The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall based on total area and fifth largest by gross leasable area. Located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, it is part of the 20-billion-dollar Burj Khalifa complex, and includes 1,200 shops.Access to the mall is provided via Doha Street, rebuilt as a double-decker road in April 2009.
Twice delayed, Dubai Mall opened on November 4, 2008, with about 600 retailers, marking the world’s largest-ever mall opening in retail history. However it is not the largest in gross leasable space, and is surpassed in that category by several malls including the South China Mall, which is the world’s largest, Golden Resources Mall, SM City North Edsa, and SM Mall of Asia.
The Dubai Mall has recorded a visitor turn-out of more than 60,000 tickets sold for the Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre in the first five days, following its opening.The Dubai Mall hosted over 37 million visitors in 2009, and attracts more than 750,000 visitors every week. while in 2010 it hosted 47 million, and saw footfall increase by around 27 percent over 2009, despite the economic crisis.
Over 12 million sq ft (equivalent in size to more than 50 football pitches), the Dubai Mall has a total internal floor area of 5.9 million square feet (55 ha) and leasable space of 3.77 million square feet (35 ha), about the same as the West Edmonton Mall.
It surpasses the previously largest mall in the Middle East City Stars, which is located in Cairo, Egypt. With a gross area of over 8 million sq feet (74 ha), City Stars had been the largest mall in the Middle East since 2003.
The Dubai Mall has 10–15 distinct ‘malls-within-a-mall’, totaling 9 million ft² (84 ha) of shopping retail space (comprising a total of 1200 stores, when fully operational). Featured attractions include: the world’s largest Gold Souk with 220 retailers; the 850,000 sq ft (79,000 m2) Fashion Catwalk atrium; Fashion Island (Avenue), with 70 stores dedicated to haute couture; the Middle East’s first Galeries Lafayette department store; Oasis Fountain Waterfall; and WaterFront Atrium. Other attractions include the region’s first SEGA indoor theme park, SEGA Republic covering 76,000 sq ft (7,100 m2); KidZania, a 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2) children’s ‘edu-tainment’ centre; a 22-screen Cineplex, the largest in Dubai; and The Grove, an indoor-outdoor streetscape with fully retractable roof. It also features over 160 food and beverage options, 220 gold & jewelry outlets; a supermarket and an organic food mart. Among the shops is British toy store Hamley’s, which opened a 32,000-square foot (3,000 m²) store that includes a replica of London’s Regent Street, with the franchise owned by Retail Arabia. Bloomingdale’s opened end 2009.
It also has a 250-room luxury hotel, 22 cinema screens plus 120 restaurants and cafes. The Mall has over 14,000 parking spaces across 3 car parks, with valet services and a car locator ticketing system. The mall has won five awards – two awards at the Retail Future Project Awards at Mapic, Cannes, in 2004, for Best Retail Development Scheme (Large) and Best Use of Lighting in a Retail Environment and the Dubai Mall brochure collected three awards at the Summit Creative Awards 2005 in Portland, Oregon – the Gold award for Best Art Direction / Graphic Design, Silver award for Best 4-colour B2B Brochure, and a Judges Special Recognition award.
The Mall’s Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre, developed and operated by Oceanis Australia Group, officially earned the Guinness World Record for the world’s “Largest Acrylic Panel” (32.88 m wide × 8.3 m high × 750 mm thick and weighing 245,614 kg). The acrylic viewing panel is larger than Japan’s Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (22.5 m wide × 8.2 m high and 600 mm thick). Its 750 mm thick acrylic viewing panel can withstand pressure of 10 million litres of water used in the aquarium, but its transparency gives visitors clear views of over 33,000 marine animals on display. In February 2010, a leak in the aquarium caused a partial evacuation and brief shutdown of a portion of the mall. The ten million liter aquarium tank is the largest suspended aquarium in the world
The Mall adopted an International Standard of Ethics and Animal Welfare Policy in its development and operation.
The Mall’s Dubai Ice Rink multi-purpose venue, uses refrigeration plant technology by developing 1.5 inches (38 mm) of ice bed, almost 3 times the thickness of an NHL ice rink for Olympic-sized attraction. Dubai Ice Rink can host a capacity of up to 2,000 guests, when converted into a multi-functional hall with world-class multimedia system including a 20 m × 10 m LED screen. Operations Manager, Richard Rowlands, a 7 years Welsh figure skating pairs champion, described it: “Dubai Ice Rink in itself is an exciting facility, bringing the first-ever Olympic-sized ice rink to Dubai. A top-class facility offering the best of, including over 1,800 pairs of skates imported from a leading manufacturer in Italy to fit children and adults of all ages and sizes, the Dubai Ice Rink will host themed nights, Learn-to-Skate programmes, figure skating lessons and hockey matches.The advanced technology used at the Dubai Ice Rink ensures that the consistency of the ice-bed is maintained at all times. By incorporating the refrigerator technology of pushing in glycol through a network of pipes, and monitoring the cooling over a period of five to six days, the 38 mm ice-bed is tailored to withstand multiple activities in a safe environment.”.
SEGA Republic, a 76,000 sq ft (7,100 m2) indoor theme park, was opened on 21 August 2009. Visitors can enjoy over 150 amusement games; The Redemption Zone hosts one of the region’s largest selection of redemption games as well as a huge selection of winnable merchandise for all ages. It is a park that is mainly dedicated to SEGA’s icon Sonic the Hedgehog. The entrance to Sega Republic is located on the second floor of The Dubai Mall.