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A Guide to Exploring Expo 2020 Dubai


By Aafrin Shaikh – The H Dubai Marketing & PR Manager


Being the first Expo to be held in the Middle East, Expo 2020 Dubai is definitely The World’s Greatest Show. From 192 country pavilions to explore, daily live shows and over 200 food and beverage outlets, there is something for everyone. With so much to see and do, I have put a guide, to help you make the most of your Expo Experience.


About Expo 2020 Dubai:


Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo ever to be hosted in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region. The site stretches over 4.38 km which is equivalent to four times of the world’s largest shopping mall – Dubai Mall. It is expected to welcome 25 million visitors in over 182 days.


Expo 2020 inspires people through the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. This is achieved in three themed and petal shaped districts – Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. These are all connected to the central Al Wasl Plaza.


Al Wasl Plaza – referred to as the heart of the Expo 2020 Dubai is the world’s largest 360-degree projection dome. The Plaza hosts events and exhibitions among fountains, waterfalls, and palm-lined courtyards.


Getting There:


Whether you are coming by taxi, car, metro or bus, getting to Expo 2020 is very convenient. The fastest and the most sustainable way to get to Expo 2020 Dubai is by Dubai Metro Red Line. It takes you from the city to the entrance of Expo 2020 Dubai. There is also a dedicated public bus service – Expo Rider. It is a free of charge service from various locations in Dubai and other Emirates.

Opening times and Tickets:


Visitors can get the tickets online at the official Expo website or in person at the site. Various hotels, airlines and tour operators are offering special offer on tickets as official resellers including The H Dubai hotel where guests can enjoy room stay with breakfast and Expo Ticket included.


Doors open from 10 am until 10 pm

What to see and explore:


Apart from immersing in the cultural experiences and exploring the world at the 192 country pavilions, here is my list of must-visit spots at the Expo 2020 Dubai:


– Al Wasl Dome light and sound show at night

– Jubilee Stage Performances with performers from around the globe, from Alicia Keys to AR Rahman

– The most popular water feature is a hit amongst children and adults alike. Its gravity defying technique comes alive at night with coloured lights and background music.

– Garden in the Sky – An exploration tower that takes you many feet off the ground to make sure you’ve got the best of best at Expo 2020

– The bright yellow Expo Explorer train that can take you through the Expo site

– Taste the food from around the world at 200+ restaurants and outlets. Don’t forget to check out the world’s first African Dining Hall – Alkebulan.

– Meet the Expo Robots, interact with them and of course – take a picture with them!

– Dance, Performances and Parades – There are live performances at various spots and parades throughout the day.


Good to know:


– For that perfect keepsake, don’t forget to pick-up your Expo Passport and get it stamped as you visit the pavilions.

Expo 2020 app – The app can be used to buy tickets, plan your visit by checking the schedule of calendar of events, choose from more than 200 dining options and manage reservations for Expo 2020’s intelligent Smart Queue system – offering the ability to reserve a convenient time slot to visit a pavilion of your choice and avoid queues.


Now all that is left to do is go ahead and explore!

Beginner’s FIFA Guide for smarter conversations


By Simran Tandon


Which country has won the most World Cups? Why does the World Cup happen every 4 years? Or did you know that Cristiano Ronaldo scored 57 hat tricks in his entire career? With so many random questions, I often find myself clueless about the mega world of football, especially amongst a group of passionate FIFA fanatics. Well, high-five if you feel the same!


It was reported that the 2018 world cup had an average of 517 million LIVE viewers and 1.1 billion offline viewers when France beat Croatia. Now, just imagine the audience that the 2022 Qatar competition is going to capture. Well, with the next FIFA just around the corner, here are some fun facts to equip yourself with for the game nights.

Let’s start with the basics


1. The humble beginnings of FIFA i.e. The Federation International de Football Association is credited to Jules Rimet who had the desire to create an international competition between men’s football teams. Being the longest-serving president of FIFA, the World Cup trophy is actually named after him.


2. The first world cup took place in 1930 in Uruguay during which only 13 nations participated. Today, 32 nations are a part of this mega event.


3. The 2 powerhouses of football, Ronaldo and Pelé have strived to bring 5 world cups to Brazil, making it a nation with maximum wins.


4. France’s Just Fontaine has maintained the record of a player with most goals scored in a single World Cup tournament, whereas, Miroslav Klose is the only player who has scored most goals in the game’s history.


5. Looking at how grand the event is, it is fair to see the world cup happen every 4 years. It gives the association and host country enough time to prepare and for qualification fixtures to be played.

