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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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Featured Hotels

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Le Méridien Kuwait

With views of the Arabic Gulf as well as the iconic Kuwait Towers, this hotel has a flavour of the French Riviera about it, including rococo furniture and brass-rimmed mirrors. Rooms are sleek and modern, with huge luxury bathrooms, and the service is excellent. The onsite restaurant is decent and free Wi-Fi is available throughout.

Luxury Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel and Spa

With the utmost luxury in mind, this beautifully refurbished 5-star hotel feels like an Arabian palace. Its spa has hydrotherapy baths, plus drift and salt rooms, while palm trees line the swimming pool. Other perks include yoga, pilates and reiki classes, its seven stylish restaurants and its private beach.

Marina Hotel

For this price, don't expect the Ritz. Overlooking Mutrah fish market, this is a simple, harbourside hotel offering great views of Muscat's famous corniche. It's basic, and its basement bar can be a little noisy, but its location is within walking distance of Mutrah Souk, making it convenient for sightseeing.

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.