Dubai - The Jumeirah Beach Residence
last update: 25 June 2020
Our New Year trip for 2020 ran from late January 2020 to mid-March 2020 and involved 8 nights in Dubai and 43 nights in Phuket. We spent 3 nights in Dubai outward bounds, and 5 nights in Dubai on our return flight.
For our 5-day return flight stopover our travel agent Trailfinders booked us into the Sofitel Jumeirah Beach Hotel which is on a 1.7 kilometre long beach called the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR). Above we can see that the JBR is situated near to the artificial archipelago Palm Jumeirah. Below we have a panoramic view of the beach from our hotel room balcony.
Below we have the 'back view', where the Sofitel Hotel is the straight up-and-down sandy-coloured building with virtually no windows overlooking the harbour.
The Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) is a real estate development along a 1.7 kilometre long beach area. The idea is a residential development with 40 towers, including 5 hotels (with our Sofitel Hotel). The beach area is part of the Dubai Marina district, with around 15,000 apartments and hotel rooms (population around 45,000). I've read that the entire Dubai Marina district is expected to be home to more than 100,000 people when completed. The JBR area was completed in 2010 and includes The Walk, Jumeirah Beach, and the recently built Bluewater Island (still unfinished in 2020).
What we see above is the Dubai Marina district, which is in fact an artificial canal built along a 3 kilometre long stretch of the shoreline. The marina was developed in two phases (residences and public spaces), followed by the development of the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) made up of Jumeirah Beach and The Walk (see below).
The Walk provides the access to hotels, shopping and restaurants. The main access road, shown in yellow, is the Sheikh Zayed Road, the same that passed in front of the Shangri-La Hotel (where we stayed on our first visit to Dubai). Along this same road you find the Dubai Metro, which has a station right in front of the Emirates Golf Club, but oddly not directly in front of the Dubai Marina Mall. Not easily seen on the maps, but along the D94, there is also the Dubai Tram as shown below (which is not the same thing as the Dubai Metro).
Returning to the view from our hotel room balcony (below), looking down we could not actually see The Walk, which ran right in front of the hotel entrance.
We could come down to the 2nd floor and go out to the hotel pool area which was in fact was sitting above a small 'island' in The Walk.
So The Walk is in effect a kind of service road providing access to the hotels and shops along the beach area.
Crossing The Walk to the beach, you first cross a shopping area, and then a nicely arranged area with small kiosks selling the usual holiday and beach items.
Then you cross the red cycle track to get to the beach. The area in front of our hotel was laid out with beach beds, and you just picked up your ticket from a central booth. The beach itself was fine stand, perfectly clean, and the sea was calm and warm.
Overall our beach experience was perfect. Good hotel, useful local shops, and a great beach just across The Walk. Everything looked well organised, safe, and not too crowded. If fact, it looked decidedly 'uncrowded', but the emergence of the COVID-19 scare might have had something to do with that. Below we have the same beach view from our hotel room balcony, taken at night.
We can see the hotel pool, the shopping area with the small children's fairground attractions, and the kiosk area just before the larked beach.
Now let's go back to the panoramic view from our hotel room balcony.
On the left of Jumeirah Beach we can see the recently built, artificial Bluewater Island (still being completed during our visit in early 2020). You can see the observation Ferris wheel 'Dubai Eye' (originally known as 'Dubai-I') which looked to be nearly finished. The construction was delayed for more than 2 years, but according to a recent press release the 'eye', now called the 'Ain Dubai', is scheduled to open before EXPO 2020 on 20 October, 2020 (which has been postponed to 2021).
At a cost of $1.6 billion this new Ferris wheel will be the biggest in the world. The Wikipedia article lists the 'High Roller' in Las Vegas as the biggest today. However, at 157.6 metres, it's will be well beaten by the 'Ain Dubai' when it opens with a total height of more than 250 metres (the 'London Eye' is 'only' 135 metres high, however some reports put the 'Ain Dubai' at 'only' 210 metres).
The Bluewater Island is being sold as an entertainment and high-end residential area, and including a Caesars Palace complex with private beach access.
What is amazing is how these artificial islands emerge from the sea.
Back to the view from our hotel balcony. We can just see the Skydive Dubai runway, and just behind that we can see the land extension that will become the new Dubai Cruise Terminal (to open in October 2020). To the right we can see that that they have started building on the new Dubai Harbour.
What is planned for Dubai Harbour are 27 residential projects (with a private beach), hotels and a shopping mall. In addition there will be 1,100 berths, a Yacht Club, a Helipad, and fuelling stations, etc. And not forgetting, the 135-metres high Dubai Lighthouse.
And to complete the package there will be a new Dubai Cruise Terminal consisting of two terminals each with an apron of 900 metres.