Under one roof Mall of the Emirates has all you could possibly need for the festive season
Time Out Dubai staff
The mall, eh? I imagine I’ll be doing most of my Christmas shopping there. It wouldn’t be a bad idea – the new extension has added a load of shops, including cool mum-friendly Cath Kidston, an expanded Borders book store and, if you’ve got deep pockets this festive season, the much lauded Apple store. And that’s just a few.
But you’re not here to talk me through my gift-buying endeavours, are you? Nope – there’s more to Mall of the Emirates, one of the city’s busiest shopping centres, than the queues in Carrefour. Its cinema now has a gold class experience catered by British celebrity chef Gary Rhodes – Vox ThEATre by Rhodes – as well as an arthouse screen showing indie movies for the city’s culture vulture collective.
I’ve heard a lot about the new stuff. What else is good? Nowhere will get you into the Christmas spirit like a trip to Ski Dubai. This year, the snowy indoor slopes will be “more festive than ever”, featuring a Santa’s Grotto and a few more special surprises yet to be revealed. If you fancy paying the jolly one a visit to ensure you’re not on this year’s “naughty” list, prices start from Dhs65 to see Santa, up to Dhs325 for access to the snow park, a Santa visit and either a penguin encounter, snow bullet ride or ski lesson.
YES. That’s exactly what I’m looking for. How about somewhere to grab a drink afterwards? While you’re at the slope, you could head up on the chair lift to the ominously named Avalanche Café for a cup of its famous cream and marshmallow-topped hot chocolate. Santa in need of something a little bit stronger? Book a table at Après, the ski lodge-themed bar and restaurant that overlooks the slopes. It may not be particularly traditional, but the thin, crispy pizzas are knockout, as is the ladies’ night on Sunday evenings.
And if I do need to do a tiny bit of last-minute Christmas shopping? A waltz through the displays in Debenhams and Crate&Barrel should get you in the mood – but an Alshaya gift card (available in most stores) is probably your safest bet if you’re this clueless. Al Barsha, www.malloftheemirates.com (04 409 9000).
Only in Mall of the Emirates Penguins
Meet king and gentoo penguins including Jumeirah, McFatty, Paul and Mona Lisa in their snowy Ski Dubai habitat. The birds have a private pool and a rocky deck where they enjoy their daily fish banquets, and visitors can meet them for a photograph in the Penguin Encounter area. From Dhs175 per person. Ski Dubai, www.skidubaipenguins.com.