Overlooking the mouth of Dubai Creek, the Sheikh Saeed al-Maktoum House was home to Dubai’s rulers during the early 20th century and is now a museum. Dating from 1896, the house is composed of wind towers (barjeel), courtyards, and rooms featuring exhibitions on Dubai and its ruling al-Maktoum clan from the late 1800s to the 1960s.
Located in Al Shindagha, south of Dubai Creek, the house was home to Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler from 1912 to 1958, and the childhood home of his grandson, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s current ruler. Expanded several times, it offers fascinating insight into Dubai before the city’s 1960s oil boom. Highlights are the traditional courtyards, teak-doored rooms, upper receptions (majlis), and wind towers that were designed to maximize Gulf breezes. Inside, photos chart the royals’ lifestyles and Dubai’s days as a pearl-trading port, while stamp, coin, and document collections spotlight its humble beginnings.
Travelers can explore on a guided tour or independently. It’s also a stop on the city’s hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus. Many Dubai tours feature a photo stop or brief visit—entrance fees are modest—while more culturally oriented tours provide time for a longer look around.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Sheikh Saeed al-Maktoum House is a must-visit for history buffs and culture vultures.
- View the house during a city tour or independently.
- Expect to spend about 30 minutes roaming the rooms and towers.
- Combine a visit with time exploring the nearby Bastakia Quarter or the creek for another insight into Old Dubai.
How to Get There
To get here, catch a cab or drive—the house is off Al Khaleej Road near Dubai’s Heritage Village. Other options include taking the metro or bus to its respective Al Ghubaiba stops and then making the 10-minute or so walk from either. Otherwise, catch one of the ferries that run from Dubai Marina to the Al Ghubaiba terminal.
When to Get There
The house is open Saturday–Thursday, 8am–8:30pm, and Fridays, 3pm–9:30pm. A good time to visit is early evening, when the house is cooler and you can enjoy sunset views over Dubai Creek from the upper rooms. Double-check opening times, as the house is often closed for maintenance.
What to See at the Sheikh Saeed al-Maktoum House
The photo displays are the biggest draw, largely because they highlight the incredible contrast between mid-20th century and today’s Dubai. Sepia photos show it as a modest Arabian port of bustling dhow yards, and others chart events, such as the swarms of locusts that descended on the city in 1953.