For many people, New York is synonymous with shopping. Yes, there are jaw-dropping buildings, amazing museums and exciting nightlife, but when it comes down to it, New York City is one of the best places in the world to indulge in a spot of retail therapy. I always make a beeline for the department stores, which offer a fantastic range of fashion and beauty brands and really good service. Some of the best are Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, Saks, Bloomingdales, Macys, upscale Jeffrey in the Meatpacking District and Lord and Taylor, which now offers free shipping on purchases over $150, so you don’t have to worry about cramming all your new purchases into your suitcase.
For vintage, make a beeline for What Goes Around Comes Around at 351 West Broadway in SoHo. It's one of the biggest collections of second hand (sorry, vintage) clothes and accessories I've ever trawled and you're guranteed to unearth some gems (its rock T-shirts are much-coveted).
Fashion insiders love the Big Apple for its abundance of designer resale and outlet stores. They take a little more time to hunt down, but it’s worth it for the bargains. My in-the-know spot is BIS Designer Resale at 1134 Madison Avenue (2nd floor), which is jammed with designer pieces (Manolos, Chanel, Gucci) that have only been worn once or twice (sometimes never). Prices can be up to 50 per cent off the original sale price, so get down there.
And for more bargains, catch a bus to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley. Divided into five sections, it’s a shopping Mecca with outlets (ie half-price goodies) from dozens of brands like Gucci, Dior, Fendi, Giorgio Armani General Store, Hugo Boss, Missoni. There are plenty of restaurants too, so it’s easy to spend a day here.
[Best Holiday Spots To Avoid The World Cup]
[Stunning Beaches That Are Hard To Find]
The Middle Eastern playground is home to the world’s largest shopping centre, the Dubai Mall. Chances are you’ve already been, or are about to go, as it’s also the most visited place on the planet, with 80 million people descending in the last 12 months, more than the Eiffel Tower, Niagra Falls and Disney World Florida combined!
So what’s the big deal? Well big is the word, with more than 12,000 shops to visit, plus 200 food and drink outlets. Two department stores - Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdales – are at the heart of the action, and Fashion Avenue is where to stock up on high designer pieces: Dolce and Gabanna, Gucci, Kenzo and Armani. But it isn’t just the fashion that’s attracting record numbers, there are book stores, computer and phone shops, footwear, music, eyewear and lingerie boutiques; pretty much everything you could desire under one, enormous roof.
And if you’re other half or kids aren’t keen, lure them with the promise of visiting the aquarium, ice rink, fountains and plush cinemas. There are even hotels just steps from the action (The Palace, Al Manzil and The Address) so you can make retail therapy the focus of your entire holiday. Forget fly and flop, this is fly and shop.
[Europe's Hidden Holiday Gems You Need To Visit]
[Quick 48-Hour Getaways: Dream City Breaks To Explore This Summer]
The first time I visited HK I was fairly broke, yet still managed to come back with a bag full of presents and outfits. That’s the joy of this Eastern city, there are high-end designer stores and cheap-as-chips markets, making it a great shopping destination whatever your budget (particularly if you bag a bargain flight). If you do want to load up on Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs, Prada head to the neon lights of Landmark, an upmarket shopping mall in Central.
Causeway Bay is considered the heart of HK’s shopping experience, a tightly packed area dense with malls, boutiques, markets and department stores. It can be a bit overwhelming, so, cherry pick where you want to go before heading out. My stand out place is SOGO a giant department store where everything is beautifully presented, from Burberry and Céline to Bobbi Brown and Adidas.
In contrast Windsor House is a far from glitzy mall where you can pick up everything from a new phone cover to cute kids clothes. It’s also home to beauty insider’s secret, Sasa, which offers up to 70 per cent off well-known brands (Clarins, Biotherm, Lancome etc).
If you want to get away from the mall experience, I recommend Mong Kok, for streets packed with stores selling everything from flowers to goldfish. It’s fun to wander along The Ladies’ Market on Tung Choi Street, and haggle for cheap dresses, souvenir T-shirts, trinkets, bags and cosmetics. And don’t miss the Temple Street night market (named after the Tin Hau Temple in its midst) in Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon where you can shop for bracelets and watches and tea cups to a backdrop of fortune tellers and street performers.