For as long as I can remember I have always thought of Harrods as being the most luxurious shop. I find that no store around the world has never come close to matching it. When my sister and were little I cannot remember mum and dad taking us to Harrods, and sadly we never saw Santa in his grotto at Christmas. I think the shop has changed over the years from being just for the rich and famous to be accessible to everyone now. Even the dress code is more relaxed.
Harrods came alive for me a few years back when I was helping a friend prepare for her wedding and visits to the departments in Harrods became quite frequent. I now use Harrods quite often every couple of months I push the heavy doors and feel happy. I never find myself getting bored of walking through the rooms and viewing all that the store has to offer. In fact Harrods is one of my ‘calming places’ of which there are two – Waterstones at Piccadilly and Harrods. If I get stressed or just need to calm down, you will find me wandering around either place and when I emerge I always feel so much better.
Recently I have started to use Urban Retreat, Harrods’ beauty spa on the fifth floor. This is where ‘ladies who lunch’ can be found having their hair and manicures done before sipping coffee in one of the many restaurants either in Harrods or in Knightsbridge. But don’t let that put you off. Urban Retreat is modern, their service is wonderful, and most importantly their staff are superb.
That’s the thing I like about Harrods the best – the service. Never have I found that the staff turn down their noses when I look at the expensive jewellery and handbags, or even when mum and I were looking at a £51,000 bed the other day.
Harrods is a must for any tourist coming to London. I suggest going either first thing in the morning or at about 6.00pm (my favourite time). Make sure you have plenty of time to wander around the five floors, 330 departments and enjoy every minute of it. Checking out some of the 30 restaurants and cafes dotted about to see what takes your fancy before sitting down is a good idea. The Harrods’ Chocolate Bar on the second floor (near kitchenware) is always fun if you like chocolate fondue and anything chocolate, and Morelli’s for their fantastic range of ice creams in the foodhall is lovely in the summer (apple ice cream is my favourite).
The Shoe Boudoir (1st floor) is beautiful and highlights creations by Christian Louboutain and René Caovilla where shoes sit on individual pedestals to be admired. No visit, of course, would be complete without a visit to the many rooms of the food hall. The cakes are as good as they look and I recommend buying a cake/pastry and taking it into Hyde Park to enjoy. And you should also buy a tin of shortbread to take home for friends and family, they will definitely be happy.
There are so many things to see in Harrods, the displays continually change, but the experience never gets boring.
[Photo from www.thegirlinthecafe.com].