Nadia El Dasher has an advanced sneak peak at The Galleria, which is opening its luxury doors in Abu Dhabi on Al Maryah Island this week.
Galleria guide: previewing Abu Dhabi's newest luxury retail space
Tuesday marks the opening of The Galleria, Abu Dhabi's luxurious new retail destination. Located in Sowwah Square on Al Maryah Island, the mall is a stone's throw away from the city centre. We got an advance sneak peek at the mall last week and were impressed by the calming ambiance of the space, as well as its impressive roster of outlets.
Driving onto Al Maryah Island felt more like being on the set of a futuristic film as opposed to the UAE. It's located just behind Abu Dhabi Mall and all it takes is a quick drive over the bridge to get to the island. From The Galleria you can clearly see Marina Square and Reem Island, making the mall a hit shopping destination for those areas' residents.
The overall feel
Surrounded by several business towers, The Galleria feels more like a trendy shopping destination in London's Canary Wharf than just another mall. With an expansive skylight in the entrance foyer, that claustrophobic sensation that comes from being indoors for extended periods of time completely disappears.
You can expect new branches of Abu Dhabi jewellery stores such as Al Manara Jewellery, Bulgari and Cartier as well as a handful of new labels including the renowned London jeweller David Morris and Chaumet. The Galleria will also house the capital's first Graff store, best known for its one-of-a-kind stones.
With more than 30 fashion outlets new to the capital, The Galleria is set to be one of Abu Dhabi's biggest high-end retail destinations. Residents can expect leather goods specialists such as Mulberry, Loewe and Bottega Veneta as well as footwear brands Christian Louboutin, Berluti and Jimmy Choo. Other big names joining the mix are Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Diane von Furstenberg, Celine and Ralph Lauren, to name a few. One of our favourite Dubai stores, Etoile La Boutique, makes its way to Abu Dhabi with a carefully curated collection from the likes of Alaia, Roksanda Ilincic and John Galliano.
The Galleria isn't all about shopping - visitors can expect 13 new food outlets, from cafe classics at Emporio Armani Caffe and Café Bateel to gourmet venues such as Zuma and the French-inspired Bentley Bistro & Bar. Al Bandar's Nolu's is opening a new branch called Nolu's Downtown, while New York's Magnolia Bakery feels like a slice of the Big Apple right in our backyard. In addition, The Galleria will be home to the Thai restaurant Lemongrass, the Italian chain Carluccio's, the Mexican eatery Taqado, traditional Hyderabadi Biryani Pot and New Zealand's very own Burger Fuel - providing the mall with a truly international variety of dining locations set to open from today and throughout the rest of this year.