As Dubai increasingly becomes the most sought-after expat destination to build a successful career, set up a new business and live a dreamy urban life; the city has crafted some of the most exquisite residential districts for people. Despite the city being dotted with a series of high-end and world-class gated residential communities, the two most popular and convenient residential choices include Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT).
If you’re looking for a place to set up your new home, you probably have already heard of these two places by now, but where is better to live? Dubai Marina or JLT? Where are the better urban facilities? Which area is more expensive? Where has more things to do? And what about schools?
If these are the questions on your lips then this article has you covered.
Let’s see which of these two fabulous residential areas wins your heart and can be the area of your next home in Dubai.
If you’re already familiar with Dubai, you can skip this section. For those moving to the city for the first time, let’s have a look at locations to begin.
The location of your area of residence is very crucial to fulfil your living requirements. This the utmost criteria to evaluate before you buy or rent an apartment in any city. Both Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) sit at the best locations, still it is important to understand which fits your requirements the best.
Blending the idea of deluxe living and amazing vacationing, Dubai Marina is surely an exotic place to live in Dubai. This artificially designed canal-city simply leaves you star struck with its lavish stay and panoramic views.
Dubai Marina is a residential district is built along a 3-kilometre stretch of the Persian Gulf shoreline. The area is positioned near the Interchange 5 of Sheikh Zayed Road which is about 20 kilometres southwest of Downtown Dubai.
Jumeirah Lake Towers, another prominent residential district in Dubai, isn’t far from Dubai Marina. This prestigious community project of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) is erected around four man-made lakes and a parkland.
JLT is an independent community made of 26 clusters. These clusters are split into halves by Sheikh Zayed Road (E11) with First Al Khail Street. JLT is just across from The Beach at JBR.
So, both Dubai Marina and JLT enjoy the best of best locations from the city. Hotels, restaurants and nearby attractions are dotting the whole locality like anything. After sunset, two of these residential districts illuminate the skyline of Dubai better than most areas. If you consider the view, Dubai Marina looks more attractive and it also harbours wildlife because of its connection to the open sea.
Verdict: It is a tie. Both Dubai Marina and JLT are in prime locations for the best quality of life.
Access to Schools
Living with a family means you must ensure good schooling for them.
One of the biggest challenges for families in Dubai Marina is the lack of schools but several options are there in the neighbourhood. You can send your child to the schools in the neighbouring community of Al Sufouh, Al Barsha, Umm Suqeim and Jumeirah.
Schools Nearby to Dubai Marina
- Raffles Nursery (follows Early Years curriculum for children aged between 45 days – 4 years)
- Dubai British School
- Horizon International School
- King’s School Dubai
There are plenty of higher education options available in Dubai Knowledge Park which is only 10 minutes away from the Dubai Marina community.
Parents with children may find Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) slightly inconvenient as there is no school within the district. However, if you are the parent of toddlers, the area is more suitable with many nurseries. You can find a nursery at every other cluster in JLT. This probably one of the major reasons for young families to pick JLT over any other residential area in Dubai.
Nurseries in JLT
- Learning Ladders
- Dewdrops Nursery
- Paddlington Nursery
- Oakfield Early Learning Centre
- Kid Kare Nursey
However, do not panic as there is a hoard of excellent schooling options close by to JLT.
- Emirates International School, The Meadows
- Kings School, Al Barsha
- American School of Dubai, Al Barsha
Parents of older students will find JLT fantastic to pursue the dreams of higher education as this community houses two universities. The Module University (Australian affiliated) is in One Tower, opposite Cluster G. The other one is the Russian based Synergy University located in Cluster I. Students can also access a range of universities sitting at the Knowledge Park which is just nest to JLT. Knowledge Park offers noteworthy higher education options with different types of internationally accredited curricula.
Verdict: Jumeirah Lake Towers
Living in Dubai Marina inevitably comes with the boon of an impressive culinary scene. Marina Walk is the most celebrated spot to explore numerous al fresco cafes and restaurants. You can taste almost everything good from all across the globe. Apart from a wide choice of casual restaurants, lots of fine dining options and nightspots are there in Dubai Marina to make your dining experience exceptional.
