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Dubai: The annual Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) has put Dubai firmly on the global shopping and tourism map. Not only is it widely considered a top family summer destination for residents and visitors from around the region - and even beyond - the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) ensures that hotel, restaurants, entertainment and retail sectors are participating to give residents and visitors a reason to keep the economy going during a slower summer.

This year’s packed calendar of events will offer something fresh to residents choosing to spend their summer here as well as for those visitors making a trip to the UAE. Here’s what you can expect:

Opening weekend

The opening celebrations for this year’s Dubai Summer Surprises will include projection shows held at two of the city’s top landmarks: The Imagine Show at Dubai Festival City Mall and The Dubai Fountains at The Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa.

Taking place on July 1, people can watch the shows in person or on broadcast, with performances choreographed to the tune of Dubai Kawkab Akhar. Anyone wishing to physically attend the DSS opening events must present proof of vaccination to book into one of the restaurants facing the fountains or visit either location. The exact timings for the DSS opening show at each location are:

* Imagine show, Dubai Festival City Mall at 7.55pm;

* The Dubai Fountains at The Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai at 8pm.

Retail promotions

DSS will welcome back a whole host of its most popular retail events and sales alongside great new promotions and deals to thrill shoppers from across the UAE and further afield. The DSS Summer Sale, running for the duration of DSS, will see more than 500 brands and 3,500 outlets offering savings of up to 25 per cent to 75 per cent.

Participating stores include

Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and West Elm, make-up and cosmetics stores like M.A.C. and Faces, clothing brands Gap, Topshop, American Eagle Outfitters and Banana Republic plus kids and baby shops Monsoon Children, Justice and Mamas & Papas. Sports and fitness shoppers can get a kick out of great deals at Foot Locker, while optical stores Prime Optics, Solaris and Vision Express will offer savings and promotions along with footwear merchants Chic Shoes, Florsheim, Opera Trading Co, Al Iscafi and Payless.

12-hour sale

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Shoppers will be able to dive straight into the retail action from day one of DSS with the launch of the annual 12 Hour Sale.

The '12-Hour Sale' will help kick-start DSS on July 1, inviting residents and visitors to explore great savings of up to 90 per cent off from 10am to 10pm at Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Mirdif, City Centre Deira, City Centre Me‘aisem, City Centre Al Barsha and City Centre Al Shindagha. As an added incentive, shoppers will be able to enter a draw for the chance to win one million MAF Share points. To take part, Majid Al Futtaim Share rewards members need to scan their receipts for a minimum of Dh300 using the Share application to automatically be entered into the draw. On July 4, a winner will be drawn to win one million Share points.

This year DSS will host the Modesh Daily Jackpot prize draw open to shoppers at Ibn Battuta Mall and Nakheel Mall. Shoppers who spend a minimum of Dh200 can scan their receipts at the customer service desk for a chance to win the daily Modesh Jackpot of Dh10,000. The prize draw will be held daily until August 7.

Mall activations

At the start of DSS, City Walk will host appearances by classic children’s characters The Smurfs. Until July 17, the venue’s courtyard will be transformed into a Smurf-themed wonderland with lots of activities and games for the whole family to enjoy. Open Sunday to Thursday from 2pm to 10pm and Friday and Saturday from 10am to 10pm, activities include a Smurf House, Smurfette’s beauty corner, a Smurfs soccer field, daily meet and greets and much more.

This DSS, Dubai Festival City Mall will host a beach-themed activation featuring multiple activities, games, a playground and a sandpit for kids to enjoy. Shoppers who spend Dh300 will be entered into a raffle to win a gift card loaded with Dh20,000, with draws held each week of DSS. Customers who spend Dh300 can also win instant prizes by taking part in a range of fun games at the beach attraction.

Cartoon characters Tom & Jerry will bring their classic brand of cartoon chaos to Ibn Battuta Mall this DSS as part of the exciting and interactive Tom & Jerry Cheese Town Experience. Taking place in Dubai for the first time, fans can enjoy a meet and greet with Tom & Jerry, plus live music shows featuring songs taken from the duo’s most famous cartoons. Visitors can also explore the evolution of Tom & Jerry over the years with original artwork, sculptures and animations on display. The Tom & Jerry Cheese Town Experience will take place from July 1 to 30, with concerts held from July 1 to 10.

The Beach opposite JBR will turn up the heat this DSS with residents and visitors able to enjoy red hot and exclusive deals at the venue’s wide range of eateries and attractions. As part of the DSS Summer Code promotion, families and friends will be able to scan a QR code to enjoy great savings on dining, leisure and retail experiences.

Foodie offers

This DSS will see the launch of Summer Restaurant Week. For a limited time, foodies can explore many of Dubai's best restaurants, with special breakfast, lunch and dinner deals at great prices for all the family. Held from August 11 to 21. Summer Restaurant Week will encourage residents and visitors to enjoy breakfast for Dh69 for adults and Dh25 for kids, two-course lunch menus at Dh95 for adults and Dh35 for kids and three-course dinners priced Dh150 for adults and Dh35 for kids.

