Spinneys and La Brioche, Al Ain

If you drive past the Al Jimi Mall, with the Mall on your right, heading towards Abu Dhabi, about 4 miles later you’ll see a shopping centre on your left. Go to the next roundabout and do a U-turn to get to it.

This is the right side of the building…


…and the left side…


The best reason to go is to sample the terrific cakes at La Brioche…


…don’t these look delicious?…


I got some for my wife’s birthday recently. (There is also a La Brioche at the Al Ahlia Centre, to the right of the Safeer Centre near Al Jimi Mall.)

There’s also a Spinney’s supermarket there…


….which is beautifully laid out…


…and it has a fab newspaper and magazine stand…


It’s probably the most upmarket-looking supermarket in Al Ain. Not a brilliant description, but I hope you get the picture!

Also in the centre is a large stationers, called Dubai Library Distributors, with mostly Arabic books…


…and there’s a McDonalds too…


…and an amusement arcade upstairs.

Choithrams in Al Ain

If you fancy some pork, a good place to go is the Choithrams supermarket. There’s a branch next to Al Noor Hospital in the centre of town. (See my map which comes with the ebook version of this site.)


There’s the main wide entrance, but just to the left of this is another, much smaller door, where you can buy 1,001 different pork products. I didn’t see any fresh pork: it’s supplied frozen, unless I’m mistaken.

Daiso in Al Ain for knick knacks

If you’re looking for good quality knick knacks in Al Ain, then Daiso may be just what you’re looking for. There are 2 stores in the town: one in the Bawadi Mall…


…and one in the centre of the town, opposite Al Noor Hospital and Choithrams.

Here is a list of some of the items you’ll find there, and most items cost 7 AED (£1.25) (up from 5 AED a year or 2 ago)…

Post-It Notes, binders, photo frames, spectacles, pencil cases, CD/DVD cases, headphones, cables, mouse mats, kitchen timers, batteries, bookstands, wooden back massagers, flip flops, slippers, cushions, folding stools, door mats, crockery, origami paper, Rubik’s Cube, pots and pans, cuddly toy. Didn’t they do well?

Daiso is a Japanese brand, so all the packaging has Japanese writing on it and looks very appealing. Daiso has 3,500 stores around the world, and produces 90,000 different products, but only 30,000 of them are available in Al Ain. Here is a display of pens in the Bawadi Mall store…


The town centre store covers 3 floors but has the same number of lines as the Bawadi branch, according to the manager I had a chat with the other day.

Daiso serves a billion customers around the world, and did US$3 billion of sales in 2004 in Japan alone, which I’m sure is the result of great quality and keen prices.

Bawadi Mall branch telephone number: 03 784 0510

Al Noor branch telephone number: 03 766 2855

The company has a website at www.daisome.com which shows many photos of the kind of products they sell.

Bawadi Mall in Al Ain

Bawadi Mall is currently the most recent mall to open in Al Ain, having opened in April 2009. It’s also the largest too. It is located 5 minutes south of the Hilton Hotel.



There are more than 400 outlets on 2 floors, with many stores familiar to Westerners: Marks and Spencer, Early Learning Centre, The Body Shop, Toys ‘R Us, Zara, Mango, MAX, New Look, H&M, ACE Hardware, Adidas, Guess, Nokia, British Home Stores, and more.


…and a great bookshop for English speakers in Magrudy’s….


On the ground floor is a large Carrefour supermarket.


There’s an extensive food court with 16 outlets including McDonalds and Pizza Hut – and there’s even excellent Indian food on offer at inexpensive prices.

Behind the food court is Fun City…

Fun City

…with a wonderful rollercoaster…


…other small rides including dodgems…



air hockey

…a 12-lane bowling alley and lots of interactive games to play.

On a third level above the food court is a Ski Village area with skating rink, ski slope…

ski slope

and tubes…


…plus a circuit for electric powered quad bikes.

The mall, like all the Malls, is fairly quiet during the day, but positively buzzing in the evening.

There are even occasional shows on a stage as you walk into the Mall. The current one is called Around The World In 60 Days…

Bawadi show

The mall is still packed out at 10.30pm. (It saw a footfall of 360,000 people during its opening month.) There are 3,500 car parking spaces, yet you’ll find it a challenge to find an empty space for your car after 8 o’clock at night!

One nice feature is a mobile car cleaning service: when you park your car you will most likely be approached and asked if you want your car cleaned. If you do, you pay your 24 AED approx, plus tip which they ask for, and you come back after your shopping trip to find a gleaming car.

The General Manager of Bawadi Mall is Mr Bashar Tamimi from Jordan. His eldest son, Saif, is in Toby’s year, so we got chatting when I bumped into Saif talking with what turned out to be his dad while visiting the mall.

Bashar Tamimi

I’m sure you’ll enjoy your trips to this mall. It’s my favourite in Al Ain.

Chocolate lovers

Whenever there’s something to celebrate, the locals bring chocolates to the office: often on a tray with an ornate layout. There are lots of chocolate shops round Al Ain selling such displays.

The closest to us is Marionnettes Chocolates, run by Ansar from India, who has been in Al Ain for 15 years, working in chocolate shops. This is his shop…

Marionnettes Chocolates

This is Ansar with one of his creations…

Ansar chocolates

..and 2 more…

Ansar chocolates 2

Ansar chocolates 3

If you ever want any chocolates, give him a call on 050 172 5587. He’s a lovely guy.


Shopping locally

local shop

It wasn’t many years ago that the only shops in Al Ain were the small ‘corner shops’, or so I’ve been told.

You’ll find hundreds of shops like the one in the photo, which we use for the odd bottle of milk etc, around the town.

This shop recently closed down as the building was being renovated, and reopened 100 yards away in a new building. The owner told me the rent had gone up as a result from 24,000 Dirhams (£4,500) a year to 70,000 Dirhams (£13,000) a year. Ouch!