Hot seat: Yousif Al Ali

On October 30, The Dubai Mall, the largest in the region, will open. <em>Time Out</em> talks sharks, skating and shops with Emaar Malls Group’s general manager.

Hot seat, The Knowledge

I guess this is a very exciting, busy time for you...
Yes, of course. Opening a mall in the stature and league of The Dubai Mall is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We are inundated with enquiries and felicitations from around the world.

We’ve heard this is going to be the most extravagant mall in all of Dubai. What are you doing to live up to this?
Emaar Malls is planning a series of activities to ensure The Dubai Mall has the largest mall opening ever in the region. On October 30, 2008 the entire mall will be accessible to the public and an unprecedented number of retailers will operate from day one.

Why is there going to be an ice rink?
The Olympic-size Dubai Ice Rink is part of our initiative to make The Dubai Mall a complete year-round leisure and entertainment destination. Given the ambient temperatures prevailing in the Gulf, a cool, chill-out zone is a welcome relief for visitors keen to skate or play ice hockey.

What other attractions can we expect?
The Dubai Mall will pay homage to haute couture, with more than 70 stores in the Fashion Avenue precinct. A centerpiece of the mall will be Dubai Aquarium. With the capacity to hold 10 million litres of water, it will showcase one of the most diverse collections of marine life worldwide.

The Gold Souk, the largest of its kind in the world, will showcase a collection of over 220 of the region’s gold and jewellery retailers. Then the SEGA Republic theme park will feature motion-simulated rides, an indoor spin-coaster and one of the largest selections of arcade and gaming machines in the world.

The mall’s promenade will also be lined with an array of themed cafés and restaurants, offering views of the tallest tower in the world, Burj Dubai. The aquatic theme continues with an indoor waterfall cascading over the four levels of the mall, as well as an outdoor musical water fountain with underwater lights, water jets and laser projections choreographed to themed music and songs.

You’re not the first super mall here in Dubai, do you think the public will ever grow tired of the indoor shopping experience?
No, for the simple reason that indoor shopping has already been reinvented to give families a total leisure experience, rather than merely offering retail therapy.

Will you open in stages or all at once?
All public areas of the mall will be accessible from October 30. The number of retailers trading from day one will help make The Dubai Mall the largest mall opening ever in the region. In terms of attractions, Dubai Aquarium & Discovery Centre, Dubai Ice Rink, The Grove and the Gold Souk will be ready. The entertainment precinct consisting of KidZania, SEGA Republic and the 22-screen Cineplex will open in 2009 to coincide with the key retail and tourist periods.

Why did the mall not open on August 28, as scheduled?
We revised the opening date to offer customers more retail and leisure options from day one. The new opening also coincides with a period of key retail activity in the region – UAE National Day, Eid Al Adha, New Year and Dubai Shopping Festival.

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