Head’s up, these extraordinary photo opportunities are right on your doorstep.
Words: Will Rankin
However long you might have lived in Dubai, chances are there are still parts of town that you’ve yet to discover. Rove Hotels, the hip new urban hotel chain from Emaar Hospitality Group, wants to fix that by offering ‘photowalks’ around Deira.
Its Deira City Centre property is on the edge of the oldest part of town, and Rove invited local Instagram cultural explorer, Shaima Al Tamimi and her father, Saleh Al Tamimi, to host a photography tour of the district.
The father-daughter duo have real passion for old Dubai, are both keen photographers and advocates of exploring new and old places to uncover the stories, hidden gems, people, food and places that reflect the true spirit of a destination.
‘Rove Around Deira’ tour is the first in a series of ‘Rove Around The City’ guides and illustrated maps being offered by the hotel group, which plans to have 10 properties across the city by 2020.
True to the hotel’s affinity with the local art community and its curation of unique art pieces, Rove Hotels has partnered with local illustrator Dina Sami (pictured) to curate the cultural highlights, souks and heritage of the Deira neighbourhood, in celebration of the rich heritage of old Dubai through an intricately illustrated map.
We join the four hour tour at 10am, and set off from Rove City Centre on a mini bus. We begin at the Deira Fish and Vegetable market, with 15 or more of us descending on the old – and soon to be demolished – market to capture the sights of this bustling centre of commerce.
Walking across the road, we hit the back streets, to see sights you definitely don’t come across in the shiny suburbs – back street tailors with mezzanine floors, and numerous barbers, textile stores and chai stands. This is unequivocally the ‘real’ side of Dubai, a place where a haircut is AED 7, a chai AED 1, and a new dress AED 20.
Next we head to the Gold and Spice Souq, unashamedly on every tourist’s radar, but it is fun to re-visit with a group keen to capture the best scenes. After around three hours of touring, we are guided to the ‘secret rooftop’ – a highlight of the tour, and a great place to photograph the comings and goings on the Creek, undisturbed but for inquisitive birds.
The free to attend #RoveAroundDeira tour is an occasional event, but one that is truly worthwhile if you are looking to scratch the surface of a city renowned for being a billionaire’s playground, whether you’re a local, resident or tourist.
“This is a chance for Emiratis to reconnect with their history, for expats to gain deeper understanding of the city, and for visitors to explore its rich culture, beyond the malls and beaches,” a Rove spokesman adds.
To book a place on the next (as yet undated) #RoveAroundDeira cultural tour email NDesai@rovehotels.com