April 2010 - UAE Pics

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ten Iconic Malls in Dubai

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Ten Iconic Malls in Dubai
Mercato Mall
Mercato (Italian for market) is the first themed shopping mall in the Middle East and UAE, which brings together the choicest lifestyle offerings from the Mediterranean, in addition to many exclusive international brands. Ideally located in Jumeirah, one of the fastest growing residential and retail districts in the city currently boasting several resort properties, hotels and private villas, Mercato is designed to be a prestigious shopping destination catering to quality-conscious residents and visitors to Dubai. Mercato is part of the AL Zarooni Group of Companies. The Group was founded in the early sixties and has since diversified in size and stature across various segments of the Emirate's business world.
Deira City Centre
The mall is one of the flagship shopping, leisure and entertainment centres within the Majid Al Futtaim Properties portfolio. A multi-faceted complex, it has over 370 stores and attracts over 20 million visitors a year, making it one of Dubai's top attractions. Deira City Centre is home to 120 fashion outlets and prides itself as featuring mid-market popular fashion with well-known retailers such as Zara, Debenhams, New Look, H&M, Gap, Woolworths and Splash. The Centre has a wide variety of retailers, including its anchor stores Carrefour, Virgin Megastore, Paris Gallery, Sun & Sand Sports and Magrudy's. In addition to offering a great shopping experience, the Centre features City Centre Hotel and Residence; CineStar, an 11-screen multiplex cinema, Magic Planet family entertainment centre, a Textile Court, a specialized Jewellery Court, as well as a food court and several international restaurants and cafes; dedicated tourist services; and a host of electronic stores on the ground floor that all add to the overall atmosphere.
Ibn Battuta Mall
The Arab traveller and adventurer Ibn Battuta was a man of great vision and strong Islamic values. Ibn Battuta Mall is the first shopping complex inspired by an individual's life nearly six centuries after he embarked on his renowned journey. Each region Ibn Battuta explored - Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India and China - is reflected in the architecture and theme of the mall's six courts. These courts strongly project the historical and cultural richness of this Arabian icon's life, serving as inspiration to all those who visit. Nakheel is the mall developer.
Wafi City
With 200 outlets, Wafi City is less than half the size of the more famous Mall of the Emirates and more upmarket. But even those without an upmarket budget will find it interesting to experience its extraordinary architecture and decorations, and to browse through its specialty shops, some found only in Wafi City. Built on an ancient Egyptian theme, Wafi City has three atriums flooded with natural light from pyramid-shaped ceilings. Two of them consist of colourful stained glass illustrations of farmers, hunters, wrestlers, boatmen, scribes and priests from the age of the pharaohs. Also featured are the pharaohs themselves, their gods, and creatures of the ancient Nile, such as bulls, birds, ducks, jackals, crocodiles and hippos.
Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is one of the world's largest shopping malls based on total area and sixth largest by gross leasable area. Part of the Burj Khalifa complex; the 20-billion-dollar shopping centre comes complete with 1,200 shops, a massive indoor aquarium, an ice-rink and the region's only branch of American retail chainBloomingdale'. The Dubai Mall has recorded a visitor turn-out of more than 60,000 tickets sold for the Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre in the first five days, following its opening. It hosted over 37 million visitors in its first year of operation, and attracts more than 750,000 visitors every week.
Dubai Festival City
Festival Centre is Dubai's unrivalled waterfront destination for style and sophistication, showcasing an exciting selection of prestigious retailers, an international gourmet culture and a world-class entertainment retreat. Festival Centre is located at the heart of Dubai Festival City with over 600 shops including 25 flagship stores, over 100 restaurants, cafes and bistros, a 12 screen Grand Cinemas complex, Bowling City and a vast entertainment centre and parking for 13,000 cars.
BurJuman Centre
A pioneering effort in establishing the 'mall culture' in Dubai, Burjuman Centre is located in Bur Dubai, a prime location in the city center. Burjuman Centre, Dubai houses more than 200 outlets of international brands. The retail space in the mall is spread across more than 300,000 square feet of area. With a good number of restaurants, cafes and gaming zones strewn around its complex. BurJuman Centre comprises of 800,000 square feet of retail space.
Oasis Centre
The Oasis Centre in Dubai opened in April 1999 with a large Home Centre, and handy location on Shaikh Zayed Road for residents from Bur Dubai to Jebel Ali. But in September 2005, the mall burnt down in a shocking fire. Four years later, the mall was rebuilt and reopened on 29 March 2009. The new Oasis Centre is bigger and better with expansion from 1 to 4 levels of shopping and four times as much shopping area. The mall development cost was about Dh900 million ($245m). The Glass Dome in the roof is reportedly the largest in the Middle East, but looks smaller than the one in Mall of the Emirates.
Al Ghurair Centre
The history of the Al Ghurair mall has been one of constant innovation. Built by the Al Ghurair family on an empty plot of land in the city of Dubai, it was the first modern shopping mall project of its kind in the Middle East. Within a few years, the Al Ghurair City was not only setting new standards for retail in the region, it was breaking all records. Al Ghurair City offers the best from both worlds. With over 200 retail outlets, Al Ghurair City boasts 470,000 sq ft of retail space, and houses a variety of retail outlets providing the latest in fashion, foot wear, fashion accessories, hand bags, travel accessories, watches and Jewellery, cosmetics and perfumes, home decor and more.
Mall of the Emirates
Biggest mall in the UAE when it opened in November 2005 with area about 2.4 million square feet (220,000 sq m) and 400 shops, has an indoor ski field at one end along with a hotel. It has stores selling designer brands, teen fashion products, furniture, electronics, accessories, jewellery, shoes, bags, toys, books, etc; stores include Harvey Nichols, Debenhams, Aizone, Bois & Chiffon etc.

