Dubai Shopping

Dubai is a mecca of shopping, and if it's sheer volume that gets you to part with your dollars there are few spots on earth that can beat it. With tax-free prices and billions of dollars' worth of giveaways for customers, the emirate has gained a reputation as the place for bargains.

Dubai produces next to no products, but it never mattered because historically goods came flooding in from

around the Gulf, the Indian subcontinent, and the horn of Africa. Now they stream in from around the globe, as designers hunger to establish a presence in this red-hot town.

The top buys start with gold and precious stones—Dubai is one of the cheapest places in the world to buy quality jewelry. It's also the largest marketplace, outside of Iran, for handmade Persian rugs, and prices are much more affordable than in the United States and Europe. Indian and Chinese silks and satins occupy an important sector of the market, while spices and incense are must-buy items. The city has what might be the best range of up-market goods outside of New York Fashion Week. It's rare to find such a saturation of French, Italian, American, and British designers together in one city.

The alleyways of the old downtown souks still have the bustling atmosphere of a traditional Arab trading port, and you can get down to some serious haggling here. But Dubai has fallen in love with the air-conditioned mall, and these modern retail temples range over millions of square feet.

Although Dubai certainly appears to be shopping heaven, it's worthwhile keeping in mind the Latin phrase caveat emptor, or "buyer beware." Large electronics producers use Dubai to offload last year's stock, so many computers, electronics, and cameras are not current models. And even though the shopping is tax free, it doesn't necessarily mean that prices for international goods will be cheaper than in your hometown. Numerous shoppers come to Dubai from countries where luxury goods and designer labels are hard to get, so price is less important than availability. If getting a bargain is the main reason for traveling to Dubai, make sure to research prices of similar goods at home before you come.

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Dubai Shopping

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Al Karama Healthcare Centre

  • Spa/Beauty

Al Karama Healthcare Centre is a holistic medical center concentrating on the principles of ayurveda. The practitioners here offer diagnostic...

BurJuman Centre

  • Shopping Centers/Malls

BurJuman Centre, an 800,000-square-foot boxy building, houses a some of downtown's finest designer names and a smattering of top-label...

Cleopatra's Spa

  • Spa/Beauty

Cleopatra's Spa, one of the largest day spas in the UAE, is more like a genuine Turkish bath, or hammam, than an opulent resort spa in...

Karama Market

  • Shopping Centers/Malls

At Karama Market, Dubai's largest general souk, products span the gamut from mundane essentials to mass-produced souvenirs to the latest...

Lamcy Plaza

  • Shopping Centers/Malls

Lamcy Plaza is a useful all-purpose mall. Lamcy Plaza caters not only to shoppers but aims to be more of a community facility than other...

Majlis Gallery

  • Art Galleries

Majlis Gallery is run by interior designer Alison Collins, who moved to Dubai in the 1970s and raised three children in this Bastakia...

RafflesAmrita Spa

  • Spa/Beauty

RafflesAmrita Spa opened in early 2008, combining six private treatment suites with a gym and use of the hotel's expansive pool area...

The Grand Spa

  • Spa/Beauty

The Grand Spa is certainly grand, both in size and decor, with voluminous spaces such as the lap pool, which sits in a conservatory-style...

Wafi City Mall

  • Shopping Centers/Malls

At Wafi City Mall style is a watchword, though the Egyptian theme of the mall comes across a bit kitschy. Wafi isn't the largest mall...

XVA

  • Art Galleries

XVA provides an interface between visitors and contemporary Islamic art, with an ever-changing calendar of thought-provoking exhibitions...

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