When I was researching the UAE before my first visit to the emirates, Dubai Marina was something that came up time and again. I must have scrolled through dozens of images showing the glittering skyscrapers all lit up, their lights reflecting on the shimmering water, lined with row upon row of luxury yachts. Afterwards, when I was planning to move to Dubai, I knew that Dubai Marina was where I wanted to live - and statistics show, it’s still one of the most popular areas for expats.
Since moving here a few months ago, I’ve discovered just what it is that makes this a sought after spot, with residents and visitors alike.
For one thing, you definitely feel like you’re in the centre of things. There are some Dubai neighbourhoods that have more of a quiet, suburban-like feel, but Dubai Marina definitely isn’t one of them. There’s so much activity and vibrancy, and it’s a part of the city that never seems to sleep.
Just take a walk along the Marina Promenade at any time of the day or night and you’ll see what I mean - it’s always buzzing, whether with market stalls selling their wares, runners pounding the pavement beside the water, couples and families out for a walk, or even live performances, such as the ones during the Dubai Marina Street Festival. The event takes place once a year, and features entertainment acts from all over the world, with over 500 shows in 10 days. This year’s edition featured everything from dancers and magicians to artists and musicians, and I can’t wait to see what next year has in store.
Another amazing Dubai Marina destination for entertainment is Dubai Marina Mall. It’s definitely one of my favourite shopping areas in Dubai - it’s not so large that it’s overwhelming, but it still has many of my go-to brands under one roof, plus some really lovely cafes. The mall is linked directly to Pier 7, a great dining and nightlife destination that has something for every occasion. When I want a casual after-work get-together, a popular choice is Fume, while an extravagant weekend brunch calls for a table at Asia Asia. Either one is a good choice if you’re looking for stunning marina views.
Speaking of views, to see the city from above, visit Address Dubai Marina. Whenever I have guests to impress, I take them to Shades, a rooftop lounge set alongside a stunning infinity pool. While we tuck into a menu of Mediterranean and Asian-inspired cuisine, we also enjoy the beautiful vistas of the city skyline.
For a great base nearby, try Rove Dubai Marina. Like all Rove Hotels, it offers comfortable, affordable accommodation from an ideal location, right in the heart of the action.
Soon, visitors to Dubai Marina will have an exciting new way to view Dubai Marina from above, when Ain Dubai, the largest and highest observation ferris wheel in the world, opens. Over the years, anyone who has visited The Walk or The Beach in Jumeirah Beach Residence, will have seen the architectural marvel in various states of construction. But soon, we’ll be able to look out over the marina from the wheel itself, and its location on the upcoming leisure destination Bluewaters Island. The man-made island will have the Ain Dubai as it’s centrepiece, but also boast plenty of dining, shopping and entertainment outlets, linked back to Jumeirah Beach Residence via a pedestrian bridge.
For all the new developments though, there’s a lot to be said for the Dubai Marina destinations that have stood the test of time. The Beach JBR is a one-stop shop for all your weekend needs, as the outdoor mall has plenty of big name brands and multiple restaurants and cafes.
It’s also got one of Dubai’s best beaches, with soft white sand and calm, turquoise waters. Grab some gelato from Morelli’s and then pick a stretch of sand where you can relax and soak up the views of the Arabian Gulf. After all, what would a visit to Dubai be without a trip to the beach?
Emma S. is a Dubai resident and an avid traveller and foodie