Singapore Changi just gets better and better ....
There appears to be no end to retail expansion at this top Asian hub
Standing still is clearly not an option for the management at Singapore Changi International Airport. Consistently voted one of the world’s best hubs for its service and facilities, the airport always seems to be one step ahead when it comes to its customer offer • and that includes retailing.
While the opening of Terminal 3 was a landmark event in 2008, complete with a massive retail floor that incorporates such luxury boutiques as Bulgari, Hermès and Rolex to more cool fashion brands like Billabong, Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger, the airport has also been reviewing its shopping in older terminals and some new additions there have really helped to balance out the overall offer across the airport.
Perhaps the biggest draw was the recent opening of The Fashion Gallery in Terminal 2, a multi-label concept that has a bit of a ‘wow’ factor in terms of the overall shop fit and the brands present. In an area of almost 800 square metres, The Fashion Gallery mixes luxury labels such as Bottega Veneta, Cartier, Chloé and Loewe with more accessible houses like Agnes b, Boss and Longchamp with jewellery players Folli Follie, Pandora and Swarovski completing the accessories offer. The aim is to create a department store feel with a boutique presence for the brands, and it works very well.
So Chocolate in Terminal 1 which has a very open plan space where you can browse you favourite sweet temptations before overcoming any guilty conscience by pretending to shop for the kids! It is difficult to pass by when the unit offers not just the usual fare of Toblerone, Kit Kat, Mars and Hershey’s but premium shop-in-shops featuring more exclusive indulgences such as Godiva, Neuhaus and Valrhona.
Also try the Adidas store and SK Jewellery outlets in T3, the latter extending its presence from T2. Lee Hwa has also recently introduced a new fashion and lifestyle store concept in T2, said to be setting a new jewellery benchmark, while Tiffany & Co, also in T2, has architectural details reminiscent of its famous New York store.
The fragrance and cosmetics side of the retail offer is of course extensive in all terminals and Changi is a good place to find many ‘firsts’ in the Asia Pacific region as this is the strategy when adding new products to their collections. Not only that the beauty retailer here prides itself on having a number of limited edition or niche (and expensive) perfume houses - for example Serge Lutens, Annick Goutal and Rancé, that are not easily found in other airports.
For authentic Singaporean delicacies check out Bengawan Solo which is present in all three main terminals. Here you will find local foods and cakes made from the highest quality ingredients using traditional preparation methods. Popular are their pineapple tarts and Kueh Lapis (lapis cake) now a part of the Singaporean palate. And pop into Kim Joo Guan (T3) where charcoal grilling and BBQ pork, sweet or savoury or both, is a speciality - and where the pork belly is a must!
From a saving point of view the airport has also put in place a good scheme that puts your mind at ease. Visitors, even if they are not flying (ie only using the landside stores) can enjoy at the very least a 7% saving - the equivalent of the local GST (general sales tax) - through the ‘Flying Or Not, You Shop We Absorb’ programme. Initially it was available only at T3 but has been extended to Terminals 1 and 2 and the Budget Terminal with more than 40 retail stores participating.
On top of that Changi is transparent in its pricing, and its refund policy and conditions which you can read here (http://www.changiairport.com/shopping-and-dining/shopping-guarantees ) offers double the difference if you find something cheaper downtown.
One very useful aspect of the airport is the easy-to-use Skytrain system which links the main three terminals (but not the Budget Terminal) and allows you access to the various landside shops and food and drink outlets in minutes. This is handy for example if you are departing from T1 where the landside food offer is limited. Just hop on the train to T3 to tuck into delicious Hu Cai cuisine at the Crystal Jade Shanghai Restaurant or to the Xin Wang Hong Kong Café for some street-style food and dim sum.
The above are just a few new highlights of what’s new or different at Changi, as the list of retail stores is truly endless. It is probably best to consult the airport’s very user-friendly website: http://www.changiairport.com/shopping-and-dining/shopping
for details of brands you are particularly interested in.
If you are transferring at the hub bear in mind other non-retail services that can take the strain out of your trip. As well as free internet access, there is a relaxing Butterfly Garden at T3, several spots to get a free foot or calf massage and even try some micro-massage therapy at Fish Spa & Reflexology (T1 airside). Keep the kids happy with free Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games at the Entertainment Deck (T2) or try the Kid’s Painting Corner (in T3). And if you really have a lot of time on your hands there is always the airport’s rooftop swimming pool (T1) and jacuzzi where, for a modest fee, you can really chill out.
Singapore Changi: Factfile
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- Passenger traffic 2011: 46.5 million
- Terminals: Four including a Budget Terminal for low cost carriers.
- Airlines: Some 100, flying to over 200 cities in about 60 countries and territories. The biggest (by number of routes) are Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Tiger Airways, JetStar Asia.
- Worth knowing: The free Skytrain will zip you around the three main terminals in a flash.