed that there is an ideal demand for outdoor spaces — if weather supports — and our biggest advantage is our large garden space with its fabulous views of Ain Dubai [Dubai’s iconic observation wheel] and Bluewaters Island,” she said.

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