Shop like a sheikh

KH has the low-down on where you can shop like a sheikh in the Kingdom of Bling If shopping was an Olympic event, Dubai would virtually be guaranteed a gold medal: there’s a whole host of super sized shiny malls dedicated to the joys of consumerism. The Mall of the Emirates has long been the king of the castle, but in recent months Festival City has been giving MOE (as it’s fondly referred to) a run for its money as has The Dubai Mall – said to be the largest in the world. Of course there’s much more to Dubai’s shopping scene than these gargantuan complexes. From the buzzy City Centre (home to both big name and budget brands), to the elegant, Egyptian themed Wafi City Mall, upmarket Emirates Towers, quirky and kitsch Lamcy Plaza and cheesy Venetian themed Mercato Mall– the options are endless.

While these glittering mega malls pull in the punters at any time of year, they’re particularly attractive during the summer months owing to the annual extravaganza that is Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS). This shopping festival has done wonders to lure in tourists in what was traditionally a lean time. During DSS, shoppers can expect discounts galore in every outlet, plus a myriad of entertainment options including live music, dance performances and other fun filled activities. Presiding over all the action is the popular yellow mascot, Modesh – which means ‘amazing’ in Arabic. For more information visit www.mydsf.com.

Best for boutiques:

What: The Village

Why: Instead of the usual ‘chain gang’ offerings, you’ll find chi chi boutiques like Luxecouture, S*uce (girlie heaven) and the excellent, Ayesha Depala. There’s also a gem of a spa in SensAsia. The downside? Unless you have a thin frame and a fat wallet, keep walking.

Best for beating the crowds:

What: Dubai Festival City

Why: This new kid on the block is not only lighter and brighter than its rivals, but it’s also mercifully free of the human traffic that plagues MOE, and unlike the Burjuman parking here is plentiful – and free.

Best for surrealism:

What: Mall of the Emirates

Why: Where else in the world, save Dubai, can you shop and ski under one roof in the desert?! Yes, that’s right: when you’re saturated with shops such as Harvey Nichols, slalom down the slopes at Ski Dubai. All equipment is included in the price.