A fully airconditioned souq stretching 1.9 kilometres along the Deira Islands waterfront has opened in Dubai.
Souk Al Marfa, which is in its first phase of opening, currently has 400 stores selling everything from carpets to spices, fashion and electronics. There's also a dedicated Thai Market with street food, clothing and handicrafts from the country.
More outlets are set to open in the coming weeks, taking the total to 1,000 in the first phase, developer Nakheel said. When fully operational, it will be the UAE’s largest wholesale souq and waterfront destination, according to the developer.
The first retail destination on the mega Deira Islands development, the indoor marketplace is a stone’s throw from Dubai’s oldest and most traditional trading hub.
Scroll through the gallery above for images from Souk Al Marfa.
What is Deira Islands?
Deira Islands is a lavish waterfront development that has been years in the making. Spanning 17 million square metres, it will eventually be home to a variety of hotels, apartments, commercial buildings and marinas, and aims to attract 250,000 residents as well as 80,000 employees.
In December, the development's first property, Dubai’s only 24-hour all-inclusive beachfront hotel, Hotel Riu Dubai, welcomed its first guests.
The 800-room four-star hotel has its own mini waterpark, two children’s pools and three large pools for adults. The all-inclusive concept means guests who book a stay at the luxury resort can leave their wallets in the room after check-in because food, drink and activities on site are included.
The property is the Spanish chain’s first hotel in the Middle East.
Thai hotel operator Centara is also set to open its family-friendly Centara Mirage Beach Resort Dubai on Friday, October 1.
Located right on the shoreline, the hotel has its own waterpark complete with a beachfront swimming pool, waterslides, rock jumping points and a lazy river. The hotel also offers an outdoor playground, three age-specific children’s clubs and a candy-themed spa that’s only for youngsters.
Getting to the souq
Souk Al Marfa is within easy reach of Hotel Riu Dubai and the soon-to-open Centara Mirage Beach Resort Dubai. It is also easily accessible from other parts of Dubai, Sharjah and the northern emirates. There are 4,000 on-site parking spots, with free RTA buses provided from Dubai Gold Souk daily from 6am to 11pm until Wednesday, September 1, after which regular fares will apply.
Visitors can also enjoy free shuttle buses to and from key Deira hotels including Hyatt Regency Dubai, Ibis Styles Dubai Airport, Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre and Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers – every two hours from 9.30am until 8.30pm. The full schedule is available on soukalmarfa.ae.