Dubai

Dubai thrives on trade, and so you'll not be short of somewhere to shop. 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 to spend up big.

Historically goods have come 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 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 over textiles, spices, and jewelry. But Dubai has also fallen in love with the air-conditioned mall, and these modern retail temples range over millions of square feet. Here there is an emphasis on luxury goods, with a capital "L." Residents are very brand-conscious and you'll find every label you'd also expect to see in Paris, New York, and Milan.

Although Dubai certainly appears to be shopping heaven, it's worthwhile keeping in mind the Latin phrase caveat emptor, or "buyer beware." Although prices are tax free, that doesn't necessarily mean 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. Shopping festivals can be filled with bargains, but often involve the retailers bringing out last years' stocks, so be informed if you are making an expensive purchase. Malls and major retailers are safe, but there are many sole traders in parts of Old Dubai around Karama, Satwa, and Bur Dubai, where fakes are rife. This extends over electronics, clothing, and accessories.

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  • 1. Alserkal Avenue

    Jumeirah Beach | Art Galleries

    An entire district rather than just one gallery, Alserkal is an entire creative zone where one could happily spend an entire afternoon; 500...

    An entire district rather than just one gallery, Alserkal is an entire creative zone where one could happily spend an entire afternoon; 500,000 square feet of architect-designed warehouses now hold some of Dubai's most progressive and sought-after collections. It's a large space to navigate, but you can book tours that give you a more in-depth look at the galleries. Other events include photography courses, family programs, film and music festivals, markets, and pop-up chefs producing art on a plate. Check out their website for updated happenings before you go, to ensure you get the most of your visit.

    St. 8, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    50-556–9797
  • 2. Boutique Le Chocolat

    Jumeirah Beach | Food/Candy

    With its glamorous finishing, 19th-century chocolate factory paraphernalia, life-size chocolate sculptures and the design work of some of the...

    With its glamorous finishing, 19th-century chocolate factory paraphernalia, life-size chocolate sculptures and the design work of some of the world's best chocolatiers, this is more art gallery than sweets shop. Try and buy chocolates made in-store and all over the world, and even participate in a chocolate "experience" to design your own blend. You can even design your own labels. With more than 700 flavors and 13,000 square feet dedicated to the worship of the cacao bean, this is a must for all chocolate lovers.

    City Walk, 16 Al Safa St., Al Wasl, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-590–5075
  • 3. O De Rose

    Jumeirah Beach | Household Items/Furniture

    Three cousins from Lebanon have brought their love of art and design through New York and London, and delivered them into this eclectic and...

    Three cousins from Lebanon have brought their love of art and design through New York and London, and delivered them into this eclectic and exotic boutique that expresses the vibrancy of Dubai beautifully. Housewares, fashion, art, and accessories are all unique and hand crafted, chic and kooky. There is an emphasis on the promotion of traditional art, and a wide range of products that support underprivileged artisans. Their own words describe the store as "Aladdin’s cave meets urban loft," which we think is a perfect description.

    999 Al Wasl Rd., Umm Suqeim 2, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-348–7990
  • 4. One and Only Spa

    Dubai Marina | Spas

    A lavish and expansive spa, One and Only have captured all the exotic romance of Arabia. Between palms and domes, elegant, understated pale...

    A lavish and expansive spa, One and Only have captured all the exotic romance of Arabia. Between palms and domes, elegant, understated pale greens and blues combined with earth tones and marble dominate the spa, which has 12 treatments rooms. The hammam is an authentic Turkish bath with a traditional central massage table providing possibly the best experience in the city. The spa also has a Bastien Gonzalez foot clinic and an Alexandre Zouari hair salon. There are separate opening times for men and women.

    One & Only Royal Mirage , Al Sufouh Rd., Al Sufouh 2, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-399–9999

    Shop Details

    Rate Includes: Ladies only timings, 9 am–1 pm
  • 5. The Dubai Mall

    Burj Dubai | Shopping Centers/Malls

    The biggest mall in the world (3.77 million square feet and more than 1,200 stores) should need no introduction. There is everything you might...

