In Dubai, shopping is as honored a pastime as watching baseball in America. After marveling at the 1,200 stores in Dubai Mall, head to the souks for gold, spices and oud (rare wood that is burned as incense or to make perfume) and to catch a glimpse of European jet-setters, Bollywood stars, sheikhs, and celebrities.
Al Fardan Jewels & Precious Stones
In addition to the usual suspects (Harry Winston, Chopard, Vacheron Constantin), this Qatar-based jeweler sells enchanting diamond finger rings based on traditional henna motifs designed by one of the owner’s daughters, Noor. Financial Centre Rd., Dubai Mall; 971-4/339-9330; alfardanjewellery.com.
The only international outpost of the American department store has completely reinvented itself. Since 2010, the 200,000-square-foot behemoth has anchored the Dubai Mall, selling an array of designer fashions and home goods. For shopping-induced blood sugar crashes, it also features an outpost of New York’s famed Magnolia Bakery. Financial Centre Rd., Dubai Mall; 971-4/350-5333; bloomingdales.com.
Boom & Mellow
Boom & Mellow’s range of locally produced bags and accessories is unique in a town (and in a mall) filled with international chains. But it is the jewelry, both costume and fine, that stops the show—especially the eclectic pieces by Shourouk, a Tunisian-born, Paris-based designer, and Selim Mouzannar. 21 Jumeirah Beach Rd., Town Centre Jumeirah; 971-4/344-4512; boomandmellow.com.
Located in the old part of town, the Gold Souk is an essential Dubai destination, offering an incredible range of modern and antique gold, silver, platinum and diamond jewelry. (The government has strict control over the quality of each piece.) Don’t be afraid to negotiate with vendors, some of whom will go 50 percent below the asking price. Khalid Bin Waleed Rd.
Omar bin Khediya, creative director and owner of O-Concept, opened his lifestyle boutique in 2009. The loft-like shop sells skincare products, art and furniture, as well as fashion from emerging local designers. Al Hudeiba St. 10b; 971-4/345-5557; oconceptstore.ae.
Founded by cousins Nadine Khoury, Dania Attallah, and Mimi Shakhashir, O’de Rose is one of the original Dubai concept stores. Furniture from Lebanese brand Bokja is on the floor alongside clothing and accessories produced by mostly Middle Eastern designers. 999 Al Wasl Rd.; 971-4/348-7990; o-derose.com.
Prada’s outpost in the Mall of the Emirates is one of the brand’s largest retail spaces in the world, featuring a full selection of men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, accessories, and luggage, including some colors available exclusively in the Emirates. Designed by architect Roberto Baciocchi, the boutique echoes the same details, like checkerboard marble floors, as Prada’s original store in Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Sheikh Zayed Rd., Mall of the Emirates; 971-4/304-9700; prada.com.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah
Designed to resemble an ancient Arabic souk, with its winding pathways, this open-air shopping mall at the Madinat Jumeirah resort luckily features the modern convenience of air-conditioning. Older Dubai merchants selling Persian carpets and pashmina shawls from India mix with more recent additions, including an outpost of The Meat Co., a South African steakhouse. 6 Al Sufouh Rd., Madinat Jumeirah; 971-4/366-8888; jumeirah.com.
Here, hundreds of textile merchants in shuttered wooden stalls sell wares like silk saris, colorfully embroidered cotton kantha cloths, and black-and-white cottons for traditional Arabic dress. Find a local tailor to make you a dress or a suit, which can usually be done in a few days for a very reasonable price. Al Sabkha Rd.
StyleMeDivine Personal Shopping
If shopping is an art form in Dubai, Kelly Lundberg is its Picasso. For over 10 years, the stylist, well-known local entrepreneur and author has navigated the city’s sartorial scene for one-of-kind pieces and designer looks for high powered Gulf clients and visitors alike. 971-4/455-8475; stylemedivine.com.
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