Marsa Al Seef is a new highlight for any trip to Dubai.

It’s a recent development that has uniquely restored part of Old Dubai to its former glory. The result is a vibrant, charming place alongside Dubai Creekthat is a must-see for any Dubai itinerary.

Unlike any previous development, it fully preserves and celebrates the rich history of Dubai, while still providing visitors with elegant, modern shopping and dining experiences. It features dining establishments, boutiques and galleries all in a variety of traditional settings, including floating venues and creekside pontoons.

Visitors to the area can enjoy exploring both heritage architecture and the neighboring contemporary space. Marsa Al Seef has quickly become a new focal point for Dubai arts and entertainment, and cultural events regularly draw people to the area.

The atmosphere is unique: it’s a relaxed and unhurried place to spend some free time, but it also offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in a learning experience. Witness for yourself how Dubai would have looked long ago when the city’s focus was on pearl diving, fishing, and dhow trading.

Marsa Al Seef makes a great base for a visit to Dubai. Here’s what’s not to be missed during your stay:

1. Sit back and relax on a dhow cruise

A magical way to experience Marsa Al Seef is to take to the water on a traditional dhow. These traditional boats cruise along the creek and give sightseers the perfect view of Marsa Al Seef up close, and the architecture of modern Dubai beyond.

The view is spectacular, day or night. An evening trip, where reflections of the city lights appear to dance on the water, could not be more romantic.

From the water, you’ll also gain an insight into the city’s heritage. These waters were once the lifeblood of Dubai; the river was central to the important pearl diving, fishing and trading of Dubai in times past. The dhow you will be cruising on is a modern replica of the old handmade boats which were originally made from wooden planks bound together with palm and coconut leaves.

2. Discover treasures at the open air market

Marsa Al Seefis a great place to pick up traditional souvenirs and mementos from your trip. However, good shopping is also combined with unique experiences here.

It stands out from other shopping venues in Dubai particularly for its open air market. The ambiance is one-of-a-kind and traditional items are widely available. Come here to experience the true flavors of the Middle East.

Additionally, the open air market will very soon be joined by a highly anticipated floating market.

3. Taste culinary treasures

Thankfully, there are many restaurants, cafes and bars in Al Seef. These give you a chance to fully explore many different cuisines, and particularly Arabic. Whether you are looking for an Arabic breakfast to jumpstart your morning or a traditional evening meal, Al Seef can cater
to your gastronomic wants.

It’s a wonderful place to simultaneously soak up the sights, sounds and tastes of Old Dubai.

Marsa Al Seef’sfloating restaurants are a particularly special offering if you are looking for an unforgettable dining experience.

4. Soak up the festival atmosphere

Coinciding your visit with a festival is a great time to explore any city; doing so means you can gain an even deeper insight into a place’s culture and history. In Dubai, there are several annual festivals, and there is no better place to enjoy them than in Marsa Al Seef.

The Ramadan Nights Market and Eid-Al-Fitr are particularly interesting times to visit, with plenty of exciting events happening in the area. The Sikka Art Fair at Al Seef in March is a great time to immerse yourself in the local culture, too.

The biggest celebration, however, is held on National Day for the UAE every December 2nd. All the city celebrates, but Al Seef is the most perfect place to witness a showcase of traditional performances and cultural activities.

5. Enjoy gracious Arabian-style accommodation

Complete your visit to Old Dubai with a stay in an authentic Arabian-style hotel where you can witness a more traditional style of architecture, and experience old world warmth and hospitality.

Traditional Arabian architecture features courtyard layouts. These provide plenty of shade and privacy so that residents can relax fully, away from any hustle and bustle. Décor aims to be luxurious but subtle as well.

This means being housed in a traditional style hotel with a serene, private feelthat is rarely matched elsewhere. So, be sure to include Marsa Al Seef in your Dubai travel itinerary to best enjoy the sights and sounds reminiscent of the timeless charm of the old city.


Habib Khan is a seasoned Hotelier, currently the CEO of Planet Hospitality and General Manager of Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa. Khan has more than 30 years of diversified international experience in the hospitality industry. He is an expert in developing, transforming, and managing hotels, with an ability to analyze and solve problems in a challenging work environment.