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The Dubai Mall

Sunday 24 March 2019 (UAE)   

The Dubai Mall, Downtown Burj Dubai

The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping mall in Dubai, maybe even the world depending on how you measure it, (and until the Mall of Arabia opens) and is located in the Downtown Burj Dubai area on Doha St (Financial Center Rd), off Defense Roundabout. After the usual Dubai construction delays, it only opened 2 years late, in November 2008. Some Dubai residents thought the new mall deserved top spot on their whine list but we think The Dubai Mall is great. If (or when) you visit, have a look at one of the largest fish tanks in the world, buy some books at Kinokuniya BookWorld, walk through the gold souk area, have a look at the indoor waterfall, watch a movie at Reel Cinemas, get an adrenaline fix at Sega Republic, and go for a quiet coffee at The Grove. Or head next door to Souk Al Bahar after your shopping expedition and have a meal overlooking the Burj Dubai Lake while watching the Dubai Fountain. After 04 January 2009, you'll also be able to head to the Burj Dubai observation deck for a spectacular view over Dubai. There are information kiosks everywhere in the mall, with helpful attendants to answer your questions (although you'll often get different answers if you ask more than one), and information brochures with maps and a list of shops.

  • Dubai Mall tel +971-4-4373200 or toll free 800-DUBAIMALL (800-382246255), email enquiry@thedubaimall.com.
  • The Dubai Mall developer is Emaar Malls Group LLC, a subsidiary of Emaar Properties which is a Dubai based property developer part-owned by the Dubai Government.
  • General Manager of The Dubai Mall is Mr Yousif Al Ali.
  • Dubai Mall The Address Hotel next door (open 09 September 2009) with extra closet space to store your shopping bags.
Dubai Mall fire - August 2012
  • Newspapers reported a small fire on 21 August 2012 at one of the Dubai Mall restaurants. No injuries apparently, and if it had been in any other mall, the story probably wouldn't have been in the news. But it was The Dubai Mall.
Dubai Mall evacuation due to gas leak - March 2012
  • On Friday 30 March 2012 or Saturday 31 March 2012 (both days reported by different sources), the Reel Cinemas area of Dubai Mall was evacuated after an apparent gas leak in the cinema. News reports quoted visitors complaining of an acrid smell, feeling nauseous, watery eyes, etc.
  • However, Emaar reassured patrons that there was nothing to worry about with a statement which said "Visitors to the cinema this evening were asked to temporarily leave as a precautionary measure after an unusual odour was reported, which was found to be harmless. The concerned authorities are investigating the incident and the cinemas have resumed normal operations." Perhaps those people who were feeling teary-eyed and nauseous had confused the harmless gases with the emotional effects of watching a movie.
  • The Khaleej Times reported on 02 April 2012 that The gas was later identified as helium, which is used to blow balloons. And we always thought that helium was odorless, not smelly. But this kind of contradicts Emaar's claim that the gas was harmless, given that you can find reports of people having died after inhaling helium.
  • The KT also said that Two youngsters were arrested in connection with the incident, a senior police official said. Leaving one wondering how a couple of kids managed to release enough helium in the cinema to make people cry in the first place. And we also thought helium made you talk funny, not cry.
Dubai Mall opening hours
  • 24 hrs opening during Eid Al Adha 2013 - The Dubai Mall will open non-stop from 10am on 15 Oct 2013 until 3am (2am for Kidzania) on 18 Oct 2013 as part of the Dubai 24 hours shopping mall extended hours promotion. From 10-14 and 18-19 Oct 2013, Dubai Mall is open 1000-0300 next morning (0200 for Kidzania).
  • 24 hour opening in 2012 - Dubai Mall will open up to 24 hrs per day during the Eid in Dubai promotion for Eid Al Ahda, from 18 October to 04 November 2012. Thursday and Friday Dubai Mall will be open 24 hrs per day (18, 19, 25, 26 October and 01, 02 November), although it was unclear from supplied information if that meant shops would open at midnight on Wednesday, or the usual 1000 opening time on Thursday morning, and if on Friday shops would close at midnight or continue to stay open until the normal 1000 opening on Saturdays. On other days during the promotion period, Dubai Mall would be open until 0100, and food court and restaurants open until 0300 each day. Dubai Aquarium, KidZania, Reel Cinemas, SEGA Republic would also be open during extended opening hours.
Section Sunday-Wednesday Thursday-Saturday
Shops, Dubai Aquarium, Dubai Ice Rink, SegaRepublic 1000-2200 (10am-10pm) 1000-2400 (10am-12am)
Gold Souk 1000-2200 (10am-10pm) 1000-2200 (10am-10pm)
Food Court 1000-2200 (10am-10pm) 1000-2400 (10am-12am)
Waitrose 0800-2400 (8am-12am) 0800-2400 (8am-12am)
Ramadan Food court and restaurants closed until 7pm, open until 3am (in Ramadan 2011).
Sega opens 3pm (12pm Fri/Sat) (during Ramadan 2010).
Most shops, activities open 1000 until 0100 (10am-1am) 7 days.
Banks are open shorter hours, closed on Fridays.
Dubai Mall numbers, statistics, facts and figures

