Across the Creek from Garhoud lies the slightly more upmarket district of Oud Metha, a rather formless area dotted with assorted malls, hotels and lowbrow leisure attractions. The district is centred on the area around the Mövenpick hotel, the old-fashioned Lamcy Plaza and the even more old-fashioned Al Nasr Leisureland amusement park, though there are also some surprisingly good restaurants here, as well as one of Dubai’s biggest clubs, Domeland by Chi.
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Wafi and Raffles
Wafi and RafflesThe leading attraction hereabouts is the wacky Egyptian-themed Wafi complex, a little slice of Vegas in Dubai, dotted with obelisks, pharaonic statues, random hieroglyphs and assorted miniature pyramids. The mall is home to myriad boutiques and restaurants. The Egyptian theme is continued in the opulent Raffles hotel next door, built in the form of a vast pyramid, its summit capped with glass – particularly spectacular when lit up after dark.
Khan Murjan Souk
Khan Murjan SoukHidden away between Wafi and Raffles, Khan Murjan Souk is one of Dubai’s finest “traditional” developments, allegedly modelled after the fabled fourteenth-century Khan Murjan Souk in Baghdad. The souk is divided into four sections – Egyptian, Syrian, Moroccan and Turkish (not that you can really tell the difference) – spread over two underground levels with a lovely outdoor restaurant at its centre and some 125 shops selling all manner of traditional wares. It’s a great (albeit pricey) place to shop, while the faux-Arabian decor is impressively done, with lavish detailing ranging from intricately carved wooden balconies to enormous Moroccan lanterns and colourful tilework. Of course, it’s all about as authentic as a Mulberry bag from Karama – indeed, if the city authorities are serious about clamping down on the local trade in fakes and forgeries, they could do worse than start here. Still, the whole thing has been done with such enormous panache and at, presumably, such enormous expense that it’s hard not to be at least a little bit impressed.