Washington Dulles Airport • Shop Hard 2: Shop Harder .....
Washington Dulles International Airport was the setting for Die Hard 2: Die Harder but you should have a much more relaxed time of it than John McClane did, aka Bruce Willis.
With approximately 24 million passengers annually around 60,000 passengers travel through Washington Dulles International Airport’s 139 gates on most days.
The airport is something of a ‘sprawler’, with four primary concourses, A, B, C and D. Among them you find a wide array of shopping and eating opportunities; nearly 100 food joints and shops, in fact. Concourse B is the biggest of the lot, and is the keystone of the retail experience at Washington Dulles, with over 13,000 square feet of retail space. It is here, along with the adjoining concourse A, that the lion's share of the shopping opportunity is to be found.
For international travellers, tax and duty free shopping is spread through concourses B, C and D, in the form of three Duty Free Americas stores. These are great places to pick up deals: expect to save as much as 50% on tobacco, and the same on liquor, compared to the local high street. This is a perfect opportunity to stock up on classic American drinks like Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey and Jim Beam bourbon. If it's luxury fragrances that you are interested in, you can expect to save about 20% off US local prices on premium brands such as Lancôme, Estée Lauder and Chanel, and on skincare products from Clinique and L'Oreal. Across the store, you will find fine watches from makers such as Omega, Gucci, Fendi and Tag Heuer.
For jewellery and other fine accessories, however, wander over to Taxco Sterling Co. They specialise in sterling silver jewellery, 18-carat gold items and accessories crafted from silver and stone. They call it "handcrafted wearable art". They are certainly distinctive pieces.
If you are more in to silicon than silver and love high-tech mobile gadgets, get yourself down to Techshowcase in concourse B. While you're waiting for your flight, this store will certainly help time to fly. Take a moment to put your hands on the very latest tech treats from the likes of Belkin, Blackberry, Sennheiser and Motorola. It's a "please touch" kind of store, and the sales consultants know their stuff if you want to talk specifications. Alternatively, head over to concourse A's InMotion Entertainment and play with Sony's latest tablet computer, Samsung's flashiest camera or Nintendo's latest handheld gaming system, the Nintendo 3DS.
With all these shiny new toys to look at, you had better get some shades on. The Solstice Sunglass Boutique, also in concourse B, carries the latest top-end lines from Armani, Bottega Veneta , Marc Jacobs and Gucci, and Oakley at the sportier end of the spectrum. But be careful when travelling between TechShowcase and the Solstice Sunglass Boutique that you don't get pulled off course by the America! store that nestles in between them. This is Americana central, carrying everything from star-spangled aprons and Airforce One Playsets to Michelle Obama Action Figures. Perfect gifts for the international traveller.
OK, you've shopped hard, now it's time to fly hard and take all your goodies with you. Yippie ki-yay, as John Mclane used to say…