Shop till You Drop at the Abu Dhabi Shopping Festival 2011
Renowned world over as one of the premier shopping events in the Middle East, the Abu Dhabi Shopping Festival is a red letter event for shopaholics young and old. With unfathomably low prices and a plethora of choices, the air-conditioned mallscape of this bustling metropolis comes alive once again with the distinct smell of great bargains as the beginning of March officially kicks off the annual festival. Ideal for those in need of some serious retail therapy, the slashed import duties in effect during this period sees the price of premium goods take a nose dive as discounts and fantastic deals replace exorbitant price points.
With the active participation of some of the world’s biggest brands, retailers and manufacturers, the shopping festival is a haven for those in search of high fashion, jewellery, electronics, gold, perfumes and literally everything under the sun. Known for its duty-free zones the best places to explore during the festival is the country’s famous old souk which consists of Al Nasr Street, Sheikh Khalifa, Zayed, the Second and Sheikh Hamdan all of which are lined with towering shopping malls that are as futuristic as its air-conditioned environs. Offering shoppers a myriad of choices when it comes to designer wear, cosmetics, electronics, toiletries, jewellery, leather wear and even vehicles, these super chic shopping complexes are also ideal for those in search of antiques, giftware and designer clothes.
Those in search of unique items such as handcrafted carpets on the other hand should step in to the Carpet Oasis which also displays an impressive range of souvenirs and collector’s items. Frequented by seasoned visitors for its handmade Persian carpets with a distinctly eastern feel, this is a must- visit pit stop for all shoppers during the Abu Dhabi Shopping Festival each year. Although it’s tempting to stock up on the freely available luxury items and branded goods at the festival, shoppers should also venture out of their comfort zones to purchase signature items from the region which serve as exquisite souvenirs and symbols of this vibrant part of the world. Hot pick items include a conventional coffee pot which come in antique and miniature form as well as Bedouin jewellery items crafted in silver and embedded with precious stones. Large antique chests are also popular items among tourists as the beautifully fashioned chests feature prominently in almost all Arab homes in the country.
Those in search of conveniently located Abu Dhabi luxury hotels should look no further than the Grand Millennium Al Wahda. Situated less than 20 minutes from the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and one of the city’s premier malls, this stylish Abu Dhabi hotel is also just half an hour away from the Abu Dhabi International Airport.