Dubai, an emirate in the United Arab Emirates is known for its opulent shopping, avant-garde architecture and a dynamic nightlife scene. The exquisite Burj Al Arab hotel with its idiosyncratic sail-shaped silhouette looms large over the coastline of Jumeirah beach and is one of the world’s most affluent hotels. I lived in Dubai a few years ago and have made a few trips ever since. However, the city continues to surprise me each time I visit it. New projects in shopping areas, swanky restaurants, fancy hotels, amusement parks and new beaches continue to improve the landscape of this desert city.
To be honest, when I left the hotel for the first time this visit, little did I know of La Mer. A stopover at Box Park had left me disappointed. The images I carried from my previous trip, of the colourful shipping containers that made Box Park spectacular, the quirky shops and happy restaurants were shattered when I saw the entire sidewalk more or less barren. “What happened there?” I wondered. It amazes me why certain pockets in a city never pick up despite everything going for them just like Ansal Plaza in New Delhi. Anyway, as I plonked myself in a taxi, I vented my disappointment to the driver. As if he wanted to make up for my dejection in his city, he offered to take me to La Mer. La Mer is a world-class beachfront developed under the portfolio of Meraas, the erudite Dubai based conglomerate who have also developed City walk, The Beach, Box Park, The Outlet Village, Last Exit, Kite Beach, Al Seef and Blue Waters. Nestled between the clear blue Arabian sea and the striking city skyline in the posh neighbourhood of Jumeirah 1, La Mer offers great views of the Arabian Gulf and Dubai’s iconic skyline of the horizon.
Excited to check this new development that opened up in October last year, I gave him the green signal to take me there. Honestly, I expected La Mer to be a wide stretch of sugary sand, tranquil waters and a less frequented beach. Instead, it was the coolest beach with chill waterfront bars, quirky beach shops, Art Deco facades and loads of water sports. The strip is dotted with cabanas in bright colours, the occasional pop-up food stalls selling food items like coconut water, fresh juices, corn on the cob, and refreshing gelato. Kids and adults alike filled the beach and positivity, sunshine and the happy squeals of laughter filled the air. There was joy all around. People swam in the waters, kids made sand castles or played football. A couple of Arab women dressed up in their abaya cloaks, indulged in a selfie session. While they were covered from head to toe, the foreigners lay in their bikinis, getting their bodies bronzed in the sun. It didn’t take me long before I purchased the beach essentials from a shop and sprawled on a big beach towel to soak in the sun like many around me. The warmth of the rays and the soothing lullaby from the waves helped me relax and catch a snooze for a bit.
The sun was setting once I woke up but the beach bummers continued to lay sprawled on the sands, relishing the last rays of the sun on their bodies. Not far, the silhouette of a water slide from the Laguna Waterpark could be seen. Laguna Waterpark at La Mer has more than 10 rides across all thrill-levels and is the latest attraction. Hawa Hawa, an inflatable playground and a dune shaped concept, seemed to be an area of happy shrieks, fun and laughter. Not just children but also their parents ran, climbed and bounced up and down these dunes. La Mer is a perfect place for a family outing. There’s something for everybody.