DS_H Bar_8227

What makes QATAR FIFA so unique?


6. The 2022 edition of the competition will be the first-ever winter world cup in the Northern Hemisphere. Prior to this, all world cups happened in the Southern Hemisphere in the summers. This is also the first time that the game is being hosted by a Middle Eastern nation.


7. With a whopping $200 billion investment in infrastructure to build stadiums, highways, hotels etc., Qatar FIFA will be the most expensive World Cup in the history of the game. Undoubtedly, the nation is leaving no stone unturned to make it luxurious, exclusive and highly sustainable at the same time.


8. The prizes are indeed as grand as the event. This season’s World cup winner nation will receive a million dollar worth trophy with a cash prize of $42 million. Every year, these prices are hiked up by millions of dollars.


9. Qatar being nestled right in the center of the world, will witness a record-breaking number of visitors, roughly 1.5 million spectators around the globe will enter Qatar. With 1300 flights touching Qatar on a daily basis, the viewership of this season will be record-breaking.


10. Lastly, this FIFA will provide the perfect opportunity to help bridge the cultural gap between Europe and the Middle East. Qatar being the landmark of cultural hospitality, this occasion will bring both worlds together.

Hopefully, with this knowledge dose, most of us might be feeling better! At least I do!


Hence, this FIFA season, let’s try to join the madness with our friends. Go out and watch LIVE screenings, indulge in some FIFA special food combos and maybe participate in some world cup inspired games like the one at H Bar where you can get a chance to win a fully paid island trip by just predicting the winning teams every day.


By the end of the season you will know that FIFA is not just a game, but a feeling! A feeling of discipline, respect and fair play.

5 ways to become a Responsible Traveler


By Simran Tandon


Is responsible tourism still a buzz word on the internet or it is actually the need of the hour?
Well, to be honest, responsible tourism is no longer a matter of choice but rather a way of travelling moving forward. Even though we can’t change the way tourism industry operates, we can definitely change how we travel as individuals. This World Tourism Day, let’s explore 5 ways in which we can take a step to become responsible travelers to minimize our impact and give back to the destinations we go to.

1. Choose Sustainable Accommodations


Being responsible travelers does take little work but the first step to get started is by choosing an accommodation that conducts business in a sustainable manner. The easiest way is to check their website and social media to see if they are engaged in either environment conservation or helping the community around them. Many hotels brands like for instance, The H Dubai, are striving to reduce their business impact by working towards the environment conservation, practicing fair-trade, conducting CSR initiatives for the local community and much more. The H Dubai has also been awarded the Green Key Certificate for 2021 by the Emirates Green Building Council for its sustainable initiatives. Hence, look deeper to make a sustainable staying decision.

2. Offset your Carbon Footprint


While planning our travel itineraries, we often lose sight of how it affects the environment. Be it traveling through multiple flights, wasting water & electricity unconsciously or polluting the local environment, our carbon footprint as travelers is immense. Hence, mindfully taking few steps can go a long way! For instance:
– Choose destinations that are closer to home and do not require too many flight transits.
– Instead of taking taxis, explore by walking, cycling or taking public transport.
– Always remember to switch off the lights, air-conditioning, heating and water taps before leaving your hotel rooms.
– Just like in our homes we don’t clean our bedroom linen every day, start saying no to housekeeping for your hotel rooms for short term stays.
– Alongside, why not download a carbon-footprint calculator application on your smartphone so that you can stay mindful while enjoying the destination.

Offset your carbon footprint
Reduce single-use plastic

3. Reduce usage of Single-use Plastic


While it may seem a bit challenging looking at the amount of plastic being used around us, as travelers, little steps can go a long way. Here’s how:
– Instead of buying plastic water bottles, replace it with a reusable water bottle that you can keep filling throughout your travel.
– Always carry your own reusable shopping bags rather than accumulating a bunch of shopping bags.
– Having your own set of silverware or reusable cutlery will enable you to say no to plastic cutlery or straws.
– Carry you own toiletries, replace your plastic toothbrushes to bamboo ones or invest in cotton masks, it’s time to start thinking reusable while you pack for your trips.

4. Experience Slow Travel


Don’t we sometimes feel that we need a holiday from a holiday? You will probably agree with me that sometimes our travel itineraries can leave us exhausted. This is because we keep hopping from one destination to another to cover as much as possible in a short period of time. While this looks very attractive, the carbon footprint caused due to fast-paced travel is immense.