    The biggest mall in the world (3.77 million square feet and more than 1,200 stores) should need no introduction. There is everything you might possibly need or expect here, from high-end designer labels to mainstream fashion, gadgets galore, Bloomingdale's and Galleries Lafayette department stores, a gold souq, ice rink, aquarium, and underwater zoo, indoor roller coaster, Kidzania theme park, international restaurants, and more. You can also access the world's tallest building and the world's largest fountain display from the mall, and an easy walk across the water will take you to Souk al Bahar, a modern but traditionally styled mall with sleepy ambience, and tremendous restaurants.

    Financial Centre Rd., Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    800 -382246255
    View Tours and Activities
  • 6. Ahasees Spa

    The South Bank | Spas

    Grand, both in size and decor, Ahasees has voluminous spaces including a 20-meter indoor lap pool, which sits in a conservatory-style building...

    Grand, both in size and decor, Ahasees has voluminous spaces including a 20-meter indoor lap pool, which sits in a conservatory-style building flooded with light. The public areas have warm dark wood details that highlight the oriental design. On offer are massage, detox scrubs, enzyme facials floatation, and hydrotherapy. Specialist packages may have you easing in for a very Dubai crushed pearl polish and massage, pomegranate facial or royal milk bath. HydraFacial MD skin-care solutions are among the most popular bookings.

    The Grand Hyatt Dubai,, Sheikh Rashid Rd., Umm Hurair 1, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-317–2335
  • 7. Akaru Spa

    The North Bank | Spas

    Akaru Spa, a large private spa with 14 treatment rooms, a sauna, and hammam (Turkish bath), has a range of treatments available. Alongside...

    Akaru Spa, a large private spa with 14 treatment rooms, a sauna, and hammam (Turkish bath), has a range of treatments available. Alongside a list of mainstream massages and facials, it offers more complex treatments. Microdermabrasion strips the upper layers of the dermis to allow new skin to regenerate and is used to improve minor skin conditions. Try a session in the Pure Oxygen Capsule where your body is immersed in oxygen, said to detox and revitalize. Akaru Spa uses Thalgo products, made of beneficial marine algae, in many of its treatments. Other partners include Guinot and Payot cosmetics houses in Paris. There's a dedicated floor for men. The Aviation Club also has a hair salon and nail spa for a total image package.

    Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, Off Sheikh Rashid Rd., Garhoud, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-230–8565
  • 8. Amara Spa

    The North Bank | Spas

    Amara Spa, surrounding a palm-shaded pool, offers eight luxury pavilion spa suites with living area and terrace, hammam, and aromatic steam...

    Amara Spa, surrounding a palm-shaded pool, offers eight luxury pavilion spa suites with living area and terrace, hammam, and aromatic steam shower for residential stays, along with simple treatment rooms. The style is Arabic-Andalusian with vivid blue ceramic-tiled interiors and domes contrasting with whitewashed walls in the public areas, and soothing earth tones in the treatment rooms. Treatments concentrate on massage—with a choice of 10 options—facials, including nonsurgical face-lifts and body treatments. Excellent value for nonresidents are some of their packages, which include half-day pool, sauna, and steam bath access and a gourmet lunch (from 570 dirhams). The spa uses Natura Bissé and Anne Semonin products.

    Park Hyatt Hotel, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, off Baniyas St., Garhoud, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-602–1234
  • 9. Armani Spa

    Burj Dubai | Spas

    Visiting the Armani Spa is just as stylish as slipping on an Armani suit. The interiors are sleek and minimal, with all those trademark Armani...

    Visiting the Armani Spa is just as stylish as slipping on an Armani suit. The interiors are sleek and minimal, with all those trademark Armani style curves you'd expect. Treatments tend to follow the usual pattern (massage, facials, body wraps, etc.), but the real highlight here is the thermal area, where together with the sauna, you'll find a mist walkway, steam vapor area, and laconium. The 60-minute signature body treatment is also quite special, and features an Armani black silk body wrap, and combines techniques, such as shiatsu, acupressure, and aromatherapy.

    Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd., Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-888–3282
  • 10. Art Space Gallery

    World Trade Centre | Art Galleries

    The DIFC holds many galleries, and is a hub for investors and enthusiasts. It has built a reputation as a leading creative area in the city...

    The DIFC holds many galleries, and is a hub for investors and enthusiasts. It has built a reputation as a leading creative area in the city, and is also the home of Art Dubai together with the smaller Art Nights at the Gate Village. It's hard to choose just one gallery above all others, as each has its niche, but Art Space is a good place to start. With a changing roster of exhibitions of Middle Eastern artists, it is at the forefront of the growing interest in contemporary arts in the region: a great stopover for current and budding collectors.

    Gate Village, Dubai International Financial Center, Bldg. 3, Level 2, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-332–0820
  • 11. BurJuman Centre

    Shopping Centers/Malls

    BurJuman might be one of Dubai's oldest malls, but recent upgrades have seen it come back to past glories. It had been known as an elite retail...

    BurJuman might be one of Dubai's oldest malls, but recent upgrades have seen it come back to past glories. It had been known as an elite retail destination, with a range of designer stores and not much more, but recent additions also include more mid-level stores like H&M, The Toy Store and Carrefour Hypermarket. A cinema and entertainment center have now also brought up the standards of nonshopping activities, and there are a wide range of dining options from food court basics through to more upscale cafés and restaurants.

    Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed St., Al Mankool, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-352–0222
  • 12. CHI The Spa

    Spas

    To reach CHI The Spa you cross the marble bridge over soothing pools, a symbolic departure from everyday stress. There is an excellent range...

    To reach CHI The Spa you cross the marble bridge over soothing pools, a symbolic departure from everyday stress. There is an excellent range of different treatments and some unique ingredients—think Arabic coffee, olive stones, naturally warming lava shells and cardamom, but Biodroga and Futuresse products are also used if you don't want to venture toward the unusual. The spa has nine rooms and the adjoining fitness club has a gymnasium, Jacuzzi, squash court, and tennis court. Off-peak rates apply before noon, Sunday to Thursday, and it's worth checking their web page for offers.

    Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Rd., , Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-405–2441
  • 13. City Walk

    Burj Dubai | Shopping Centers/Malls

    This sleek development by the same developers who brought us the Dubai Canal manages to project that outside-in feel, perfect for Summer window...

    This sleek development by the same developers who brought us the Dubai Canal manages to project that outside-in feel, perfect for Summer window shopping. It's very cleverly designed to look more like a strip, and covered with purpose-painted street art and stencilling. Stores here are both quirky designer as well top end, providing a point of difference for Dubai, where usually shopping tends to veer toward mainstream. There is an excellent selection of restaurants in the area, some of which are franchised by Michelin-starred chefs (all without liquor license).

    39 Al Safa St., Al Wasl, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-317–3999
  • 14. Cleopatra's Spa

    Spas

    Cleopatra's Spa, one of the largest day spas in the UAE, is themed similarly to the rest of Wafi, in that it drips with gold and marble and...

    Cleopatra's Spa, one of the largest day spas in the UAE, is themed similarly to the rest of Wafi, in that it drips with gold and marble and is adorned with hieroglyphic reliefs and other Egyptian elements. Interestingly, their signature treatment is an Indonesian one, but it includes a Cleopatra-esque milk bath to keep everything on point. The spa is known for a great range of Elemis Biotec facials for those who need a little more than exfoliation and moisturizing. Treatments are for both men and women, and there are expansive facilities including Jacuzzis, saunas, and the like, meaning it's very easy to spend many hours in the center.

    The Pharaoh's Club, Wafi City, Oud Metha, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-324–7700
  • 15. Comptoir 102

    Jumeirah Beach | Jewelry & Watches

    A collage of Paris and the Middle East, with a layout out of the pages of a glossy magazine, Comptoir is known for directing residents toward...

