‘We used to build civilizations. Now we build shopping malls.’ Bill Bryson
Shopping is a big past time here in the UAE, consumerism is off the scale! Dubai has lots of shiny and trendy top end malls and even boasts the largest mall in the world. The Dubai Mall, a record-breaking shopping mecca, houses 1,200 shops that includes an array of designer shops and among many others a selection of the best of the British, American and Spanish high streets favourites.
Malls in Dubai are a destination; not only a place to go shopping, eat and drink but also to enjoy a range of activities. The Dubai Mall houses an aquarium, where you can take a glass bottom boat ride, dive with sharks in a cage and explore the Underwater Zoo. More fun can be had at the full size ice skating rink, KidZania and indoor Sega amusement arcade, honestly seeing is believing. The mall is also the gateway to ‘At The Top, Burj Khalifa’, the tallest building in the world (spot the tallest, biggest theme here)
View from the Top, Burj Khalifa, Dubai
However, these activities are nothing compared to the most crazy mall activity available in Dubai so far, ‘Ski Dubai’, the indoor ski resort situated in the Mall of the Emirates. Yes, you heard that right, you can ski here in the desert! With Beginner and Advanced slopes, you can ski, snowboard and enjoy other winter activities in the artificial snow complete with chair and button lifts and even have lessons. The most recent additions are the Gentoo and King Penguins where you can interact with these arctic birds in a mall, in the desert, yes really! I still find it quite unbelievable every time I visit!
Abu Dhabi malls have always lagged behind on the mall front in my opinion, not just because of the sheer scale but there was just something missing! That’s all changed this week with the opening of Abu Dhabi’s latest mall offering, The Galleria located at Al Maryah Island. A fantastic new glass structure, The Galleria is a luxury retail and dining destination located on the waterfront. The abundance of high-end shiny shops will attract the masses and when the weather is cooler, it will also offer visitors outdoor dinning at the water’s edge on the promenade.
The Galleria Mall, Abu Dhabi.
Not your average everyday shopping venue that’s for sure, but a little surprise had me hooked straight away, Magnolia Bakery straight from New York City! Red velvet cup cake and a skinny latte please and don’t mind the calories, it’s a mall opening celebration!
I first discovered Magnolia Bakery on a visit to New York where myself and the kids enjoyed some sweet treats (hubby and his amazing willpower resisted!) in this vintage 50’s style American Bakery. The international franchise of the bakery arrived in the UAE in Bloomingdale’s in the Dubai Mall and now the replica mint green decor and yummy baked goods menu has arrived in the capital……Happy Days! So next time I fancy blowing 1/3 of my daily calories in one sitting, you will find me in the bakery, the Magnolia Bakery!
And coming soon…….the next shopping venue, The Mall at World Trade Centre, which will feature the region’s first House of Fraser department store and early next year The Yas Mall will be opened right on my doorstep, hooray more air-conditioned places to hide in the summer.
Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2013. All rights reserved.