Thus, a new mind-set emerging along the lines of sustainability is to indulge in “Slow Travel”. It focuses on experiencing more by doing less. By slowing down your pace, it enables you to experience a destination more deeply and build meaningful connections through local food, people and cultures. It makes you feel more relaxed and connected with yourself by reducing stress levels. Moreover, it’s a budget-friendly way to travel. So, why not choose slow? Because sometimes slowing down can give you unexpected and life-changing experiences too.

Slow Travel

5. Be mindful of food waste


Travel industry is one of the largest contributors to the global food wastage challenge. While exploring through food is a must-do during our travels, we need to be mindful about wasting it. Small changes can make a big difference:
– While going for an all-you-can-eat buffets seems tempting, take only enough in your plate that you can finish.
– Another way is to explore through eating in local restaurants which can allow you to control your portions, contribute to local businesses and also give you a taste of their culture.
– Moreover, packing your leftovers in reusable boxes to consume later is always a good idea.
– Pick restaurants that locally and ethically source their produce and replace your packaged food snacks with fresh produce from local markets for a refreshing experience.

As Oscar Wilde once said, “Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets”. Let’s together contribute towards sustainable tourism.

Sustainability in the Food Service Industry


By Simran Tandon


Last weekend while dining with a friend, we wanted to indulge in everything new on the menu. To be honest, we weren’t able to finish it all and neither had enough portion to get it packed. There was a long moment of regret when I saw it go to waste. The human virtue of over-indulgence makes us lose sight of how much we as individuals waste food which has a compounding effect. When it comes to food-service businesses, the magnitude of this waste is immense. Upon research, I found that in 2022, 40% or 2.5 tonnes of food produced for human consumption was wasted and dumped in landfills.


With Goal 12 “Responsible Consumption and Production” being part of the ‘United Nations Sustainable Developments Goals’, the food industry players have to step up to the challenge of managing and minimizing food waste to reduce the environmental impact. So, whether you are a small food startup or a large food production establishment, give this blog a read as it will familiarize you with ways through which you can make your business more sustainable.

1. Embrace Seasonal & Local Approaches


The first step towards sustainability starts with menu planning and the food sourcing strategy. According to an American study, food wastage starts the minute we increase the food miles i.e. the distance our food travels from the farm to the final plate. By sourcing food from faraway lands for cheaper prices, we are actually increasing our carbon footprint and food loss due to the distance, packaging, and transportation involved. Rather, why not start ‘Eating with the seasons?” Commonly known as the local and seasonal approach, this method aims at creating menus that use seasonal and locally sourced ingredients like it is done at The H Dubai hotel. Along with serving dishes that are fresh and nutritious, you also uplift the vendor community around you which is an essential aspect of sustainability also. Expanding our menu thinking to incorporate the principles of farm-to-fork will not only give your restaurant an edge but also longevity of the business.

2. Use skin to seeds

When I see my grandmother and mother, they know how to use every inch of a vegetable or fruit from the skin to the seed. For instance, let’s take a watermelon, the red fruit part can be used for direct consumption or to make juices or gelato, the skin or rind can be pickled or turned into candy and the remaining seeds can be sun-dried to be eaten raw or garnish on smoothies or soups. With creativity, any product can be used from the inside out if the mission is zero-wastage. In commercial kitchens, there are always leftovers that have the potential to be recycled. From fruit skins converted into candied cocktail garnishes to making salmon tartare using salmon pieces left after butchering, surprise your guests with creative plates that are with skin to seed approach.

3. Take a circular approach through technology – Biodigester 


One core principle of sustainability is that of the circular economy i.e. every product, ingredient, or material that comes from earth should be utilized to its fullest potential through the actions of elimination, circulation, or regeneration. When put into the food industry context, whatever ingredients you take from nature should be returned to it, not in the form of waste but something that can be put into the food system again for use. That’s when the virtues of composting or bio-digesting come into the picture. For large-scale food production operations, investing in a biodigester as part of your waste management strategy is an effective solution to follow the principles of the circular economy. After installing a biodigester, The H Dubai has been able to bio-digest 1,830kg of food waste which is equivalent to reducing 3.9 tonnes of carbon emission in the past few months. The machine can digest all food ingredients together and convert it into clean & environment-friendly water that is then used for irrigation purposes. Initiatives like these have not only assisted the hotel to reduce its carbon footprint but also given it the recognition of a Green Key Certified hotel by the Emirates Green Building Council.

