From exotic spices and precious stones to gold-weave carpets, explore novel finds from around the world.
Those on the hunt for a unique haul should take a trip to the heritage-steeped sikkas – or alleyways – of Al Seef. The waterfront destination, located along Dubai’s historic Creek, embodies the emirate’s architecture and experiences. Here, you can expect eclectic restaurants and shops situated within sandstone buildings selling everything from authentic homeware to jewellery, souvenirs and fashion.
Eter Story offers a brief escape from Al Seef’s souk aesthetic and a reminder of the city’s modern sensibilities. It boasts a fine selection of French and Arab perfumes, including scent-maker Jealous Gallery, known for creating the world’s largest perfume bottle in 1971. The certificate is up for viewing in the storefront with a stamp from the Guinness World Records. Delicate floral scents or earthy, musky options; refreshing citrus blends and woodsy oud – this boutique bottles the most sensual scents to add to your collection.
With humble exteriors that match Al Seef’s old-world charm, this Afghan shop sells semi-precious stones sourced from different corners of the world. From Amethyst crystals of varying sizes, known for their healing energy, to pale pink rose quartz and cowrie shells, you’ll find all kinds of stones and beads in loose form or transformed into necklaces, prayer beads, bracelets and earrings. A truly unique treasure trove, the shop also sells mosaic-style clutches and authentic Afghan jewellery perfect for those extra special occasions.
Enter a display of handcrafted ceramics – vibrant plates and bowls textured by their kaleidoscopic designs. Pashmina shawls hang on racks against the door, and inside you’ll uncover a library of shawls and outfits from India and Pakistan. Embroidered cushion covers are piled into little towers displaying contemporary and traditional patterns, while carpets of every size are suspended like tapestry against the walls or rolled into bundles on the floor. So whether it’s a gift you’re looking for or an uplifting addition to your home, there’s plenty to choose from.
When you enter Marian, you are instantly greeted by a detailed tapestry of Omar Khayyam, the legendary Persian mathematician and astronomer, playing the oud for a dancing audience. Beneath the framed artwork is an eye-catching furniture arrangement sourced from Egypt, curated to display a little bit of everything available at the eclectic shop, including an elaborate Arabic tea set. Marian’s papier-mâché elephants and camels painted in dazzling colours and statement jewellery make for one-of-a-kind birthday gifts and souvenirs, as does the boutique’s extravagant selection of gold-spun tapestries showing peacocks, Islamic calligraphy and iconic frameworks.
Zafärana is as much of an olfactory experience as any one of Al Seef’s local perfumeries. With all the aesthetics of your neighbourhood grocery store, this shop sells dried fruits, flowers, herbs, spices and sweets from around the world. Its namesake saffron awaits behind a glass case, yours for anywhere between AED 5 to AED 10 per gram, while the walls are lined with natural oils for hair and body, food and incense. The air is heavy with the numerous fragrances and every corner unveils a new discovery.
GO: Visit https://alseef.ae/en for more information.