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Central Embassy Mall in Bangkok

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Gucci, Prada and Paul Smith – they’re all at Bangkok’s newest luxury mall ‘Central Embassy‘. It opened on May 9, 2014 on Ploenchit Road – within walking distance to at least three similar high-class shopping malls. Though I’m not sure who needs yet another mall with stores for the super rich, the architecture is fascinating.

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Most of these pictures were taken simply looking up at the seven floors of the shopping center in its atriums. All in all, the space is vast – and that’s probably the biggest luxury in a crowded city like Bangkok.

And since Central Embassy isn’t a mall where they just play muzak, there were even some flautists and a string quartet taking care of the entertainment the day I was there.

Written by Thorsten

May 11, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Macau’s Venetian Hotel is Venice on steroids

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The Venetian Hotel, MacauMacau’s Venetian Hotel isn’t your quiet little neighborhood Bed and Breakfast.

With its 40 stories, 3000 suites and 980 000 square meters, it’s the fourth largest building in the world by area.

According to the Venetian website, the hotel is large enough to hold ninety Boeing 747 jumbo jets.

And after having visited the Venetian myself, I think that’s probably not even exaggerated.

This hotel is mind-blowing

Macau’s Venetian Hotel is gigantic. It totally floored me. After a few hours in this huge hotel, casino and shopping complex, I was gasping for air.

Even though I was in many ways fascinated by this artificial, alluring, air conditioned environment, I just wanted to get out and get back in touch with the real world.

At Macau’s Venetian Hotel, everything is on a super-human scale. The hotel corridors are as wide as highways. Walking down these long corridors, I felt dwarfed by the dimensions.

signs help hotel guests find their wayThe hotel is so confusingly complex that there are signs everywhere pointing visitors the way. Otherwise the guests would just get lost.

The hotel has to  supply visitors with hotel maps to help them find their way in this super-structure.

As you wander these hallways and look at all the gold plated ornaments and crystal chandeliers, you get an impression of how much money the casinos must generate.

Because, after all, it’s the casino money that pays for all this nouveau riche splendor.

According to Germany’s stern magazine, the Venetian cost more than two billion US dollars to build. That’s a lot. But it may not take the Venetian long to pay off that huge investment.

Another Macau hotel, The Sands, cost some one billion Euros ($ 1.35 billion). And it took The Sands only eleven months to get out of the red, writes Germany’s renowned Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

Big casinos mean big money

Macau has surpassed Las Vegas with regard to revenues from the casinos.

Macau’sVenetian boasts the largest casino in the world, with 3400 slot machines and more than 800 gambling tables. And the casino is never empty – it’s one of the busiest places in the whole hotel complex.

Unfortunately, photography isn’t allowed in the casinos, so I couldn’t take any pictures in that part of the hotel.

indoor canals in the third floor shopping mall

Shopping in an air-conditioned version of Venice

Unlike the casinos, the shopping mall on the third floor of the Venetian doesn’t seem to generate a lot of revenue.

When I was there, it was virtually deserted. Only a few people strolled around luxurious fashion and jewellery stores.

But it seemed to me that everyone just looked, and no one bought anything. I hardly saw anybody with shopping bags.

The main attractions of the shopping mall at the Venetian are the canals and the gondolas. It’s an indoor Venice with eternal blue skies and air-conditioning.

Chinese gondoliers Some of the gondoliers are really imported from Europe or America, but many are Chinese.

And just like the real Italian gondoliers in Venice, these Chinese copies serenade the tourists with schmaltzy belcanto opera arias.

It’s really pretty absurd if you think about it: Chinese men, costumed as Italian gondoliers, pretending to stoke a motorized gondola through fake canals on the third floor of a hotel complex in Asia.

Does life get any more bizarre?

Written by Thorsten

May 18, 2009 at 3:19 pm

A mall for young designers

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Idea Market at Kamphaeng Phaet Subway station in BangkokI was ready to head back to my hotel after having walked around Chatuchak Weekend Market for the better part of the morning.

I was tired and looking forward to my hotel swimming pool, a nice cool drink and some relaxing music from my i-pod.

But when I got to the lower level at Kamphaeng Phet subway station, I was in for a surprise. And that surprise made me forget the pool, the drink and the music for another hour.

Idea Market at Bangkok's Kamphaeng Phet subway stationHere in this subway station was the entrance to an underground shopping mall. An Idea Market that is only open on weekends.

A mall especially for young designers

Some of the designers at Kamphaeng Phet already had their own shops where they sold their own lines of fashion, gifts or perfumes.

The Idea Market at Kamphaeng Phet Others, however, were just getting started and obviously couldn’t afford renting a store yet.

They had spread out their goods on the floor in front of them – pretty much like kids selling old toys at a flea market.

Some of these vendors were selling interesting stuff that they were making themselves on the spot: designer bags , jewelery, hand-sewn teddy bears or knit sweaters.

Young designers at the Idea Market at Bangkok's Kamphaeng Phet subway stationI never studied design at school, but I thought that some of those people at the Kamphaeng Phet Idea Market were pretty talented.

And the prices were very reasonable. I bought a pair of designer shorts at one men’s fashion store, which cost me the equivalent of four dollars. Can’t really complain about that…

Written by Thorsten

December 23, 2008 at 10:55 pm

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