Dubai isn’t just for the rich and famous, and being just a 6-hour flight from the UK makes this Emirate State the perfect destination for some indulgence. Known as a Millionaire’s playground, Dubai is a place to explore the desert, dine with stunning views and shop until you drop. They even have their own Dubai Shopping Festival each year in January and February which alongside fashion shows and events, has concerts and even sports.
Whether you are searching for Renaissance architecture or dancing water fountains, Dubai really does have it all and provides one of the greatest shopping experiences. Here are my 5 best places to shop in Dubai:
1. Dubai Mall
This mall has to be the most famous of all of the shopping malls. The Dubai Mall is one of the world’s largest and has its own waterfalls, giant aquarium and an outdoor water show as well as 1,200 high street and designer shops. It’s more like its own city and unlike your average mall, there are more than 1200 retail stores. Instead, you’ll an aquarium larger than a house, and an ice rink that rivals the size of an Olympic rink.
You can even take skating lessons here but most visitors come here to experience the daily performances of the Dubai Fountain in all its dancing glory. Visit at 6 pm for a more spectacular show at dusk where sprays of up to 450 feet fall over the Burj Lake accompanied by music. There’s a reason it’s the most popular mall in Dubai.
2. Mall of the Emirates
Aptly named as the mall of the whole seven states, this has to be one of the most unique malls in the world, mainly because it comes with its giant snowglobe. If you’ve ever wanted to ski in the Middle East, this is the place to come and experience a winter wonderland and escape the outdoor heat. If skiing isn’t your thing, maybe you’ll prefer an afternoon in the 4D theatre, unique to the Middle East.
There really is no need to experience another mall after this one, with more than 550 shopping outlets. Ideally situated near Metro Station 2, you’ll find the brands that you love such as London born – Cath Kidston.
If you’re lucky, you may even time it just right for one of the fashion shows which take place in the mall, so you can dine in one of the 90 restaurants whilst watching models showcase the next outfit you may want to shop for in the Mall. You’ll find ladies Arabic fashion amongst the many big brands in this mall which has been open for over a decade.
3. Wafi Shopping Mall
For those who love art, Wafi Shopping Mall is an art lover’s dream and is a unique shopping experience in an Egyptian style. Although not as large as the Dubai Mall or the Wall of Emirates, Wafi has 300 stores within its pyramid facade, including art galleries and a large collection of artwork, many of which you can buy as a souvenir.
It’s not all about art here either as lifestyle plays a key part within this mall. You’ll find live music here such as blue bands playing within selective restaurants, and can even indulge as Cleopatra in her aptly-named day spa. As well as coffee morning fashion shows, you’ll find art festivals in this mall, known for its affordable luxury.
4. Souk Madinat Jumeriah
Be transported to a miniature Venice within the Middle East at Souk Madinat Jumeriah. This area is a chance to get outdoors and escape the huge shopping malls, and experience Venetian-style canals instead. What makes this area one of the best places to shop in Dubai is its labyrinth of souks which provides a truly traditional feel. Shop in the Arabian markets for textiles, perfumes and colourful lanterns and wander through the bazaar, finding souvenirs to take back home.
If you are staying in one of the hotels on Jumeriah, sail through the canals on a traditional wooden boat from the waterfront to one of the restaurants and boutique shops.
Being near Jumeriah beach, once you have picked up enough Middle Eastern souvenirs, you can hire a beach buggy to take you to Dubai’s only 6-star hotel: the Burj Al Arab. The best time to visit Souk Madinat Jumeriah is at night for a truly magical feel.
5. Dubai Deira Souk
From the new to the old, Dubai Deira Souk is a world away from the glitzy state of the art shopping malls, and instead is a chance to shop in a traditional Emirates style, especially if you are gold shopping and looking for any kind of gold jewellery. Away from the deigned labels, you’ll find yourself meandering through old city walls absorbing the smells of the spice market. I love this area that runs along Dubai creek.
If you are wanting to buy a colourful scarf or sari in practically any colour to be fitted perfectly, this is the area to come, although you won’t find many textiles made in Dubai as most are made further abroad in countries such as India. Afterwards, hop aboard a traditional Dhow for a sightseeing tour of Dubai Creek and its contrast of new and old.
Some of the hotels provide shuttles to the malls or you can navigate your way around Dubai by taxi. No matter where you shop in Dubai, this opulent Emirate is guaranteed a shopping experience that you won’t forget. It's perfect for those of us shopping girls about the globe.