Names in Dubai are often used with a certain vagueness – the name Bur Dubai, for example, is often taken to cover the entire area south of the Creek as far as Sheikh Zayed Road, while back when it was first built no one seemed entirely certain 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 Resort 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 now abandoned Jumeirah Garden City project – 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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