The best places to shop in Dubai, from traditional souks to gleaming malls


More insider guides for planning a trip to Dubai

Shopping is a national pastime in the UAE, a place where high street and designer brands from around the world stand side-by-side in shiny, air-conditioned mega malls, while old-school souks still look much like the mock historic market on display in Dubai Museum. Elsewhere, emerging artisans are carving a niche off the beaten path. Telegraph Travel expert Sarah Hedley Hymers guides you through the retail temples you simply can’t miss and the ones worth making a detour for.

Downtown Dubai

The Dubai Mall

The UAE’s highest concentration of designer boutiques can be found here, alongside the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and an Olympic-sized ice rink, while the Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa are on the doorstep. Walking through the several million square feet of retail space is a workout: you can navigate with the Dubai Mall mobile app, and be sure to pack comfortable shoes – or buy a pair. With more than 1,300 shops, including anchor departments stores Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdale’s, finding the right footwear for the job shouldn’t be a problem.

Contact: 00 971 800 38224 6255;
Opening times: Daily, 10am-12am
Prices: £-£££

The Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall is where you’ll find the highest concentration of designer boutiques in the UAE

An insider guide to Dubai

Al Barsha

Mall of the Emirates

The only place in the UAE where you’ll find a ski slope, Mall of the Emirates is a magnet for Middle Eastern travellers who’ve never seen snow. The mall’s Fashion District looks like the pages of Vogue brought to life, with Bulgari, Dior and Gucci stopping shoppers in their tracks with attention-grabbing window displays. High-street offerings include Next, Topshop and the popular Turkish equivalent, Koton, while Harvey Nichols and Debenhams go head to head as the flagship department stores. The ‘Hands Free’ service means shoppers can have their bags collected and delivered later anywhere in the mall, car parks or connecting hotels (a Kempinski and a Sheraton).

Contact: 00 971 4 409 9000;
Opening times: Daily, 10am-12am
Prices: £-£££

Mall of the Emirates

The Mall of the Emirates offers a ‘Hands Free’ shopping service – so visitors won’t have to lug around their loot

• The best things to do in Dubai

Jebel Ali

The Outlet Village

This incongruous Tuscan village-styled mall on the outskirts of Dubai is to the UAE what Bicester Village is to England. From Armani to Ermenegildo Zegna, several discounted high-end collections can be found in bespoke boutiques or one of three multi-brand department stores: The Deal, Priceless and Galeries Lafayette L’Outlet. Hotfoot it to Coach, Dunhill, Michael Kors and Montblanc for luxury leather accessories, and bag high street bargains at stores including Banana Republic, Gap Factory, Diesel, Superdry and Ted Baker. In addition to the 100 or so shops, there’s a food court and Stay & Play, a care facility where children can be entertained while grown-ups splurge.  

Contact: 00 971 800 637 227;
Opening times: Sat-Wed, 10am-10pm; Thu-Fri, 10am-12am
Prices: £-££

The Outlet Village

The Outlet Village, a Tuscan village-styled mall on the outskirts of Dubai, is where to go for designer and high street bargains


• The best restaurants in Dubai

City Walk

Lotus Arts de Vivre

This little shop of curiosities, an outpost of a family business based in Thailand, presents dramatic handcrafted jewellery and home décor inspired by Asian mythology and made from unusual materials, most striking among them the iridescent green wings of the scarab beetle. Outshining the sharpest cut of emerald, large and ornate scarab earrings and pendants emit an almost supernatural glow from within the shop’s glass display cases. A bespoke scarab souvenir can cost a few thousand pounds, but it’s sure to remain a talking point for years to come. Slightly more affordable items are fashioned from seeds, nuts, shells and emu eggs.

Contact: 00 971 4 343 6677;
Opening times: Sun-Wed, 10am-8pm; Thu-Sat, 10am-10pm
Prices: £££

Lotus Arts de Vivre

Lotus Arts de Vivre is where you’ll find dramatic jewellery and home décor made from unusual materials, such as beetle wings

• The best nightlife in Dubai



Taking cues from East London, this container-park concept store narrates an interesting selection of youthful Middle East-inspired clothing, jewellery and homeware. Discover local pop-ups, attend sartorial workshops (announced on their Instagram page) and explore the ever-changing stock of offbeat fashions and Arabia-themed gifts. You may find dresses that look good with trainers, gold-plated hashtag necklaces, slogan caps, feather headdresses, insect motif slippers, coffee table fashion tomes and Hand of Fatima knuckle rings. The location, Boxpark, is a hub of quirkiness, with a programme of street performances and noteworthy neighbouring outlets, including eclectic stationary store Typo and Emirati sweet shop Sukkar.

