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Shopping in Kuwait City

For a flavour of Arab-style shopping, the Old Souq (Souk Al-Mubarakiya) is the place to head for with its characterful bustle of gossiping traders and eye-for-a-bargain customers. Perfume infused with frankincense, gold bangles, colourful scarves and cloth, spices, dates, pickled shark and dried shrimp are all available in the aisles of the main arcaded complex. Quality souvenirs are on offer at Sadu House, a cultural foundation dedicated to preserving Bedouin art. The traditional weavings are made with vegetable-dyed wool, some of which are made on site on wooden hand looms.

For a more modern experience, there are many excellent choices too. Start at The Avenues Mall, the largest shopping mall in Kuwait with more than 800 stores. Alternatively, head to Salmiya. The main street, Hamad al-Mubarak Street, is known as the 'Champs-Elysées' of the Middle East and is lined with glass-clad malls. Sharq Souq (Arabian Gulf Street, Sharq), alongside the marina, is another fashionable area to stroll, shop and have coffee or a bite to eat.

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Ghani Palace Hotel

It could do with a bit of a facelift, but the Ghani Palace is one of the few hotels in the city where you don't have to check the address to remember you're in the Middle East. The quirky Arabian-style hotel sports Syrian furniture, Moroccan lanterns and local stucco, plus local-style hospitality to match.

Sheraton Kuwait Hotel and Towers

Jutting out of the commercial centre, this iconic Sheraton is a steal for those on a moderate budget. With 5-stars on its chest, guests can expect everything from king-sized beds and fast Wi-Fi to five fine restaurants and an English tea lounge. Mixing Arabic lavishness with European furniture, it also has a health club and a swimming pool.

Kuwait Continental Hotel

As the trophies behind reception testify, this no-frills hotel on a busy intersection is a favourite with regional sports teams. The refurbished rooms and bathrooms have an Arabian flourish with gilt-edged décor and furnishings that come as a pleasant surprise after the rather casual foyer. It also has a swimming pool and health club.

Hotel ibis Kuwait Salmiya

With a decent location near the Scientific Center, this budget chain hotel also affords some great sea views as well. The rooms are small, but clean and well appointed, and Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. There's also an on-site gym and a buffet breakfast to set you up for the day.

Mirage Suites Hotel

What the Mirage Suites Hotel lacks in looks and luxury, it makes up for with its sea views. The rooms are basic, but comfortable and well maintained, although try for one that feature vistas over the Arabian Gulf. A short taxi ride from the Salmiya area, the hotel also has its own swimming pool, gym and sauna.

JW Marriott Hotel Kuwait City

The JW Marriot is a 5 star hotel situated in the centre of Kuwait with over 300 rooms. Their best facilities include; a pool, a spa, a fitness centre and a bar/ lounge area. The hotel also offers airport transportation and conference facilities.