Retail therapy around the world

On October 15, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Expedia explores some of the world’s best shopping destinations

While most holiday itineraries include the obligatory sightseeing of landmarks, or relaxing by the pool or beach, for serious shoppers, making time for some retail therapy is also top of the to-do list on their travels and there are certain cities around the world that are standouts for their exquisite clothing; jewelry; leather and home wares.

Louise Crompton, Marketing Manager for Expedia.com.au, says: “With the Australian Dollar performing so strongly, there has never been a better time for Aussies to take advantage of the outstanding value for money to get their retail therapy kick and pick up a bargain.”

For shopaholics, where to book the next holiday matters, so Expedia, operated by Expedia, Inc., the world’s largest online travel company, has created a shopping list of some of the world’s best shopping destinations to inspire even the most seasoned shopper.

Best Destinations for leather

Marrakech, Morocco

The markets of Marrakech, known as souks, are adjacent to the main square – Place Djemaa El-Fna, and are a bustling maze where shopaholics can buy almost anything. Lovers of leather goods should follow the floating scent of cedar wood and cardamom, which leads to where the highest quality leather products in Marrakech can be found. There is a vast selection of handmade leather handbags, shoes and belts or shoppers can even have a bespoke piece.

After the intensity of Marrakech’s souks the safe haven of Dar Cherifa literary café and art gallery, is the perfect place to recuperate. The café is a popular place for locals and travellers alike to escape the hustle and bustle of the markets and enjoy a pot of delicious and refreshing peppermint leaf tea. 

Expedia recommends staying at the 5* Riad Dar Minouna, located close to Djemaa El-Fna, Rooms start from $102* per room per night. To book, visit www.expedia.com.au

Florence, Italy

Florence is a haven for leather lovers. The best area in the city, famed for its leather products, is the open-air Mercato de San Lorenzo, near the church of San Lorenzo. Shoppers with a passion for high-quality handbags, coats and shoes will be impressed by the character of the markets as well as the colours and choice available. 

For travellers interested in seeing how the masterpieces are created, Florence has its very own leather craftsmanship school, ‘Scuola del Cuoio,’ where visitors can watch as artisans create beautiful leather goods. After a serious day of shopping, many travellers head straight to Vivoli Gelateria to taste test the best gelato in Florence.

Expedia recommends staying at the 4* Grand Hotel Baglioni, located just three blocks from the church of San Lorenzo. Rooms start from $230* per room per night. To book, visit www.expedia.com.au

Best destinations for jewelry

Hong Kong

Offering exceptional value for money, Hong Kong is one of the world’s best places to find that ‘diamond in the rough’. In fact, Hong Kong is said to have more jewellery stores per square kilometre than any other city in the world. Along with diamonds, gold and jade, pearls are a highly sought after item and come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui is the best place to find cultured pearls or to have a custom-made piece created. Here shoppers will be overwhelmed by the glowing pearls illuminating from the merchant’s windows.

After experiencing the buzz of Hong Kong’s shopping scene, a scenic tram tour up to the famous Hong Kong Peak offers an amazing 360 degree view of Hong Kong and is a great place to relax and reflect on the latest purchases.

Expedia recommends staying at the 5* Langham Place, which is located just one block away from Nathan Road. Rooms start from $241* per room per night. To book, visit www.expedia.com.au

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam, a world centre for the diamond trade since the 16th century, is undoubtedly one of Europe’s top spots to buy diamonds. Although not cheap, quality is key and several diamond factories offer tours, which are a must do. Not only can customers purchase

high-value diamonds, but they can admire their precious stones being transformed into outstanding pieces of jewellery by the skillful cutters and goldsmiths. To complete the day of indulgence, travellers can enjoy a private Amsterdam canal cruise through the picturesque waterways, and take in the view of Amsterdam’s unique sights.

Expedia recommends staying at the 4 * Hotel de Looier, which is not far from Amsterdam’s diamond factories. Rooms start from $118 per room per night. To book, visit www.expedia.com.au

Best destinations for clothes

Hoi An, Vietnam

Savvy travellers should know about Vietnam’s shopping paradise. In Hoi An, there are hundreds of shops, filled to the brim with fine fabrics and skilled seamstresses and tailors ready to make made-to-measure shirts, blouses, dresses and suits. It is advisable to shop around and head off the main tourist strip before selecting a tailor. Packing an empty suitcase is also wise as travellers to Hoi An tend to purchase more than planned. To recover from a hard day of shopping and bargaining, hop over to Cua Dai beach, known for its beautiful white sand, to soak up some sun and wait for your new wardrobe to be completed.

Expedia recommends staying at the luxurious beachfront resort Palm Garden Beach and Spa Resort, Rooms start from $125 per room per night.To book, visit www.expedia.com.au

Boston, Massachusetts

New York is America’s most famous shopping destination but Boston is also another gem worth exploring, especially with the favourable exchange rate. Shoppers will love Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which boasts more than 100 of the finest shops and Filene’s Basement department store where they will be spoilt for choice with a huge range of clothing from famous designers. Travellers wanting to skip the malls and chain-stores should head to Boston’s South End neighborhood which has a great collection of tiny independent fashion boutiques all within walking distance. For lovers of luxury items, the main drags are Tremont and Washington Streets.

Expedia recommends staying at the stunning 4* Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston, which offerssweeping views of the Boston’s skyline. Rooms start from $172* per room per night. To book, visit www.expedia.com.au

Best destinations for home wares

Bali, Indonesia

Popular with Aussie travellers, Bali offers excellent shopping, including a wide range of tempting and affordable home wares. Bargaining throughout Bali is a must and getting a good price will be dependent upon patience and perseverance. For beautiful hand-crafted fabrics, furniture, pottery, ceramics and stone carvings travellers should visit Nusa Dua or try Seminyak for more high-end items. Ubud, known as the artistic centre of Bali, is another place to find unique home wares. A relaxing massage before dinner at one of Bali’s stylish restaurants is the perfect way to end a day of shopping.

Expedia recommends staying at the stunning 4*Sekar Nusa Resort, located in Nusa Dua.  Rooms start from $150* per room per night. To book, visit www.expedia.com.au

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, one of the world's major design destinations, actually means the "merchant's harbour" as it was once a major centre of trade. The city offers an assortment of ultra stylish home wares for lovers of Scandinavian design. Strøget, said to be the world’s longest pedestrianised shopping street, is the place to purchase Scandinavian design pieces by famous designers such as Arne Jacobsen and Hans J. Wegner, but there are also numerous independent designers offering unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, perfect for the home. Just a short walk away, travellers can escape to Tivoli Gardens and enjoy the fantastic flowers and theme park rides as well as the open air stage which hosts pantomime performances.

Expedia recommends staying at the Hotel Fox, located just a short walk to the shopping street of Strøget. Rooms start from $189* per room per night. To book, visit www.expedia.com.au

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