The brand new Al Seef district on the Dubai Creek does not look new at all. In fact, it looks quite old. Indeed, every detail is aged to perfection, designed to blend seamlessly with the historic old Dubai quarter of Bastikaya. In fact, the old and new districts are right next to one another, and those who do not know that one is old and the other new can be forgiven for thinking that all of it was built at the same time. And in fact, I would not be surprised if some tourists who visit Al Seef think that they HAVE visited the old quarter – that is how well it blends.
Al Seef means “the shore” and it is, indeed, on the shore of the Dubai Creek. In fact, some of the restaurants and shops project out over the water. As you walk along the shore, the “old” new Al Seef butts up to the NEW and modern Al Seef, where an ultra modern hotel boasts a series of dining and shisha islands over the Creek.
A perfect outing here would be to attend one of the sessions at the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (always one of my favorite things to do) in the truly old Bastikaya quarter, then spend the evening strolling the new Al Seef, ending in the modern section. There are lots of restaurants, shops, and play areas along the way, and boat trips for hire along the Creek.
The Zabeel Hotel in the modern Al Seef section has won design awards and has a cool wow factor, with a rooftop pool and view of the Creek. But if you prefer the historic feel, the XVA Art Hotel in Bastikaya is a quaint and quiet cool boutique hotel.
Al Seef is by Meraas, one of my favorite Dubai developers because their projects are almost always unique, fun, and high design. With Al Seef they have made the historic district even more vibrant and alluring.