'The Big Eid Eat'

From July 20 to 21, The Big Eid Eat will feature special Eid dining events, menus, brunches and promotions for the whole family at great restaurants across the city. Diners at any of the designated venues will also have a chance to win Dh20,000 in shopping vouchers. In addition, residents and visitors can enjoy a selection of weekly dining deals and events held each week throughout summer in the city.

Foodies can eat, save and win great prizes this DSS with the citywide Dine & Win promotion. More than 300 of Dubai’s best-loved eateries, cafes and restaurants will invite diners to enjoy great food. Customers who spend Dh100 at any participating outlet will receive a scratch and win a coupon and get a chance to win prizes, including Zomato membership. 

Hotel offers

DSS is will also be offering plenty of hotel deals this summer. Book a room at the Armani Hotel Dubai or the Address Sky View hotel during DSS and receive free access to Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, VR Park and At The Top at Burj Khalifa.

Guests staying at Caesars Palace Dubai on Bluewaters can enjoy the hotel’s family rooms or suites and free breakfast at Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen restaurant during.

The Palazzo Versace Dubai will welcome guests to enjoy a seven-night luxury stay in a Grand Suite with free breakfast for two adults and two children below 12, hotel credit to be used at selected F&B and spa outlets, access to the Executive Lounge and complimentary tickets for two adults and two children to Laguna Waterpark, Dubai Parks and Resorts and La Perle once during their stay.

The DSS deal from Habtoor Grand Resort in Dubai Marina includes an exclusive family offer of 50 per cent off the price of a second room, free breakfast, half-price spa treatments and tickets to La Perle for two adults and two children.

The H Hotel promises families a DSS holiday to remember with great deals including a free room upgrade and breakfast, guaranteed early check-in and late check-out, F&B and spa vouchers and complimentary dining for a maximum of two kids up to 12 years.

The W Hotel Palm Jumeirah will be a super DSS vacation spot with 50 per cent off a second room and free breakfast for the whole family.

The Doubletree by Hilton Business Bay hotel invites families to enjoy a getaway in the heart of the city that includes a two-night stay, free breakfast and dinner, plus 20 per cent off F&B and even unlimited ice lollies for the kids at the pool.

Fitness events

This year, the celebration of shopping and family fun will also include a range of fitness events to help everyone get in shape and enjoy a healthy and active summer. Residents and visitors can join Inspire Yoga Pilates and Fitness for daily sessions at its Al Manara and DIFC venues as part of the 30 classes in 30 days promotion. Priced at Dh900, the offer is available until September 4 and booking in advance is required.

The ultimate outdoor adventure destination, Aventura Parks at Mushrif Park will welcome kids and adults to enjoy a host of activities such as nature trails, tree surfing, rope climbing and ziplining as part of a special lineup of events for DSS. Available daily from 5pm to 12am for Dh99, the Aventura Summer Nights promotion gives visitors access to the park’s 24 ziplines, six circuits, 80 obstacles and more than 1,640 metres of games.

Citywide events

At La Perle, the awe-inspiring acrobatics show that combines dramatic stunts set to music will welcome guests with a host of summer deals. During DSS, kids under 12 can enjoy free access to the Al Habtoor City-based show when accompanied by a paying adult, UAE residents can enjoy 20 per cent off the price of a ticket and groups of four guests will receive 25 per cent off as part of a great friends and family deal.

The Laughter Factory

Ever-popular comedy institution The Laughter Factory will celebrate 25 years of bringing smiles to the city with a special DSS lineup of comedians. The jokes will be provided by Mike Marino, who has starred in TV shows including Frasier and Party of Five, Irish funnyman Mike Rice, and American humorist Corey Michaelis. The Laughter Factory standup shows will be held on 1 July at the Grand Millennium Hotel Barsha Heights and 2 July at the Grand Millennium Business Bay Hotel.

Raffles and prize draws

Shop & Win: This year’s DSS will feature great raffles, promotions and giveaways with super prizes up for grabs throughout the 10-week event. The Shop & Win promotion will see shoppers who spend Dh200 at participating malls entered into a digital raffle to win a luxury Infiniti Q50 car. Six cars, worth a total of Dh700,000, will be won this DSS between July 1 and August 14 with prize draws taking place on July 9, 16, 23 and 30 and on August 6 and 14.

Mobile Fest 2021

This DSS Jumbo stores across Dubai will host the great Mobile Fest 2021 promotion, with shoppers able to enjoy big savings of up to Dh2,000 when buying a new smartphone plus the chance to win 10 gaming consoles. The promotion includes 10 per cent off purchases up to Dh200 for Commercial Bank of Dubai customers, two free games pre-loaded in a Magic Planet card, plus savings on tickets to Laguna Waterpark. Shoppers will also receive an additional Dh100 off a new phone when trading in their old device.

DSS Mercedes Mega Raffle

DSS shoppers can win a brand new 2021 Mercedes C200 and AED25,000 in cash with a super summer-long promotion. The DSS Mercedes Mega Raffle is open to residents and visitors who buy a special coupon at ENOC and EPPCO petrol stations, ZOOM stores and stands in malls and other venues for just Dh150.