The marina itself (apparently inspired by the Concord Pacific Place development along False Creek in Vancouver) is actually a man-made sea inlet, lined with luxury yachts and fancy speedboats, which snakes inland behind the JBR, running parallel with the coast for around 1.5km. Encircling the water is the attractive pedestrianized promenade known as Marina Walk. Various kiosks around Marina Walk offer a mix of expensive boat charters alongside much cheaper dhow cruises for those who want to take to the water, and there’s also a good selection of waterfront cafés and restaurants around Marina Mall and in the adjacent Pier 7 building next to the swanky yacht marina.
Presiding over the northern sea inlet into the marina is the quirky Cayan Tower (330m; formerly known as the Infinity Tower), designed by high-rise specialists Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, who were also responsible for the Burj Khalifa. The latest in Dubai’s increasingly long list of iconic skyscrapers, the tower is instantly recognizable thanks to its distinctively twisted outline, which rotates through 90 degrees from base to summit – a bit like the famous Turning Tower in Malmö, Sweden.
Just northwest of here rises the city’s most dramatic pod of super-tall (300m+) skyscrapers, with a dozen or so very narrow, very high towers virtually rubbing shoulders alongside Al Sufouh Road. None is of any particular architectural distinction, although the impression of sheer height is impressive, and a guaranteed neck-stretcher. Biggest of the lot are the Marina 101 Tower (426m) and the Princess Tower (414m), currently the second-and third-tallest buildings in Dubai (and almost precisely half the height of the 830m-tall Burj Khalifa) – the former also currently holds the record as the world’s highest residential building.