Love ’em or loathe ’em, there’s no doubt that many visitors come here for the malls. Handy, really, since it seems that many of the city’s construction giants follow the Field Of Dreams maxim – build it and they will come. The Dubai Mall (www.thedubaimall.com) is a case in point – sceptics may have questioned whether we needed another one, but its success already seems secured. If your brood is after something a little more traditional, however, there are plenty of souks to explore. Our favourites cluster around both sides of the base of the Creek – Gold and Spice on the Deira side, and Textiles across the water in Bur Dubai. Even if you don’t find anything you want, the lively atmosphere is well worth the abra ride.
If you visitors are here on a weekend, they’ll get to enjoy the multi-sensory experience that is Souk Al Bastikiya too. With live entertainment and tasty treats alongside some of the city’s best local arts and crafts, it’s an event truly unique to Dubai (and possibly the only souk in the world that comes with valet parking).
There are more humble bargains to be had in Satwa and Karama – the former just perfect for guests wanting to get items custom-made, while the knock-off charms of the latter are almost legendary (they don’t call it Dolce & Karama for nothing). But if you simply must shop designer might we at least suggest you go boutique? S*uce
(04 344 7270), Bauhaus (04 368 5551) and, finally, Soiree (04 349 4995), with its emphasis on high-end Asian designers, are just some of our favourites.
Dubai’s latest retail trick, however, is the concept store, for which, like everything else, the city has nabbed the essence from elsewhere and given it its own stamp. Traffic design gallery (04 341 8494), for example, offers revolving exhibitions featuring the best in Middle Eastern furniture and homewares design. But it’s the Boutique 1 Concept Store (www.boutique1.com) in JBR that takes the ultimate prize. With a spa, café and dedicated art gallery all jostling alongside the designer rails, it gives new meaning to the phrase ‘one-stop shop’.
‘Global Village (www.globalvillage. ae) is the place to head for consumption right now. After a slow start, the part-amusement park, part-international market is truly heaving now, with customers, mainly UAE Nationals, walking around with bags and bags of buys from the various globally themed shops.’
Simar Barrached, Australian shopaholic