Where to shop – Beijing Capital Terminal 3 ….
Terminal 3 wowed the world when it opened in 2008, and it still impresses today***The city of Beijing was the focus of the global media in 2008 when it hosted the Olympic Games – and it was the intention of Beijing Capital Airport to ensure that its latest construction, Terminal 3, was a gateway that lived up to everything that China wanted to deliver to the watching world.
T3 continues to amaze in terms of its duty free shopping offer, the biggest at the airport’s three terminals, though it has a tendency towards the high end that is more obvious than in T2. As well as the usual luxury brands it has, for example, dedicated watch stores for marques of a higher level that usual – so while T2 has an Omega boutique T3 has separate ones for Chopard and Piaget, demonstrating perhaps that demand here is in another league.
It makes sense given the strong international passenger profile and the mind-boggling statistics. National carrier Air China and Star Alliance and Oneworld member airlines dominate T3, where almost 40 airlines operate in total. They have access to 66 direct jetways – and remote stands bring the gate availability up to 120 just for this terminal.
The five-floor building itself is just under 100,000 square metres – bigger than London Heathrow’s five terminals combined! It boasts 12,600 square metres of domestic retailing, 10,600 square metres of duty free stores and nearly 7,000 square metres for convenience-service facilities like banks and business centres, pushing the total commercial area to 45,200 square metres.
In terms of the airside duty free offer, the luxury nature of it should not put you off. There is more besides – and the core products of beauty, liquor and tobacco remain accessible to most pockets.Beauty has three locations the key one being in the centre of the terminal. The store is claimed to be “the most comprehensive shop of its kind in Beijing Capital Airport” and the list of brands is certainly enormous taking in everything from Chanel to Shiseido, Biotherm to Burberry and Ralph Lauren to Rene Furterer. A smaller selection can be found in the west wing of T3 while a third shop near Gate 30 is for those looking for a last-minute shop before boarding.Food, wine, spirits and tobacco are sold in five departures locations one of which is the dedicated Cigar House (like T2) with a humidifier containing the best Cuban brands and others. They include Cohiba, Hoyo De Monterrey, H Upmann and Trinidad. The other four units are in the east and west wings – these two are larger units selling both big Chinese liquor labels like Diaoyutai, Shuijingfang and Kuaijishan plus international brands – and two further stores on the southern side of the terminal which are there for convenience at the gates.
As the land of electronics manufacturing you might expect to see an electronics store at the airport and T3 has one in the north west wing. However it is disappointing in that the focus is less high-tech than it is on things like children’s toys, earphones, memory cards and the like – great for picking up the basics you forgot but not for geeks, probably because downtown pricing is so competitive.
Possibly the most exciting part of the shopping offer in T3 is stumbling upon the 16 fashion and prestige boutiques in departures. As mentioned watches and jewellery have a strong presence and as well as Piaget and Chopard there is an Omega boutique which also sells other fine watch brands, all from the Swatch Group portfolio, such as Blancpain, Glashutte, Furla, Longines, Tissot, Mido, Hamilton and Rado.The most price accessible stores are Lacoste and LeSportsac, popular with younger, trendy travellers, while Shao Hao is an interesting one for those who want fashion and accessories with an eastern influence. The rest is an international mix, among the less common names being London brand DAKS which is all about tailoring and has a signature plaid, like Burberry, which is also present in the terminal in a large unit. In fact British fashion is well represented because Alfred Dunhill makes it a trio.The rest of the boutiques include a Tumi store, renowned for the durability of its luggage, plus leather goods houses Bally, Etienne Aigner and Lancel. Unusually Hermès is not present in T3 but other luxury favourites like Bulgari and Salvatore Ferragamo are, and so is Shanghai Tang. For sure there is no shortage of splurging opportunities in this terminal!
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