We took the Dubai Metro across town yesterday to visit the Ibn Battuta Mall for the first time. It is located at the far edge of the city and is one of the last stops on the Metro. For this reason it is filled with far less tourists and doesn’t have the hectic rush or high energy of many of the other malls in Dubai (which I really appreciated). It is the world’s largest “themed” shopping mall and designed to celebrate the travels of the famous Arabic explorer Ibn Battuta.
The mall is broken up into six “courts” based on the regions Ibn Battuta explored (Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India and China). These courts try to project the historical and cultural richness of each region through architecture, exhibitions and historical replicas.
It’s hard not to mention the fact that there is a Starbucks coffee shop around every corner you turn. Most likely, there is one located in every “court” of the Mall (that would be 6 in total, if you’re counting).
The mall presents itself as part-museum and we spent most of our time walking the long corridors admiring the beautiful architecture and exhibits.
In a lot of ways this is my favorite Mall in Dubai. There is the obvious aesthetic appeal as you adventure through the space, but (more importantly) the relaxed atmosphere made for a pleasant afternoon of window shopping. On the weekends, the other malls feel frantic, crowded and anything but relaxing. At the Ibn Battuta Mall there were moments when we forgot we were even at a mall at all. What a nice surprise after being inundated into a place where “do-buy” is not only the name, but the mantra.