Jumeirah District: what to do and where to eat
Our guide to discovering the Beverly Hills of the Middle East
Behind the imposing skyscrapers, stretching out for miles along the coast, a strip of land overlooks the Gulf. Jumeirah, which not surprisingly means ‘beautiful’ in Arabic, comprises the most beautiful villas and homes in Dubai. ‘The Beverly Hills of the Middle East’, once a neighbourhood of ﬁshermen, traders, and pearl hunters, represents an oasis of peace in the sparkling and hectic epicentre of the city.
The streets of sand-coloured terraced villas of Jumeirah are populated only at certain times, following the rhythm of the hot and sunny Arab countries in stark contrast to the Dubai that never sleeps, with its constant bustle.
Apart from the residential area, Jumeirah is known for some of the iconic places and buildings in Dubai.
Towering north of Jumeirah street is the famous Burj al Arab, one of the region’s most famous hotels. Its ﬂoors and walls are made up of exclusive Italian marble. 2,000sqm of 24K gold leaves decorate the interiors, enriched by the world’s most enormous Swarovski crystal ceiling. Built to resemble the billowing sail of a dhow, the traditional Emirati boat, the structure faces the open sea, just as the United Arab Emirates looks to the future representing the avant-garde approach of the emirate’s leadership.
Not far from the sail-shaped building of Burj al Arab, Jumeirah hides its small pearl: the Souk Madinat. Boutiques with fabrics and Abayas alternate with spice shops and cafes in an atmosphere that savours all of Arabia. Inside, it is an endless maze of tiny alleys and wood-framed walkways, with a colorful treasure trove of little stands that sell all kinds of clothing and local trinkets. The Souk Madinat is even crossed by a small water channel on which traditional Emirati boats offer tours across the creek. These Emirati-style gondolas are the perfect way to wind your way along the tranquil waterways. Souk Madinat is certainly a destination within a destination!
To ﬂank the whole area of Jumeirah then, her. The queen of Dubai beaches: Kite. A strip of white sand bathed by the warm and turquoise Arabian sea. Kite Beach is the place par excellence for sea lovers, athletes, and Sunday walkers. In the land of kite surfers, you can ride a bike, enjoy Italian coffee, and admire the red-ﬁre sun plunging into the water at sunset. On Ramadan nights, family gatherings and picnics with every delicacy animate the white and quiet strip of sand.
The extensive district of Jumeirah stretches up to one of the must-see mosques of Dubai. Jumeirah Mosque, built entirely from white stone in perfect medieval Fatimid tradition, stands out with its towering twin minarets framing a large central dome.
This wonder is not the largest mosque in the UAE, yet it is one of the few open to non-Muslims.
You probably do not know that in the district of Jumeirah, one can experience the feeling of a relaxing trip out of town without being out of town!
Some hidden angles of the area have nothing less than a wellness destination: outdoor spaces dedicated to ﬁtness classes, healthy eating, and enchanting gardens.
The serene atmosphere that pervades plant-based cafe Seva, with its tree stumps for tables and colorful garden, is meant for green and conscious consumption lovers. Seva is a proper wellness facility that offers workshops and private sessions spanning emotional and physical bodywork, energetic treatments, and astrology readings. This plant-based, gluten-free, and GMO-free cafe leads you far away from the city.
Another oasis of peace in the heart of Jumeirah is Comptoir 102. Built to resemble a Californian villa from the 70s, this concept store pops up among the palm trees, and offers healthy and fresh food in a chic setting between bamboo designs and Persian carpets. Reading a book in the courtyard while enjoying green juices and smoothies in hand makes the Comptoir visit worthwhile.
A day spent discovering Jumeirah cannot but end along the Fishing Harbor, where the old meets the young. Small seafood restaurants surrounded by ﬁshing boats docked in the harbour recall when Dubai was a land of ﬁshermen. Among the culinary offerings is the one of 3Fils, which is nothing but an open kitchen with fresh Asian and vibrant flavours having a strong nod to Japan. Not by chance, 3Fils won the recognition of ‘restaurant.’