DUBAI TILL YOU DROP

Dubai

Prestige Indonesia - - Contents -

IMAG­INE SPEND­ING THE morn­ing bar­gain­ing for spices in a his­toric Ara­bian souk, and the af­ter­noon ex­plor­ing posh, air-con­di­tioned Fash­ion Av­enue at The Dubai Mall as you seek out the lat­est de­signer hand­bag or lux­ury watch. Or maybe you want to take a break from your shop­ping marathon to go ski­ing down a snowy moun­tain in Ski Dubai.

Wel­come to Dubai, where all these sce­nar­ios are pos­si­ble. The fu­tur­is­tic city is not only known for its spec­tac­u­lar build­ings, but also as a shop­ping heaven. With over 95 shop­ping malls, Dubai is the A to Z of re­tail. From Har­vey Ni­chols, Bloom­ing­dales, Gal­leries Lafayette, Fort­num and Ma­son to Marks and Spencer, vir­tu­ally ev­ery global brand is on sale here, along­side a col­lec­tion of home-grown bou­tiques and la­bels. Ac­cord­ing to a CBRE (the world’s largest com­mer­cial real es­tate ser­vices and in­vest­ment firm based in Los An­ge­les) re­port in 2014, Dubai ranks sec­ond in the world among cities boast­ing the high­est num­ber of re­tail­ers.

“Dubai is a one-stop des­ti­na­tion, of­fer­ing shop­pers with tai­lor-made op­tion,” says Di­rec­tor of Fron­tier Mar­ket Dubai Tourism, Jessie Ling. “In one trip, shop­pers could look up at the world’s tallest build­ing, ski down a snowy moun­tain in the mid­dle of the desert, sky­dive above a man-made is­land, swim with sharks in the world’s largest mall, marvel at sparkling jew­els in the souks and feel the breeze from a tra­di­tional dhow cruise—all in a sin­gle trip.”

One of the many rea­sons why shop­pers and fash­ion­istas flock the largest and pop­u­lous city in the United Arab Emi­rates is the month-long Dubai Shop­ping Fes­ti­val (DSF). “This an­nual fes­ti­val was started in 1994 and is the largest of its kind in the Mid­dle East that at­tracts mil­lions of lo­cal, re­gional and global vis­i­tors,” she ex­plains. “It is meant for shopa­holics who love to bar­gain and buy stuff. In con­clu­sion it is a re­tail ther­apy. Dur­ing the fes­ti­val, all of the malls and souks in the city of­fer dis­count price. You can find what­ever you need, from clothes, ac­ces­sories, toys and even fur­ni­ture.”

This year, the 23rd Dubai Shop­ping Fes­ti­val will start on De­cem­ber 26, 2017 to Jan­uary 28, 2018. The month-long shop­ping ex­trav­a­ganza fea­ture 200 celebri­ties and in­flu­encers, 4,000 par­tic­i­pat­ing re­tail­ers, 5,000 re­tail pro­mo­tions and AED 100 mil­lion in prizes to be won.

“For trav­ellers who want to ex­pe­ri­ence DSF for the first time, I’d like to share some ad­vice,”

she says. “First, make sure you stay at a ho­tel near the mall. Sec­ond, get up early and ar­rive at 10 am, so it won’t be too crowded. It’s all about the early bird catch­ing the worm. The last is to make sure you set your itin­er­ary right, be­cause we have a lot of malls to ex­plore.”

So where bar­gain hun­ters should start their shop­ping spree? The first des­ti­na­tion and also a must-visit is the world’s largest shop­ping mall, The Dubai Mall. Spread over 12 mil­lion sq ft, this mall wel­comed 80 mil­lion vis­i­tors in 2015, which beats the num­ber of vis­i­tors who went to New York’s Times Square.

“In De­cem­ber, the Fash­ion Av­enue at The Dubai Mall will add new and per­son­alised flag­ship stores of the world’s most renowned brands, with the first phase of the ex­pan­sion adding 1 mil­lion sq ft of new space,” says Ling. Flag­ship stores in­clude Cartier, Chanel, Chopard, Tif­fany & Co, Van Cleef & Ar­pels and Chris­tian Louboutin. “Also, there will be a wide new range of F&B ad­di­tions along Burj Lake and over­look­ing The Dubai Foun­tain.”

The most in­ter­est­ing part of the Fash­ion Av­enue at The Dubai Mall is it has The Lounge. The ex­clu­sive venue is lo­cated on the R-level and fea­tures un­par­al­leled panoramic views of Dubai Foun­tain and the world’s tallest build­ing

Burj Khal­ifa. The Lounge al­lows shop­pers to un­wind at the foyer be­tween shop­ping trips, to catch up with work, or to spend qual­ity time with busi­ness part­ners and friends. “You can get fash­ion ad­vices from fash­ion ex­perts and a but­ler ser­vice to carry your shop­ping bags,” adds Ling.

To gain ac­cess to The Lounge, shop­pers should join The List –the mall’s premier loy­alty pro­gramme. To be­come The List, there are three sim­ply steps: present re­ceipts of AED 50,000 spent to The Lounge re­cep­tion (all spend must oc­cur within one month), com­plete and sub­mit the ap­pli­ca­tion form and you’re done.

Other malls to ex­plore are Mall of the Emi­rates, which houses an in­door ski slope and an aquar­ium; the themed sec­tions of Ibn Bat­tuta Mall, such as An­dalu­cia, China and Egypt; ex­plore the pyra­mids when visit­ing the Egyp­tian-themed Wafi Mall; wan­der through an Ital­ian vil­lage at Mer­cato Mall and visit the largest Chi­nese trad­ing hub out­side of China at Dragon Mart. For fac­tory out­let lovers, there is Dubai Out­let Mall which housed 240 stores with over 1,200 brands. Items from well-known brand such as Burberry, Guess and DKNY are 30-90 per­cent off.

For the Ara­bian shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence, head your way to the souks. Both Souq Al Ba­har and the Mad­i­nat Souq are mod­ern recre­ations of these bazaars ooz­ing charm and at­mos­phere steps away from five-star ho­tels and restau­rants; or jour­ney back in time and visit the his­tor­i­cal cov­ered mar­kets that have flanked Dubai’s Creek for hun­dreds of years. Hunt out that pre­cise shade of blue in the Tex­tile Souq; breathe in the aro­mas of saf­fron and in­cense as you wan­der through the lanes of the Spice Souq; and be daz­zled by dis­plays of glit­ter­ing gold and di­a­monds in the renowned Gold Souq.

Last but not least, head your way to Global Vil­lage, where more than 65 coun­tries come to­gether in 37 pavil­ions to show­case their indige­nous prod­ucts. Open only in win­ter and spring, shop­pers can buy honey from Ye­men, car­pets from Iran, wooden pots from Africa and dried fruits from Thai­land. Shop­ping has never been more fun.

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