Department Stores highlights
Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. The Dubai Mall (04 350 5333).
The iconic American department store has now opened up shop in Dubai. Part of Macy’s inc., Bloomingdale’s has existed since 1872 and has consistently maintained the highest standard.
Best for: Indulging your New York shopping fantasies. Stuffing your shopping into one of the iconic “big brown bags” makes any purchase more enjoyable. We’re big fans of the homeware and gift sections and believe this to be one of the finest spots in the city for luxury brand women’s shoes. Even if you’re not looking to buy (and there is no finer place to browse in Dubai) be sure to treat yourself to a bowl of frozen yoghurt at the Forty Carrot restaurants.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri 2pm-11pm. BurJuman (04 351 5551).
The second largest branch outside the USA. On the first level, you’ll find cosmetics and fragrance – but level two is where shopping gets serious: Missoni, Issey Miyake, Prada and John Galliano.
Best for: Special clothes for special occasions. Whether you are looking for a crisp new suit (for men) funky urban T-shirts or designer jeans you’ll find a distinctive range at Saks. Another brand imported from New York we find the prices are often inflated but regular sales and offers mean this is a superb spot for big brand hunters looking to pick up a bargain.
Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Deira City Centre (04 295 5550). Other locations: Festival Centre (04 375 0550); The Dubai Mall (04 330 8289); Ibn Battuta Mall (04 368 5500); Al Ghurair City (04 221 1166); Bustan Centre (04 261 1288); BurJuman (04 359 7774).
The impressive product range comprises cosmetics and fragrances, sunglasses, optics, watches, accessories, leather goods and more.
Best for: Accessories are the name of the game at this popular department store. The amount of cosmetics and sunglasses on sale is phenomenal. This is also one of the easiest places to pick up favourite fragrances.
Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Deira City Centre; www.iconic.ae (04 294 3444).
The imaginative flash mob opening of the store in Deira City Centre won us over. You’ll find everything from shoes to GHDs.
Best for: It is hard to think of a store opening that has pleased Time Out more in the last couple of years than this new gem at Deira City Centre mall. We think of it as a Bloomingdale’s for a younger, more alternative crowd. Prices are reasonable and you’ll pick up items unlike anything else you’ll see in Dubai.
Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Mall of the Emirates (04 409 8888).
Heaven for discerning shoppers, with well-spaced displays of drool-worthy labels like Alexander McQueen and Diane Von Furstenberg. It’s an excellent place to buy jeans, stocking Sass & Bide and Victoria Beckham.
Best for: The pinnacle of luxury London retail is a long-term fixture in Dubai and a must for any serious shopping trip. Even checking out the arty window displays is a pleasure. Obviously there is an enormous amount of fashion with British designers taking preference. We’re just as impressed by the interiors section – with the Ralph Lauren goods in particular making for excellent wish-list fodder. Where else in Dubai are you going to find a crystal table football set?
Open daily 10am-midnight. Mall of the Emirates (04 395 1200). Other location: The Walk, JBR (04 425 7999).
This fun-to-browse, high-end boutique with friendly staff is a brilliant bet for designer labels. All the latest offerings from Prada, Marni, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Missoni, Miu Miu and more are hung up next to Lulu Guinness bags and Gina shoes.
Best for: Handbags, shoes and party dresses. The brilliant website deserves special mention. If the sight of large numbers of women drooling over the latest fashions ever gets too much for you then head online to browse in privacy.
Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. The Dubai Mall (04 339 9933).
With 215,000 sq ft of gleaming white floors crammed with a lust-worthy list of designers, this Parisian department store is worth a wander even if you can’t afford it.
Best for: To call this the French Bloomingdale’s is a tad simplistic but you wouldn’t be far wrong. As you would expect from Dubai’s largest department store it is crammed full of high-end fashion at premium prices. Crammed, however, might not be the right word because the generous spread over three floors make this an enjoyably chic shopping experience. We might have done more window shopping than buying in the past but this is always a place to come for on-trend fashions.
Wafi www.marksandspencerme.com (04 324 5145). Other locations: Behind Al Ghurair City, Deira (04 222 2000); The Dubai Mall (04 33 988 90); Festival Centre (04 206 6490); Mall of the Emirates (04 395 8975).
M&S is famed for its well-priced lingerie and ladies will be thrilled that the Dubai store is well stocked for all sizes. A bra-fitting service is available. Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Fri 10am-midnight.
Best for: Respectable goods. There is something comforting about a trip to ‘Marks’. You could never call it the cutting edge of fashion but you will never find offensive clothing here. Instead the many ranges represent smart, chic clothing that will get you noticed – for the right reasons. Very popular for underwear and an excellent selection of frozen foods and biscuits.
Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Deira City Centre (04 295 0261)
The giant Stadium/Studio R department store at the food court end of Deira City Centre is still one of the mall's flagship retail areas. Predominantly a sporting department store it is also an excellent spot for accessories. We've picked up hair bunches, sunglasses, wristwatches and shoes on many visits.
Best for: There is always an intriguing selection of sporting goods here. From golf clubs to relaxation/massage chairs, there is fun browsing to be had. We find it good for beach wear with the sporty end of the sandy spectrum (Speedo) being as well catered for as the more casual brands (Billabong and Quicksilver). Regular sales and 'bargain bins' mean it is always worth looking in for a bargain.
Open Sun-Wed 10am-11pm; Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Dubai Festival City, www.sunandsandsports.com (04 232 9311). Other locations: Downtown Burj Khalifa (04 430 9253); Bur Dubai (04 351 6222); Deira (04 222 2780); Al Quoz (04 339 7595).
Nike, Bauer, Dunlop, Timberland, Carlton, Slazenger, Gunter Haas, Solex, etc can be found at this store retailing in sportswear and sports good.
Best for: It goes without saying that this is one for sport enthusiasts. But what we love is the sheer volume of highly-browsable kit on display. We’ve spent many a pleasant afternoon eyeing up everything from kayaks to tennis skirts. An impressive array of exercise equipment (running machines, exercise bikes, dumbbells) is also worthy of your consideration.