Revamped South Terminal points the way for Gatwick
If you’ve been a regular traveller through Gatwick South over the past year you’d be forgiven for wondering if the terminal was ever going to be finished. While the stunning new flagship World Duty Free shop has been opened for well over a year now, the remaining shopping experience has been limited – frustratingly so – while a massive redevelopment programme has taken place. While the final touches were still taking place in early 2014, the final phase of the terminal’s £21m ($33m) new look is now complete with a total of 22 new or refurbished outlets having opened since July 2013.Gatwick South now really is a shopper’s paradise and, while some of us still mourn the disappearance of high street names such as Next, the offer now includes brands such as Joules, Ernst Jones, Aspinal of London and Snow & Rock (Gatwick South is the first venture into airport retail for all these brands so feel privileged!), while Zara’s 4,500 sq ft store is its biggest airport outlet to date.The shopping adventure starts as soon as you descend the escalator from security with World Duty Free’s giant walk-through store – one of the largest at any European airport. It’s a great opportunity for your first tipple of the day as spirits brands sample their latest offers along the right-hand side of the walkway with a central circular tasting bar. You’ll find all your favourite brands here, including any number of exclusive offers such as WDF’s own Glen Deveron Single Malt available as a 16,20 or 30 year old. Mix and match offers are always worth checking out – two selected whiskies for £65 or two bottles of Champagne for around £50 is typical. Wine lovers should note the store features a mini Wine Collection Rare & Vintage shop in shop: a high-end wine concept – if whisky is more your thing check out the new World of Whiskies store once through into the main terminal area. It includes many exclusives, rare and vintage bottles – there’s a regular Malt of the Month, tastings, offers etc.
The main draw of this store is the massive 1,000 sq m beauty hall, where you’ll find the likes of Chanel, Dior and Biotherm as well as upcoming and lesser known beauty brands such as SK-II, Benefit, and Laura Mercier. If you have time spruce up your look with one of the many free beauty services on offer from Dior, benefit, bare minerals, Clinique, Crème de la Mer, Estee Lauder and others (too many to list here). The area is dominated by an enormous LED digital feature wall screening the latest promotions and brand advertising – it’s a real show stopper.Proceeding through you’ll also find a strong sunglass offer, a good range of jewellery, watches, handbags and gifts – and absolutely loads of confectionery. There is a strong emphasis on multibuys and sharing bags – very useful if you’re off on a low cost carrier with limited (and not free) food options.Even when you’ve made your choices, you’ll find some tempting additional purchases just waiting to be picked as you wait in line for the first available til…….
But of course it doesn’t end there. The new look Gatwick South aims to create a premium offer and it certainly does delivery. The design is engineered to encourage travelers to move in a certain direction, putting you slap bang in front of the biggest non WDF store here: Harrods. The 6,200 sq ft outlet (almost six times larger than the previous) has a real department store feel with a great mix of premium brands as well as its own signature range of gifts, bags and ready to wear fashion. The highlight here are four individual boutiques including a wonderful 224 sq ft Swarovski area with several Harrods exclusive items, DKNY, Michael Kors and Longchamp. For the designer-mad amongst you, you’ll also find McQ by Alexander McQueen, Hackett, Zegna Sport and Love Moschino.
Ted Baker, which has been open successfully in Gatwick North for some time, is now also open here in Gatwick South with both fashion and accessories outlets, while other definite improvements include a relocated and bigger SuperDry. For skiers and outdoor enthusiasts, the new Snow+Rock offers an excellent range of footwear, clothing and accessories. Existing favourites such as Kurt Geiger, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Dixons and Accessorize all remain, although some have been repositioned (Lacoste, for example, is now downstairs) and others refurbished and improvedApart from the rather tempting Caviar House & Prunier Seafood and Champane bar which remains downstairs, food and drink options remain on the upper level with choices including Costa, Frankie & Benny’s, Pret a Manger and….the reliable Wetherspoon British pub ‘The Flying Horse’ where, yes, you can get a pint at an unearthly hour if you really must.The new look Gatwick South terminal has been designed based on passenger feedback and aims to be fashionable, relevant and which enhances the airport experience. In our opinion, once you learn the new navigation system, it does just that.