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United Arab Emirates Shopping

DAS Collection
16 Umm Al Sheif Road
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4 395 2427
www.dascollection.com

Dubai is the Paris and Manhattan of abaya design. Emirati socialites love filmy, colorful long gowns that comply with Islamic modesty yet are as contemporary, elegant, and, yes, sexy as an evening dress. Abaya fashion changes as fast as the skyline. For special events, aficionados go to Das Collection, founded by sisters Reem and Hind Beljafla, where an abaya might be accented with green sleeves of a flowery Afghan tribal print, covered in a layer of black chiffon.—Susan Hack

Five Green
Garden Home
Bur Dubai
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4336 4100
www.fivegreen.com

Urban chic comes to the city thanks to this cutting-edge concept store (which combines a gallery, club, and shop) that stocks Lebanese pop art and menswear from Yoko Devereaux, Arabian-inspired shirts and jewelry from French-Omani label Taalali Oman, and Dubai-based Shirtaholics Anonymous, among others. It's worth popping in if you enjoy obscure music, magazines, books, labels, yearning to be challenged by an art installation, or just roaming in nearby Wafi mall; otherwise it's a bit off the beaten path.

Gold and Diamond Park
Sheikh Zayed Road
Interchange 4
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4347 7788
www.goldanddiamondpark.com

Crammed with jewelry shops, this mall is similar to the gold souk concept but is its 21st-century incarnation; an altogether more genteel, air-conditioned experience, without the mayhem of the city. It's your best bet if you want to find precious or semiprecious stones, more minimalist, Western settings, or if you want anything expertly copied (a picture of the original will do). Don't be afraid to bargain here; cut the asking price by 50 percent and then work (not too far) up to a compromise. Be prepared to shop around, and always ask for the weight of the gold and the carat of the stones to make comparisons easier.

Malls
Dubai
United Arab Emirates

The major malls have many of the same stores; the distinguishing factor for locals is proximity. You can easily spend a whole day at the Dubai Mall, one of the world's biggest, with more than 165 outlets. Located at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, it serves as a town square for the entire UAE and region. Families drive here all the way from Muscat and Oman to see the world's largest single-glass-paned aquarium, shop for designer abayas and thobes, and stroll down Dubai's toniest indoor "fashion avenue," represented by brands such as Tom Ford and Alice Temperley. The café boardwalk terrace with outlets—try the Italian deli fare at Carluccio's—is a great place to watch people and the world's largest dancing fountain, whose water jets spurt in time to Arab pop and Michael Jackson's Thriller. For local brands, check out S*uce, a fashion emporium with internationally sourced diffusion lines and one-off creations by regionally based designers such as Essa, Bil Arabi, and Sugar Vintage. Many tourists go to the Mall of the Emirates, another city-size complex, and the only mall with an indoor ski slope bang in the center of it. All the expensive designer stores are positioned around a faux Rodeo Drive-style section. BurJuman is a local favorite (although the gridlocked traffic in the area tends to deter tourists) where Arabs flock to splash the cash at high-end stores such as Chanel, Hermès, Christian Dior, and traditional perfumer Ajmal, and to browse in the only Saks Fifth Avenue in Dubai. Named after a famed 14th-century Arabian seafarer, Ibn Battuta Mall is divided into themed areas of the world that he visited. It's a bit out of the way and the Mall of the Emirates has taken the wind out of its sails, but it's still a less-frantic alternative, even if the stores are of a slightly lower quality than the others mentioned here. For those looking to wander somewhere upmarket but compact, The Boulevard at Jumeirah Emirates Towers has everything the discerning shopper would look for on Fifth Avenue. You'll find around 50 outlets, including Boutique 1, the Middle East's answer to Bloomingdale's. The faux-Italian splendor (and we use the word loosely) of Mercato Mall belongs more in Epcot Center than Jumeirah. Adore or abhor it, it houses the Lebanese chocolatier Patchi, Syed Junaid Alam's traditional Arabic fragrances, and Pride of Kashmir (selling handcrafted carpets, shawls, furniture, and furnishings) alongside mundane Western chain stores, but it works well as a gift pit stop.—Updated by Susan Hack

Souks
Dubai
United Arab Emirates

The open-air markets lining the creek near the dhow port are a living museum of Dubai's trading history, and it's possible to hit all of them in a few hours. Souks are usually open between 9 am and 1 pm and 4 and 10 pm, and are most atmospheric in the evening. Start off at the Bur Dubai Souk, also known as the textile souk, near the Dubai Museum. Among bolts of shiny synthetic and sequined fabric and tailors who run up long house dresses for local women, you'll find pashminas of varying quality starting at about $10, plain and brightly patterned premade caftans, and intricately embroidered Indian-style sandals—a pair will set you back about $8. Then jump on an abra, or water taxi, across the creek to the small spice souk next to the Old Baniyas Road abra station. Here look for saffron from Iran, ostrich-oil rheumatism tonic from Saudi Arabia, Bahreini "555" rose hair oil, honey and lemon hair-removal paste, and other natural ingredients (often hilariously and suggestively misspelled) for personal grooming. Venture farther into the wood-covered gold souk, where Indian merchants offer massive 22-carat wedding sets from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the subcontinent, as well as 18-carat Western pieces; prices are negotiable according to the amount of craftsmanship but never fall below the day's international gold rate. Damas is one of the most reputable stores, although its prices are a bit higher. After bargaining, ask for a further discount if you pay in cash.—Updated by Susan Hack

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.