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| 23 October, 2017

Al Seef: Where old Dubai meets the new

View of Downtown Dubai with iconic Burj Khalifa in the background. Image used for illustrative purpose.

View of Downtown Dubai with iconic Burj Khalifa in the background. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Dubai Tourism

First phase of Bur Dubai heritage area redeveloped into leisure destination opens

Sitting under the awnings of shops along the creek at Al Seef, you can feel like a 19th century merchant sipping a hot cup of Arabic coffee.

Ambling along the stone-paved alleys, called sikkas locally, you could well be walking through an ancient oriental souq, if not for the sunlight reflecting from shiny skyscrapers in the background reminding you of contemporary reality.

Sprawling along the Bur Dubai side of Dubai’s fabled creek, Al Seef is a living reminder of how the city used to be, with its quiet, laidback ambience.

It is an extension of Al Fahidi historical district, complete with barjeels (traditional wind towers), coral stone walls and gypsum plaster.

Nestled just a few blocks away from the crowded markets of Bur Dubai and right across the busy business districts of Deira, the newly developed destination offers some respite from the noise of the city, right in the middle of it.

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Developed by Meraas, phase one of the leisure destination, with a variety of coffee shops, eateries and boutiques, opened to the public last month.

Though only a handful of shops have opened, a variety of outlets like The Brass coffee shop, Bikanerwala food outlet, London Dairy ice cream parlour and others offer people enough options to relax.

Apart from food and coffee shops, Al Seef also has 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.

According to Meraas, the 1.8km long destination aims to tell Dubai’s story through architecture and memorable experiences, enabling visitors to rediscover the heart of the city along its much-loved creek.

“Dubai Creek holds a special place in the history of Dubai. Its peaceful shores have welcomed travellers and tradesman since ancient times, and the development of Al Seef reflects a commitment at Meraas, to revitalise an area known for its vibrancy,” said Abdullah Al Habbai, group chairman of Meraas.

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 to be ready by 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.

The development is divided into a historic block and a modern-looking block of shops, cafes and underground parking.

“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,” added Al Habbai.

The destination also has three hotels with a combined 550 rooms, each with its own unique appeal.

Al Seef is fully pedestrian-friendly and benefits from a multimodal transport system that links to key locations across the city. The nearest metro station, BurJuman is just 400 metres away from one of the destination, while Al Fahidi station is also just a short walk away from the other end.

Al Seef is also connected with marine transport network including water buses, water taxis and abra, along with private yacht moorings.

Basement parking as well as valet parking facilities are available currently for free.

In numbers

1.8km long destination

2.5 million square feet built up area

3 hotels, 550 rooms

550 shopping and dining options

700 parking spaces

Connectivity: Metro and marine transport

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