3. Sharing is Caring


Our farmers actually produce 30% – 40% more food than is required for human consumption but unfortunately it gets lost in the food processing cycle and doesn’t reach all mouths. That’s when we have to step up to feed as many as we can. Food businesses often face the challenge of over-production. Instead of getting rid of this food by throwing it, share it with people who will value it. In your communities, find and connect with charities through social media to ensure that food reaches people who need it the most. Food-sharing practices are existent in almost all cultures of the world, this time let’s make them a part of the business environment to benefit all.


5. Educate your team


The biggest challenge that exists in front of Executive Chefs when it comes to running sustainable operations is “staff motivation and training”. Sustainability starts first with the people that work in the organization. Every kitchen should have one person that not only monitors the critical sustainability controls but also undertake regular classes to educate the staff about sustainability. Taking the employees to local farms, vineyards and markets will make them conscious of how much effort goes into producing food. The knowledge of the cycle i.e. from food origin to the final plate should be processed by every chef to become passionate about food sustainability. This way the employees can design better menus and bring creativity to the workplace.



Sustainability in kitchens can only be achieved when teams set achievable goals which are mapped out through action plans. If you are just starting off, start small by identifying gaps in your menus, training the staff regularly and promoting creativity in the workplace. Sustainability being the theme of 2023 in UAE, let’s start to make a positive impact on our environment.

Know the love language behind gifting during Valentines


By Simran Tandon


While everyone loves Valentines Day, when it comes to gifting, this is where the true struggle lies. With the broad spectrum of gift options available, I always find myself in a purchasing dilemma with questions like “whether he/she will like the gift”, “will it be worth the purchase” and so on and so forth. I am sure you also face the same.


Hence, to ease the dilemma for this Valentine’s season, I did a bit of research. To my surprise, I found that the perception of gifts differs from person to person based on their love language. Gary Chapman, the author of the book, “The 5 Love Languages” quotes that the way people best perceive love translates to the gifts they find the most meaningful. Knowing the love language of your special ones helps us in making conscious decisions about how we wish to communicate appreciation through gifts. Some people value words of affirmation more and some respect actions more. Hence, this blog will break down for you the 5 love languages to make the act of giving more memorable for you.

1. Gift of Words of Affirmation


We often remind ourselves that ‘actions speak louder than words’ but interestingly, the value of words holds greater importance for some people whose love language is “words of affirmation”. In any meaningful relationship, the primary human need is to feel “affirmed” i.e. to be seen, valued, understood and appreciated by the other person. Psychological research says that using words to express love and gratitude keeps relationships healthy. So if words matter the most for your partner, write them love letters, leave surprise notes around to make their day, send messages during their workday, and compliment them. Words aren’t tangible gifts but for some people, they are the greatest gift of all.


2. Gift of Quality Time


In a world where our time is divided between million things, getting someone’s undivided attention is a profound gesture to express affection. People with this love language value someone’s time more and cherish making memories together. It’s not just about sharing the same physical space but about being engaging and intentional about how you spend that time bonding and strengthening your connection. It can be as little as cooking a date meal together, going on long drives, having beach days or taking a trip together. The H Dubai has the perfect activity for those who value time together – Valentines Mixology Classes at H Bar which gives you a chance to bond together over learning something unique. 

3. Gift of Receiving


Big or small, expensive or inexpensive, receiving thoughtful gifts is a love language for many people. This can often be confused with being materialistic but in its truest sense, the ‘thought’ behind the gift matters more to the people of this language. Taking the time out to pick a tangible gift conveys to them that they are worth your time and effort. Be it their favourite scented candles or an exclusive jewellery piece, what makes them feel cherished is the emotional meaning behind it. The H Dubai’s “Gift of Memories” Gift Vouchers with specially curated stay, dining and relaxation experiences are a perfect surprise for loved ones.


4. Gift of Service


In contrast to the love language of ‘affirmative words’, there are people who value the ‘gift of actions’ more than anything. This love language centers on doing voluntary actions to make life easier or comfortable for the other person even though they did not ask for it, such as running errands, picking up the dry cleaning, doing the grocery shopping, or other household chores. This reflects an intimate awareness of your partner and their needs. 

5. Gift of Physical Touch


You might have heard people say that a ‘hug can solve everything’. This is because human touch can make people feel safe, homely and releases hormones that are associated with pleasure and bonding. Furthermore, it’s known to decrease stress and anxiety levels. Undoubtedly this can be a tricky gift for most of us whose love language might not be physical touch. So some ideas could be gifting them a spa voucher or even a cosy warm blanket.

So go ahead and figure out the love language of you and your partner to make this Valentine’s extra special. And don’t forget some of the best gifts don’t cost a cent!