The Palm Jumeirah doesn’t yet have a full completion date, but for 2,500 families it’s already home. A feeling of holiday pervades, with 30 boutique hotels gradually appearing and the beach never more than a short walk away. There’s a sense of community, too: people know their neighbours and the playgrounds are packed with kids. Couples flock to the beach and runners make it their avenue.
If fitness is your thing, there’s aerobic dance classes, and the local health club offers views of the Burj Al Arab. Aside from being a luxury destination, much of the draw of The Palm comes from it being such a unique place to live, a little off the beaten track, but still close to the Marina, JBR and Sheikh Zayed Road. With the addition of Atlantis raising the bar for restaurants and clubs in the ’hood, and plans in the works for Trump Tower and the Golden Mile, The Palm is certainly on the up and up, but there are many delights that the residents already take pleasure in on this man-made home in the sea.
1 Nora Dance Studio
From Arabic dance to salsa, Bollywood, Latin, belly dance and hip hop, Nora dance studio offers classes for all ages from their studio on The Palm. There are beginners’ and advanced classes in a location that is just lovely, to say the least.
Al Manhal building, between Shoreline Apartments 3 and 4, 050 875 0111, www.noradancegroup.com
2 Bidi Bondi
Through the first set of heavy wooden doors and down the stairs in Shoreline Apartments, this Australian-themed beach and poolside sports bar is a unique place in Dubai to grab a drink after work. And it’s worth the search if just for the view of skyscrapers glimmering across the Gulf, the quiz night every Monday at 7.30pm and the relaxed surfer-chic vibe. And it’s ideal for watching a game.
Al Manhal, between Shoreline Apartments 3 and 4, 04 427 0515
A treasure of a florist, this tucked-away shop is more like a boutique than just a place to pick up a few stems. The glass storefront and chic decor – combined with a team of expert green-thumbs – are pretty enough without the bouquets. The designers here plan events and arrangements on-site and in this studio, and the business delivers all over The Palm and Dubai. But still – you shouldn’t leave the Shoreline without getting a designer bunch, from Dhs150.
Al Shalal, between Shoreline Apartment 7 and 8, 050 878 7620 www.blissdubai.com
4 Barça Club
For an evening date, and a divine plate of seafood paella, this restaurant gets our vote. The food is great and the location provides a hideaway from the usual over-the-top Dubai. Neighbourhood foodies agree and flock here.
Al Nabaa, between Shoreline Apartment 9 and 10, 04 427 0498
It may strike you as a posh club on your way in, but get past the ladies with clipboards, take in the lavish interior with chandeliers dripping in red lights, make your way out to the more laid-back terrace for drinks under the stars (Yes! You can see the stars in Dubai!) – and you’ll discover an atmosphere as friendly as an open-air local pub. (Tip: with a stamp from the bartender, the Atlantis valet parking is free.)
Atlantis, 04 426 0000
For late-night dessert, this French brasserie stays open until 11pm. More high-class than your local cafeteria, and just a pleasant drive down The Palm, Rostang is perfect for a sweet treat (the warm lemon cake is incredible), as well as a host of other French fare. If you’ve already had dinner, you won’t be spending an arm and a leg, and you’ll get to stroll past the aquarium (and Sammy the whale shark) on your way.
Atlantis, 04 426 0000
This 4,000 sqft sensual centre features two separate spas for men and women. Services come in many forms, including facials, anti-cellulite treatments, milk baths, and some special ones for mothers to be. They even have massages for the morning after a wild party, and to cure jet-lag. It must be magic!
Al Nafura, Shoreline beach club 1, 04 422 7115
If your budget doesn’t allow pricey flowers – just down the road at the small, family-run market, Dhs50 will get you the most full and aromatic bunch of orchids for your kitchen table. All Day Mini Mart, Al Manhal, between Shoreline Apartments 3 and 4.
04 226 8681
Joe and Jane Clabby
IT researcher & Volunteer, American
‘Coming to Dubai was a funny story for us. We all came to visit four years ago. When our daughter begged to go abroad for high school, we said no to Australia. We said no to the Bahamas. When she requested Dubai, Jane decided she wanted to, too. And that was that. The four of us moved over here.’
Micheal and Stevie Lancarter
‘The beaches, the bars, the restaurants, it’s all right here! We love the lifestyle. Michael is working on the Trump Tower just down the street. We have lived in the Middle East for four years, and we last lived in Bahrain. Now that rents are going down, The Palm’s even better, honestly. But it is sometimes difficult for visitors to park.’
Palm Monorail will travel the entire length of The Palm Jumeirah. There will be two stops for now: Gateway Station and Atlantis Station.