On the far side of the Dubai Fountain, directly in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa, is the chintzy Old Town development: a low-rise sprawl of sand-coloured buildings with traditional Moorish styling. The overall concept, with a soaring futuristic tower placed next to a cod-Arabian village with waterways, is effectively a blatant copy of the Madinat Jumeirah/Burj al Arab concept, except not quite as impressively done. Centrepiece of the development is the Souk al Bahar (“Souk of the Sailor”), a small, Arabian-themed mall, home to a number of handicraft shops and offering a pleasantly quiet and low-key alternative to the crowd-packed carnage of the Dubai Mall. A string of restaurants lines the waterfront terrace outside, some of them offering peerless views of Burj Khalifa – although they tend to get absolutely rammed after dark. On the far side of the Souk al Bahar stands the Old Town’s opulent showpiece hotel, The Palace, its rich Moorish facade offering a surreal but quintessentially Dubaian contrast with the needle-thin outline of the Burj Khalifa rising imperiously behind.

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