A lot can change in a couple years. Last time we stood in Abu Dhabi looking at Sowwah Island it was a collection of metal skeletons. Now it is called Al Maryah Island, with booming skyscrapers, a futuristic Cleveland Clinic Hospital, Rosewood and Four Seasons hotels on the rise.
At the heart of this new financial and social center lies The Galleria. It is as up to date and high brow shopping as one can hope to find in the Emirates and that’s a big achievement. It is a luxury mall with only the top vendors in the fashion and accessories market. Facilities, lifts and the central atrium are polished and sleek to an excessive degree, it is like shopping inside a luxury hotel.
The Galleria is a lifestyle venue and a such it is a place to eat as much as it is an obvious place to shop. Restaurants present an eclectic gathering of international culinary traditions. Cafe’s stand out at the most abundant source of food. Cafe Nero, Armani Cafe and the centerpiece Godiva cafe offer not only succulent drinks, but relishable bites as well. Burgerfuel, Lemongrass and Aqua present some other variety as well.
This is the central role and function of the facility and it certainly is appealing. While the stores sell the top brands in clothing, watches, health, beauty, electronics and jewelry, prices are quite competitive on the world stage as well as compared to the Emirates in general. Places like La Martina, Aspinal and Berluti don’t have too many global locations, but one can find them as easily here as in their respective hometowns.
Since the Galleria is at the center of a major real estate boom, it makes sense that social activities expand beyond the day to day events of shopping and eating. Festivals, expos and current events activities define this livable space. Weekends, holiday promotions, Chinese New Year, Restaurant month and more bring all the facilities to life in different ways.
A spacious underground car park allows for access to every level of shops and hours vary but in general run from 10am till midnight for most shops and restaurants.