Shopping In Macau, Where All That Glitters Is Gucci

5 August 2014

Money can't buy happiness, but it can spoil you with a fabulous fuchsia Kate Spade clutch – and that's pretty close. With shiny new carry-bags in hand and a purse that's now a little lighter, the weight of the world melts off your shoulders. If you're looking to buy yourself a little happy and are partial to big-name brands, Macau knows how to treat you right.

 Stairway to heavan at Cotai Central

The roll-call of retailers at the Sands Cotai Central is enough to bring serious shoppers to their knees. Bow down to the glory that is 'The Shoppes' – a collection of global brands nestled under one roof, connected via a series of glistening labyrinths. The Shoppes are located on the main island of Taipa, linking together the Venetian, Sheraton and Cotai Central hotels. If you're not staying in this part of town, the Shoppes are a five-minute trip from the airport, which costs you next to nothing via taxi. Visit without a checked baggage allowance at your own risk.

 The Shoppes in full bloom

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Gucci Gucci Louis Louis Fendi Fendi Prada

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An eye-popping 600 luxury duty free stores make up the Shoppes experience. We're talking about some pretty imposing and iconic retailers straight from the high streets of New York, Paris and London, here. The catalogue  includes the likes of Zara, Marks & Spencer, Jimmy Choo, Burberry, Juicy Couture, Hermes, Miss Sixty, Uniqlo, Lacoste... the list goes on. There's even Junior Versace for the mini trendsetters in your life.

I personally fogged up a few windows drooling over footwear from Steve Madden and Betsey Johnson, and the serious arm candy from Coach, Michael Kors, and the woman who told us it's okay to eat cake for breakfast, Kate Spade. I'm certainly no brand snob, but window displays spruiking hot-off-the-runway trends coupled with strategically placed 'SALE' signs are hard to resist. I'm only human.

If you don't suffer from shoe envy like some of us, take your pick of sportswear retailers, watch emporiums, parfumeries, beauty bars, fine leather sellers and, of course, plenty of places to refuel in between. Book a table for yum cha at 456 Modern Shanghai restaurant at the Venetian (and order the barbecue pork buns!), or wrap your jaws around a Fatburger. For dessert? Häagen-Dazs ice cream. Always.

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Downtown, Things Will Be Great

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Between the meandering canals of the Venetian and the interior gardens of Cotai Central, you really needn't step foot outside the air-conditioned confines of the Shoppes – and, given Macau's oppressing humidity, many don't! However, it's worth braving the frizzy hair to cross the bridge and explore the historic downtown area of the Macau peninsula.

Chances are you will want to see St Paul's Ruins so while you're there, you can (and should) grab a Portuguese egg tart (or three) at the bottom of the hill. Take a wander down the 'Romantic Lane' (Travessa da Paixao) to catch a glimpse of Macau's Portuguese heritage, before stopping and shopping along Rua de Sao Paulo towards Senado Square. Cosmetics, antiques, and a mix of upmarket retailers and traditional Chinese bakeries easily warrant an afternoon of attention.

Aside from the must-try egg tarts, a tender pork chop bun, almond cookies, sweet marinated jerky, and pretty much anything on a stick make for perfect on-the-go snacks. Don't be afraid of alleyway dining either – it's all part of the magic here in the "Vegas of the East".

Ashton Rigg

When I'm not at home in Brisbane, you’ll find me wanderlusting around hipster bars, eclectic boutiques and arty nooks. From bagels in Brooklyn to strudel in Salzburg, I believe the best way to experience a destination is by taking a bite! Tweets & 'grams at @AshtonRigg