The Best Restaurants in Dubai Marina
- Pier 7 (lip-smacking delicacies paired with fantastic view of Dubai skyline)
- Massimo’s Italian Restaurant
- Catch 22
- Rhodes Twenty10
- Highway 311 Grills
At Dubai Marina, you will come also across a unique and exciting way of having dinner and that’s the dinner cruise.
Best Dinner Cruises in Dubai Marina
- Bateaux Dubai Dinner Cruise
- Alexandra Dhow Cruise Dubai Marina
- 5-Star Premium Rustar Dhow Cruise Dubai
- Luxury Canal Dinner Cruise (New Route)
- Luxury Marina Dinner Cruise
- Zomorrodha Floating Restaurant Dinner Cruise
- Dubai Creek Jameela Floating Restaurant
- Golden Dubai Tour with Dhow Dinner Cruise
Now comes the JLT’s food scene. No foodies can ever complain about the mouth-watering delicacies served at the cafes and restaurants in JLT. Dining options here are extremely diversified with every imaginable cuisine from all over the world. From Indian to Italian and from Vietnamese to New Orleans, food at JLT restaurant can never be boring.
Best Restaurants in JLT
- Bait Maryam
- Wokyo Noodle Bar
- Pitfire Pizza
- Café Isan
- SCAFA (a culinary institute with dining options)
- Jazz at Pizza Express
- Social House
- Nola’s Eatery
- Bonnington Hotel bars and lounges
If you go by the restaurants, both Dubai Marina and JLT are blessed with endless varieties along with best-in-class services. However, you cannot beat the restaurant views in Dubai Marina, nor the dinner cruises.
Verdict: Dubai Marina
Dubai Marina or JLT – Things To Do
Dubai is the city full of spectacular landmarks and exhilarating entertainment options. Dubai Marina and JLT are two of the most affluent residential districts in the city with dazzling neighbourhood and engaging activities. Literally you will be spoilt with choices when we are talking about tourist attractions in these two localities.
Things to do in Dubai Marina
- A stroll along the iconic Dubai Marina Walk
- Dining at Pier 7
- Go for yachting at Dubai Marina Yacht Club
- Take a good look at beguiling artworks at Gallery One
- Seek adventure in desert with Dream Explorer LLC
- Behold spectacular water sports at Dubai International Marine Club
- Pamper yourself at Westin Heavenly Spa
- Get a bird’s eye view of Palm Island and its neighbourhood with Skydive Dubai
- Explore unparalleled world of indoor shopping at Dubai Marina Mall
- Go on an unforgettable dinner cruise at Marina
- Visit JBR Beach for a relaxed day-out
- Watch Dubai’s iconic highlights with a speedboat tour
Sitting pretty close to Dubai Marina, JLT residents can also enjoy almost similar set of attractions.
Things to do at JLT
- Enjoy live music and pulsating ambience at Jazz at Pizza Express JLT
- Learn to groove in to the tune of any music with DS2dio
- Take cooking classes at SCAFA
- Take a plunge into the immersive world of yoga with Yoga Ashram JLT
- Take part in an escape game at Phobia Dubai
- Challenge your mates to a game at Rails JLT
- Stick to your fitness routine with loads of free pedestrian areas for the residents
Living in JLT and Dubai Marina are equally fascinating and rewarding too. However, the closer proximity to JBR from Dubai Marina makes it the winner here.
Verdict: Dubai Marina
If anything is conspicuous to the residents of Dubai Marina and JLT, it has to be the beach life. Dubai Marina is located along the shoreline of Persian Gulf and it even has direct connection with the open sea. JBR is the nearest beach to Dubai Marina. You can access the beach from most towers in the area via Dubai Tram. Another good option is the open beach over Jumeirah which is only a 30-minute drive from Marina.
As JLT residential district falls on the east side of Sheikh Zayed Road, it doesn’t offer any direct access to beach but JBR beach is just right across the road. You can take a walk across the road via metro station bridge or go for short taxi ride to reach the beach in a few minutes.
Verdict: Dubai Marina for its direct access to beach.
Closest Mosque and Other Places of Worship
Dubai Marina residents can visit the Masjid Al Rahim that sits right within the boundary of this well-off residential complex. This is one of the most exquisite mosques in the UAE with a capacity accommodating 2,000 people at a time. There are two mosques from nearby Zumurud Tower and Jannah Place where followers can offer their prayers.
Other places of worship near Dubai Marina include:
- St. Francis of Assisi Church, Jebel Ali
- United Christian Church of Dubai, Jebel Ali
- Dubai Mar Thoma Church, Jebel Ali
- Shiva Hindu Temple, Bur Dubai
- Guru Nanak Darbar, Jebel Ali
Tiffany Mosque in Tiffany Tower is located within the periphery of Jumeirah Lake Towers district. There are other places of worship near JLT also including:
- Gurunanak Darbar, Jebel Ali
- Shiva Hindu Temple, Bur Dubai
- Churches from Jebel Ali
There is surely not much option for mosques in Dubai Marina and JLT but with one residential mosque in each of these residential areas, you will not face any difficulty in offering your daily prayers with mass.
Verdict: It is a tie.
Distance to Major Landmarks
Accessing different corners of the city is easy and quick from both Dubai Marina and JLT. Excellent road conditions in Dubai ensures one of the best driving experiences that you can get around the world. Check out the average time it takes to reach prominent landmarks in the city from Dubai Marina and JLT.
Distance of Dubai Marina from prominent landmarks in the city:
- 25 minutes away from Dubai International Airport via Sheikh Zayed Road
- 12 minutes away from Dubai Media City
- 20 minutes away from both Burj Khalifa and DIFC
- 6 minutes to get on to Sheikh Zayed Road
Now, comes the distance of JLT from popular landmarks in Dubai:
- About 30 minutes away from Dubai International Airport
- A 10-miute’s drive to reach Dubai Media City
- 20 minutes away from DIFC and Downtown Dubai
- It takes only 5 minutes to get on to Sheikh Zayed Road
Verdict: Again, it’s a tie.
Dubai Marina vs JLT – House Prices & Rentals
There are more than 200 residential towers built in Dubai Marina district. Each of them is celebrated for their fabulous views of the city along with the harbour. Many of these buildings are part of Dubai’s glorious skyline. This vibrant community allows people to opt for renting the apartments ranging from studios, 1,2,3 and 4 BHKs to luxurious penthouses and villas.
Living in the plush area of Jumeirah Lake Towers area is also a top favourite amidst locals and expats. Locality of JLT is best suited for young families and young professionals. Renting an apartment here comes with loads of choices just like Dubai Marina including studios, apartments and penthouses.
We have included two tables below to give you fair idea of the latest selling and renting prices both in Dubai Marina and JLT (Updated 2021).
|Property Type||Yearly Rental in Dubai Marina||Yearly Rental in JLT|
|2 BHK||AED 95,000 (USD 25,860)||AED 75,000 (USD 20,400)|
|3 BHK||AED 140,000 (USD 38,100)||AED 110,000 (USD 30,000)|
|4 BHK||AED 185,000 (USD 50,350)||AED 140,000 (USD 38,100)|
|Property Type||Selling Price in Dubai Marina||Selling Price in JLT|
|2 BHK||AED 1,625,000 (USD 4,42,400)||AED 1,125,000 (USD 3,06,300)|
|3 BHK||AED 2,685,000 (USD 7,31,000)||AED 1,735,000 (USD 4,72,350)|
|4 BHK||AED 5,355,000 (USD 14,57,800)||AED 3,210,000 (USD 8,73,900)|
From the tables, it’s not hard to see that living in Dubai Marina will be a bit costlier affair than in JLT. But if you are the owner of a property in any of these residential communities, then you can gain more from Dubai Marina.
