Chilling out in Dubai's ice lounge

This isn't the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt. Or the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan. This, believe it or not, is the Chillout Cafe in Dubai, the region's first ice lounge. Honeymooners and other tourists from the parched Gulf countries are making a beeline here to cool off and get closer. The interior decor of Dubai's Chillout cafe is made entirely of carved ice, with frozen picture frames, ice curtains and frosty seats covered in fur. Owned by UAE's Sharaf Group, the cafe is lit with multi-colored fluorescent lights and the temperature inside is a frigid 6 degrees, about 40 degrees lower than the torrid desert air outside. For 60 dirhams apiece (US$ 16, INR 895), visitors are allowed to stay for 40 minutes and served one hot drink. They are also kitted out with thermal jackets, boots and fur hats provided by the cafe in a striking similarity to the ice hotels which dot Scandinavia in winter. The newly opened cafe draws about 100 visitors every day.

Photos: REUTERS

�A Saudi Arabian family drinks hot chocolate at Chillout cafe in Dubai. Chillout, owned by UAE's Sharaf Group, is the first ice lounge in the Middle East, with temperatures set at -6 degrees Celsius (21 degrees Farenheit). The cafe, with its illuminated interiors, curtains, paintings and seating arrangements, is all made of carved ice and frozen sculptures.
Travel Chillout cafe in Dubai
A Saudi Arabian family drinks hot chocolate at Chillout cafe in Dubai. Chillout, owned by UAE's Sharaf Group, is the first ice lounge in the Middle East, with temperatures set at -6 degrees Celsius (21 degrees Farenheit). The cafe, with its illuminated interiors, curtains, paintings and seating arrangements, is all made of carved ice and frozen sculptures.
�ÍA Saudi Arabian family drinks hot chocolate at Chillout cafe in Dubai May 12, 2013. Chillout, owned by UAE's Sharaf Group, is the first ice lounge in the Middle East, with temperatures set at -6 degrees Celsius (21 degrees Farenheit). The cafe, with its illuminated interiors, curtains, paintings and seating arrangements, is all made of carved ice and frozen sculptures. Picture taken May 12, 2013. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Tags: SOCIETY)
Travel Chillout cafe in Dubai
ÍA Saudi Arabian family drinks hot chocolate at Chillout cafe in Dubai May 12, 2013. Chillout, owned by UAE's Sharaf Group, is the first ice lounge in the Middle East, with temperatures set at -6 degrees Celsius (21 degrees Farenheit). The cafe, with its illuminated interiors, curtains, paintings and seating arrangements, is all made of carved ice and frozen sculptures. Picture taken May 12, 2013. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Tags: SOCIETY)
�A woman photographs her husband standing behind the bar at Chillout cafe in Dubai.
Travel Chillout cafe in Dubai
A woman photographs her husband standing behind the bar at Chillout cafe in Dubai.
Honeymooner Ahmed, form Saudi Arabia who got married last week, kisses his veiled bride at Chillout cafe in Dubai.
Travel Chillout cafe in Dubai
Honeymooner Ahmed, form Saudi Arabia who got married last week, kisses his veiled bride at Chillout cafe in Dubai.
A waitress serves hot chocolate at Chillout cafe in Dubai.
Travel Chillout cafe in Dubai
A waitress serves hot chocolate at Chillout cafe in Dubai.
�Ahmed, a Saudi Arabian, helps his newly-wed wife Nofa put on a fur hat at Chillout cafe in Dubai.
Travel Chillout cafe in Dubai
Ahmed, a Saudi Arabian, helps his newly-wed wife Nofa put on a fur hat at Chillout cafe in Dubai.
�A Saudi Arabian couple inspect the menu at Chillout cafe in Dubai.
Travel Chillout cafe in Dubai
A Saudi Arabian couple inspect the menu at Chillout cafe in Dubai.
�A general view of the Chillout cafe in Dubai.
Travel Chillout cafe in Dubai
A general view of the Chillout cafe in Dubai.
A British couple get themselves ready before entering Chillout cafe in Dubai.
Travel Chillout cafe in Dubai
A British couple get themselves ready before entering Chillout cafe in Dubai.
�ÆA British couple drink hot chocolate at Chillout cafe in Dubai May 12, 2013. Chillout, owned by UAE's Sharaf Group, is the first ice lounge in the Middle East, with temperatures set at -6 degrees Celsius (21 degrees Farenheit). The cafe, with its illuminated interiors, curtains, paintings and seating arrangements, is all made of carved ice and frozen sculptures. Picture taken May 12, 2013. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Tags: SOCIETY)
Travel Chillout cafe in Dubai
ÆA British couple drink hot chocolate at Chillout cafe in Dubai May 12, 2013. Chillout, owned by UAE's Sharaf Group, is the first ice lounge in the Middle East, with temperatures set at -6 degrees Celsius (21 degrees Farenheit). The cafe, with its illuminated interiors, curtains, paintings and seating arrangements, is all made of carved ice and frozen sculptures. Picture taken May 12, 2013. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Tags: SOCIETY)
A display shows the temperature at Chillout cafe in Dubai.
Travel Chillout cafe in Dubai
A display shows the temperature at Chillout cafe in Dubai.
�A toddler sits in his stroller while his parents tour the insides of the Chillout cafe in Dubai.
Travel Chillout cafe in Dubai
A toddler sits in his stroller while his parents tour the insides of the Chillout cafe in Dubai.
A passerby looks into the Chillout cafe in Dubai.
Travel Chillout cafe in Dubai
A passerby looks into the Chillout cafe in Dubai.

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