    A collage of Paris and the Middle East, with a layout out of the pages of a glossy magazine, Comptoir is known for directing residents toward style and class. This concept store has a café, which focuses on healthy eating, with a leaning toward macrobiotic cuisine, and they source food from local organic farms where possible. The highlight is their collection of jewelry, which is diverse and different, selected by Vogue as one of the top selections in the world. There are also housewares, furniture, and clothing available, all completely individual and exclusive.

    102 Beach Rd., Jumeirah 1, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-385–4555
  • 16. Deira City Centre Mall

    Shopping Centers/Malls

    The range of shopping opportunities here attracts a cross-section of customers from all nationalities and walks of life. Mainstream outlets...

    The range of shopping opportunities here attracts a cross-section of customers from all nationalities and walks of life. Mainstream outlets dominate, but you'll also find more niche quarters to the mall, like the jewelry souk and textile court. There are three hotels attached (Ibis, Novotel, and Pullman), meaning there are some more serious dining options than just the standard food court fare. Free Wi-Fi is available, and there are also complimentary shuttle bus services to most of the larger creekside hotels.

    Baniyas Rd., Al Saeed, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-295–1010
  • 17. Dream Girls

    Jumeirah Beach | Clothing

    Undoubtedly one of Dubai's favorite tailoring shops, of which there are many, Dream Girls will make you anything from a simple shirt to a fabulous...

    Undoubtedly one of Dubai's favorite tailoring shops, of which there are many, Dream Girls will make you anything from a simple shirt to a fabulous gown, or you can take in a beloved item of clothing and they'll make a copy of it. There are catalogs full of products that they can make to your exact measurements in whatever material you choose, much of which can be bought on Satwa Road nearby. Make sure you allow at least five days for good workmanship.

    Satwa Rd., Satwa, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-349–5445
  • 18. Dreamworks

    Jumeirah Beach | Spas

    It's hard to find a good massage in Dubai for less than 400 dirhams, as most legitimate unisex establishments are in five-star hotels. Dreamworks...

    It's hard to find a good massage in Dubai for less than 400 dirhams, as most legitimate unisex establishments are in five-star hotels. Dreamworks, however, specializes in stand-alone venues and three-and four-star partners. There are several outlets, from Palm Jumeirah through to Al Barsha, Downtown, and Deira. This one, positioned near the industrial port in Jumeirah 1 isn't fancy, but is stylishly minimal with a loose Asian theme. Treatments follow in style, with a nudging toward Middle Eastern ingredients. In particular look for the Rose Body Scrub, with Moroccan argan oils, pure Damascus rose essence, and skin repairing lipids. There is also a good range of noninvasive antiaging treatments that don't break the bank.

    Ibis Styles Hotel Mina, Al Mina Rd., Jumeirah 1, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-501–4427
  • 19. Dubai Festival City

    Shopping Centers/Malls

    Festival city is an area that spans over 50 million square feet, with this large mall at the center of residential zones, a golf course, waterfront...

    Festival city is an area that spans over 50 million square feet, with this large mall at the center of residential zones, a golf course, waterfront dining strip, and two large hotels. Many mainstream brands are within this airy mall, which is anchored by Marks and Spencer, Ikea, and Hyperpanda, but you will find some local and niche labels, too. For when the shopping's done, there is a wide range of dining both in the mall and at the attached waterfront promenade, cinemas, and Fabyland offering up a treat for the kids.

    Dubai Festival City, , Festival Blvd., Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    -800332
    View Tours and Activities
  • 20. Dubai Marina Mall

    Dubai Marina | Shopping Centers/Malls

    This might be developed by the same company responsible for the Dubai Mall, but it's much more understated in style. It's a fairly simple mall...

    This might be developed by the same company responsible for the Dubai Mall, but it's much more understated in style. It's a fairly simple mall with minor entertainment options and classic mainstream stores, but has the marina aspect and the alfresco terrace dining makes it worth a visit.

    Emaar Dr., Dubai Marina, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    4-436–1020

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