Dubai is a serious contender for the title of shopping capital of the world. Luxos takes a look at some mall highlightsBy Vanessa Viara
Dubai has enjoyed incomparable growth over the past thirty years. It developed from a relatively small city that depended on a dwindling pearling industry and fishing into an oil mining empire. The discovery of petroleum opened many doors for Dubai and the United Arab Emirates in general; however its effects are most spectacularly visible in Dubai.
Dubai has not simply swung open the doors to foreign ideals. It has embraced the tourist vocation, and consequently it has become a meeting place for different cultures from both East and West. Dubai has something for everyone, from its culture, to its beaches, cuisine, art, infrastructure, sports, nature and, most importantly – more shops than you can imagine. You will never experience anything quite similar when you take a stroll along one of Dubai’s souks, or markets.
Whether you opt for the spice or gold souk you are certainly in for a treat. Both the spice and gold souks are located in Deira, which is one of Dubai’s oldest neighborhoods. Dubai’s Spice Souk, located on Sikkat Al Khail Road, contains an incredible variety of spices and traditional crafts. The Gold Souk, located nearby, is Dubai’s most famous souk; here you will find the largest imaginable collection of gold. With over 300 shops and a vast range of products, there is something for all tastes. In the Gold Souk, gold is sold by weight, and thanks to Dubai’s trade policies, you will soon discover that the prices are unbeatable, especially for those skilled in the ancient art of verbal negotiation.
However if you are looking for a matching tie that you forgot to bring, or a souvenir for your wife, you may wish to visit one of Dubai’s famous shopping malls. In fact, Dubai has it all in this respect! Its shopping malls are of unparalleled dimensions, virtually cities in their own right, and they are complete with hotels, restaurants, cinemas, entertainment centers, children’s play parks, art galleries and of course, more brands and labels than you can imagine under a single roof.
If size matters then we recommend that you choose between the Mall of the Emirates or Dubai Mall – or both. Experience a different shopping experience in these spacious malls with expertly designed boutiques. These two shopping malls dwarf any other mall in the Emirates and perhaps the world.
Inaugurated in 2008 and located in Downtown Dubai, The Dubai Mall extends over an area of over 1 million square meters (equivalent to about 200 soccer pitches). It contains over 1,000 retail shops, including leading department stores Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdales. You can find more exclusive boutiques in the ever-popular Fashion Avenue, an area where brand stores are lined up shoulder to shoulder. The Dubai Mall also has a special area dedicated to fashion for children, and even if they are not into shopping, this mall also offers many entertainment options for them and for you. Discover the secrets of the ocean in the Dubai Aquarium and the Underwater Zoo, or choose from the many other options, which include a play ground, an indoor theme park, an ice rink, cinema and an enormous food court. At The Dubai Mall, you can obtain tickets to access the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa.
Mall Of The Emirates, Interchange 4 on Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, tel. +971 (0)4 4099 000
Second only to The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates is nonetheless an enormous structure. Opened in 2003, the Mall of the Emirates features over five hundred different retail shops for fashion including UAE’s popular Etoile boutique, sports, electronic equipment and home design. It includes two hotels, a cinema, a 500-seat theater and arts center, over 80 cafés and restaurants, and the unique Ski Dubai.
BurJuman Centre contains perhaps the most impressive collections of shops, and lives up to its reputation as “the world’s most luxurious shopping destination.” It is home to more designer labels than any other mall in Dubai, including Saks Fifth Avenue. One of Dubai’s oldest shopping malls, BurJuman is still an important stop for shoppers; here you will find everything from fashion, to jewellery and watches, to home furnishing and much more.
Burjuman Mall, Khalid Bin Al Waleed Street, Dubai, tel. +971 (0)4 3520 222
Wafi represents a unique shopping experience in Dubai, and it is well worth a visit. It's architecture is on an Egyptian theme (the structure is actually pyramidal), and in an extension, Khan Murjan is a traditional arts and crafts shop where you will find the best examples of artisan crafts. Here, you can even meet the experts who create these masterpieces. Just like Khan Murjan, the main structure Wafi has many exclusive local shops, art galleries, local and international fashion brands, numerous dining options, and various entertainment opportunities.
Wafi Mall, Sheikh Rashid Road, Dubai, tel. +971 (0)4 3244 426
Stop by Mercato for a unique taste of the Renaissance. This shopping mall was designed by Abdul Rahim Al Zarooni who had a passion for the beauty of the Italian Renaissance period. Its colorful décor and unique ambience offer visitors a unique shopping experience. Mercato has over 100 retail shops, restaurants and a cinema, and numerous stage shows are shown at the ‘teatro’, or theatre.
Mercato Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, tel. +971 (0)4 3444 161
After a trip to Dubai, there’s no telling what can happen next. This city changes day by day, and new things are just around the corner. Here you will truly find all that you were looking for without having to go too far.
Luxos City Guide to Dubai
UAE SS 2011