Dubai Car Art Festival

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Dubai Car Art Festival

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ali Baba's cave hidden in Al Quoz

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Ali Baba's cave hidden in Al Quoz
The Antique Museum in Al Quoz is neither a museum nor a store selling antiques. It's a 65,000 sq foot warehouse where containers from overseas countries are loaded-off several times a month.
Fakih NP, the managing director of Fakih Group, which owns the gigantic and diversified gift shop, wants it to remain a best-kept secret.
The goods are sorted, stocked and distributed to nearly 30 retails outlets around the UAE (mostly in Dubai).
Fakih Group manufactures products from 12 different countries, such as carpets and pottery from India, wood and stone carvings from Indonesia, stitched items and statues from Thailand and perfume bottles and bamboo crafts from China.
Other items on show include wooden masks and crafts from Africa, ceramic, porcelain and lacquer crafts from Vietnam, pashmina shawls from Nepal, hanging carpets and puppets from Burma and woven romblon placemats, buffalo horns and mother-of-pearl and bamboo crafts from the Philippines.
The museum opened nine years ago and was transformed into an Ali Baba sort of cave over the years. Nothing is well-arranged and kept clean there, but that contributes to making the visit a different experience from the pristine shopping malls.
The experience conjures up old souks and items from places far away, exotic and foreign. The way to do it is to follow the sounds of the wind chimes clinging or bow to the many tall African and Thai statues welcoming you to a new alley.
Although there are tags on most of the items, make sure to bargain once you make your way to the cashier.
Egyptian wooden statues vie for space with Yemeni swords and jewellery and row upon row of linens and cushions and wood-carved ornaments brought in from Southeast Asia.
The warehouse is a maze of shoulder-wide passageways with goods imported from 27 different countries and covered with dust.
Be ready to sweat at Antique Museum as some areas don't have any ventilation and are kept really warm by the heat from the hundreds of multi-coloured lamps and lanterns hanging from the ceilings.
Although the museum isn't the place to shop if you're an avid antiques collector, be sure to ask to see the 'secret' antiques corner, which contains yet more goodies.
The Antique Museum is located somewhere in the Al Quoz Industrial Area, behind Times Square Centre. To get more chances of actually finding the place, call 04-347 9935 or visit www.fakihcollections.com.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sharjah's bustling Old Souq area

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Sharjah's bustling Old Souq area
Wide choice: An Emirati woman looks at long colourful dresses known as ‘Jalabiyas’ in Al Shuwaiheen area of Sharjah.
It is well-known shopping area and people from other emirates come here to do their shopping.
Popular hangout: The Old Souq which has been running for more than 25 years has several eateries which attracts thousands of customers every day
The Old Souq area is also popular with families who bring their small children to buy toys.
Brisk business: Cafeterias in Al Shuwaiheen area capitalise on the huge numbers of people visiting the Old Souq.
Emirati women out and about in the Old Souq shopping area.
Fragrance trade: The Old Souq is known for its incense and garment shops. The best oud (incense) can cost as much as Dh7,500 per kilogram.
As there are many art galleries and art-related activities held throughout the year, the area is also referred to by residents as the Arts Area.