Düsseldorf International: a fashion lover’s paradise ….
Düsseldorf is one of Germany’s richest and most cosmopolitan cities. In fact, according to the influential 2009 Mercer ‘Quality of Life Survey’, citizens of this bustling capital of North Rhine-Westphalia enjoy the highest standard of living of any town in Germany.This abundant wealth is clearly reflected in the 62 shops and 40 restaurants offered by Düsseldorf airport, Germany’s third largest airport. Luxury fashion and gastronomic delights must be high up on the local agenda as these categories are catered for splendidly. In contrast (and somewhat strangely), electronics and gadgets are arguably not given the space they deserve at an airport so heavily dependent on business travellers.
Düsseldorf airport is an important hub for German carriers such as Lufthansa and Air Berlin. The airport, which has won awards for its excellent customer service, is growing fast too with passenger traffic growing 6.7% in 2010 to reach nearly 19m. And with new carriers such as Air China and TAP Portugal attracted to the airport all the time, Düsseldorf airport’s owners hope to break the 20m-barrier in 2011.
The airport, which boasts very good transport links downtown, boasts three terminals (Piers A, B and C). A central spine connects them. The convenient Düsseldorf SkyTrain stops at each of the Piers making switching flights at the airport a reasonably straightforward affair.
If you have arrived with plenty of time to spare before your flight leaves and are in the mood to shop, it is worth pointing out that the bulk of the airport’s retail offer is located pre-security in the ‘Airport Arcades’ public area. That is not to say there aren’t some good shops after passport control, but we wouldn’t you to miss out on some first-class fashion boutiques.
Dedicated followers of fashion are well catered for in the Airport Arcades, where they will fine everything from affordable, but stylish High Street names such as Mango, H&M and Marco Polo, to classic upscale fashion names such as Boss and SØR: a men’s outfitter selling smart men’s business wear from brands such as Belstaff, Barbour, Andrea Fenzi and Van Laack.
Smart briefcases and luggage in sober business-friendly styles can be had at Brecklinghaus, where the roll call of listed brands includes Longchamp, Tumi, Samsonite, Aigner and Victorinox to name but a few. For something a little bit more racy, Wolford is the place to stock up on stylish underwear, stockings, swimwear and accessories.
Still on the fashion trail, we have rugged, functional outdoor fashion from Jack Wolfskin, trendy fashions for younger flyers at Esprit and Campus, and of course, every airport needs a sunglasses shop and Düsseldorf airport has Eye Catcher. Alternatively, if a piece of jewellery might get you back in the good books of a loved one, take your pick from crystal jewellery specialist Swarovski or Pandora, which features jewellery made from sterling silver, gold and precious stones.
A box of Belgian chocolates is hardly the most original gift from someone returning from a business trip to Düsseldorf, but rest assured that it is unlikely a box will be refused! Note then that Belgian chocolatier par excellence Neuhaus has opened a new shop in the Arcades.
The horrendous-sounding Y’our Present is apparently the place to pick up Düsseldorf souvenirs (cartwheelers, the city’s emblem, antique-looking beer glasses and local mustard are popular choices). If that fails to make the grade and you are a kid at heart, why not browse United Labels, which bills itself as Germany’s only airport comic shop? Classic cartoon characters featured here include Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Spiderman and the Simpsons.
Piers A, B and C
Once travellers have cleared security they will find that Germany’s largest duty-free retailer Gebr. Heinemann runs the duty-free and travel-retail concession in all three of the airport’s piers. This is no bad thing as the retailer guarantees a reasonable saving over German High Street prices and the selection of liquor, tobacco, fragrances and cosmetics is solid.
Look out for special monthly offers on Heinemann’s website, (http://www.heinemann-dutyfree.com/duesseldorf_en/catalogsale/) where an extra 30% is cut from the duty-free prices. When we checked (July 2011) travellers could take advantage of deals such as Calvin Klein ck one edt spray 200ml at €38.50 (£34), Boss Hugo edt spray at €40.50 (£35.70), a 1-litre bottle of The Famous Grouse whisky at €11.50 (£10.15), a 1-litre bottle of Russian Standard vodka at €14.90 (413.15), and finally a 1kg bag of peanut M&M’s for €7.50 (£6.60).
Cigarettes and cigars have dual pricing depending on whether you are travelling inside the EU (duty-paid) or outside (good old duty-free). Examples of duty-free prices include cartons of 200 Benson & Hedges Special for €34.90 (£30.80), Marlboro Red King Size at €38.50 (£34) and Camel Blue Filter at €33.90 (£29.95). Cigars stocked include classic Cuban varieties such as Romeo y Julieta, Cohiba, Hoyo de Monterrey and lastly Montecristo, the most popular Cuban cigar brand in the world.
If your flight leaves from Pier A, you will have yet more pricey fashion outlets to stroll around (Gant, Boss Etro and René Lezard. If you have forgotten to pack a tie, P’NA Ties and More might come in handy. Otherwise, why not indulge with a delicious ice cream from the Mövenpick Café or sit down for something more substantial at the futuristic-looking Restaurant Ark?
Pier B is not short of fashion choices either. Take your pick from US designer label Gant, knitwear store FTC Cashmere, denim-oriented fashion retailer G-Star, which sells blazers, jackets, trench coats, hoodies, knitwear and jeans for both men and women. Alternatively, for books and reading material, head to Hollmann Busch & Presse.
Meanwhile in Pier C grease monkeys and petrol heads will love the trademark red Ferrari store, which wallows in nostalgia of this famous Italian sports car brand. It stocks branded clothing, accessories and toys. In short, it is a must for any Formula 1 motor-racing fan.
Before you fly from Düsseldorf airport it is well worth checking out the airport’s easy-to-navigate website. There is a handy airport shopping guide to download, which not only gives descriptions, locations and opening hours of all the shops and restaurants there, but also gives details of special offers and competitions that are open to travellers.
Düsseldorf airport official shopping guide