Dubai continues to surprise and amaze with a stream of new attractions and world-class developments that fast become part of the city’s must-visit list. If you’re an adventure seeker eager to ride the biggest rollercoaster in town, a bargain-
The alluring beachfront at La Mer
Stretching out into the ocean from the prestigious Jumeira 1 neighbourhood, La Mer, a world-class beachfront developed by Meraas to diversify the fabric of Dubai’s offering to visitors and residents, the breath-taking destination promises to be an inspiring environment, while setting a new global benchmark for beachfront developments with its uninterrupted views of the Arabian Gulf and iconic city skyline.
Spanning 13.4 million square feet of existing and reclaimed land, and located between Pearl Jumeira and Jumeira Bay, La Mer offers a unique lifestyle that complements one of the most sought-after districts in Dubai. Spread over three areas – La Mer South, La Mer North and The Wharf – La Mer takes its inspiration from the way the sea embraces driftwood, timber, rusted metal, barrels and other items, brought by the tide to shore, many of which form the main elements of the built-up environment. This theme is visible through the architecture and public spaces, creating a welcoming and carefree place where people can feel at ease and celebrate life from the moment they set foot in the destination.
The second phase of La Mer, The Wharf, incorporates rusty steelworks and an industrial aesthetics, with a waterpark featuring a surf park that is a first-of-its kind in the region; a cinema, additional shops, cafés and restaurants. These additions, are scheduled to open at the start of 2018. At a later stage, there will also be a hotel and residential community located on two man-made peninsulas.
Surrounded by almost 2.5 kilometres of relaxing sandy beaches and situated a stone’s throw away from points of interest such as the Etihad Museum and the Dubai Water Canal, the shopping, dining and entertainment areas at La Mer will open to the public in two phases. The first phase comprises La Mer North and La Mer South, which has over 130 hundred shops, cafés, restaurants, and beach activities, that act as a meeting point for people to enjoy a great time, whether they are visiting La Mer to eat, play or unwind.
Several food and beverage concepts will make their first appearance in the region, including a number of distinguished licensed restaurants alongside numerous shopping experiences. Residents and visitors will find a natural playground created for children to play safely next to the warm gentle waves. Friends and families can share an entertaining time together, while those looking for an upbeat experience will find a vibrant atmosphere at the ‘Sea Spice’ beach club, opening soon.
Day rooms and cabanas will allow residents and visitors to enjoy a carefree day by the sea from dawn until dusk, without straying too far from the convenience of the city. La Mer is also the perfect place for a walk along the beach, a swim in the sea or a dance on the beach. In a first outside of East Asia, La Mer will also be home to ‘Hawa Hawa’, a new air-filled trampoline concept that was first created and installed in public parks in Japan.
In addition to combining shopping, dining and leisure attractions, La Mer integrates minimalist and contemporary design elements. The existing beaches have been redeveloped to include showers, toilets with baby changing and disabled access, free wifi, information hubs, mobile charging, prayer rooms, four children’s playground areas and over 1,000 parking spaces are among the other amenities. Valet parking will also be available on-site.
Heritage and contemporary at Al Seef
The 1.8km long destination aims to tell Dubai’s story through architecture and unique experiences, enabling visitors to rediscover the heart of the city along its much-loved creek. Al Seef was designed to bring to life the traditional Emirati culture that underpins Dubai’s iconic heritage.
A visit to the destination, located adjacent to Al Fahidi historical district, will inspire both residents and tourists with its authentic design aesthetic and ambience, paying homage to the age-old traditions of the UAE. The heritage area at Al Seef is patterned after old architecture in Dubai, while the sophisticated contemporary area contains sleek architectural spaces that blend seamlessly. Bridging the gap between the old and new, Al Seef will bring to life elements of old Dubai by recreating experiences rooted in local culture and heritage, while revitalising the tourism experience around one of the UAE’s most popular locations.
His Excellency Abdulla Al Habbai, Group Chairman of Meraas, said: “By combining traditional and modern design elements, the destination highlights the role the creek has played, and continues to play, in the evolution of Dubai, and reinforces the city’s position as a leading international tourism destination by enriching the experience for visitors and creating new economic opportunities for local businesses.”
The shopping, dining, entertainment and tourism destination covers a total built up area of 2.5 million square feet and houses close to 500 shopping and dining concepts, offering global cuisine overlooking the creek. The second phase of the destination, scheduled for delivery at the end of the first quarter of next year, will comprise of an authentic souq, similar to those that were common in Dubai in the 1950s, with a traditional vibe and delightful retail and dining experiences of its own.
With a selection of floating restaurants, a marina for private yachts, floating market and links to the Dubai water taxi network, Al Seef also celebrates Dubai’s rich maritime heritage and the role that the creek has played in the city’s transformation. These features add to the charming atmosphere at Al Seef and resonate throughout the many alleyways and walkways that are packed with captivating shops, cafés, restaurants, and an events plaza where a variety of exciting activities will bring this area of the creek to life.
The destination has three hotels with a combined 550 rooms, each with its own unique appeal. The 200-key heritage hotel offers an authentic Arabian hospitality experience that reflects life as it once was for those who lived on the shores of the creek, with rooms located in intimate surroundings above restaurants and shops in the heritage area. Guests can relive these past moments and enjoy the vibe Al Seef emanates. The contemporary area will have two hotels embodying its modern and trendy surroundings, with 200 and 150 keys each, allowing guests to experience Dubai’s past, while staying in an environment that represents the city’s modern lifestyle.
Residents and tourists will also be able to explore an open-air market of hand-crafted artefacts, textiles, accessories and many more small treasures. The destination will also host an array of fun-filled activities for the families to enjoy.
Al Seef is fully pedestrianised and benefits from a multimodal transport system that links to key locations across the city. Dubai International Airport and Downtown Dubai are both a short drive for those arriving by car, with valet parking and plenty of underground parking spaces available upon arrival. Two metro stations are located close by, with regular shuttle busses operating between key hotels within Dubai and other connections to the RTA public transport network operating between several prominent hotels. The creek offers access to Al Seef with yacht moorings; water taxis and abras that service the destination.