The New Year is traditionally a time to go sales shopping and tourism enjoys a boost as shoppers head to international destinations. Luxury hotels in New York look forward to shoppers hitting Fifth Avenue or visiting during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in early February.
Paris offers the elegant temples of Chanel, Dior and Hermes and Milan’s couture is world famous. However, shoppers looking for a luxury destination in the sun with superb shopping malls are now reportedly heading to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Luxury hotels in Dubai include the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which overlooks the Dubai Mall with almost 12 million square feet of retail space. The huge mall is crammed with high-end extravagances and designer names from Gucci to Louis Vuitton. Although the malls are new, the Middle East has historically been a center of trade for gold, spices and pearls in its colourful souks.
Winter is the perfect time to enjoy Dubai’s sunny desert climate. Tourists are finding that cooling off in one of the shopping malls can also include a trip to a skating rink, restaurant or a movie.
Luxury hotels in New York will be gearing up for their usual pre-holiday rush as shoppers descend from all over the world to shop for holiday gifts and the latest winter fashions.
One innovative company has recognized the inconvenience of trailing around the stores with a handful of unwieldy shopping bags so they have come up with the perfect solution – Cubby. This new service is a cross between a luggage store and a courier service and is centrally located on Park Avenue South and 23rd Street in Manhattan. More downtown locations are planned to open shortly.
The idea is that shoppers drop their purchases at Cubby, perhaps before taking a break for lunch. They can then continue on their quest, unencumbered by their earlier purchases. Shoppers can either pay to have their bags held for collection later or can arrange to have their bags delivered to their hotel by bicycle courier. The Cubby store is open from 8am to midnight.
Shoppers can download an app to make a reservation for storage at preferential rates. Prices are dependent upon size, and start from $5 for the first bag. Additional bags are charged at lower rates and the optional personal courier service is $10.
Luxury hotels and high-end shopping tend to be a winning combination in the world of tourism and the Istanbul ShoppingFest seems set for success. After all, the Grand Bazaar has been in the business of selling for 550 years, so it knows a thing or two about changing trends.
Every year Istanbul attracts millions of visitors to its malls, street markets and bazaars to haggle over everything from T-shirts to handmade carpets over a complimentary glass of Turkish tea. This megacity is uniquely situated on the very line where east meets west and is the only metropolis in the world which spans two continents; Europe to the west of the Bosphorus and Asia to the east.
From March 18 to April 26 this grand city is celebrating the 550th Grand Bazaar birthday by hosting its 1st Istanbul ShoppingFest. This 4-day spectacular offers visitors special discounts and great prizes with live entertainment for shoppers visiting the markets and bazaars after 10pm. Each Saturday, one mall on the European side of the city and one on the Asian side will stay open until 2 a.m. for late night shopping.
One big incentive for visitors making large purchases is the tax back deal for foreigners on purchases bought in the malls.
Last year Turkish tourism boomed with its Capital of Culture status and they hope that the same interest can be generated from worldwide tourism with the introduction of this ShoppingFest. Istanbul aims to be the shopping destination of choice for those with money to spend from Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Greece and other European and Middle Eastern countries. Not surprisingly, Luxique.com showcases 12 of the best luxury hotels in Istanbul for those wanting to visit this cultural city.
by Gillian at Luxique Luxury Hotels
When visiting Paris, it’s always fun to go to a flea market to see what old bargains you can pick up to adorn your home. But for one unfortunate British couple, this signalled a chain of events about which they are still probably pretty embarrassed.
Their find was a 19th century live artillery shell, and it caused a major security alert when they tried to board the Eurostar train back to London. Explosives experts, firemen and police were scrambled to the Gare du Nord, the main Eurostar terminal in Paris, and services were held up for at least an hour.
The device dated back to France’s Third Republic, around 1885, when the whole country was full of live explosives following the Franco-Prussian War.
“Live explosives are strictly banned on all cross–Channel services, no matter how old they are,” said a French customs source. “All kinds of banned articles are picked up every day, but this is the first time someone’s tried to get through with a pre-First World War shell in their luggage.”
The unnamed couple, who thought their purchase was ‘a nice souvenir’, were cautioned about their behaviour before being allowed to return to Britain. The shell was confiscated and destroyed.
by Andy Moreton
The French capital is an explosion of colour and vibrancy at any time of the year. Book your luxury hotel in Paris through Luxique – we have an unrivalled selection of classic and modern.
China has ordered a quality control crackdown on the statues of Mao on sale to tourists.
Visitors who flock to Mao’s birthplace at Shaoshan in central Hunan province have complained that some statues they buy as mementoes are sub-standard, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
A local official explained that some were physically disproportional while others were made in a slipshod way with low-quality materials. “The move is expected to curtail the production and sale of low-quality Mao statues that harm the tourism market and people’s feeling for the great man,” said the official.
It’s thought the new policy will ban the use of plastic and plaster because plastic deforms and plaster is easy to break. A team of art and craft experts will work with factories to decide which statues are ‘authentically Mao’.
Chairman Mao still features on Chinese banknotes, and a few people still have his portrait on the walls of their homes. Mao lookalikes also find plenty of work in China, and each year a competition is held to find the man with the closest resemblance to the former Chinese leader.
by Andy Moreton
If you’re planning a visit to one of the most fascinating countries on earth, Luxique offers a choice of nearly two dozen luxury hotels in China and several luxury hotels in Hong Kong.
