Macau retakes the title of Asian king of shopping
t just over 30 square kilometres, Macau still manages to boast twelve Chanel stores, six Gucci and eight Dior. The city’s luxury shopping scene dovetails perfectly with its glamorously European streets; hard to believe we’re still in China. But besides the big brand stores, there are also vintage boutiques and souvenir shops where real treasures can be found. A whole array of options, in fact, to suit all pockets and satisfy even the most fastidious shopaholic. And in case there was any doubt, Macau sets the record straight, once again taking pride of place along the Asian trade route.
Just when it seemed that neighbouring Hong Kong had won the race for leading shopping destination, a new profile claimed a space on the Macau skyline, The Venetian. Opulence and entertainment go hand in hand at this 3,000-suite hotel. It was the first resort hotel of its class in Asia and a clear wager on the city’s future. South Korean singer PSY donned a white smoking jacket and Gangnam Style-d around its lobby for one of the most viewed music videos of all time. He likely did a tour of Shoppes at Venetian, too, the hotel’s shopping mall with more than 350 shops and boutiques. The complex boasts premier brands from New York, Paris, London and Milan in a setting that replicates Venice, inspired by the streets and canals of the Italian city, complete with singing gondoliers.
Taking Macau home
The most typical souvenirs from Macau are edible, like the almond biscuits or egg custard tarts that can be bought in Taipa Old Village. Wine (imported from Portugal and duty-free) is also a good choice, as are postcards and antiques. Some advice? You can find exclusive items at the museum shops.
Shoppes at Venetian is part of the Sands Shoppes complex, Macau’s largest covered shopping centre with close to 850 duty-free shops. The four different areas cater to all types, from families with young children to the most discerning clientele. Upscale shoppers enjoy discovering the latest fashions along the boulevards of Shoppes at Parisian; its elegant surroundings embody the most in-vogue of the Macanese fashionista market. The futuristic Temptation, specialising in beauty products, is one example; Antonia, a multibrand boutique with the most recent designs by Gucci, Valentino and Dior, another. The pervading aroma of warm croissants entices weary shoppers to take a break at the bistros…just long enough to recharge before continuing their buying spree.
Also along the Cotai Strip—thus called because of its similarity to the Las Vegas Strip, and where The Venetian opened its doors—are other shopping malls like The Boulevard at City of Dreams and The Promenade Shops, in the Galaxy Macau, with an exclusive selection of products from jewellery to whisky. Further along, just 15 minutes from Senado Square, is Wynn Esplanade, the Wynn Macau’s shopping mall which houses one of Macau’s two Ferrari boutiques. The other can be found at the Wynn Palace in the company of brands such as Prada and Giorgio Armani.
But Macau shopping is not just about the big fashion and sports labels. The Historic Centre of Macao teems with shops to suit all budgets. The area around the Ruins of St. Paul’s is a haven for furniture stores where antique relics are just waiting to be discovered. Coloane Village also has a number of antique shops, with both authentic and reproduction items. Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro has become a jewellery hub, while gadgets are best acquired in the Horta e Costa residential district, where the locals themselves shop.
Adventurous shoppers looking for something a little more original can indulge themselves at smaller shops like the Portuguese inspired KUSO or the Vintage Market (Rua de San Roque, 22), where every item is personally curated by the owners. These are also part of the new trade era in Macao.