1001 Nights – The Hotspots in Dubai and Abu Dhabi (Part 1-4)


Only a few years ago people claimed that Dubai was like the fairy tale of the “genie in the bottle”.
They built the tallest building and the biggest mall in the world, a well as an eye-catching aquarium full of superlatives, a ski dome in the desert mall which delights locals and tourists alike and an artificial offshore island in the shape of a palm tree which can even be recognised from space. In Dubai people simply asked what was not possible – and then built it anyway. 
In the neighbouring emirate of Abu Dhabi, sustainability is presented through both culture and architecture.


For decades now, umdasch has also been a pioneer in the Middle East, when it comes to tracking down retail trends and innovative shopfitting projects. Also in Dubai. Not only does the desert city contain sights which will go down in history ... the retail scene also fascinates visitors with real treasures from the Land of 1001 Nights. In Abu Dhabi, culture provides the backdrop for shopping as an experience and tourist hotspots.

umdasch reveals the secret of the genie in the bottle and shows you how the desert metropolises are currently re-inventing themselves – also off the classic beaten tourist track. We asked our “good spirits, Patrick Fallmann, General Manager & Sales Director UAE (left) and Michael Ripfl, Sales Director Global Travel Retail in Middle East (right) – both Austrians who have been working internationally with great enthusiasm since their early years. They both find new reasons every day to be great fans of the region in the Middle East.

Michael Ripfl und Patrick Fallmann

Kite Beach – The beach with a casual atmosphere

“Kite Beach is my absolute favourite when I am looking for a casual atmosphere and great infrastructure,” added Ripfl. The beach near Dubai’s famous landmark, the Burj Al Arab, is a magnet for all kite-surfers, water-sports enthusiasts and even those hoping to try them for the first time. The atmosphere is correspondingly friendly and relaxed.

Retail Expedition Dubai
Credit: Zach Dischner

Café Bateel – The Arab counterpart to Café Sacher

Visitors looking for a genuinely authentic coffee experience should go to Café Bateel in Dubai. Here delicious regional specialities are served by enthusiastic staff. “This is a place where I can find peace, where I can switch off and simply enjoy good Arabic coffee with fresh dates. You could say Café Bateel is, so to speak, the counterpart to Café Sacher in Austria.”

Retail Expedition Dubai
Credit: umdasch

La Perle by Dragone – “I was thrilled to pieces”



The interactive theatrical experience: Dubai has entered a new age of entertainment with the debut of La Perle. La Perle transports the public into another world and offers a totally fascinating visit. “With regard to the presentation, La Perle is simply incredible. Everything matches perfectly – from the music to the costumes to the choreography of the artistes. An Arabian-style Cirque du Soleil, so to speak – but better”, was Michael Ripfl’s enthusiastic comment. “As the saying goes: I was thrilled to pieces.”

Le Chocolat – Sweet dreams

Chocolate, presented in the manner of fine perfumes and precious jewels. The “Le Chocolat” boutique, situated in Dubai’s City Walk, was created by umdasch The Store Makers and is a sweet and delicate tribute to this most pleasurable treat. The merchandise is particularly well highlighted in front of the large white wall modules, and golden bronze details serve to accentuate the value of this high-quality, luxury consumable. The ceiling is decorated with a mixture of rows of hanging lamps resembling slender silver stalactites and descending, undulating golden slats. Combined with the corner lounge, which boasts luxuriant green-upholstered sofas, the boutique provides the perfect atmosphere for those wishing to discover and taste exquisite delicacies.

Retail Expedition Dubai
The dress is made of 100 % chocolate.
Credit: Gulf Business

Magrabi – Vintage look (literally)

The Dubai Mall is right at the top of any list for shopping enthusiasts. If you like unique store designs and modern presentation, be sure not to miss the Magrabi Store in the Dubai Mall. “The store delights with its cool ambience and the modern interior with a retro touch,” observed Fallmann. Some of the high-quality spectacles are presented in rustic wooden tiles, while suspended black lights bring the vintage look to life and the checked floor emphasises the cosy atmosphere.

Retail Expedition Dubai
Credit: Ismal Gamil

Dubai City Walk – The longest pedestrian zone in Dubai

The Dubai City Walk is a shopping experience which you will remember. “The feeling in the pedestrian is like no other,” insisted Ripfl. As the longest pedestrian zone in Dubai the new design mall is becoming a magnet for visitors and a shopping paradise.

Retail Expedition Dubai
Credit: umdasch

Jumeirah Public Beach – Urban street-art atmosphere

“My personal favourite place to unwind is ‘LaMer’ on the old Jumeirah Public Beach. One day on the beach and my batteries are re-charged,” observed Fallmann. “LaMer” offes a modern urban street-art atmosphere which also makes it a perfect weekend destination for families.

Retail Expedition Dubai
Street art at the beach.
Credit: Nick Fewings

Louvre Abu Dhabi – with an Austrian roof

It is a museum that brings different cultures together to shed light on the history of mankind. Here, above all, it is the architecture of the building that is worth a journey in itself: In a word, the architecture is breath-taking. The inner courtyards. The roof with its changing patterns of light. Just beautiful,” commented Ripfl. And incidentally: the roof was even executed by an Austrian firm.

Retail Expedition Dubai
Overwhelming architecture at the Louvre.
Credit: Thomas Drounault

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