Italian police have acted to prevent large numbers of counterfeit goods reaching the streets and markets.
In a raid on eight warehouses east of Rome, they seized hundreds of items – said to be of ‘amazing quality’ – including clothes, shoes, leather goods and other accessories. It’s thought the items would have been given designer labels and sold around tourist attractions.
Italy’s national retailers’ association says that around 6.9 billion euros’ (£6 billion/$9.4 billion) worth of fake products are sold each year.
It’s not only brands such as Gucci, Bulgari and Armani that the Italians fight hard to protect – it’s foodstuffs as well.
And the pizza makers of Naples are celebrating after the European Union officially protected Neapolitan pizzas from imitations. They will now carry what’s called a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed label and become part of Europe’s food heritage.
It’s essential for a genuine Neapolitan pizza to include, among other things, only San Marzano tomatoes and fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese. The Italian farmers’ association says half of Italy’s 25,000 pizzerias currently use the wrong ingredients, such as East European cheese or Ukrainian flour.
Italy now tops the EU chart for products that are protected – it has 180, more than Spain or France.
by Andy Moreton
If you’re planning to visit Italy, take a look at Luxique’s comprehensive selection of luxury hotels in Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan and many other cities.
I know my regular readers like to learn what’s going on here in London, so I’m pleased to tell you all that Christmas has arrived.
Yes, four and a half months before presents are officially exchanged, the up-market department store, Selfridge’s, has a range of festive goods available for purchase at its prestigious Oxford Street branch.
With summer (such as it is) in full swing, you can buy baubles and other Christmas decorations, artificial trees and seasonal hampers (that’s winter season, of course).
Have they gone mad? Well, if they have, there’s method in their madness. It’s all to do with cashing in on the tourist trade, which itself is being boosted by the weakness of the pound.
The good news is that shoppers will not yet be forced to endure the strains of Christmas songs played on a loop.
by Andy Moreton
Whatever the season, the UK capital is a buzzing city to visit and Luxique offers an unrivalled range of luxury hotels in London.
Politicians in France are once again debating one of the more contentious issues in France – whether shops should be allowed to open on Sundays.
French laws are much more restrictive than those in the US and UK, for example. Sundays have been protected since 1906, although bakers, butchers and other small shops are allowed to open until noon.
Carole Landry, a journalist based in Paris, says keeping retail businesses closed has helped cement the tradition of the Sunday family meal that many in France still hold dear.
But there has been a clamour for change over the past twenty years, with recent polls suggesting that a majority of the French believe shops should have the freedom to open on Sundays. Paris’s temple of shopping, Galeries Lafayette, has said this would create between 300 and 400 jobs and boost sales by 10 per cent.
If passed, this amendment to the law would allow shops in designated tourist areas and special commercial zones to open on Sundays.
President Sarkozy has long been a strong supporter of change. After a recent visit by Michelle Obama, President Sarkozy asked: “Is it normal that on a Sunday, when Madame Obama wants to go shopping in Paris with her girls, I have to make phone calls to get them to open?”
by Andy Moreton
Luxique offers a choice of a wide range of luxury hotels in Paris and many other French cities.
The beret was once the headgear of choice for any self-respecting Frenchman. It became almost a cartoon cliché.
Now, after years in decline, the beret is making a comeback, with manufacturers reporting a doubling in sales. One, Blancq-Olibet, based in south-west France, faced closure less than a decade ago, but is now making 300,000 berets a year.
And it’s the young who seem to be embracing them as a ‘new’ fashion trend. Bernard Fargues, the chairman of another company, Béatex, said the buyers were mostly those dubbed bobos or the bourgeois-bohème (yuppies). “They’re buying berets as a sign of authenticity and a link to rural France, where their grandparents probably lived and worked,” he said.
French style commentator Patricia Jourdain thought that as well as French pride, it might also be a backlash against an increasingly Americanised world: “The beret is as far removed as the baseball cap and other manifestations of US culture as you can get,” she said.
Ms Jourdain said that rather than being worn solely by country people or intellectuals as in the past, the beret was now an extremely chic fashion item. Many models had worn them at Paris Fashion Week.
by Andy Moreton
Check out Luxique’s selection of luxury hotels in Paris and throughout France. C’est magnifique!
A swimsuit has been developed that dries off almost as soon as the wearer steps out of the pool or sea. The effect is said to be as natural as water sliding off the skin.
The technology works by letting water pass through the fabric rather than being absorbed into it. Each fabric fibre is surround by an invisible non-toxic mesh that creates a permanent water-repelling barrier without interfering with the weave.
It’s called the Sun Dry Swim and has been developed by Solestrom International, a company based in Brooklyn, New York.
Both the adults’ and children’s costumes are chlorine resistant. The swimwear for youngsters also has an SPF 50 rating and is promoted as ideal for children who are in and out of the pool all day.
“As a mum I’ve found these bathing suits an essential time saver,” said Amy Hardin, from Sun Dry Technologies, a division of Solestrom International. “I don’t end up with a bag of damp bathing suits to
rush to wash and get hung up as soon as we get home.”
by Andy Moreton