Neighbourhood guide: City Walk, Dubai

City Walk has just started welcoming its first residents. Close to Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa, the mixed-purpose Meraas development has lots to offer tenants and visitors alike.
The Green Planet biodome at City Walk. Pawan Singh / The National
The Green Planet biodome at City Walk. Pawan Singh / The National

Long before Dubai began its urban migration south, the area between Al Wasl and Al Safa in Jumeirah was home to an established villa community, all manner of small businesses and the requisite selection of late-night shawarma joints. While Dh2 takeaways are a distant memory, the neighbourhood is in the middle of a major upgrade, with City Walk one of its flagship communities. This emerging multifaceted destination riffs on ­London street culture mixed with Dubai’s love of high-end retail and international dining options, and extends across several blocks. Home to more than 140 outlets, including designer brands and mall stalwarts, with more on the way, plus a profusion of cool restaurant concepts, family-friendly attractions, quirky street art and a chichi residential component, it’s quite the all-rounder.


Gamers of all ages can head to Hub Zero, with 15,000 square metres of immersive entertainment including a 70-station Lan gaming area, retro arcade and laser maze.

The newly opened Green Planet biodome goes down the edutainment route, with 3,000 plants and animals from the forest floor up to the tropical canopy.

Fronted by popular children’s characters including Barney, Bob the Builder and Angelina Ballerina, Mattel Play! Town offers “eduplay” fun for a younger audience, while the 10-screen Reel Cinemas multiplex covers all the celluloid bases.


Indoor and outdoor opportunities define the City Walk food scene. Cooler temperatures will put al fresco tables in demand along Walk Lane, a Bond Street-styled avenue, complete with red telephone box, and around the main piazza and lake. The menu offerings are multi­cultural, and popular restaurants fill up fast on weekends and public holidays.

London-born French restaurant Aubaine serves up Gallic dishes. Carnivores love Butcha, which dry-ages its beef on-site, with prime cuts also available for takeout. Modern spice bistro ­Farzi Café fuses ­Arabic and ­Indian cuisine with a dash of molecular flair.

Inside the mall, Mitts & Trays’ Hamptons-Scandic living-room vibe is fronted by an eclectic menu, while home-grown brand The Brass Coffee & Community does a great cup of coffee.

Sugar highs are plentiful. At the top end, iconic Barcelona patisserie Bubó sells art on a plate. Over at family-­orientated ­American brasserie ­Sugar ­Factory, the Dh350 World ­Famous King Kong Sundae includes 24 scoops of ice cream.

Other outlets worth checking out include Earth Fruits’ self-serve frozen yogurt; cosy Italian Sapori Di Bice; upscale Japanese butter-cookie brand Yoku Moku; and around the corner on the new residential avenue, artisan pizza company Project Pie.

Opening shortly, the rooftop LookUp lounge at the new La Ville Hotel & Suites will have views of the local area and Burj Khalifa.


Sephora, Boots, ­Spinneys, Al Jaber Optical and W H Smith are part of the one-million-square-metre retail line-up, but it’s high-end brands that dominate.

Kit out your little angels in posh threads courtesy of Level Kids, where you will find three floors of luxury, contemporary-­designer and urban-trend labels from Roberto Cavalli Junior to Tartine et Chocolat, as well as a play area.

Adults can ease into a pair of celebrity-­endorsed 7 For All Mankind jeans or check out the flirty, fun designs at I’M Isola, Rag & Bone’s urban casual look or the rainbow of on-trend colour from Belgian fashion house Essentiel Antwerp.

Original tenant S*uce in the Hood is still going strong, with accessories by ­Parisian ­jeweller Jean Dinh Van, Rebecca ­Minkoff and Tory Burch handbags, plus Agent Provocateur lingerie, all part of its expanded ­floorprint.

New to the mix is Le Boutique Chocolat, a premium confectionery store featuring more than 25 internationally renowned chocolatiers and a Willy Wonka-­esque “create your own” chocolate-­bar corner.

Killer barre-based workout brand Physique 57 has fitness angles covered, with a daily schedule of classes that incorporate cardio, strength training, stretching and recovery.

Post-shopping recovery is close at hand with men’s grooming salon 1847 and nails outlet N Bar nestled next to Poupa Salon and the mum-friendly pamper and play concept Caboodle.


The nearest metro station is ­Dubai Mall, which means either a five-minute taxi ride or, if wearing sensible shoes and the mercury drops below 30°C, a 30-­minute stroll.

Four-wheel transport rules here, but with about 2,000 free car-parking spaces, including a huge underground garage, finding a spot isn’t usually much of an issue, apart from at weekends.

If you need to book an Uber and your phone is out of juice, there are several free recharging stations dotted around the area.

Published: September 26, 2016 04:00 AM


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