Shop Til You Drop: The Insider’s Guide to the World’s Best Shopping Destinations
Without a detailed plan of attack, shopping in the big city while on holiday can be a daunting prospect. Where do I go? What do I buy? Did I just haggle up or down? Check out HotelClub’s insider’s guide to the world’s best shopping destinations.
Where? The West End
If time is of the essence – and when isn’t it in London? – the one place you should go is the West End. Oxford Street is the main thoroughfare, split between touristy market stalls and high street chains (Top Shop, Oasis, H&M) to the east and more respectable department stores (Selfridges, Debenhams) to the west. Regent Street cuts through Oxford St about halfway and boasts a more elegant shopping experience with several mid-price fashion stores and the obligatory Apple Store. For high-end fashion, head to New Bond Street for your Burberry/Louis Vuitton/Tiffany fix.
Top Tip No shopping trip to the West End of London is complete without a visit to Carnaby Street, the pedestrianised strip that made London swing in the sixties. Packed with kitschy tourist shops and top-notch clothing stores in equal measure, think Austin Powers meets Kate Moss.
New York City
Where? Broadway between 14th St-Union Sq and Canal St
Dust off your credit cards and make sure you have your overdraft confirmed: the 2km stretch of Broadway from Union Square to Canal Street is a shopper’s paradise/bank manager’s nightmare (delete where appropriate). Beginning at 14th St-Union Square station and heading south, Broadway has all the brand stores on a grand scale (French Connection, Urban Outfitters, Prada, Victoria’s Secret), while side trips onto Prince and Spring St take you into the heart of NYC’s coolest suburbs with upscale boutiques aplenty. The end of the strip, in SoHo near Canal St, has more bargain-based stores, great for shoes and basic fashion buys – if your credit card has made it that far…
Top Tip If you’re into vintage, second-hand bargains or just something uniquely ‘Noo Yawk’, head to the Brooklyn Flea, an open-air market in the hipster-tastic suburb of Williamsburg. A walk back into Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge is pretty spectacular too.
Where? Louvre-Tuileries neighborhood
When it comes to shopping, Paris features the ‘creme de la creme’ of ‘haute couture’ (which, according to Google Translate, means ‘creamy relaxed clothing’) and for those looking for some creamy goodness, the Louvre-Tuileries neighbourhood is the place to be. Rue Saint Honoré takes pride of place as the Parisian shopping Mecca with its chic designer boutiques and classic fashion houses such as Yves Saint Laurent and Hermes. If all that bling proves overwhelming (for brain and bank balance) make a beeline for Colette, a concept store that has men’s and women’s fashion, electronics, books and music all under one roof.
Top Tip Bring a camera. The first arrondissement that houses Louvre-Tuileries is quintessential Paris, with the Louvre museum, Palais Royale and Tuileries Gardens all within snapping distance of each other.
Where? The Landmark Hong Kong Shopping Mall
Despite having a multitude of outlets to choose from, picking the best shopping mall in Hong Kong is easier than you might think. The Landmark Hong Kong Shopping Mall is the ultimate mall experience, featuring a who’s who of fashion’s heavy hitters including Calvin Klein, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. As you might imagine though, such luxury shopping comes with some pretty big price tags – let’s just say it’s more ‘sheik’ than ‘chic’ at the Landmark. As well as housing Hong Kong’s Harvey Nichols store, it also has one of the swankiest hotels in town, the Landmark Mandarin. Even if you can’t afford the prices, it’s definitely worth a bit of window-shopping.
Top Tip Want a Hong Kong shopping experience that won’t melt the credit card? LAB Concept in Admiralty is a trendy department store that specialises in forward-thinking fashion. The 64,000 square-feet space has cutting-edge fashion, books, music and beauty products and offers a funky alternative to the glitzy, expensive HK malls.
Singapore can do glossy high end shopping with the best of them (see ION Orchard Road) but for a shopping experience unique to the region, Chinatown is a treasure trove of market stalls packed with silk, handicrafts, jewellery and antiques. It’s a welcome respite to the bright lights of the modern malls in the area, but there are still several shopping centres packed with the obligatory i-devices and electrical equipment at good prices. For the fashion-conscious, Ann Siang Road has enough boutiques to stretch even the most understanding of travel partner’s patience.
Top Tip If you’re looking to buy electrical goods, one of Chinatown’s various shopping malls is a good place to find barter-friendly shop owners who can offer competitive prices.