Dubai’s spending habits don’t dwindle during Ramadan, they simply become nocturnal. With many Muslims fasting and working shorter hours during the day, after sunset and post-iftar is really when the city comes alive and mostly with shoppers on the hunt for a bargain, one-off buys, or that perfect Eid gift. Last year, retail sales in the city saw a 50 percent spike over the Eid weekend, but there is plenty of room to find a bargain before then. Here, we reveal seven late-night shopping adventures you can embark on in the city during the summer.
Private shopping parties There’s nothing quite like some retail therapy from the comfort of your home with the trusted opinion of your closest friends and local online site Monroe & Me offers just that. Arriving at your digs with rails of on-trend garments, the service is especially useful during summer because it saves you the hassle of traipsing around the mall aimlessly with little to show for it, plus you can enjoy post-iftar nibbles while you shop. There is no obligation to buy, but the host must invite a minimum of six people and will then receive 15 percent off.
My Ex Wardrobe pop-up shop Taking place on Wednesday, July 2 at slick nightspot Cargo in Pier 7, the wardrobes of ladies past come together in this pop-up retail concept for second-hand designer and high-street items. Particularly great for picking up reasonably priced Ramadan-friendly cover-ups and clothes that will take you through the Holy Month. Gents, don’t worry, you’re catered for as well.
Best for: second-hand bargains. 7.30pm-11.30pm. Wednesday, July 2. Cargo, Pier 7. My Ex Wardrobe, www.myexwardrobe.com.
Mall shopping With malls staying open longer than usual, and many offering bargains to coincide with Dubai Summer Surprises, there is even more opportunity to hit your favourite high-street and designer stores after dark. Dubai shopping hub Mall of the Emirates keeps its doors open until 1am all week, as does The Dubai Mall, with the restaurants facing Dubai Fountain open until 3am. Meanwhile, Satwa-stationed Al Ghurair Centre will keep its 10am-midnight hours, while Mirdif-based Arabian Center is open until midnight each night.
Best for: a leisurely shop with no pressure. Mall of the Emirates, daily 10am-1am (04 409 9000); The Dubai Mall, daily 10am-1am (04 362 7500); Al Ghurair Centre, daily 10am-midnight (800 24227); Arabian Center, daily 10am-midnight (04 284 5555). Until the end of Ramadan.
DragonMart For serious dirham-saving discounts all under one dragon-shaped roof, head to this emporium of Chinese-produced products. Whether you’re shopping for items for the home and garden or fashion, and beauty, you’ll get it here and at cheaper than high-street prices. Located in International City, the store has 3,950 retail units so make sure you have comfy shoes on or hire a buggy to get you around the mammoth store. There are promotions and offers on all the time, and you can barter for even better deals.
Best for: quirky finds and unbeatable bargains. Daily, midday-midnight. Dubai, Al Ain Road www.dragonmart.ae (04 4336 200).
Dubai Flea Market If you like to rummage through one person’s junk in the hope of finding treasure then a visit to the flea market will not disappoint. Here, second-hand sellers flog everything from DVDs, books, clothes, electrical items and antiques, you can also pick handcrafts from some of the creative artisan vendors, too. The market is held on the first Friday of every month so this one will be the only occurring during the Ramadan period. Make a note in your diary for the August night market, which will take place on August 1.
Best for: pre-owned treasures. Fri July 4, 7pm-11pm. Dhs3 for entrance to the park. Safa Park, www.dubai-fleamarket.com (no number).
Ramadan Night Market Held during the last 11 nights of Ramadan, when people are preparing for Eid Al Fitr, this market features an array of stalls and shops for items including traditional food and garments, clothes, electronics, beauty and jewellery, home appliances and souvenirs. Located in the Dubai World Trade Centre the market will be air-conditioned and it even has a kids’ play area where die-hard shoppers can safely leave their little ones to be entertained with face painting, indoor rides and bouncy castles, while the grown-ups stock up.
Best for: family-friendly shopping and one-off finds. July 17-27, 8pm-2am during Ramadan. Za’abel Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre, Downtown Dubai, www.ramadannightmarket.com (04 388 5191).
Michelle Belau The Peruvian import’s stylish boutique in Citywalk offers a personal shopper service helping to ensure you look the part and sales assistants are all trained in fashion. The collections are designed by Lucia Cavero Belaunde with a focus on European-style tailoring, modern shapes and feminine cuts.
Best for: sophisticated style. Daily 10am-midnight; 10am-2am during Eid Al Fitr. Citywalk, Al Safa Street, Jumeirah 1, www.michellebelau.ae (04 344 9989).
24-hour online shopping
Culture & Co Looking to start a DIY project? This Dubai-based e-shop delivers arts and crafts equipment including glues and varnishes, origami paper, accessories, creative kits, paints and more to your home. They also have a great range of French books, comics and stationery. Free next-day delivery in Dubai. www.culturecodubai.net.
Secret Fine Foods Those craving cured Italian meats, Japanese desserts, gourmet dairy products or maybe something on the organic side should head straight to this local online grocer. You’ll find everything from caviar to Irish beef and food hampers to help you break your fast. Free next business day delivery in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on orders Dhs250 or more. www.secretsfinefood.com.
S*uce Ramadan e-shop The local boutique has launched a Ramadan-curated section on its e-shop, where style mavens can pick up colourful kaftans and accessories from regional designers including Essa, OTT, Taali and Zayan the Label. Free next-day delivery in the GCC.