Malls are something more than a cultural phenomenon in Dubai – it could be said that the lifeblood of the city flows through them. They’re more than places to just visit and grimly look at overpriced clothes. They’re everything. People come to drink coffee, relax, watch films, eat, do grocery shopping, buy gifts, walk around, play arcade games, smoke Shisha (Arabian water pipe), and even get their car windows tinted. And also shop. Here is a selection of some of the best Malls:
The biggest Mall in the world – which actually turns into sort of a detriment as you blunder around lost with no bearings as if adrift on a vast ocean. Fortunately, they have many staff on hand trained to tell you exactly where each and every one of the 1000+ shops are. Some of the best features include KidZania, which is like a small theme park where children learn about the adult world by using replica money and working mock professions, as well as SEGA Republic, a spectacular games arcade, and the world’s largest singing fountain, on an artificial lake, next to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Simply awesome.
Dubai Festival City
Festival City Mall and the surrounding area, situated close to the airport, is a favourite with UAE residents, despite not being anywhere near as large as the surrounding malls. It has more of an upscale theme than the rest, with a beautiful outdoor canal and walkway with restaurants and cafes, as well as a Marina for people to park their Yachts as they stay at the InterContinental Hotel just next door. The Mall itself features over 600 shops, and over 100 restaurants and cafes (that’s right, over 100) and an immense IKEA, which is honestly a tourist attraction in its own right. You can finish the evening with a visit to the InterContinental’s upscale bar on the top floor, which boasts an excellent view of the Dubai creek and skyline.
Mercato is a small, Renaissance and Venetian-themed mall on Jumeirah Beach Road, one of the most exclusive housing areas in the city. While it only has a limited variety of shops and restaurants, as well as a tiny food court, it’s one of the most elegant Malls with its beautiful wall paintings of Venice and a complex facade. Quite a different experience because you notice the details more than the size.
Mall of the Emirates
Mall of the Emirates is most famous for having a giant indoor ski slope with real snow. The slope is so long and elevated that the ramp can be seen sticking up from the mall from miles around. It’s bizarre enough to see people go skiing in the Middle East, let alone seeing shops selling skis and snowboards and accompanying accessories in one of the world’s hottest countries. The Mall itself isn’t bad either, being only a short taxi or metro ride away from the Burj Al Arab, the world’s first seven-star hotel.
5 Convenient Hotels in Dubai, UAE
- Express By Holiday Inn – Dubai – Safa Park - 3-star hotel in Jumeirah / Umm Suqueim area with rooms starting from € 69/£ 59.9/$ 87.9
- Al Khaleej – 3-star hotel in Dubai’s Deira area with rooms starting from € 47.9/£ 41.6/$ 61.1
- Metropolitan Deira Hotel – 4-star hotel in Deira area, Dubai, with rooms starting from € 53.2/£ 46.2/$ 67.9
- Golden Sands Hotel Apartments – 3-star hotel in Bur Dubai with rooms starting from € 50/£ 43.4/$ 63.8
- Hotel Regent Palace Dubai – 4-star hotel in Bur dubai with rooms starting from € 63.9/£ 55.5/$ 81.4
Photo of City Center Mall in Dubai, UAE, by austinevan.