Sustainability in Our Own Sandbox

cathy leibman and Christina decker ethical muse

It’s no secret that we love traveling the globe, sharing and educating readers on our personal finds and offering insights into the world of sustainable luxury.

Last month we decided to venture out into our own sandbox, playing tourist for the afternoon in our adopted home town. Our choice was the tiny Bastakiya quarter in Old Dubai which was established at the end of the 19th century by pearl traders from Bastak, Iran.


Bastakiya is the perfect escape from the fast-paced glitz and glamour of new Dubai.  Enjoying the preservation and sustainability of this cultural heritage center is an ideal way to spend a few hours.


How we got there?

The Dubai Metro and our own two feet made the most sense; the sustainable solution to travel to this congested, high-traffic part of town. We drove as far as the Mall of the Emirates metro station (about a 10 minute drive from home), parked and hopped on, Gold Class of course. We are sustainable luxury bloggers, after all! With only one line change, the metro practically dropped us on the doorstep of the heritage district.  From there we walked a few blocks to Bastakiya. It’s not easy to control our carbon footprints in this day of airline travel and SUV’s, but we are always aware of our options and take advantage of them when feasible.


This conservation area, one part maze-like alleys and one part fortress, is home to two of our favorite places: XVA (art gallery, restaurant and hotel) and  Alserkal Cultural Foundation.



Alserkal Cultural Foundation

Alserkal Cultural Foundation hosts local and international artists. The art made from upcycled tires and the shadow art were our favorite exhibits. Their boutique shop, The Creativity Corner, is dedicated to selling products from local brands. From handmade camel milk soap, to wood-framed sunglasses by Wildwood, it was inspiring to see a shop not only sustaining local artisans, but promoting designers that use high-quality sustainable materials as well.





XVA art gallery, hotel and vegetarian café was the perfect spot to grab a bite in their  quaint outdoor courtyard. The Middle Eastern vegetarian options pair beautifully with their fabled mint lemonade.

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Whether you are visiting the UAE for the first time or have lived here for years, Bastakiya is the perfect morning or afternoon excursion; a chance to escape the hustle bustle and explore this other side of Dubai.