Dubai Marina: Living Amongst the Rich
Known as the Venice of the Middle East, Dubai Marina is a city within the already bustling cosmopolitan paradise of Dubai. Well-known among savvy business and pleasure travelers, Dubai Marina offers a glimpse of the Future City, complete with rooftop gardens and artistically rendered skyscrapers that look like giant curving sculptures – a far cry from the blocky buildings of the West.
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The city consists of an entirely man-made network of canals, crowned by domed skyscrapers that exemplify East Meeting West on the shores of the Persian Gulf. The United Arab Emirates has taken its oil money and slowly invested it in its infrastructure, and is now reaping the rewards as travelers come flocking to see “the jewel in the desert” known as Dubai.
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Dubai Marina is still under development, but it’s just developed enough to have a flair and glitz all its own. The fact that skyscrapers are constantly being built by artisans with a vision for a magnificent and beautiful Middle East, lends a sense of excitement to your experience of Dubai Marina. As the up-and-coming travel destination in the world, everyone who’s anyone wants to check out what the people of Dubai have done with their oilfield riches. When you book a stay at any hotels in Dubai, you can be sure you’ll be hobnobbing with the upper crust, dancing with well-heeled people from the world over, and living amongst the rich.
While Dubai Marina is being constructed as a largely residential area, there are still plenty of places to go and things to see once you’ve gotten over wandering the streets in awe. The beaches and walkways are lovely and groomed to perfection, and yachts can be rented along the quays for a day out on the Gulf.
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You can also take the swooping monorail to nearby Palm Jumeirah, one of the largest man-made islands in the world just off the coast of Dubai Marina. Structured as the luxury traveler’s paradise, Jumeirah is home to a number of upscale shopping centers like the Town Center, where you can purchase some of the most exotic and unique clothing, jewelry, and beauty products in the world. This mall provides all the gilded spaciousness of an Arabian market combined with the safety of a Western shopping center. With international eateries from all over the world, the Town Center Jumeirah is definitely worth a visit.
If you’re looking for somewhere fun to go, check out the Mercato on Palm Jumeirah. As the only Renaissance-themed shopping mall in the middle east (and one of the few in the world!), you can indulge your inner geek and ogle at the traditional Italian, Spanish and French festivals happening just outside your favorite stores like the Virgin Megastore, Hugo Boss, and even Starbucks. As if an Arabian paradise surrounded by desert wasn’t fascinating enough, this will surely titillate your “huh! That’s so cool!” response as you walk by jesters doing street performance or regaling the crowd with Renaissance-themed skits.
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Fascinatingly, there aren’t many museums in Dubai Marina. If you’d like to explore what traditional Arabian culture looked and felt like, however, you can simply visit certain modern malls, restaurants and bars which have been lovingly rendered to look like old-time souks. The souk, or traditional open-air market, was the center for commerce, entertainment and excitement in Arabian cultures hundreds of years ago. The Souk Madinat Jumeirah, also on the island accessible from Dubai Marina, is one such shopping center, with over seventy shops, bars, cafes and a nightclub. After you’ve done your day shopping at the Town Center, this is definitely the place to have fun at night with other travelers. Thankfully it is air-conditioned, unlike the souks of hundreds of years ago!
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Dubai Marina is undoubtedly one of the most interesting travel destinations in the Middle East. Whether you’re a fan of Middle Eastern culture, whether you’re a veteran traveler, or whether you’ve just got some time and money to kill, Dubai Marina’s artistically- and culturally-rendered modernity is not something to pass up.