We went to London a few years ago, and since PBS is starting a new season of Mr. Selfridge’s this weekend, and since I’ve spent this week blogging about London-related things, I thought I’d blog today about another famous London retailer–Harrods. This multi-floored upscale London department store is located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge. Oh, and a note, there are doormen who will turn visitors away who arrive in disreputable clothing. We saw a couple get turned away when he was clad in raggedy-cut baggy shorts, and she was in a tube top and way too tight jeans with holey knees.
But we were allowed to pass without incident, so thanks to my trusty camera you’ll find pictures below that I took during our shopping excursion. Everything about the store was carefully decorated, and lovely care was taken with even the smallest purchase. For example, after wrapping a £7.95 key ring for me, the clerk asked if I would like a small sack to carry the purchase in–no “you want to put this in your purse” at Harrods.
At the time of our visit, Harrods was still owned by Mohammed Al Fayed, father of Dodi Fayed, who was linked with Princess Diana at the time of their deaths. The store was subsequently sold in 2010 for £1.5 billion to the Qatari royal family, and the press reported in September 2013 the store would be transformed with a multi-million-dollar refurbishment program. All of these photos were taken prior to this refurbishment, and still hark back to the Fayed family’s Egyptian roots and tastes.
Since we’d been running around London hours before we got to the store, we first felt we needed to freshen up from our travels. Of course, the “wash rooms” or “toilets” (never bathrooms) are something one must really search for, and even once the sign was found to direct us the journey was not over. On the first floor, one is directed through a food court to the back wall, where another sign says “lift to LG washrooms” On the “lift,” the LG (lower ground) button sends the bronzed walled elevator down to the lowest floor. Get off there, and walk down a short hallway, around an escalator, by one shop, and enter the “Urban Health” shop to find “washrooms” on the back wall. No line for the men’s, but a rather lengthy one (of course) for the women’s.
Now, we’ll leave the tour hunt for the washrooms and return to the first floor. Isn’t this a lovely visual display along the ceiling? But all phases of the decor reflect the Egyptian touch.
Check out the lovely way elevator riders debarked the cars, and stood on the lovely balcony to get a birds eye view of the displays and visitors browsing in the lower floors. Here’s a more expansive view of the ceiling from the 4th floor elevator balcony.
Notice to the left what shoppers encountered when riding the escalator at Harrods. Quite the non-typical escalator view with the lovely columns and top lights that made me think of fanned leaves. And if you’re into shoe shopping, here’s the way Harrods displayed their upscale foot ware.
Below, see some of the themed lighting options utilized in the store.
So while PBS will be giving viewers a new look at long ago Selfridge’s again this season, Harrods will always hold the chief place in my heart as London landmark shopping.