Is it a hotel? Is it a traditional Arabian village and Souk? No, it’s the one and only Madinat Jumeirah, a top Dubai attraction that doubles up as both a luxury hotel complex and must-see tourist site in one. This really is a destination in itself, whether you are staying in one of its three luxury resorts or not, as the beauty of Madinat Jumeirah is its size. You’ll lose yourself in a warren of market stalls, palm-lined waterways and gardens while here. In fact, this unique highlight of Dubai is so all-encompassing that many visitors find themselves thinking: ‘What is Madinat Jumeirah?’ before travelling. Well here at Infinity and Beyond Travel, we decided to take a look and clear up the confusion.
Hotels at Madinat Jumeirah
There are three five-star hotels at Madinat Jumeirah: the Jumeirah Al Qasr, Jumeirah Mina A’Salam and Jumeirah Al Naseem, plus summerhouses and villas dotted around the complex too. Each of those luxurious resorts has its own character, style, unique design and reason to book – depending on exactly what it is you’re looking for from your Dubai holiday, of course.
Jumeirah Al Qasr, for example, is laid out like an ancient palace, all decorative pools, fountains and grand stone balconies – a no-expense-spared recreation of the Middle-East’s old-world luxury. The property itself actually offers all the mod-cons and amenities you’d hope for from a five-star Dubai hotel, despite its evocatively nostalgic, imperial appearance. As such, a Bentley on arrival, an award-winning spa and suites awash with in-room extras are all part of the Jumeirah Al Qasr package, and fittingly so.
Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, on the other hand, is a more boutique and intimate beachfront hotel, known for its elegant interior design, relaxed seafront swimming pool and a truly memorable culinary journey across its clutch of onsite eateries, bars and restaurants. Then you have Jumeirah Al Naseem at the other end of the design spectrum (compared to the grand Jumeirah Al Qasr), as this particular Madinat Jumeirah hotel belongs firmly in the 21st century. Jumeirah Al Naseem goes on to flaunt minimalist guestrooms, contemporary furnishings, chic décor throughout and an all-round atmosphere that feels fresh and youthful.
Madinat Jumeirah Architecture
Perhaps the most unique thing about Madinat Jumeirah is the complex’s architecture, and intentionally nostalgic layout. These sprawling grounds are laid out like a traditional Dubai village, albeit a rather polished one full of gourmet restaurants, stylish bars and roof terraces. It all makes for a lot of fun, as a walk around Madinat Jumeirah means hidden stairways and alleys to wander through, canals and lakes complete with boats and gondolas crisscrossing palm fringed patios, plus an old-fashioned souk, or market.
That souk at Madinat Jumeirah is certainly a highlight, with some stalls situated out by the water and the main bazaar being housed under a vaulted wooden ceiling, of beautifully carved beams. The wares on sale here are of the highest order too, from traditional throws and scarfs to delicate ornaments, impossibly intricate cabinets and tables, lamps, lanterns, and plenty else besides. It may not be the dusty, noisy marketplaces of far-flung Dubai, but the Madinat Jumeirah souk still thoroughly entertains and the trinkets, keepsakes and souvenirs to be purchased here are as good as any.
Madinat Jumeirah’s Bars and Restaurants
Choosing where to eat while visiting (or staying at) Madinat Jumeirah is no easy task; this vast development has over 50 bars and restaurants to choose from! From Belgian beer cafés to British-style bistros, Indian fine dining restaurants to oceanfront cocktail bars, you’ll find it all here. And as popular as Madinat Jumeirah is with both day-trippers and residents alike, that almost endless list of options means you are as good as guaranteed a table at your chosen dining spot too, and what’s more, every palate, preference and penchant for a certain setting is bound to be satisfied here.
Given that wealth of gastronomic treats it’s impossible to say which are the best Madinat Jumeirah restaurants, as that’s often a personal choice, though a snapshot of the sheer variety on offer (and some of our favourites) include:
• The Al Fayrooz Lounge
• Folly by Nick & Scott
• The Skyview Bar
• Pai Thai
• Ushna Restaurant
• Al Hambra
Why is Madinat Jumeirah different?
Dubai is full of one-off travel experiences, and the Jumeirah Group are among the best at providing them, yet even in this land of plenty there is still something special and unique about Madinat Jumeirah.
One of the main things that stands out about Madinat Jumeirah is not only the complex’s scale, but its ability to showcase all sides of Dubai – both old and new. They do this by weaving clever and considerate nods to traditional aspects of wider Dubai culture through what is otherwise a flamboyant luxury resort. This is particularly evident throughout the onsite souk and craft shops, but also the towers and ornate buildings, the royal palace of Jumeirah Al Qasr, and the delectable Middle Eastern fare served in several of those countless eateries too.
And then, finally, you have the modern side of a trip to Dubai also encompassed by Madinat Jumeirah, which is where the three onsite hotels, award-winning spas and exceptional service across the resort come into their own.