Dermatologist and Dubai insider Dr Hassan Galadari sheds some light on one of the world’s fastest growing – and luxurious – cities.
What do you love most about Dubai?
It’s the city of beauty! It also inspires passion and a sense of “if you dream it and work hard, you will make it”. There are more than 200 nationalities co-existing here – it’s a true global city.
How the city has transformed in such a short time over the past 15 years to the growing metropolis that it is today is nothing short of amazing. I remember when I was a young kid and I would tell people I was from Dubai, only to be met with looks of confusion. Now, not only do they know Dubai but they ask me lots of questions about it!
What’s the best way to see the city?
Unlike major cities, there is no one downtown or city centre. The city is made up of neighbourhoods that are mini cities among themselves.
The neighbourhoods/mini cities themselves may be walkable, but Dubai is best experienced by car or public transport. Public transportation connects the city extremely well and the facilities are top notch, with buses and metro lines constituting the main methods. Taxis are also extremely abundant; every corner will have one.
What are the must-sees when travelling to Dubai?
Oh, there are plenty! New and old. Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and a trip to the observation deck on the fastest elevator is a must.
Ski Dubai is an indoor ski slope, where not only do you enjoy the slopes but you can also touch and play with resident penguins. All this can be done while you shop. Dubai Mall is one of the largest shopping malls in the world and is also home to an aquarium that’s a must-visit when in the city.
Dune bashing is one of my most favourite activities, where you enjoy the afternoon on the desert sands in a 4×4 and then taken to camp where you can enjoy a local BBQ dinner.
The pristine beaches with a dip in the waters of the gulf is great for those seeking the outdoors. Water sports are a big thing here, be it sailing, fishing or diving.
A trip to the Palm Island is also essential, a man-made structure that houses many hotels and a large water park.
If you’re seeking the historical Dubai, the old part of the city can be visited during the day where you can take a water taxi over the creek that connects the two old sections, Deira and Bur Dubai.
What are the three best eating spots in the city?
Just three? If it’s local cuisine you’re after, Al Fanar restaurant provides delicious authentic food.
Prime 68, on the 68th floor of the JW Marriott, has a great selection of steaks and the view is astounding.
My favourite, though, has to be Pier Chic, which is in Al Qasr. The seafood restaurant is offshore, so you’re looking at the city from the water. It has stunning views of the Burj Al Arab and the Dubai skyline.
and The locals’ best kept secret?
A trip to nearby Hatta, which is a town about an hour away. They have the best valleys, which fill with water when it rains. You can enjoy a swim in some of the ponds there too.
What’s the most unusual/ unique place to visit?
I think the most unusual place is the Chillout Ice Lounge. This is a lounge bar made completely of ice, so you’ll need to put on a jacket before entering!
Enjoy some drinks and food while sitting on chairs of ice and served on a table of ice. You’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the Arctic. AMP
Now, a little bit about you…
What led you to pursue cosmetic dermatology?
The best thing about dermatology in general and cosmetic dermatology in particular is that you can see the noticeable effect of your own treatments on the patient. The cosmetic field is even more special because not only does it have a scientific background but it also has an artistic touch. I’ve always enjoyed art and the pursuit of beauty. When a person looks and feels beautiful, they become more comfortable with themselves and the way in which they interact with others.
Where did you study at university?
I received my medical degree from the UAE University. I then pursued my dermatology residency training in the US, spending four years in Boston at the joint Boston University and Tufts University Dermatology Residency Program and received my American Boards in 2007. I then capped this off with a cosmetic dermatology and laser fellowship at the University of California in San Francisco.
What’s your experience of practicing in Dubai?
I love it. I’ve had many offers to stay in the US and I did contemplate it at one point. I do, however, come from Dubai. My family is here and I’ve grown up here. In addition, the practice of cosmetic dermatology in Dubai allows you to use technologies and materials that are not available in many parts of the world, including the US. You are able to excel in your field, but most importantly, innovate. You become inspired by what you see around you.