Around 2km south of the Creek, the beachside suburb of Jumeirah marks the beginning of southern Dubai’s endless suburban sprawl. The area’s swathes of chintzy low-rise villas are home to many of the city’s European expats and their wives – immortalized in Dubai legend as the so-called “Jumeirah Janes” who (so the stereotype runs) spend their days in an endless round of luncheons and beach parties, while their hard-working spouses slave away to keep them in the style to which they have very rapidly become accustomed. The suburb is strung out along the Jumeirah Road, which arrows straight down the coast, lined with a long string of low-key shopping malls and cafés. Attractions include the Jumeirah Mosque (the only one in Dubai currently accessible to non-Muslims), the old-fashioned Majlis Ghorfat um al Sheif, the former summer retreat of Dubai’s erstwhile ruler Sheikh Rashid, and the enigmatic Jumeirah Archeological Site.
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Jumeirah: a note on names
Jumeirah: a note on names
Area names in Dubai are often used with a certain vagueness – Bur Dubai and Deira, for example, are both employed in varying ways, while no one seems entirely certain yet whether Dubai Marina should be called Dubai Marina, or New Dubai, or perhaps something else entirely. None, however, has proved as enduringly slippery as Jumeirah. Strictly speaking, Jumeirah proper covers the area from roughly around the Dubai Marine Beach Resort in the north down to around the Majlis Ghorfat um al Sheif in the south. In practice, however, the name is often used loosely to describe the whole of coastal Dubai south of the Creek down to the Burj al Arab, and sometimes even beyond.
Further confusion is added by the fact that Jumeirah has been adopted as the name of the city’s leading luxury hotel chain. The Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Madinat Jumeirah, for instance, aren’t strictly speaking in Jumeirah, but in the adjacent suburb of Umm Suqeim (although both are owned by the Jumeirah chain – as is the Jumeirah Emirates Tower hotel, which is actually on Sheikh Zayed Road, and the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, in Garhoud). Further south the J-word crops up again at the Sheraton Jumeirah Beach hotel and Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort, both in what is now the Marina, while the name has also wandered off and attached itself to the Palm Jumeirah artificial island, Jumeirah Lakes Towers and the stalled Jumeirah Garden City – none of them in, or (except for the latter) even particularly near, Jumeirah proper. And that’s not the end of it: thanks to the Jumeirah group the name can now be found attached to properties as far afield as London, New York and Shanghai – an impressive feat of global colonization for the name of what was, until fifty years ago, little more than a humble fishing village.
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