Page 189 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine III

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189
S IMPLY ABU DHABI
An exclusive experience for everyone
Situated in swanky Knightsbridge, Harrods attracts
thousands upon thousands of tourists and locals through
its famous doors – in fact 15 million customers pass
through the doors every year to discover what seven floors
of exquisite collections across 4.5 acres have to offer.
Harrods are committed to providing a pleasurable and
memorable experience to every visitor and aim to exceed
expectations. In yet another delightful instalment of
the A&J diaries, we were thrilled to enjoy the experience
first-hand. Easily accessible by both tube and bus, no visit
to London would be complete without a visit to Harrods.
We took advantage of the valet parking for the full VIP
experience and with excellent customer service from the
off, we were lucky enough to have the door opened for us
by one of the legendary ‘Green Men’ – Harrods Doormen
in Green Uniforms – first employed in 1909. You can
feel the luxury as you step through the door and with a
reputation for being expensive, Harrods does sell the most
expensive things to a rich and famous clientele, but that
doesn’t mean there aren’t great offers and bargains to be
found.
With Harrods’ motto being ‘Omnia Omnibus Ubique’
– ‘all things for all people, everywhere’ – you will quickly
come to appreciate that despite the exclusive, extravagant
ambience, this is a department store accessible to
everyone. There are also several 10% Discount days for
Harrods account holders through the year. Located right
outside the Knightsbridge tube stop, Harrods has long
been synonymous with style in London and is today a
destination not just for fashionistas and the wealthy, but
also day-trippers and tourists wanting to enjoy the genuine
London tourist experience.
With 5,000 employees, rising to 5,500 at during the Sale
and Christmas periods, over 12,000 prospective employees
are interviewed per year from over 25,000 job enquiries.
Harrods employs seven “Green Men”, the famous
commissioners synonymous with the store since the early
1900s. With a memorial dedicated to the late Princess
Diana and Dodi Al Fayed on the lower ground floor, you
are reminded of the former Harrods owner Mohammed
Al Fayed and the part he has played in the Harrods success
story. In 2010 Al Fayed sold Harrods for approximately
£1.5 billion to Qatar Holdings, having been Chairman
of Harrods since 1986 and being responsible for a
refurbishment plan costing approximately £400 million
to date.
Designer essentials
The store accepts a wide range of currencies and whatever
you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it in one of Harrods
many comprehensive departments. In Harrods it is
Christmas all year – the Christmas department is just
one of well over 300 different departments waiting to be
explored. Doing it for the kids, the children’s department
is well stocked with everything the younger generation
could wish for. Every sport and sporting lifestyle is
catered for in the Sports Department. Beauty is also
big business at Harrods as is fragrance and with many
fragrances exclusive to Harrods, we took some time at the
perfumery. All the designer essentials are on offer and
Harrods is the ideal place to gain some inspiration about
the latest trends. I picked up a couple of casual Ralph
Lauren shirts before being tempted by some designer
cufflinks. Jordana was keen to spend a little time looking
at the beautiful handbags and was torn between a Marc by
Marc Jacobs tote bag and a stunning Chloe handbag – the
handbag just had it!
Tempting cuisine
The store boasts 29 different restaurants and eateries –
serving everything from doughnuts to oysters. If you’re
looking for fine dining, you’re truly spoilt for choice at
Harrods. In Harrods first-rate restaurants, internationally
celebrated chefs prepare avant-garde cuisine from across
the globe, from sushi to traditional Lebanese dishes and
the Parisian grandeur offered at the iconic Ladurée. With
pizzerias, rotisseries and sushi bars, seafood bars, grills and
a choice of tempting coffee shops and espresso bars, there
is something to appeal to all tastes and appetites when
it comes to easy eateries. The family market is also well
catered for with Harrods offering an America Diner, an ice
cream bar and even the ultimate chocoholic’s fantasy with
fondues, thick, pure chocolate drinks and sandwiches and
savouries being served at the Harrods Chocolate Bar on
the second floor.
We simply had to pay a visit to the first floor Veuve
Clicquot Champagne Bar – perfect really as it is situated
within the international fashion collections which we had
spent some time browsing! The setting is fantastic with a
contemporary bar overlooking the store and an intimate
lounge and dining area. Opting to order lunch from the
Small Bites Seafood menu, we were not disappointed. The
crab and rock shrimp dumplings with a sweet and sour
glaze were totally divine. Jordana sampled the Smoked
Salmon Croque Madame with caviar and the look on
her face said it all! All dishes are specifically created to
complement Veuve Clicquot’s fine champagnes and a
range of soft drinks are also available. A selection of Veuve
Clicquot accessories and gifts are also available to purchase
in the store and are exclusive to Harrods, so we picked up
a few special gifts.
A luxury experience
After lunch, we were inspired by our fine dine experience
to visit the Harrods Food Hall. The Food Hall is a
reflection of the general opulence of the overall store and
even if you don’t intend to buy anything, it’s very difficult
to resist the temptation. Packed with a delectable range of
luxurious treats, we picked up some delicious truffles and
Foie Grais before being enticed by the scrumptious display
of chocolates on offer. Pralines purchased, it was time
to take a look at the enticing biscuits and cakes before
moving on to the jams and preserves – this was proving to
be somewhat of an expensive shopping trip but well worth
every last penny for the sheer quality of the goods we
left with. With luxury gifts for every occasion, exclusive
beauty products, exclusive launches and limited editions
available throughout the year as well as collections from
some of the world’s most renowned fashion designers,
Harrods is a shopper’s paradise. It is more than simply
shopping; it is an experience, a day out, a top London
attraction and one that will keep you happily occupied for
hours.
We ventured to the fourth floor for afternoon tea, having
heard that the Terrace Bar serves delicious home baked
English scones. In this relaxed and elegant Georgian
Restaurant, visitors are treated to a commanding view of
London in a mezzanine conservatory setting. Beautiful
freshly cut sandwiches were served first – smoked salmon
with caper butter for me and truffled egg with cress
for Jordana. Then the mouth watering scones arrived
served with clotted cream, rose petal jelly and strawberry
preserves. The choice of tea from Harrods’s own tea
gardens is breathtaking and it was some time before
we finally settled on Jasmin Chun and Moroccan Mint
which provided the ideal mid-shopping refreshment and
pick-me-up required for a final look around this awesome
globally renowned department store.
There is always something happening at Harrods. For
example, Harrods Wine Shop hosts exciting tasting events
every month with experts on hand to offer information
and advice whilst you enjoy stunning gourmet canapés.
Wine connoisseurs may also be interested to know an
exclusive new dining room dedicated to the appreciation
of fine wine is situated within the newly opened Wine
Shop on the Lower Ground Floor of Harrods. The
Tasting Room creates the ambience of a traditional wine
cellar where up to 16 people can be seated for dining and
18 for wine tasting. With full conference facilities, wine
amateurs and aficionados alike can sip fine wines and
sample a range of delicious dining options, from informal
charcuterie boards through to multi-course fine dining
menus.
Having whiled away the hours in Harrods, we would
strongly recommend you make a day of it, to give you time
to look around the whole store. Store guides available
at the Information desk located by each entrance were
invaluable when finding our way around the store, so
remember to pick one up. A&J would like to thank all
the welcoming and friendly staff in every department
of Harrods for the exceptional service and attention we
received throughout the day. Once we have unpacked the
shopping bags and recharged our batteries, we’ll definitely
be back through those famous doors again!