Ranged along the Creek south of Garhoud lies the shiny modern Festival City, one of Dubai’s newest and largest purpose-built neighbourhoods. Finished in 2008, this self-contained city-within-a-city comes complete with everything that Dubai’s developers generally consider essential for 21st-century city living, including posh apartments and villas, offices, a golf course, marina, shopping mall and a pair of swanky five-star hotels complete with assorted fine-dining and drinking oultets (although there’s not a decent bookshop to be seen anywhere).
Centrepiece of the development is the bright modern Festival Centre (www.festivalcentre.com) shopping mall, flanked on one side by the smart modern Crowne Plaza and towering InterContinental hotels. This is one of the newest and biggest malls in Dubai, attractive enough, with a reasonable, if predictable, spread of shops, although there’s nothing here that you won’t find (and generally done better) at other malls around the city.
The development’s best feature is the beautiful waterfront promenade which snakes around the back of the hotels and mall, offering superb views across the water. In the foreground you can make out the distant sight of traditional wooden dhows under construction in the building yard at Jaddaf more or less directly opposite, while beyond stretch the long line of skyscrapers flanking Sheikh Zayed Road and the needle-thin outline of the Burj Khalifa, particularly fine at sunset, as the sun sets behind the towers, turning them a smoky, romantic grey.
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