Let’s face it: this city knows how to do a mega mall and do it well, but what about the lesser-known shopping hotspots? As we enter the final few days before Christmas and the majority are forced into a mad dash around the shops, we give you the definitive list on the the smaller and much more manageable malls.

Al Mamzar Centre
Good for homeware
Don’t expect to come across an array of well-known names in Al Mamzar Centre. This outlet focuses on small, independent boutiques and is particularly good on home décor trinkets. It’ll also appeal to those living in Sharjah who don’t want to make the trek right into Dubai.
Al Ittihad Road, Deira, Sat to Thur 10am to 1pm and 4pm to 10pm, Fri 4pm to 10pm. Tel: (04) 2976666. Metro: Al Qiyadah

Al Manal Centre
Good for fabrics
The Al Manal Centre in Deira is popular with nearby residents who like its value and choice. Bargains are to be had if textiles are what you’re after and the food court is a pleasant spot to sample a variety of cuisines.  Traffic around the mall can be dense so avoid rush hours.
Deira Street, Naif, Deira, Dubai, Sat to Thur 10am to 10pm and Fri 4pm to 10pm. Tel: (04) 2277701. Taxi: Opposite Naif Police Station. almanalcentre.ae

Sunset Mall
Good for fashion
With its floor-to-ceiling windows dazzling passers by on Beach Road you can’t miss the Sunset Mall. It’s reminiscent of an art gallery inside and can feel a little empty due to its vast size and number of still unoccupied units. It does score points, however, with its range of funky, young boutiques including West LA and Rivaage, which offer a host of both local and international designers.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 3, Dubai, Sat to Thur 10am to 10 pm and Fri 1.30pm to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3307333. Taxi: Near Barracuda restaurant. sunsetmall.ae

Sunset Mall

Town Centre Jumeirah
Good for families
If you want a family shopping day without the crowds head here and pamper your little princess at the Hello Kitty Beauty Spa or stock up on arts and crafts materials at Craft Land. We also like Maska, a contemporary gift-wrapping store that turns presents into works of art.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, Sat to Thur 10am to 10pm and Fri 1.30pm to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3440111. Taxi: Beside Mercato Mall. towncentrejumeirah.com

Jumeirah Plaza
Good for books
The most noticeable thing about Jumeirah Plaza is the sugary pink façade. Unfortunately, the inside of this mall is suffering, but it’s still a great destination for bookworms with The House of Prose its unrivalled gem. Perfect for stocking the shelves of your home library on a budget.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, Sat to Thur 10am to 10pm and Fri 5pm to 10pm. Tel: (04) 347111. Taxi: Near Commercial Bank of Dubai

Palm Strip Mall
Good for eating out
Surrounded by palm trees, the terraces at this mini mall make it a pleasant spot to walk around. The variety of shops is limited but it’s a great spot to enjoy some lunch at Japengo or an ice cream at Häagen-Dazs while people watching on Beach Road.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, Sat to Thur 10am to 10pm and Fri 1.30pm to 10pm. Taxi: Opposite The One

Palm Strip

Grand City Mall
Good for an adventure
Ah, Al Quoz. You always manage to get the better of us and defy our GPS systems but you do have one helpful landmark in the form of Grand City Mall, plonked right in the heart of the industrial space. While the surroundings are far from plush, this mini mall is nifty for emergency headache tablets after battling the one way systems and even a Kodak shop should you wish to immortalise your Al Quoz experience.
Al Marabea Road, Al Quoz 4, Dubai, daily 8am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3410105. Taxi: Near Al Shirawi Equipment

Village Mall
Good for trendsetters
If we had to pick our favourite mall in Jumeirah it would be Village Mall purely because of its quirkiness. From sweet little coffee shops such as Shakespeare & Co to the institution that is S*uce boutique, this mall attracts hipsters, young and old, alike.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, Sat to Thur 10am to 10pm and Fri 4pm to 10pm. Metro: Century Plaza

Village Mall

Al Bustan Centre
Good for ladies
It may be off the beaten track but the Al Bustan Centre offers 95 good quality shops such as Paris Gallery and Damas. The mall is aimed at residents of the Al Bustan Hotel Apartments, but open to the public too of course, especially those seeking a fashion and cosmetics fix.
Al Nahda Road, Al Qusais 1, Dubai, Sat to Thur 10am to 10pm and Fri 4pm to 10pm. Metro: Al Nahda. al-bustan.com/centre

Al Khaleej Centre
Good for tech geeks
The mezzanine floor of Al Khaleej Centre is dedicated to computers, laptops, and accessories, otherwise known as TechnoCity. The two storey mall also offers over 20 kiosks for those who prefer shop-free shopping.
Al Mankhool Road, Bur Dubai, Dubai, Sat to Thur 10am to 10pm and Fri 2pm to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3555550. alkhaleejcentre.com

Abu Hail Centre
Good for a bit of everything
The Abu Hail Centre is a blink-and-you-miss-it affair and finding parking is a struggle. But it offers a wide variety of shops with prices that won’t break the bank. It reminded us of an indoor souk with plenty of knick knacks tucked away in the little stores.
Abu Hail Road, Hor Al Anz East, Dubai, Sat to Thur 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 10pm and Fri 4pm to 10pm. Tel: (04) 2669600. Taxi: Near Ramada International Hotel

Abu Hail