Mini malls: Here are Dubai's five hidden shopping gems
Escape the heat and the crowds by exploring Dubai’s hidden shopping gems.
Dubai has some of the biggest malls in the world, but conquering them can feel like a mission of Everest proportions. Avoid the crowds, the noise and the distinct possibility of losing your car in the car park, and explore some of our favourite mini malls instead.
1. Jumeirah Centre
Sun & Sand Sports
There’s an entire branch of the sporty store dedicated specifically to equipment and accessories (there’s a separate apparel store too). It’s got everything you’d need to set up your own home gym, from weights and treadmills to boxing gloves and foam rollers – plus, a good range of fitness trackers, like Polar GPS watches and the famous Fitbit Blaze.
Jumeirah Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, Sat to Thur 9.30am to 10pm, Fri 3pm to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3443799. Taxi: Jumeirah Centre. sssports.com
If you’re a keen yogi, or just finding your way into the city’s growing yoga scene, a trip to yApparel will ensure that you look the part. The home-grown store stocks some of the coolest international activewear brands for yoga, Pilates, running, surfing and more, including Aim’n, Dharma Bums, Liquido, Yogasmoga and Salt Gypsy.
Jumeirah Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3443013. Taxi: Jumeirah Centre. yapparel.com
Stepping into this futuristic spa feels like a scene from the science fiction movie Tron – even the reception area is bathed in blue light. Swedish brand Ultra Beauty offers a safe alternative to tanning beds, using collagen, Vitamin D and other anti-ageing ingredients to give skin a healthy boost and leave you glowing.
Jumeirah Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 8821288. Taxi: Jumeirah Centre. ultrabeauty.ae
For a mall with so many sportswear stores, you wouldn’t go into Jumeirah Centre expecting fast food. But who’s complaining when it’s Wingstop, winner of The Americas category at the 2015 What’s On Awards. Order a platter of wings or strips, and choose from a variety of flavours including hickory smoked BBQ, mango habanero and atomic.
Jumeirah Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, Mon to Sat 11am to 3am, Sun 11am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3442008. Taxi: Jumeirah Centre. wingstop.ae
2. Jumeirah Town Centre
This is the latest branch of Australia’s biggest activewear store to open in Dubai (there’s another on Al Wasl Road) and showcases the best of Lorna Jane: fitnesswear created with high-tech fabrics and plenty of inspirational quotes to keep you going during your workout.
Jumeirah Town Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3883006. Taxi: Jumeirah Town Centre. movenourishbelieve.com
Baker & Spice
One of Dubai’s most popular healthy food eateries (there are also branches in Downtown Dubai and Dubai Marina), this award-winning restaurant serves up some of the tastiest food in the city. With a strong dedication to seasonal, organic produce, we recommend ordering from the counter of fresh, colourful salads.
Jumeirah Town Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 7am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 2975797. Taxi: Jumeirah Town Centre. bakerandspice.me
Love the high-end beauty product aisles in department stores but hate the crowds? This branch of Paris Gallery has all the luxury brands you love – Chanel, Lancôme, Dior and more – with none of the hustle and bustle you’ll find in the bigger malls. Browse to your heart’s content.
Jumeirah Town Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 11pm, Thur to Sat 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3422555. Taxi: Jumeirah Town Centre. parisgallery.com
Tucked away in a corner of Jumeirah Town Centre is this cute boutique that specialises in childrenswear made from all-natural and organic materials. Think brightly coloured dresses, cosy coats and soft onesies.
Jumeirah Town Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (050) 1560702. Taxi: Jumeirah Town Centre. facebook.com/Sproutdubai
3. Jumeirah Beach Centre
Halloween and The Sevens might be months away, but it’s worth noting Mystique as a spot where you’ll be able to pick up a costume when the time calls for it. Tucked away on the ground floor (look for the mural of The Incredibles), it’s a treasure trove of costumes and accessories – if you can think of it, they probably have it.
Jumeirah Beach Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3854826. Taxi: Jumeirah Beach Centre. mystiquecostumes.com
Yin Yang Spa
The Yin Yang Spa might not be one of the better known spa brands in Dubai, but what they lack in glamour, bells and whistles, they make up for in wallet-friendly massages, with prices starting at just Dhs150. We recommend the signature aromatherapy massage, which is not only easy on the purse strings but also guaranteed to soothe those aching muscles.
Jumeirah Beach Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3444211. Taxi: Jumeirah Beach Centre. yinyang.ae
The Music Room
Not to be confused with the Al Mankhool venue, the Music Room has virtually everything you need for the budding Mozart in your life – from fiddly accessories like plectrums and guitar strings to classic sheet music. A visit here is a must-do during back-to-school season.
