Dubai's beach strip runs 11 mi south from Bur Dubai to the new developments around Dubai Marina. For years this stretch of sand was an unappreciated treasure used only by fishermen, but it became a major weapon in Dubai's arsenal when the emirate started luring tourists. The first sun worshippers—mostly northern Europeans escaping cold winter months—soon began to flock here.
Commonly known in the brochures as Jumeirah (also Jumeira) because of its northernmost district, the strip has lengthened over time to include neighboring Umm Suqeim and Al Sufouh to the south, and the newest and largest hotels are located at the southern end, farthest away from downtown.
Jumeirah's large resort hotels are a huge tourist draw, with high-quality restaurants, exciting nightlife, and private beach clubs that have first-rate sports facilities on and off the water. The low-rise residential districts that back the beach are popular with Western expats, and you'll find a range of smaller malls, independent spas, boutiques, and restaurants here.