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Dubai Marina and JBR
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Dubai Marina and JBR

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Either side of a large canal stretching 3.5 kilometres, offering access to the Arabian Gulf from both ends, sits Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) and Dubai Marina, the urban waterfront metropolis of Dubai.

Sophisticated and cosmopolitan, the 50,000 square foot development features sleek skyscrapers, luxury hotels and high-end dining and shopping. At the same time, it attracts families and groups with a redeveloped beachfront and a host of outdoor leisure activities. As with all of Dubai’s key districts, there is something for every taste.

The refined, grown-up sibling to Dubai Mall, Marina Mall offers a fairly calm shopping experience in comparison. It is surrounded by Marina Walk, featuring restaurants including Bistro des Artes, finally offering an authentic taste of Paris in Dubai.

Adjacent to the Mall is Pier 7, a striking circular building with seven restaurants all offering al fresco dining and stunning vistas across the marina, including Atelier M, Asia Asia, Fume and The Scene. The venue also acted as a 28 metre-high diving board for the finale of the 2016 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.

Cross one of the bridges to the other side of the marina and you’ll find the super-modern InterContinental Dubai Marina, complete with ESPA spa and Marina Social, the first Dubai outpost from celebrated British celebrity chef Jason Atherton.

Take time to explore JBR and  The Beach in front of it, a luxury low-rise development featuring stores, cafes and restaurants and a Reel Cinema. There’s a jogging track, outdoor exercise machines and bootcamps as well.

At the end of JBR, The Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Dubai – Jumeirah Beach has made quite a name for itself among the Marina’s trendsetters thanks to its cool oyster bar and grill The Maine, and pub and bar, Stereo Arcade. For other nightlife options, try  Societe at Marina Byblos,  Pure Sky Lounge at Hilton Dubai The Walk and  Cargo at Pier 7.

At the other end of the strip, near to Al Sufouh, don’t forget to visit the  Zero Gravity Beach Club, with a huge infinity pool and weekly gigs with big-name DJs, or head to an old classic,
Barasti at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi – still one of Dubai’s best beach bars and busiest venues for sports fans.

There’s plenty of choice for where to stay, as well. There are hotels and serviced apartments for every budget, with brands such as Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham open in JBR and Marina Byblos Hotel, Wyndham Dubai Marina and Jannah Place Dubai Marina. At the upper end of the market, hotels include Grosvenor House, Le Royal Meridien, The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, and The Address Dubai Marina.

There is plenty more to come. Located off the JBR coastline is BlueWaters island, featuring hotels, retail, F&B – including a traditional ‘food hall’ style marketplace – and entertainment zones. The unmissable Ain Dubai, a 210-metre high ferris wheel that will offer breath-taking views of Burj Al Arab and Palm Jumeirah, is the main attraction, luring visitors from the mainland to the AED6 billion (US$1.6 billion) island. It will overtake the world’s tallest ferris wheel, the Singapore Flyer, and attract three million tourists a year.  Access will be via a 1,400-metre mega bridge connecting Bluewaters directly to the Jumeirah Lake Towers interchange of Sheikh Zayed Road.

There are several ways to get around Dubai Marina; by car, Dubai Metro, Dubai Tram, or on foot. Frequent waterbus services also transport passengers around the marina, while Dubai Ferry links Dubai Marina Mall station with Al Ghubaiba in Bur Dubai.