Friday, Oct. 10, 2008

2. Shopping Malls

The thing about shopping in Dubai is that the actual shopping is average, but the experience is intriguing. If you've shopped in New York or Paris, Dubai's malls will be a disappointment. Most of the shops are familiar and no cheaper (though you may find the odd bargain on electronics) than in other places in the world. But store trawling is only the tip of the Dubai shopping experience. Malls in this city are realizations of unrestrained fantasy, offering surreal attractions to lure you (and your credit card) in.

The Souk Madinat inside the Madinat Jumeirah Hotel, for example, boasts its own waterway to transfer people from its shops, bars and restaurants to the neighboring clutch of hotels. The gargantuan Mall of the Emirates has an indoor ski slope with real snow, should you fancy a quick slalom between shopping and hitting the beach. The recently opened Khan Murjan souk claims to be an example of "Islamic authenticity, unparalleled in the region"; it connects the Wafi Mall, home of Chanel, Marks & Spencer and Montblanc, with the brand new Raffles Hotel. All may be surpassed by the Mall of Arabia, slated to open in 2008 as the largest mall in the world at 10 million sq. ft., complete with a real-life Jurassic Park–like dinopark called Restless Planet (the beasts will be mechanical).