Which Has Better Transport Links?
Both Dubai Marina and JLT are easy to access from any part of the city and vice versa. There are two metro stations near these localities – DAMAC Properties Metro Station and DMCC Metro Station. Better you take an NOL card for metro rides so that you don’t have to waste time on buying tickets again and again.
Roads leading to Dubai Marina and JLT become really overloaded during peak hours of the day. The good news is these communities offer quick access to Sheikh Zayed Road that cuts down the travelling time manifold.
Getting around the Dubai Marina neighbourhood is really easy with the Dubai Tram. Dubai tramline with 11 stopovers runs between JBR and Al Sufouh. Marina Towers Tram Station sits close to Marina Pinnacle whereas another tram station is near the MAG 218 Tower.
If you are a resident of JLT, then travelling across the neighbourhood is made simple with feeder bus services, JLT1 and JLT2.
If you don’t wish to take over the steering or avail the public transport to reach Dubai Marina and JLT, there is no dearth of taxis in the city to take you there with utmost comfort. Hiring a taxi can be little expensive rather than taking metro, tram or bus but it is certainly not an exorbitant one.
Overall, due to the close proximity to one and the other, there is no clear better area for transport. Both area’s offer good services, fast, cheap and efficient.
Pros of Living in Dubai Marina
Being one of the most sough-after and happening neighbourhoods in the city, Dubai Marina is a dream location to live, work and relax. Always buzzing with activities, this water-front residential district offers a whole range of benefits to its residents:
- Thanks to constant outdoor activities and spectacular attractions, life in Dubai Marina is always hip and happening.
- Access to JBR Beach allows residents to go for electrifying outdoor sports like flyboarding, jet skiing, paddle-boarding and skydiving.
- This canal-based residential community shares a direct link to open sea which and that’s why spotting marine lives right from your apartment is not something rare here.
- Bars and restaurants from the locality are perfect spots to experience an amazing nightlife in Dubai.
- The locality hosts some of the swankiest properties in the city. Each and every property in Dubai Marina comes with fascinating view of the city and the harbour.
- One of the biggest advantages of living in Dubai Marina is quick access to Sheikh Zayed Road that connects all major parts of the city.
- Public transportation links connect the area with Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, JLT and Barsha Heights.
- Dubai Marina district is loaded with grocery stores as well as supermarkets to cater your need for everyday essentials.
Pros of Living in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT)
Jumeirah Lake Towers is another affluent neighbourhood. Sitting parallel to Dubai Marina, JLT also offers similar conditions of living with some tempting potentials of living a peaceful and comfortable life. let’s check out the pros of choosing JLT as your residence:
- JLT typically showcases an outright urban lifestyle backed by exceptionally well-maintained residential complexes.
- Numerous cafes and restaurants from the locality promise a wonderful playtime with friends and family.
- Sheikh Zayed Road connects the locality to all major destinations in Dubai.
- It is a freehold area which means even foreigners, expats and GCC residents can have free ownership of a property here.
- Living in JLT inevitably comes with breathtaking views of the city and the waterfronts.
- The community is more suitable for young families and working professionals.
- JLT is backed by the best amenities so that residents don’t have to rush elsewhere to meet their daily requirements.
- JLT has been designed mindfully with a network of footpaths meant for pedestrians to jog or walk. The locality is also pet-friendly.
- The area sits close to some of the popular business centres in Dubai including Internet City, Dubai Media City and Dubai Marina.
- Dubai Metro, buses and taxis are available for seamless transportation connectivity to and from JLT.
So Where Should You Live – Dubai Marina or JLT?
The comparison here was extremely close. Both area’s offer fantastic transport links, lots to do and a high quality of living. However, when you compare Dubai Marina with JLT for all of the criteria, Dubai Marina came out on top with 3 points to 2.
Whichever area you choose will depend on your own personal preferences and weightings of the criteria we’ve set out in this comparison.