Monday, May 28, 2012

London on $98 a Day - Harrods

Remember not to wear your crash helmet. And forget about going topless. You simply can't get away with any funny stuff at the poshest store in London.

I can't imagine anyone's having enough of a death wish to ride a motorcycle in London traffic, and I have great difficulty believing it ever gets warm enough to reveal even a bare arm let alone an intimate body part to the elements, but those rules are part of the restrictions imposed by Harrods so that, "....every single visitor who passes through our doors has a positive, pleasurable and memorable experience." So, cover up your body while keeping your head bare. You don't want to miss seeing Harrods.

On seven floors, and in one room after another, neatly dressed sales clerks, all in white shirts and dark suits, offer some of the most expensive, and arguably the best, products available in the world. There's no searching for a clerk here. They outnumber the visitors almost two to one.

In addition to the rooms holding clothing, accessories, perfume and jewelry, in this store stretching for four and a half acres in central London, there are over thirty eateries, ranging from elegant to family-friendly. David's and my favorite, though, was the self-service Food Hall where I saw enough cupcakes to keep me happy for at least a day or two.

But even if we couldn't afford one of the fancy restaurants, there were feasts to be had just looking at the elaborate decorations. Every inch of this impeccably maintained store is a treat for the eyes; one escalator in particular really grabs your attention. The Egyptian escalator has, at the end, its very own pharaoh and a memorial, one of two in the store, to the owner's son, Dodi Al Fayed and Princess Diana. There are signs directing visitors to this spot, but don't hesitate to ask if you get lost because you won't want to miss it.

We didn't pay even a penny to get in this store, but when the door whooshed behind us and we were back on the rainy streets of London, we realized we'd just had an experience equivalent to some of the more expensive sights on this trip. We were so glad we hadn't passed up Harrods...even if we did have to leave our crash helmets at home!

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