Al Maryah Island: Abu Dhabi's new luxury hub

Al Maryah Island promises to be one of the UAE's leading lifestyle destination

Located adjacent to Abu Dhabi’s beachfront Corniche, Al Maryah Island, formerly known as Sowwah Island, has been designated as the centre of Abu Dhabi’s new Central Business District (CBD).

It is strategically situated at a midpoint between Abu Dhabi’s existing downtown district, the upcoming developments at Al Reem Island and Mina Zayed, as well as the new cultural district on Saadiyat Island. Now years in the making, the property, which has been modelled by Mubadala Real Estate and Hospitality, is nearly complete and forms a key component of the Government’s Capital 2030 Plan aimed at increasing Abu Dhabi’s global reputation.

Of note is Al Maryah’s vision as a destination for luxury lifestyle. Sowwah Square offers a host of high-profile tenants, including the island’s flagship commercial property, the new headquarters of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX). “Al Maryah Island is being positioned as the new downtown and lifestyle destination in the UAE,” states Kevin Ryan, Managing Director of Development at Gulf Related, the developer of The Galleria. “The vision of the Island is international in quality, comprising shopping, dining, lodging and offices – bringing the best of international development to Abu Dhabi in one location.”

Al Maryah Island’s Sowwah Square consists of four commercial towers with a separate pyramidal tower housing the ADX. It also leads into a stunning sculptural glass and steel atrium under which The Galleria, the island’s luxury shopping centre, is located. The impressive $25 million roof was created by complex structure engineering experts RFR who previously designed the inverted pyramid of Le Musée du Louvre in Paris.

The Galleria is situated in Al Maryah Plaza, adjacent to Sowwah Square, which is also home to two 5-star hotels: the Four Seasons Abu Dhabi and Rosewood Abu Dhabi. The Plaza has been designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners who have conceived the property to complement the waterfront view and the city’s natural coastline characteristics.

Part of a multi-year strategy to develop a 186,000 square metre leasable area of retail on the island by 2017, The Galleria is a 37,000 square meter retail and dining destination catering to mid-level and speciality retailers. The shopping centre includes luxury fashion brands Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, Dior, Fendi and Dolce & Gabbana; and fine jewellery and watch brands like Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari and Chaumet. The Galleria also offers several international labels for the first time in Abu Dhabi including Tory Burch, Jimmy Choo, Celine, Mulberry, Marc Jacobs, Berluti, Diane von Furstenburg and Boucheron.

At the centre of The Galleria is The Great Room, an area that forms the heart of the precinct’s retail and dining offerings across both levels. A main focal and meeting point, The Great Room comprises a large glass wall that boasts views of Abu Dhabi. It is framed by the spectacular roof structure visually integrating the panoramic skyline within the surrounding space.

With the UAE’s many centres for luxury lifestyle and shopping, what makes The Galleria on Al Maryah Island so special and different from what the country already has? “Abu Dhabi is lacking a luxury lifestyle destination that combines dining with shopping,” says Ryan. “There’s no place in the city that parallels The Galleria.” Ryan states how The Galleria’s main differences to other luxury destinations within the UAE are its size, which is three times that of The Avenue at Etihad Towers, and its pivotal location as a central business district within the city. “Next to The Dubai Mall, we have the best collection of luxury lifestyle in the UAE,” says Ryan.

Most importantly, as in line with the Government’s Capital 2030 Plan, Al Maryah Island, through such pivotal luxury lifestyle centres as The Galleria, aims to appeal to all – residents and Emiratis alike. “We are trying to be popular to the entire audience here,” says Ryan. “In Dubai, retail tourism is a major proponent of what drives consumerism in the city. In a few years it will be the same in Abu Dhabi.” Al Maryah Island signals a growth in the city’s retail tourism development as well as its burgeoning status as a major player on the worldwide luxury market.

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