Dubai's Ibn Battuta area guide: where to eat, sleep and shop
The area has more to offer than just its famous six-court mall
It’s most famous for the six-court Ibn Battuta Mall, but the area has more than shopping to offer …
Ibn Battuta Mall is probably why most people venture to Jebel Ali Village. The sprawling complex, themed around the countries visited by its 14th-century explorer namesake, is quite the gem for bargain-hunters, and is often less crowded than some of its counterparts, such as Mall of the Emirates. But that’s not to say it has less to offer – this is the place to come for bits and bobs, from budget-friendly beauty buys at Japanese stores including Mumuso and Miniso to trend-led homeware that won’t break the bank at Dutch store Hema. You’ll also find a sizeable H&M store in Persia Court, plus a Sephora that is never packed.
New to the scene, just under four kilometres from Ibn Battuta Mall, is Festival Plaza, which opened last December, bringing a new Ikea to the city. The 35,000-square-metre furniture and homeware store is the biggest in the UAE, and has an on-site bakery (think fresh-out-the-oven cinnamon rolls). Plenty more shops are expected to open in the near future, but currently there’s also a large Marks & Spencer, with a food hall stocked with British favourites, and a cafe.
The area is a mid-range hotel haven, with the ever-affordable Premier Inn, which is attached to Ibn Battuta Mall, and the new Avani, both only a few minutes’ walk from the metro station. Movenpick Ibn Battuta Gate is a higher-end pick, with its Arabesque decor and an impressive eight restaurants and lounges. While it doesn’t have an on-site beach, it does offer free shuttle transfers and access to Palm Jumeirah’s Oceana Beach Club. Slightly further afield, but ideal for those seeking seclusion, are the trio of hotels that make up JA The Resort, about 20km from Ibn Battuta Mall: JA Lake View, JA Palm Tree Court and JA Beach Hotel. From rooms overlooking the Arabian Gulf to a nine-hole championship golf course, it’d be easy to while away a staycation without leaving your hotel.
You may not have realised it, but the area is a bit of an adventure zone. At the JA Shooting Club in Jebel Ali, adrenalin-seekers can try their hand at firing pistols and clay pigeon shooting, and indulge their inner Katniss Everdeen with a spot of archery. JA The Resort also has an Equestrian Centre and a Tennis Academy, both offering lessons, as well as mini golf. In Ibn Battuta Mall, in addition to the usual bowling alley and cinema, you’ll also find Sky Zone, a trampoline park guaranteed to get your heart rate up.
The area is also home to the latest outpost of The Lime Tree Cafe, with cabinets stocked full of tasty salads and towering cakes. For the sweet toothed, I’d also recommend visiting Yakitate, based in Ibn Battuta Mall, for a freshly baked Japanese pastry. If you’re looking for a blow-out, the nearby Reel Cinemas at Jebel Ali Recreation Club is home to Guy Fieri’s dine-in movie experience, dishing up plates such as “trash can nachos” and chilli fries alongside Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.
Updated: January 18, 2020 04:42 PM