My friends and I arrived in Dubai late last night for a girls-only holiday. This trip marks my third visit here, having previously travelled to the city for my honeymoon as well as business trips, both of which didn’t leave much time for some all-important retail therapy. On this holiday, my fellow fashion-loving girls and I are hoping to discover all that the city has to offer on the shopping spectrum.
Home to one of the world’s largest malls, an array of souks and lots of stylish fashion stores, I hear Downtown Dubai has now become a major shopping hub. This revelation gets my friends and I am very excited for what lies ahead and armed with our credit cards and a (loose) budget in mind, we set off to scour the shops in search of something special.
DAY 1: THE MALL
First stop? The Dubai Mall, the region’s biggest retail haven situated just a short walk from Rove Downtown Dubai and is the best hotel in downtown. This place really has it all from glossy department stores to cutting-edge electronic shops and avenues devoted to fashion, jewellery and accessories.
Whether you’re in the mood to window-shop or visiting with a purchase in mind, this colossal space stretches over 13 million square foot with more than 1,200 shops.
The Fashion Avenue is an elegant area within the mall reserved for high-end labels and fashion houses, including a few of my favourites such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Elie Saab and Temperley London.
We spent a fair few hours dipping into these luxurious stores and I walk away with a beautiful cocktail dress to wear for a friend’s upcoming wedding in the summer.
Rover’s tip: Laden with heavy shopping bags? Follow my suit and take a load off by stopping by the Concierge Lounge in the mall. This convenient service provides lockers to store your purchases while you take a break. I wish the Champs-Elysées offered this!
DAY 2: THE SOUK
My friends and I head out for a delicious evening bite at the award-winning Thai restaurant Thiptara, overlooking the fountains in The Palace Downtown Dubai.
Following a recommendation from a colleague back in Paris, we stroll over to Souk Al Bahar after dinner to browse the bazaar-style stalls. Here we find an array of traditional crafts, jewellery, art, silk shawls and embroidered textiles.
We stock up on Arabian-inspired gifts for loved ones back home and also come across a little spot called Heritage for Henna. I manage to convince my friends to join me in decorating our hands with this intricate dye pattern.
Rover’s tip: While many of the prices are listed, I discover that haggling is custom and all part of the fun when shopping at souks. Be sure to ask for a better price if the opportunity allows.
DAY 3: SHOES!
I have a confession: shoes are my weakness. Blame it on working in the fashion industry or simply having a magpie eye, I just can’t resist the allure of show-stopping soles.
Admitting this to Ahmed, a friendly face on the front desk at Rove Downtown Dubai, he reveals that The Dubai Mall offers an entire department store devoted to shoes.
30 minutes later and my friends and I are back in the mall to find Level Shoe District.
A step inside the space and we’re mesmerised – 96,000 square feet filled with a curated selection of new season boots, stilettos, flats and sandals in every shade and style imaginable. I walk away with a pair of statement metallic stilettos by one of my favourite shoe designers, Giuseppe Zanotti.
DAY 4: BARGAINS
After dropping a fair few dirhams on my new heels, the group and I head back to the mall to check out the high-street shops and hopefully score a bargain.
The Dubai Mall is packed with purse-friendly options such as H&M, Topshop, Zara and Mango.
I’m happy to find COS from Sweden in the mall; a cool, contemporary brand that offers sleek and minimal wardrobe staples – think crisp linen shirts and tailored capri trousers. It is the ideal place to stock up on office wear with a twist.
I also come across UAE-founded fashion chain Splash, a popular store heaving with on-trend pieces at a low price point.
Get there: http://bit.ly/1qiI0SJ
After several hours spent shopping till we dropped, I must admit we are super impressed at the endless options and extensive offering on the retail front in Dubai. We will be back!