Right next to the Burj Khalifa, the supersized Dubai Mall is the absolute mother of all malls, with over 1200 shops spread across four floors and covering a total area of over a million square metres – making it easily the largest mall in the world measured by total area (although other malls contain more shopping space). Just about every retail chain in the city has an outlet here, with flagship names including Galeries Lafayette, Bloomingdale’s, an offshoot of London’s famous Hamleys toy store and a superb branch of the Japanese bookseller Kinokuniya. There are also lashings of upmarket designer stores, mainly concentrated along the section of the mall called Fashion Avenue – a positive encyclopedia of labels, complete with its own catwalk and Armani café – and in the ultra-cool boutiques of the ground-floor Level Shoe District, one of the most gorgeous pieces of retail interior design you’ll ever see – chic, sexy, and just a little bit camp.

Look out too for the eye-catching The Waterfall, complete with life-size statues of fibreglass divers, which cascades from the top of the mall down to the bottom, four storeys below, and the attractively Arabian-themed Souk. The central hall of the latter also provides a somewhat incongruous home for the “Dubai Dino”, a beautifully preserved, 7.6m-high skeleton of a 150-million-year-old Diplodocus longus, unearthed in Wyoming in 2008.

Other amenities include some 120 cafés and restaurants, divided between various interior food courts and the bustling waterside terrace at the back of the mall overlooking the Dubai Fountain. There are also a couple of five-star hotels, a 22-screen multiplex, the state-of-the-art SEGA Republic theme park, the KidZania “edu-tainment” centre, an Olympic-size ice rink and the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.

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