Dubai Hills Mall is now open: 'I'm really, really excited'

Hundreds of people showed up to celebrate opening day at the shopping centre in Dubai Hills Estate

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There was a real buzz in the air at Dubai Hills Mall as it opened to the public at 10am on Thursday.

Within an hour of opening its doors, hundreds of people were milling around inside the shopping centre, while a battle for one of 7,000 spaces was taking place in the multistorey car park.

Residents around the area have been patiently waiting for the mall to be completed, and many had turned up on opening day to have a look.

"I've been waiting for a year," says Rowena Mangabang, a resident of Villa Lantana, a nearby housing development. "It's one of the reasons we moved here."

Thankfully, the mall has exceeded her expectations. "It's huge! I need a week to see everything. But I'm really, really excited."

Dubai Hills Mall is one of the biggest malls in the UAE.

It's located in Dubai Hills Estate, the 1,093-hectare development from Emaar that forms part of Mohammed Bin Rashid City, and sits next to Dubai Hills Park. It is a short drive from other thriving residential communities such as Arabian Ranches, Town Square Dubai and Damac Hills, and is accessible via Umm Suqeim Street and Al Khail Road.

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There is plenty to see and do inside the two-storey mall, which features about 600 retail outlets, including internationally renowned brands, plus a Roxy Cinemas outlet, an Adventure Park and an indoor rollercoaster called The Storm Coaster that's said to be the fastest indoor one in the world.

While a number of stores and entertainment spaces are already open, including Adventure Park, an indoor sports park for children aged 3 and over, and The Storm Coaster, many are still closed.

Mangabang visited the mall planning to pick up some staples at Geant Hypermarket, before heading off on a family staycation in Fujairah. "I thought it would be one of the first things to open, but it's closed," she told The National.

Among those open include major home stores such as Pottery Barn and West Elm, alongside fashion brands such as H&M, Levi's and Superdry, plus popular book store Borders.

A number of restaurants are already welcoming customers, including Miyabi, CZN Burak Burger, Five Guys and Wagamama. There's a food hall, too, with the likes of Pizza Hut, KFC and McDonald's now serving, and plenty more to come.

There are shops still to open with branded hoardings up, such as Lakeland, Ace Hardware, Home Centre, Virgin Megastore and Converse, to name a few.

Restaurants yet to open include Sushi Library, Jamie's Italian by Jamie Oliver, Eataly, Common Grounds and a second Tim Hortons.

Roxy Cinema still hasn't launched, either.

While the mall looks sleek, with numerous design installations featured throughout, it's not quite complete, with workers still putting the finishing touches on paintwork as people walked in. Several escalators also weren't operational yet.

Saeed Damir, operations manager for Apparel Group, said about 20 of 100 stores from the retail company are open now, including Nine West and Aeropostale.

"It's very promising," he said, clearly enjoying the atmosphere of opening day. "Traffic is good. Too many people were waiting for it to open.

"Only 10 per cent is open now, but there will be 60 per cent occupancy by April."

As of Thursday, retail stores are open from 10am to 10pm from Sunday to Thursday, with restaurants and cafes open until midnight. Once it opens, Geant Hypermarket will operate from 9am to midnight.

On Friday and Saturday, shop hours extend slightly until midnight.

Updated: February 18, 2022, 6:18 AM