InterContinental Dubai Marina
A morning stroll on the Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence, just outside the hotel. This is certainly how I like to start my day. Walking along the shoreline, I welcome the first sunrays and enjoy a great view of the sea. Early morning joggers and sunbathers are already dotting the area… I follow the spongy red track all the way to the end and there it is, one of my cherished places for breakfast, Almaz by Momo. It is 9:00am, the café opens and I am the first guest. It's not just the stylish and modern arty feel combined with a North African touch, but also all the creativity that Chef Mohamed Ourad brings to his dishes that one can enjoy. He recommends the gourmet breakfast with a mint tea… I already have my favourite table on the terrace, offering a great view of the burgeoning Bluewaters Island, the new sensation of Dubai, a manmade stretch into the sea that will soon welcome the world’s largest Ferris wheel, the Dubai Eye. I look to the right, following the humming sound of a small plane taking off from the far end of the seafront. And minutes later, up in the sky, an elegant ballet of a group of daring skydivers and their colorful parachutes comes to life. There it is, the famous Skydive Dubai. I know it will be my turn one day. Not too soon. I just need a little bit of time to psych myself up for the jump. The path back towards the Marina moves through the fashion boutiques of the open air mall along Jumeirah Beach Walk. A quick glimpse at the latest trends, and on over Al Gharbi Street bridge to cross the Marina and catch the ferry from Marina Mall Station bound for the Creek, the old part of the city. A gold or silver ticket? Silver should do. The next time we embark on this trip, please make sure to bring a decent photo camera. Cruising away, the skyline of the Dubai Marina stands majestically behind you. And then comes the famous Palm Jumeirah, the Burj Al Arab, and in the distance, the shadowy skyline of Downtown Dubai unmistakably recognizable thanks to the paramount Burj Khalifa. It's time to leave modern Dubai for a moment and embrace its ancient past. We land in the mouth of the Creek, at Al Ghubaiba Station, on the edge of Bur Dubai district the place where it all began.
Let’s start by a visit to Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House, built in 1928. Inside, we will discover old methods of construction, learn about traditional architecture and urban planning, the old way of life in huts made of barasti, the palm frond and constructions made of reef found in the nearby sea. The Barjeel wind towers, the air-conditioning of the times, or the Majlis and its social use will no longer hold secrets for us. Steps away is the Heritage Village. Quiet during the day, it offers a comprehensive insight into traditional lifestyle in Dubai, from the adventurous underwater search for pearls and their trade, the main source of revenue during this bygone era, to traditional stick and weapon dances. We can visit a rendering of a traditional diving village just outside. A place you should not miss is the House of Calligraphy, presenting the highest form of Islamic art, such an enchantment for the eyes. How about we continue now, down the Creek and board an Abra, the ancestor of the water taxi, to discover what the opposite shore has to show us. It's picture time again! While crossing the Creek, Old Dubai offers a 360° view on its past. Dhows, traditional wooden ships, still unload their hefty merchandise on the harbor. Where do they return from and where shall they be going? Don’t hesitate to ask any of the merchant sailors you meet for the answer. Allow yourself a break, and stop a moment for fresh coconut milk and street food with a taste brought to Dubai from India. And India means spices! We are here to take a route towards the Spice Souk. A feast for all the senses. Walking through narrow lanes, enjoy the lively atmosphere flush with spices and herbs that come with many shapes, sizes, colors and aromas. Watch out for the rushing delivery man, discuss recommendations from the stall vendors on saffron from Iran, dried fruits, or frankincense and learn how to combine your favorite recipes with unexpected flavors. The spice route leads us to the unique Gold Souk from which Dubai earned its nickname ‘City of Gold’. It is all there, gold in many forms such as necklaces, earrings, rings or bracelets. Walk from shop window to shop window and let your eyes get used to the shimmers of the precious metal. Gold is sold here at the official rate. The craftsmanship makes the difference in the price. We are here to practice our bargaining talents as it is the main way of getting the best deal. And don’t leave without at least a picture of the world’s largest gold ring should you not wish to take it home with you. It made its way to the Guinness Book of World Records.
It's time to catch a taxi back to modern Dubai for other discoveries. Shall we go to the Mall of the Emirates for fun going down the ski slope or should we enjoy the wonders of the Dubai Mall? Dubai Mall it is! The Dubai Mall, said to be the largest in the world and still expanding as you read these words, is a city within the city. It offers a range of world famous department stores, high end boutiques and a comprehensive choice of fashion shops. Shoes can be found in one large area, the Level Shoe District and to combine them with a pair of jeans, enjoy the Denim Village. We will find time for shopping. One always does. But allow me to show you the rich and breathtaking marine fauna of the Dubai Aquarium. You can dive in it. Literally!!! Or how about we practice our skating skills on the Olympic-size ice rink? Should you wish to enjoy family fun, Kidzania happily welcomes your little ones. So you are off to try that state-of-the-art flight simulator? May I be your co-pilot? Dubai Mall has certainly something in store for everyone. And before we leave, let’s follow the tracks to meet DubaiDino, an original Diplodocus dinosaur. Let’s now take a few steps towards Souk al Bahar, an elegant bazaar shopping and dining destination. For a great dining experience with your family and friends, Al Sammach is a venue specializing in sea food with a Middle-Eastern taste. Make your fish selection from the catch of the day and have it prepared in your own way. For a more cozy option, Karma Kafé offers a trendy lounge atmosphere in a refined setting that you can accompany with exotic cocktails and Asian fusion cuisine. Rest assured, in both venues, we asked for tables offering you the perfect view on the enchanting and captivating music, light and water fountains show at the foot of the impressive Burj Khalifa. A great way to end a Perfect Day… But what did we leave out? A desert safari? A fishing trip? A swim with the dolphins in the Creek area? Or maybe a race at the wheel of a sports car at Dubai’s autodrome? I guess that we all need more than one day in Dubai. Once at the hotel, I invite you to visit our Concierge Lounge for a chat with our dedicated team and more insights and insider tips on ever inspiring Dubai! Ahlan wa Sahlan!
There are three palm islands in Dubai: Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira. Palm Jumeirah, which is the only populated palm in Dubai, is the smallest of the three, and extends Dubai coastline by about 80km. It was built using land reclamation techniques, creating land on the Gulf Sea. 94 million cubic metres of sand and 5.5 million cubic metres of rock were used for its construction.
Sheikh Zayed Road
Also known as Highway E 11, Sheikh Zayed Road is the main highway in Dubai. It stretches however from Abu Dhabi all the way to Ras al Khaimah following the UAE’s coastline. It covers a distance of 558.4 km. One of Dubai's most recent projects is to create a Canal passing under the highway connecting the Dubai Creek to yet another location in the city.
Dubai Marina is the largest man-made marina in the world. It stretches along 3Km of Dubai’s coastline and offers a range of skyscrapers creating a new skyline. Locals hence named it the ‘New Dubai’. Dubai Marina is home to over 120,000 residents in its skyscrapers. It is worth noting that the Dubai Marina did not exist 12 years ago.
Al Fahidi Fort
Located in the old district of Bur Dubai, it is the oldest building in Dubai and was constructed between 1787 and 1799. It was first used to protect the area from rival tribes and is nowadays host to Dubai’s Museum which bears witness to ancient and traditional life in Dubai.
Persian Gulf Rupee
The Persian Gulf Rupee was the main currency used in the Persian Gulf between 1959 and 1966 and issued by the Indian Government. Equivalent to the Indian Rupee, it bore witness to the trade influence of India in the region. The current UAE Dirham was introduced in 1973, and is worth 0.27$ per Dirham.