If you think about shopping malls in Dubai, you first think about the Dubai Mall or the Mall of the Emirates. But it is not all good about these two amazing places. If you for example want to travel in by car on a weekend evening, you are really and optimistic person. It may take you more than an hour to find a parking lot. Ibn Battuta Mall in the South of the U.A.E. economic metropole is less known and a little less posh, but a beauty in itself and a lovely shopping alternative.
Ibn Battuta Mall – The Concept
Ibn Battuta Mall calls itself the “World’s largest themed shopping mall”. The mainly single-storey mall is divided in six sections called courts. The courts reflect regions, to which the famous Berber scholar and writer travelled and wrote about in his famous works. The regions are also reflected in the architecture and the exhibits.
The mall will even be expanded in the future. Currently, it hosts 400 stores, which are visited by 20 million people per year. This shall be subsequentially upgraded to 1,000 retailers.
Ibn Battuta Mall – Location & Access
Ibn Battuta Mall is not only located in Southern Dubai close to the iconic Ibn Battuta Gate and the adjacent hotels, but also to the Metro, so that you do not necessarily travel in by car. As this is usual habit in Dubai, there are of course numerous free parking lots, covered and uncovered, around the mall.
Ibn Battuta Mall – The Courts
The six courts of the mall are very different in their design and characteristic. However, there is no impact on the selection of shops.
Tunisia & Andalusia Court
Tunisia is not only the first port of call on Ibn Battuta’s travel, but also typically the place where I enter the mall. The most prominent shop is the Carrefour supermarket. There is also fashion discounter Max, which was under renovation during my visit. Tunisia Court also has a nice food court. Andalusia court is the smallest of all areas with a couple of service providers and entertainment zone Fun City.
From Tunisia, you typically step into Egypt. I love the stylish design of the area. Furthermore the Astronomers’ Statue adds a lot of flair to this court. Two major sports stores and the GAP outlet are the key shops of this area.
Like Egypt, Persia offers a lovely design in its court. However, the key area to me is the square with a lot of exhibits. Like a small museum, you learn a lot about Battuta and his life. Persia is one of the largest courts at the moment. On the upper level, there is also a nice food court. The shopping highlights of Persia are likely a couple of fashion brands like next or H&M.
Not just due to my personal addication to the country, visiting India is something special. The area reminds of India’s Mughal period. The most impressive display is the huge elephant clock. It is also worth to have a look at the India Court entrance. There are a couple of major stores, ranging from furniture shops to Borders and Marks & Spencer.
China – last, but definitely not least. The artwork is amazing. But China is just impressive for other reasons as well: on the decoration side, there is a huge ship model in the court. In addition, there are numerous restaurants (not food court-alike, more serviced places). You may also munch at the lovely China Gardens area, which is an outside court. Finally, there is a large cinema in the China Court area as well. On the upper level, you may sweat in a large gym.
Ibn Battuta Mall – My View
Ibn Battuta Mall is just amazing. I love the idea of having different courts and combining entertainment, education and shopping. It is also much more relaxed than the two big players in Dubai, the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates. The historical exhibits do not give the place a touch of the Abu Dhabi Louvre, but just an add-on for an enoyable time. If you have the time and chance to go here (and due to the Metro station, you do have the chance..), you should go here, I feel.