All figures are before expansion work in 2013-2014 (or later) which will add another 1 million sq ft to mall area.

  • Total number of visitors in 2011 was 54 million (13 February 2012 press release), which is a couple of million more than the number of passengers going through Dubai Airport in 2011. Total visitor numbers in 2012 was 65 million (reported Jun 2013). Total visitors in first year of operation (2008-2009) was 35 million.
  • Total area of Dubai Mall is 12 million sq feet (about 1.1 million sq meters) before expansion.
  • Total internal floor area about 5.9 million sq ft.
  • Total gross leasable area (GLA) about 3.8 million sq ft (the same as 50 football fields)
  • 14,000 car parking spaces
  • 120-160 restaurants, cafes, and other food and beverage shops with seating capacity for 3000 people (different figures seen in Emaar press releases, most recent is 160 outlets)
  • 33,000 animals in the aquarium (less if the sharks aren't fed on time, or the fish and chip shop runs low on supplies)
  • 30 million - total number visitors expected in the first year of operation
Is The Dubai Mall the largest shopping mall in the world? Or even the universe?
  • February 2012: Emporis, a building and construction database, rated The Dubai Mall as the 9th largest shopping mall in the world based on Gross Leasable Area (GLA). The top ten by GLA according to Emporis are:
  1. New South China Mall, Dongguan, China, GLA 600,153 square meters
  2. Golden Resources Mall, Beijing, China, GLA 557,419 square meters
  3. SM City North Edsa, Quezon City, Philippines, GLA 482,878 square meters
  4. 1 Utama Selangor, Malaysia, GLA 465,000 square meters
  5. Central World, Bangkok, Thailand, GLA 429,500 square meters
  6. (3 malls in 6th = spot) Persian Gulf Complex, Shiraz, Iran, GLA 420,000 sq m. Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, GLA 420,000 sq m. Cehavir Mall, Istanbul, Turkey, GLA 420,000 sq m.
  1. The Dubai Mall, Dubai, UAE, GLA 350,244 square meters
  2. West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Canada, GLA 350,000 square meters
  • Based on hype, rhetoric, expat gossip, random general sources of no substance, etc, The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping mall in the ... something.
The Dubi Mall expansion (announced 13 February 2012)
  • 21 Mar 2014 - construction contract for mall expansion, worth AED1.3 billion ($350m), awarded to Dutco Balfour Beatty. Completion expected by Q1 or Q2 2016. Location is between the mall and the Burj Khalifa tower? Some construction is already underway in that vicinity, not clear if related to mall expansion or something else.
  • 13 Feb 2012 - Emaar Properties (the developer of The Dubai Mall and Downtown Dubai) announced plans to expand the mall by 1 million square feet (93,000 sq m). Details not supplied of what will be added to the mall, apart from a vague comment that the expansion will include "new hotel rooms as well as entertainment and lifestyle choices" and "several additions and extensions to its retail spread"
The Dubai Mall metro station walkway expansion
  • Update - pedestrian bridge from metro station to mall completed, open, and nice and cool in the summer.
  • Emaar announced they would build an 820 meter long pedestrian walkway link to connect The Dubai Mall with the Burj Khalifa - Dubai Mall metro station on the Red Line. Completion expected sometime in 2013.
  • The walkway will save a 15-20 minute walk (thoroughly unpleasant in mid-summer) from the metro station to the mall, or a shorter wait for a feeder bus (which goes the long way around when coming back from the mall to the metro station).
Dubai Mall special attractions and facilities
  • Burj Dubai At The Top - the observation deck experience of the tallest building in the world.
  • Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo - walk through a tunnel under the sea and see what a sharks belly looks like.
  • Dubai Fountain - outside in the Burj Dubai Lake
  • Dubai Ice Rink - Olympic sized ice skating rink, with, at one end, the largest flatscreen TV that we've ever seen.
  • Dubai Mall Cineplex - 22 movie theatres otherwise known as Reel Cinemas, half open 14 August 2009.
  • Fashion Avenue - so The Dubai Mall can become "the fashion capital of the region" and/or "a global fashion hub". Area of 440,000 sq ft is about half the size of the Arabian Plaza shopping center in Mirdiff.
  • Glass-bottomed boat tours of the Dubai Mall Aquarium
  • Gold Souk - closed for 9 months during 2011-2012 for redevelopment as a result of a number of retailers closing shop due to lack of customer traffic. Number of shops reduced from 220 to 50, renamed The Souk. Layout changed from a labyrinth to an avenue. Other stores include The Cheesecake Factory, a shoe shop, ladies Arabic fashion outlets, and jewellery stands.
  • KidZania Dubai children's entertainment (or "edutainment") section, area of about 80,000 sq ft. A children's city where they can play at being adults (but adults will need to go to SegaWorld to play at being children).
  • Medical Center (DMCC) - Emaar Healthcare and Methodist International joint venture, open October 2009. Area 60,000 sq ft with specialist consultants, radiology and laboratory facilities, pharmacy, and a cafe.
  • SEGA Republic Dubai - an indoor theme park for children, even those aged over 30, area of about 76,000 sq ft. Open 21 August 2009.
  • Swim with the Sharks in Dubai - in the Dubai Aquarium, no diving experience required. Not recommended if you smell fishy.
  • The Grove - pleasant outdoor corridor with cafes and shops, and retractable roof to help avoid the summer heat.
  • The Waterfall - indoor from top floor to bottom floor
Shops in The Dubai Mall

As of 25 May 2009, about 900 out of a total of 1200 shops have opened. Two anchor department stores are Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdales.

  • Banks - some on the lower ground floor including ADIB, Emirates NBD, Mashreq Bank, NBAD. Standard Chartered announced on 16 March 2010 a new branch opening in Dubai Mall.
  • Bloomingdales - a New York department store, opening date 31 January 2010. A joint venture between Al Tayer Group in the UAE, who are investing AED 270m (01 Feb 2010 press reports), and Macy's in the USA.
  • Candylicious - the largest sweet shop in the world, allegedly, at 10,000 sq feet. Demonstrating that math in Dubai is not what you expect - Dylan's Candy Bar in New York City is 15,000 sq ft, Daffin's Chocolate Kingdom in Sharon (USA) is 14,000 or 20,000 sq ft, Candy's Sweet Treats Candy Shop in Redding (USA) is also reported as the largest candy store in the world (area not found). Candylicious Dubai Mall Opening date 01 October 2009
  • Etisalat (open 08 April 2009), 10am-10pm Sat-Wed & 10am-12am Thu/Fri, lower ground floor shop 146-1.
  • Galeries Lafayette - a French department store, open May 2009 (delayed from February 2009 planned opening). The Dubai Mall branch is not quite as large as the famous Paris shop, but there are still lots of pots and pans to peruse. Store area is 20,000 sq meters (215,000 sq feet). Lafeyette Gourmet will open in September 2009.
  • Hamleys - a UK toy shop, first in the UAE. Uninspiring. The Regent Street shop in London is much more exciting.
  • Kinokuniya Book World - a large bookshop on the top floor. Great range of books and magazines, and a good view of the Dubai Fountain. Very difficult to leave without spending money. Kinokuniya was founded in Japan in 1927 but sells more than just Japanese books, and operates Kinokuniya bookstores around the world. The Dubai Kinokuniya has Arabic and English sections of course, and also Chinese, French, German, and Japanese books.
  • Organic Foods & Cafe - organic foods supermarket and restaurant on lower ground floor.
  • Ping Pong dim sum restaurant - open 09 September 2009, a UK chain, first non-UK outlet, on Lower Ground floor with Dubai Fountain views, tea and non-alcoholic cocktails with your dim sums, open 11am-midnight (closed until Iftar during Ramadan).
  • Waitrose Dubai - UK supermarket, the first one in Dubai, just like Spinneys but different. On the lower ground floor.

Leviev, a diamond jewellery company based in Israel, announced in April 2008 that they would be opening a store in The Dubai Mall, and another one in the Atlantis Resort on Jumeirah Palm. Understandably, there was some consternation about an Israeli business operating in Dubai. As of May 2009, it's not clear what the situation is. There's no Leviev store listed on the Dubai Mall website but not all planned shops have opened yet. Leviev jewellery is already available in Dubai apparently, in Levant Jewelers in Madinat Jumeirah (opened March 2008) and the Atlantis Resort.

New store openings at The Dubai Mall
  • BurgerFuel (Burger Fuel) - NZ hamburger joint (with particularly good hamburgers in our opinion), upstairs food court, opening announced 08 September 2011.
  • Camicissima (Italian shirts), Level 1, next to the Aquarium, tel +971-4-3253599. Open June 2012?
  • Eataly (Eately) - large (2,000 sq m) restaurant, cafe, farmer's market, supermarket with gourmet or expensive (or both) Italian food, open Nov 2013. Branches around the world including Rome, New York. Middle East franchise owner Azadea (also has franchise for The Butcher's Shop and Grill, and Paul cafes). Tel +971-4-3308899, website www.eataly.com.
  • IHOP (International House of Pancakes) - American pancake restaurant, open 07 August 2012? First IHOP restaurant in the Middle East.
  • Juicy Couture - fashion clothing store, location is ground floor near the Fashion Catwalk Atrium, the 6th Juicy Couture store in Dubai (press release 15 March 2011)
  • Kate Spade New York, open in April 2012? Tel +971-4-3253518.
  • Lifestyle Gulf - home and fashion accessories, opening announced 18 January 2011, area 425 sq meters, location Lower Ground (LG) floor. Product lines include home décor, home fragrance, lighting, bath décor, fashion bags, fashion accessories, gifts for children and teens.
  • Nina Ricci - Dubai Mall Fashion Avenue, open announced in 25 April 2011 press release, 120 sq m.
  • Obagi MediSpa - skin treatments and skin repair technology, 250 sq m, located on the first floor. Official opening 27-29 October 2010 with Dr Zein Obagi in attendance (20 October 2010 press release).
  • Petit Bateau - fashion clothing for babies, children, women. New store announced 16 October 2011 (actual opening date not supplied). In partnership with Al Khayyat Investments.
  • Texas Roadhouse - American steakhouse opening announced 08 September 2011, in partnership with M. H. Alshaya Co.
  • The Cheesecake Factory - restaurant serving lunch and dinner, not just cheesecake. Opening date 15 August 2012. First TCF location outside the USA. Operated under a license agreement with Alshaya Trading Co. Located opposite the Dubai Aquarium, area 13,851 square feet with 300 seats.
  • Tim Hortons cafe coffee shops - one on the Lower Ground floor overlooking the Dubai Fountains, one on the second floor.
  • Vogue Cafe (yes, that magazine) - expected to open by end of 2012 (AP report 25 Sep 2012).
Dubai Mall eating and drinking

Total number of outlets fluctuates in Emaar press releases: 150 in October 2007, 150 in January 2008, 120 in April 2008, 160 in May 2009. Whatever the number, there are more than you'll find in any other shopping mall, and enough cholesterol suppliers to keep even the hard core hamburger junkies satisfied. Main Food Court is on the top floor, with an outdoor seating area, and the first Taco Bell in the UAE (if you haven't tried it, it's not that exciting). Another food court is on the lower ground floor - feels more spacious and less crowded than the top floor food court. Other snack bars, cafes, and restaurants scattered throughout the shopping mall. For a pleasant place to sit down and eat, visit The Grove, an indoor/outdoor area that's covered up in the hot Dubai summer.

During Ramadan 2010, there aren't any cafes open during the day for dine-in but several outlets are open for takeaways only - Burger King, Charlie's Subs, MacDonald's. Maybe Wafi Gourmet and Le Pain Quotidien? Nearby in Souk Al Bahar is the Shakespeare & Co Cafe which is sometimes open daytime during Ramadan for dine-in (not in 2013).

Parking at The Dubai Mall
  • There are three parking areas (P1, P2, P3), each on several levels (LG, G, L1, L2), and signposted from surrounding roads.
  • P1 if you want the main entrance to The Dubai Mall but it seems to be the most awkward of the three areas to navigate around (or maybe we're just not used to it).
  • P2 if you want the Waitrose supermarket (Lower Ground), or movies / SegaWorld / Kidzania (L2)
  • P3 if you want to be near Fashion Avenue or the medical center (once it's open)
  • Valet parking available. If you shop at one of the Fashion Avenue shops, you might get free valet parking - ask at the shop (available August 2009, unknown if time-limited).
Dubai Mall awards
  • May 2010 - The Dubai Mall wins the World Travel Awards (WTA) prize for the UAE's Leading Shopping Mall for 2010.
  • Dubai Mall might also have won the WTA award for top mall in the UAE in 2009? And was a nominee for the Middle East's Leading Tourist Attraction in 2009 (but didn't win).
London Olympics 2012 at The Dubai Mall (press release 24 June 2012)
  • Watch the 2012 Olympic Games in London live on the big TV screen overlooking the Dubai Ice Rink.
  • Olympic-themed Summer Camp held from 24 June (or July?) to 16 August 2012.
  • "Spirit of the Olympic Dream Paralympics" lecture program for children during the KidZania Games from 08 July to 12 August 2012.
  • Other Olympic themed activities at the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, SEGA Republic, KidZania, and Reel Cinemas.
Dubai Mall history and timeline
  • January 2013 - Dubai Metro pedestrian walkway to The Dubai Mall opened?
  • 03 January 2012 - access to The Dubai Mall from the Dubai Mall station on the Dubai Metro might be more comfortable after 2013. Emaar Malls announced they would build an airconditioned glass tunnel walkway from the station to the mall. Presently feeder buses operate between the two locations, or you can walk (it takes about 20 minutes). Walkway might be ready in 2013 sometime.
  • 09 September 2009 - The Address Dubai Mall hotel opens.
  • 21 August 2009 - Sega Republic theme park opens.
  • 14 August 2009 - Reel Cinemas movie complex opens first theatres.
  • 01 May 2009 - Festival @ The Dubai Mall starts - a 30 day promotional event to encourage you to spend more money. Prizes include a Bentley, and money.
  • 09 May 2009 - official opening ceremony of The Dubai Mall and the Dubai Fountain.
  • May 2009 - Galeries Lafayette open.
  • February 2009 - Galeries Lafayette expected opening date (delayed to May 2009).
  • 04 November 2008 - third time lucky, The Dubai Mall finally opens.
  • 30 October 2008 - second attempted opening date.
  • 28 August 2008 - first attempted opening date, announced in press release 09 April 2008 (which also said the cinema complex would open later in 2008).
  • 19 January 2008 - Emaar announces that the Dubai Mall will open "in late 2008".
  • November 2006 - original scheduled opening date.
Last update Tuesday 08-Jul-2014
Related pages
  • Bikini Dubai Mall - what not to wear when shopping, and what might happen if you wear the wrong clothes.
  • Burj Dubai - tallest building in the world.
  • Dubai Fountains - biggest shower in the world, soap and shampoo not supplied.
  • Dubai Mall Aquarium - the biggest fishbowl in the world?
  • Dubai Marina Mall - another Emaar Malls shopping center, about a tenth of the size of The Dubai Mall.
  • Mall of the Emirates - a previous largest shopping mall in Dubai, the one with the indoor skifield.
  • Mall of the World - planned for Dubai, another largest shopping mall in the world, announced Nov 2012 for MBR city, and again in Jul 2014 but this time in Al Sufouh area of Dubai.
  • Reel Cinemas - with 22 movie theatres there should be something to watch for everyone.
  • SegaRepublic Dubai Mall - indoor theme park.
  • Shopping malls in Dubai - a list of most of the shopping centres in Dubai.
  • Souk Al Bahar - another Emaar Mall, a short walk away from The Dubai Mall (just over the pedestrian bridge).
Related websites (new window)
  • www.thedubaimall.com - The Dubai Mall website. www.dubaimall.com is spam, www.dubaimall.ae and www.thedubaimall.ae return a no website error.


Abu Dhabi AUH ABD ADB, Ajman AJM, Al Ain AAN, Dubai DXB, Fujairah FUJ, Ras Al Khaimah RAK, Sharjah SHJ, Umm Al Quwain UAQ

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