We take a peek behind the scenes at Dubai's newest mall. Here's what we found when we had a nosey...
Here’s a riddle. What looks like The Dubai Mall, has many of the same shops as The Dubai Mall, but isn’t The Dubai Mall? Answer: the Dubai Marina Mall – our city’s newest shopping emporium and mini-me to its much larger, aforementioned big brother. So alike are these modern-day megaliths, both owned by construction company Emaar, that perhaps calling the latest addition ‘Dubai Mall Lite’, would be a tad more appropriate.
Walking around the compact, yet spacious Dubai Marina Mall is, however, a little creepier than taking in the sights of its slightly older relation – not least because nobody seems to know that it’s there yet and, in our city’s classic mall tradition, many of the shops are boarded up with ‘Opening Soon’ signs. These do little to dull the mind-pounding drilling and hammering that is industriously happening behind the scenes.
On a positive note, of the eventual 155 shops that are finally to be opened here, they do represent a concentrated collection of the Dubai Mall’s most popular draw cards, and many have already flung open their doors. Dubai’s second branch of British supermarket chain Waitrose, for example, can be found here. High street fashion names are represented by Coast, Cortefiel, Reiss and New Look, to name a handful, while shoes and other accessories can be sourced from Kurt Geiger, Accessorize and Miss Sixty Accessories. Unfortunately our favourite reason for heading to The Dubai Mall – the mammoth Kinokuniya bookstore – isn’t planning to extend its reach down the road, but you can pick up the latest bestsellers, magazines and newspapers at Borders Express.
And, while there may not be a huge aquarium or ice rink, plans are afoot for a ‘gourmet tower’, which will consist of several floors of classy restaurants and a chi-chi nightclub. In addition, there are three standout boutiques that are unique to this mall (for the minute) and therefore worthy of a separate mention – Soboho, Nolita and Desigual.
Still, despite this speckle of highlights, the Dubai Marina Mall’s obvious similarity to its big brother does beg the question, ‘Do we really need it?’ The answer is we don’t, but if you live near the Marina and want to save on the salik toll or if you don’t feel like walking miles to get a freshly baked Waitrose loaf, then this is the place for you.
Inside the mall
Desigual Desigual is originally from the Spanish city of Barcelona, which makes sense once you see its colourful, eclectic stock. The patchwork coats are gorgeous, but a little superfluous for Dubai’s climate. Instead, take a look at the T-shirts, skirts, dresses and the oh-so-now jumpsuits – particularly if you’re tired of wearing black. Men are well catered for too, with a fun collection of shorts, trousers and T-shirts – all available in a clash of colour. For more info, call 04 399 7893
Nolita The wares in this emporium, whose is name is a nod towards its origins in northern Italy rather than an oblique Nabokov reference, is caught somewhere between the high street and top-end designer wear. One for the girls, think fun prints mixed with up-to-the-minute runway style, and you’ll start to get the picture. Call 04 434 2634 for details
Soboho This sister boutique to the popular Bahraini haunt of the same name, Soboho stocks a copious range of vintage T-shirts (by Junk Food, Local Celebrity, David Goliath), LA streetwear, gifts and trinkets for men, women and kids. Stay a while and rifle through the racks – you’ll be amazed at what you’ll find in this treasure trove. For further details, call 04 434 2535
Dubai Marina Mall is conveniently accessed from Sheikh Zayed Road just after exit 29. For information, visit www.dubaimarinamall.com or call 04 436 1000