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Dubai Mall is finally here

Dubai's position as a preferred retail and shopping destination in the Middle East is set to be reinforced with tomorrow's opening of Dubai Mall - one of the largest in the world. With this, Dubai will become one of the most "malled" cities in the world. Dubai Mall joins a number of shopping arcades in the emirate and will offer a new experience for residents and tourists including shopping, dining, fun and entertainment.

  • An aquarium at the mall. Image Credit:
  • The flagship development from Emaar, part of the Downtown Burj Dubai development, covers an internal floor areImage Credit:Megan Hirons/Gulf News
  • The interior of the mall. Image Credit:
  • Dubai Mall is no different in that respect in that it boasts an outdoor dining promenade, a cinema and a massiImage Credit:Megan Hirons/Gulf News
Gulf News

Dubai: The aptly titled Dubai Mall opens at 10am on Thursday morning along with Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre, Dubai Ice Rink and The Gold Souk.

The flagship development from Emaar, part of the Downtown Burj Dubai development, covers an internal floor area of 5.9 million square feet and expects to attract 30 million customers in its first year of trade.

But what sets Dubai Mall apart from the dozens of other shopping venues dotted around the city and beyond? Well, the sheer size of it for a start - equivalent to 50 football pitches and home to 1,200 retail outlets and 14,000 parking spaces.

Furthermore, in recent years it has become clear that malls in Dubai have become about more than just shopping; they have become something of a lifestyle choice.

Dubai Mall is no different in that respect in that it boasts an outdoor dining promenade, a cinema and a massive arcade arena to sit alongside the aquarium, the Olympic-sized ice skating rink and the world's largest gold souk - home to 220 retailers.

Emaar has tried to reassure UAE residents and tourists that traffic congestion around the mall will be eased by a dedicated access point from Shaikh Zayed Road. But expect extra pandemonium than usual at Interchange One and the surrounding roads as shopping enthusiasts descend on the venue in numbers for a glimpse of the city's latest record breaker.

Eisa Adam Ebrahim, Chairman of Dubai Shopping Malls Group and BurJuman Shopping Centre, said there was definitely room for another shopping mall in the city.

"The authorities are always looking to bring new tourists to Dubai and this new mall offers them something different; a new reason to visit," he said.

"Dubai Mall will add an extra choice for customers and increase competition; it will be an excellent addition to the portfolio of Dubai Shopping Malls Group. A lot of international brands have been attracted to the region for the first time and Dubai Mall will also serve as a wake up call to other malls to enhance and sharpen their product," he added.

Dubai Mall's Fashion Avenue will host the region's largest collection of haute couture including world leading brands Chanel, Gucci, Dior, Armani, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana and Ralph Lauren while America's leading department store Bloomingdale's and Galeries Lafayette, the prestigious French retailer, are scheduled to open in 2010.

The first chain of Waitrose outside of the UK will also have a huge presence on the mall's ground floor. It will offer branded products as well as locally sourced goods including fresh and frozen foods, delicatessen, cheese, fresh fish, meat, patisserie and hot food counters.

Mohammad Ali Al Abbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties, said: "On October 30, all public areas of The Dubai Mall will be open to customers at the same time, creating a retail event unlike anything ever seen in the region.

"The Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre, the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink [with capacity for up to 1,000 skaters and seating for 350 spectators], the world's largest indoor gold souk and hundreds of retailers will open simultaneously giving visitors several retail and leisure options."

Deira City Centre is considered Dubai's original mall. Established in 1996, the mall covers an area of 1.3 million square feet and attracts over 20 million visitors a year.

For the record: Changing scenario

The South China Mall in Dongguan has leasable space for over 1,500 stores and covers approximately 9.6 million square feet (600,000 square metres) of floor space. However, the mall - modelled on various international cities, nations and regions - remains largely empty as the vast majority of the outlets lie vacant.

The Golden Resources Shopping Mall in the Chinese capital Beijing has earned the nickname 'The Great Mall of China' thanks to its total area of 7.3 million square feet (680,000 square metres) over six floors.

CentralWorld in Bangkok, Thailand is the largest shopping mall complex in Southeast Asia. The attraction covers a total area of 11.3 million square feet including 6.1 million square feet of shopping space.

The West Edmonton Mall in Canada is the largest shopping centre in North America. It covers a gross area of around 5.3 million square feet and attracts 28.2 million visitors per year. It even boasts a water park and a casino.

The SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City in the Philippines attracts around 200,000 shoppers every day. Covering 4.2 million square feet, the mall's attractions include an Olympic-sized ice skating rink and the country's first ever IMAX theatre.

Mall of the Emirates in Al Barsha has just lost its tag of the largest shopping complex in the Middle East. The mall contains 2.4 million square feet of shops and the entire attraction forms a total of 6.5 million square feet. Its biggest claim to fame is Ski Dubai, the region's first indoor ski slope.

Ibn Battuta Mall near Jebel Ali village is split into six courts named after the countries to which the famous traveller and explorer Ibn Battuta travelled - namely China, India, Persia, Egypt, Tunisia and Andalusia. It boasts the only IMAX theatre in the UAE.