Contact: 00 971 4 348 8002;
Opening times: Sat-Thu, 12pm-9pm 
Prices: £


Head to Urbanist for cool pop-ups from local brands offering Middle East-inspired clothing and stylish accessories


The best hotels in Dubai

Al Wasl Road (Al Manara)

O’De Rose

On point Middle Eastern mementos can be found at this eclectic boutique showcasing the region’s designers. Twentieth century Egyptian movie star Umm Kulthum is among the local musical legends remembered on clothing, accessories and home décor. You don’t need to understand the Arabic calligraphy of her song lyrics to appreciate the retro-Arabian look of inscribed coasters, cushion covers and clutches. Labels to look out for include Elsa O, with jewellery inspired by Levantine symbology, and Sarah’s Bag, a fashion enterprise that employs underprivileged women in Lebanon to create quirky luxury accessories.

Contact: 00 971 4 348 7990;
Opening times: Sat-Thu, 10am-8pm 
Prices: ££

O’De Rose

The eclectic O’De Rose is a nice departure from the massive shopping complexes that dominate Dubai’s retail scene

An insider guide to Las Vegas

Alserkal Avenue


A seductive chocolate aroma welcomes visitors into this artisan factory and café; a table of complimentary samples gets them hooked. Available in single bars, gift boxes and hampers, the Emirati collection is a befitting present for foodies back home. Flavours of the region resound in milk chocolate bars of Ragag, filled with pieces of thin and crispy Arabian ragag bread, and Khabeesa, spiked with dates, cinnamon and cardamom. Located in an avant garde art hub known for its hip and heterogeneous boutiques and galleries, there’s plenty more to purchase in this neighbourhood, especially when fuelled by a sugar rush.

Contact: 00 971 4 333 5888,
Opening times: Daily, 9am-10pm
Prices: £


Chocolate-covered dates from Mirzam make fabulous gifts for family and friends back home

The best things to do in Mumbai

Al Seef


A treasure trove of sugary sweets, exotic herbs and spices and local health and beauty remedies, Zafarana’s shelves bulge with squidgy Turkish Delight; buckets of dried lavender, hibiscus and rose petals; freshly ground coffee laced with cardamom; jars of honey packed with hazelnuts; sticky rolls of halva and baklava; fat dates bursting with dried fruits and pistachios; a hundred plant-based medicinal oils and tubs of slick African shea butter, promising shiny hair, clear complexions and improved digestions. This is a grotto for greedy travellers and the manager is an expert at explaining what’s on the menu.

Address:125 Marsa Al Seef
Contact: 00 971 4 324 2234
Opening times: Daily, 10am-10pm
Prices: £


Zafarana is a fascinating emporium of exotic spices, folk remedies and sugary treats

Sarah Hedley Hymers

The best shopping in Cape Town

Bur Dubai and Deira

Old Dubai Souks

Long before the UAE was born, a cluster of souks formed around the mouth of Dubai Creek, feeding on passing trade from ships. On the left bank stands Bur Dubai’s Textile Souk; abra boats sail passengers across the water to Deira’s Spice, Perfume and Gold Souks. It’s hard to know where one souk ends and another begins as each tends to proffer a similar jumble – saffron, incense, pashminas, fridge magnets, jewellery, lanterns and the odd ‘genuine fake’. Get lost in the maze and haggle politely if something catches your eye. Wear noticeable headphones and turn up the volume if you prefer not to be disturbed.

Opening times: Times vary; 10am-10pm approximately – some stores may open late on Fridays or operate reduced hours during Ramadan
Prices: £

Dubai souks

Visiting an old Dubai souk is a unique experience no traveller should miss


The best restaurants in Istanbul

Various locations

Top Perfumer

Inhale the thousand scents of Arabia at the UAE’s leading fragrance house. Despite its Westernised title, TP – as it’s known – is committed to authenticity. Launched in Dubai in 2013, it now has 16 stores across the Gulf. Its best-sellers are Rose Vanilla and Amber Oud eau de perfumes and Dkhoun TP, the brand’s signature incense tablets, which smoulder atop charcoal in brass burners outside stores located in City Walk, Al Seef, La Mer and JBR The Beach. If any smell can take travellers back to Dubai, then it’s probably this one.

Contact: 00 971 4 323 3351;
Opening times: Daily, 9am-11pm
Prices: ££

Top Perfumer

As the leading fragrance house of the UAE, Top Perfumer has fittingly extravagant décor

Compare Pricing From Dozens Of Top Travel Sites!

Articles You May Like

Mauna Loa Volcano erupts on Hawaii (Big) Island!
Top 5 locations for historical buffs in Cairo – Lonely Planet travel video
What’s New and Notable for San Diego’s Winter Holidays in 2022
Holiday Fun at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach
Russell Finds Clues Near Abandoned Railroad Trestle | Expedition Bigfoot | Travel Channel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *