12 Jun 2019
If there’s one thing you can be sure of in Dubai, it’s shopping heaven. From across the globe, the biggest name in fashion and world-famous restaurateurs flock to its oasis-like malls, creating what might be the closest thing to retail paradise this world has even known. From the souq-like courts of Ibn Battuta to the opulent designer outposts of Wafi Mall, here is our guide to Dubai’s best shopping malls.
Ibn Battuta Mall
Owing its name to the famous 14th-century Muslim traveller, Ibn Battuta mall is a historic landmark in and of itself. Each of its six courts are themed after the cultures the famed traveller visited throughout his 24-year-long voyage. Explore big brands nestled between mughal djallis and verandas in India Court, or admire a window-display across Andalusia Court’s central courtyard, with its replica of the Alhambra’s eight-lion fountain. Perhaps the most beautiful is the Persian court, bedecked with Baghdadi polychrome tiles and mesmerising geometric patterns. However, unlike Ibn Battuta, who had to travel a near quarter-century to sample the world’s best products (and art styles), a short ten-minute walk is all that separates you from Arabian Oud to Alberto Riabelli, Pandora to Pierre Cardin. Oh, and if you get peckish, the world is available for your plate: sushi, tacos, even fish and chips.
Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping centre. Here, over 1,300 retail stores here combine forces with a 5.9 million square-feet interior to create a shopping experience that is truly second to none. Each of its floors is a not-so-miniature 5th Ave, combining anchor stores, staples, and high fashion outlets. Pride of place is the mall’s “Fashion Avenue,” where the spotlight is on high-end brands and incredible window displays. If you prefer the more traditional, check out “The Souk” for jewellery and local handicrafts, which puts a modern twist on the Arabian bazaar. Or there’s “The Village” for all your denim needs. Meanwhile, if you need a break, why not dip into the in-house Dubai Aquarium, ice rink, or even the newly opened VR Park?
If the Dubai Mall is the world’s largest, Wafi Mall might just be the world’s most luxurious. The mall is a modern Valley of the Kings. Modern, glass-roof pyramids look over outdoor pools and palm-flanked rows, while, inside, hieroglyph-laden columns dance with carved wooden screens and stained-glass ceilings. And, as if this wasn’t enough, you’ll find obelisks, sphinxes, and statues outside, which are lit up at night with a radiant holographic display. Name any luxury brand or local boutique and you’ll find it among the mall’s over 250 high-end stores, while its over 30 restaurants include Lebanese sweets at Wafi Gourmet and specialty pizzas at Biella.
Dubai Outlet Mall
Unlike other outlets that exist miles from the nearest trace of civilisation, Dubai Outlet Mall is a short 20-minute drive from Jumeirah Emirates Towers. With big name brands from Burberry to Yves Saint Laurent—and everything from Crocs to Scotch & Soda in-between—at up to 90% off, it’s Dubai’s biggest steal. Make sure you reserve your visit for Monday, where each store’s best deals are placed in front of storefronts.
Mall of the Emirates
Last but not least, no list of Dubai retail therapy would be complete without the Mall of the Emirates. With an interior resembling Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, it is Dubai’s most famous shopping destination. All the big brands are out to play, with the delightful addition of world-wide cuisine, but the star of the show might just be the 22,500 square-foot ski slope known as Ski Dubai. Yes, against all odds, you can see Kings penguins in 40-degree heat.
Stay at Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts