In Dubai, it's shopping season all year round. But during some months, things are a lot less frantic (read: less crowds, more chances of securing reservations and bookings) and the variety of shopping experiences are hard to beat.
March is one of them, and it is relatively calmer before the rush of crowds who descend on the city for the six-week-long Dubai Summer Surprises sales, which runs from June 21 to August 3.
The shopping and entertainment festival also promises incredible discounts and offers at Dubai’s leading malls, entertainment spots and more. Highlights include discount packages at restaurants, theme parks and waterparks. It's also your chance to experience a summer of live concerts, fireworks and non-stop entertainment.
So check out our suggestions below:
Hit the mega malls
Luxury stores, restaurants, a skating rink, a cinema and the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo are all part of the Dubai Mall. Pick up a new wardrobe, handbags, jewellery, lingerie and more from over 200 of today's trendiest labels and stores (some unavailable in Singapore) including 7 for All Mankind and Bloomingdale's .
Watch a movie, enjoy a fun session at a Virtual Reality Park, or a visit to Burj Khalifa’s At The Top with an observation deck where you can enjoy 360-degree views of the city.
At Fashion Catwalk Atrium on Level 2 check out The Imperial Army, Star Wars, a must-see exhibit that runs till April 30. First of its kind in the region, it features more than 40 life-sized figurines of Darth Vader and the Imperial Army.
Score great buys with “Shop. Eat. Fly”, a special programme that enables shoppers to earn Skywards Miles with a purchase at any store, dining outlet or leisure attraction within the mall.
Complimentary same-day delivery service is available to your hotel, so just make arrangements at any Guest Services Desk or call 800DUBAIMALL(800 38224 6255) for details.
Ibn Battuta Mall is home to some of the largest department shops in Dubai, including international brands H&M, Marks & Spencer and Carrefour.
It has a bowling alley, a 21-screen cinema and Fun City where little ones aged one to 12 years can spend hours busy with activities such as bumper car rides and video games.
Take the time to explore the mall and visit one of six courts such as India, China and Turkey that pay homage to the travels of Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta, the explorer whom this mall is named after.
Conveniently located next to Dubai Parks and Resorts, The Outlet Village offers a different retail therapy experience that offers more bang for your buck.
Shop discounted designer labels housed within a Tuscan-style mall with architecture inspired by the medieval hill town of San Gimignano. You will find just about anything you have in mind, from Adidas apparel to Giuseppe Zanetti footwear, Tumi luggage to Sephora cosmetics and toiletries.
Browse lavish gold jewellery, hand-woven fabrics, traditional oud fragrances and cheap knick-knacks when you visit one of Dubai souks. These buzzing traditional markets are a feast for the senses as you explore stall after stall with exotic wares.
Gold Souk is where tradesmen and artists trained in the craft of designing jewellery can offer unique designs if you’re looking for statement pieces.
Head to the Spice Souk if you love cooking, for there are endless choices of spices, herbs, rice and fruit within the huge marketplace.
There’s also the Textile Souk where you can pick your fabric of choice and have it made into a dress or blouse — or even an abaya (traditional womenswear) or kandoura (traditional menswear). Schedule this on the first day of your holiday, so the tailors can have your order ready in a few days.
If fresh produce and amazing craft are your thing, head for The Ripe Market. It supports local farmers who showcase fresh organic produce. It is also a venue for workshops, live music performances, fitness classes, educational activities, horse riding sessions and even a petting zoo for kids.
City Walk is a dynamic outdoor retail complex that showcases a winning selection of international retail offerings, upscale gourmet destinations and plush hotels for savvy travellers looking for new shopping, dining and entertaining experiences. An all-day destination, it's where you can enjoy a meal at an award-winning restaurant, hit up to 50 branded and specialty stores, let the kids explore state-of-the-art creative spaces, and even get your hair and nails done.
Also don't miss the hipster Boxpark, a strip mall comprising colourful shipping containers where stores appeal to the hip and young-at-heart. Highlights include shoe brand TOMS, multi-brand store Urbanist and the quirky homeware, accessories and decor hotspot The Zoo Concept.
Dubai is also where you can discover an impressive range of unique concept stores and cafes. Add the likes of Boston Lane, Comptoir 102, The Frame Shop, Amongst Few to your hit list; it's your chance to have coffee within a charming, Insta-worthy space; pick up gifts such as scented candles or pretty table lamps; buy artwork that can be framed to bring home; and relax at a unique lifestyle cafe that celebrates streetwear (it has its own label), organic bites and more.
Shop unique labels
Looking to shop local and pick up items from brands not available in Singapore? Here are choice picks to consider.
For beach babes: Local brand S*uce on Sea stocks beachwear and swimsuit options to keep you resort-ready all year long.
For candy lovers: Mirzam Chocolates teases your palate to a range of delicious goodies such as spiced drinking chocolate, dark chocolate coated honeycomb and orange and cinnamon truffles.
For domestic goddesses: Create your own spa at home with reed diffusers, organic room sprays and essential oils from Wallace & Co and Mr. Fox. Also, dress your home dining table with linen napkins from Little Majlis and runners from FBMI.
For beauty junkies: Shiffa is your go-to for sensual body oils, eye cream, moisturiser, brightening ampoules and more.
For tree huggers: Eco-friendly products from Wild Wood ME come in the form of sunglasses, wallets and watches — all made using reclaimed wood. Discover tote bags, key rings and jewellery trays made of natural vegetable-tanned leathers and linen thread at Made by Native. All products are handmade to order.
Visit www.visitdubai.com for more shopping ideas.