Facing Jaddaf on the opposite side of the Creek, Festival City is one of Dubai’s newest and largest purpose-built neighbourhoods – a self-contained city within a city, complete with villas and apartments, offices, golf course, marina, shopping mall and a pair of swanky five-star hotels.
Centrepiece of the development is the bright Festival Centre shopping mall. There’s nothing here that you won’t find (and generally done better) at other malls around the city, although the canalside cafés at the Creek end of the centre are pleasant enough, and there are also “sofa boats” for rent if you fancy a sedate turn around the waterways. Best of all are the sweeping views from the waterfront promenade (next to the mall and the adjacent Crowne Plaza and InterContinental hotels) over the Creek to the dhow-building yard at Jaddaf and the long line of skyscrapers beyond. The panorama is particularly fine towards dusk, when the sun sets behind the Burj Khalifa and towers along Sheikh Zayed Road, turning them a smoky grey, like the outline of some kind of surreal bar chart.