The much-anticipated extension of Al Wahda Mall - doubling the mall's size and offering 250 additional outlets - is now open, even though most of the stores are still readying their wares and have yet to open their doors. The four-storey space is full of natural light, spacious walkways, extra parking spaces and none of the echoing acoustics common to most malls. Here's what mall mavens can expect in the weeks to come.
There will be many more high-street shops in the extension. British retailers such as Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Coast are scheduled to be scattered across the mall. There will be a space occupied by the popular Sacoor Brothers, the American resort wear brand Tommy Bahama and the Turkish brand Lufian, which will open its first store in the Emirates.
Old favourites including Lee Jeans, Calvin Klein Underwear, H&M and American Eagle are also setting up shop. Sportswear brands such as Adidas, Diadora and Saucony are among the expected newcomers to the mall.
To top off Al Wahda Mall's existing range of beauty shops (Boots, Inglot, The Body Shop and Areej) the new wing is hosting a slew of big-name beauty labels. The all-natural Neal's Yard Remedies will take up a large space close to Nail Spa.
Across the mall will be MAC, Lush and Merle Norman Cosmetics as well Abu Dhabi's very first Sephora. Orogold Cosmetics, which uses colloidal "nano-gold" and offers one of the best exfoliators I've ever used (24K Deep Peeling), is launching their second shop in the UAE and the first in the capital.
Bricco Cafe is moving from its second-floor location in the mall's original wing to the second floor of the extension. The Anatolian Turkish grill Kosebasi and the Indian fine-dining restaurant Peppermill will be side-by-side eateries offering clear views of the city. Both are new to the capital.
As for cafe-style dining, you can look forward to another location of the popular South African chain Mugg & Bean as well as an open-space Second Cup. Foodies can look forward to Gourmet Republic closer to the old section.
A large Virgin Megastore is expected to open in October. Children will welcome Build-A-Bear Workshop and Sanrio, the Japanese brand responsible for Hello Kitty.
Homeware stores such as Pottery Barn Kids, Think Kitchen and Dwell (yet another store moving from the older section) will also be available.
In the original wing of Al Wahda Mall, a few newcomers are setting up shop. The French patisserie Paul is set to open by the main entrance as well as a massive Bobbi Brown next to Boots.
Al Wahda Mall has frequently been a stressful and frustrating place to get to, with the front entrance often a traffic jam played out among a cacophony of whistles and honking every evening. Hopefully that is no more: the extension adds four additional floors of parking with 2,000 extra spaces that are easily accessible from the back of the Grand Millennium Al Wahda hotel.