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Travel Guide: The Best Places to Stay, Eat, and Indulge in Dubai Marina

From a morning stroll to glamorous cocktails, here’s how to make the most of Dubai Marina

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By Condé Nast Traveller Middle East | January 18, 2024 | Travel Leisure

Dubai Marina has long reigned as one of the city's most desirable areas with residents and visitors alike. Here, superyachts pass through glistening waterways framed by towering residential skyscrapers – with sky-high rents to match. But it's not just the views that appeal. Its pedestrianised seven-kilometre palm-lined walkways are dotted with restaurants, cafes and retail spaces, making this one of the best areas of the city to explore on foot.

Here, we take you through where to eat, stay and play in Dubai Marina.

Where to eat in Dubai Marina

A morning stroll around the Marina is a must, and when you're ready for a pitstop, there are plenty of cafes and coffee shops vying for your attention. Head to UAE-founded Cafe Bateel and grab a seat on the terrace for a flaky almond croissant and iced coffee. For something a little more hearty, Tasha's at Marina Mall, founded by South African restaurateur Natasha Sideris, has all-day breakfast and light lunch options – order the brioche French toast, served with Italian cherry preserve and crème anglaise; you won't regret it. For a continental breakfast, head to Bistro Des Arts, which serves a classic weekend brunch of pastries, crepes and optional mimosas.

Whatever cuisine you're looking for, you'll find it here, and there will be plenty of servers ready with restaurant menus to pull you in. For Iranian food, head to Iran Zamin, which is something of an institution in the city, while Deniz is the place to go for Turkish.

For something a little more high-end, Grosvenor House is home to Jason Atherton's City Social, as well as his tasting menu concept, Row on 45, where a 17-course feast awaits. Indego by Vineet, in the same hotel, is the brainchild of Michelin-lauded Vineet Bhatia, and serves contemporary Indian sharing-style dishes. Buddha Bar Dubai, which first opened its doors in 2005, is still going strong almost 20 years later – a lifetime in this fast-paced city. This is the place to go for a weekend dinner that could very easily roll over into late-night drinks.

Where to stay in Dubai Marina

To be right in the thick of it all, book a room at the five-star JW Marriott Hotel Marina, formerly Address Dubai Marina, for unbeatable water-facing views and direct access to the Marina promenade. The twin-towered Grosvenor House, meanwhile, offers easy access to Palm Jumeirah, an impressive roster of bars and restaurants, and access to the private beach and pool at Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort, just five minutes over the road. The InterContinental Dubai Marina is another good option, with Marina Walk on one side and the sandy shores of JBR on the other.

Where to play in Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina is always buzzing, so finding fun here is easy. For civilised sundowners, Siddharta Lounge by Buddha Bar has long been the go-to spot – order a Lychee Martini and kick back as the surrounding skyscrapers come to life after dark. A night out at Pier 7 is practically a Dubai rite of passage. Here, you'll find the likes of Asia Asia, Mamazonia, Cargo, Bedrock and The Scene. Start at the bottom and work your way up all seven floors. At the Intercontinental, Koyo has established itself as one of the city's liveliest spots – its Friday and Saturday night brunches offer Japanese sharing dishes alongside a rowdy helping of live entertainment.

Elsewhere, you'll find XLine Dubai, a kilometre-long zip-line that propels riders from the top of a skyscraper over the water below, landing safely on a platform by Marina Mall. Inside the mall, you'll find a multi-screen Reel Cinema, as well as plenty of big-name high-street brands.

This guide originally appeared on Conde Nast Traveller Middle East.