Jumeirah Beach Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, Sat to Thur 10am to 7pm. Tel: (04) 3448883. Taxi: Jumeirah Beach Centre. musicroom.ae
Without question the best of the Beach Centre’s offerings, Sammach, which means ‘fish’ in Arabic, is a Lebanese restaurant known for its seafood, which is freshly delivered to the restaurant on a daily basis. If you feel like pushing the boat out (no pun intended), opt for the Sammach seafood platter for two (Dhs400), which comprises lobster, prawns, hammour, squid and french fries.
Jumeirah Beach Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily noon until 1am. Tel: (04) 3494140. Taxi: Jumeirah Beach Centre. binhendi.com
4. Galleria Mall
We’re big fans of this bright, casual, South African café, which makes a weekend trip along Al Wasl Road well worth it by serving up some of the best breakfast options in Dubai. Try the mariachi scrambled eggs, Tasha’s take on huevos rancheros, which come with green chilli, coriander, spring onion, avocado and lime.
Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road, Al Safa, Dubai, Sat to Wed 7.30am to 11pm, Thur and Fri 7am to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 3855500. Taxi: Galleria Mall. tashascafe.com
Given its unassuming location in Galleria Mall, you’d never know that the opening of an Aveda Salon in Dubai is kind of a big deal. Devotees of the cult brand know that it’s the first time the all-natural, Ayurveda-inspired products and treatments are available in the Middle East. From the live wall of plants in their manicure and pedicure room to the bespoke scalp and hair treatments, this is holistic pampering at its best.
Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road, Al Safa, Dubai, daily 8am to 11.30pm. Tel: (800) 28332. Taxi: Galleria Mall. aveda.com
The growing trend for ‘escape the room’ games shows no signs of slowing down in Dubai, and what better way to avoid the summer heat than solving mysteries indoors? Embrace your inner Sherlock Holmes with Escape Hunt – you’ll be locked in a room filled with puzzles and clues, and given just 60 minutes to solve the mystery. It’s a great team-building exercise and surprisingly addictive.
Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road, Al Safa, Dubai, daily 10am to midnight. Tel: (04)3344473. Taxi: Galleria Mall. dubai.escapehunt.com
Taste Of Italy By Heinz Beck
For a much fancier pizza fix try Taste Of Italy By Heinz Beck. It’s the Michelin-starred celebrity chef’s first casual venture, and offers a laidback, less pricey alternative to his other Dubai restaurant, Social By Heinz Beck on Palm Jumeirah. If you’re heading up to the rooftop cinema you can also order from here and they’ll deliver to your seat.
Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road, Al Safa, Dubai, daily 9am to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 3438292. Taxi: Galleria Mall. tasteofitalybyheinzbeck.com
5. Sunset Mall
Another ‘escape the room’ game, Challenge Chambers isn’t quite as high-tech as some of its Dubai counterparts, but offers just as much puzzle-solving fun. Grab a couple of friends (best stick to two or three people, as the rooms aren’t that big) then get your heads together to solve a mystery in an hour.
Sunset Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (050) 2560587. Taxi: Sunset Mall. challengechambers.com
If you love labels but not the hefty price tags, head to The Closet. This boutique stocks pre-loved luxury items in good condition but sold at a fraction of the regular retail price. It may be your best bet at owning a Chanel bag without having to take out a bank loan.
Sunset Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, Sat to Thur noon until midnight, Fri 2pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 3214515. Taxi: Sunset Mall. theclosetonlineshop.com
Spill The Bean
Instantly recognisable from its quirky winged goat logo, this hidden gem in Jumeirah serves up some of the best coffee in Dubai. The independent, 100 per cent fair trade speciality coffee shop is bright and airy with comfy seats and full bookshelves, making it the perfect place to work or while away a morning. We like the healthy food menu too – try the avocado toast with sesame poached eggs or the gluten-free pancakes.
Sunset Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, Sun to Wed 8am to 8pm, Thur 8am to 10pm, Fri and Sat 9am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3388559. Taxi: Sunset Mall. spillthebean.ae
RE Salons & Spas
This spa and salon offers reasonably priced mani-pedis, facials, massages and more. You can even book a ‘sparty’, and get treatments for your friends at home or in the office.
Sunset Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3216997. Taxi: Sunset Mall. resalonsspas.com
West LA Boutique
Dubai’s fashionable crowd love this boutique. The buyers source the trendiest garb, shoes and jewellery from around the world.
Sunset Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3790242. Taxi: Sunset Mall. westlaboutique.com