It may be hard to imagine now, but ten years ago, Dubai Marina was barely more than a wide expanse of sand, populated by dredging machinery and cranes. Fast forward a decade, and among some of the world’s tallest residential towers you’ll find one of the city’s busiest neighbourhoods. With a steady stream of new restaurants, bars, shops and hotels month after month, it’s never been a more popular place to live, work and play.
Like the rest of Dubai, the neighbourhood has seen its fair share of ups and downs – almost constant congestion since the start of works on the Dubai Tram have seen it fall out of favour at times.
This time last year, the popularity of Jumeirah Beach Residence (the sandy-hued development overlooking the length of the shore) was beginning to wane and the imminent arrival of new shopping and dining complex The Beach had prospective residents looking elsewhere in a bid to avoid an anticipated worsening of the traffic situation.
But the predicted Marina exodus has yet to materialise. As it happens, the arrival of the new development seems to have instead strengthened the area’s appeal, and rents across the neighbourhood having been trending upwards since the end of 2013. And as more tower blocks lining the perimeter of the marina waterway itself reach completion, new cafés, shops and salons come with them.
Dubai Marina Mall largely looks after the rather desperate lack of parking for visitors, meaning that even if you don’t live in the area, you can enjoy with ease the vast, meandering pedestrian footpaths and free play parks that line the water.
With there being always so much to do in the area, we take a look at the Marina’s best, most unique and in-vogue places to eat, drink, play and be pampered to help you get a head-start.