Birth of Bangkok's shopping quarter
EmQuartier brings unrivalled luxury and convenient consumerism to Sukhumvit's bustling business district
In general, an increase in retail sales indicates an improving economy. Judging from the lines snaking around shops at the recently unveiled EmQuartier, which opened its doors on March 27, Thailand seems to be enjoying an economic pickup.
The fact that The Mall Group decided to fork out 30 billion baht when many shopping malls and community malls are withering away only goes to show how confident it is in its vision and expertise. And EmQuartier does not disappoint — throngs of tourists have been flocking to this new iconic shopping centre since its opening day, and the number seems to keep increasing. The Mall Group estimates that Emporium and EmQuartier will welcome around 150,000 visitors a day.
EmQuartier is the second project of a cluster of shopping malls collectively referred to as the Em District, which also includes the recently renovated Emporium and future project EmSphere.
There are three buildings, all of which are conveniently connected on every floor. The Helix Quartier is home to top fashion brands, three floors dedicated to dining (to be finished by May 2015), and automated parking service — a first in Thailand's shopping malls. Basically, you drive your car onto a plate, instead of driving around to find an available spot. The car will then be lifted and parked in the allotted space, and you can get your car back simply by tapping your parking card on the reading machine. This parking zone can cater to about 500 cars.
The Helix Quartier is also home to Le Sens, Thailand's first "family spa". The spa offers services to everyone in the family — grandparents, mums, dads, teenagers, children and babies. In addition to therapists, midwives are available to offer services to babies, children with special needs and pregnant women.
The Glass Quartier features high street fashion brands, beauty stores, banks and a Virgin Active fitness centre. While that sounds rather bland, the stores are actually different from what you might see in other department stores. The banks, for example, look more like hotel lobbies, with private lounges and couches.
Virgin Active, its second club in Thailand, is also said to be the best the brand has ever created. Along with standard workout equipment, the fitness club features a swimming pool, a hydrotherapy pool, sauna room, ice room, sleep pods, salt room, climbing wall — even a work station for those who want to catch up with work.
The Waterfall Quartier dedicates an entire floor to Thai designers in the Qurator zone, which brings together some 60 Thai fashion brands, from up-and-coming names to established labels. It also houses Quartier Cineart, a heaven for movie-lovers. There are eight theatres, from standard screens starting from 220 baht per seat, to the Toyota Imax, which starts from 350 baht per seat.
At present, the shopping complex is about 80% ready. Throughout April, it will focus on its fashion offerings, and from May onwards shift focus to its dazzling dining experience.
The facade of everything may be gloss and luxe, but there's also lots of reasons for those with flatter wallets to shop here. Entire floors of Zara, Uniqlo and H&M are there to seduce you into buying something. There are a lot of other affordable high-street choices available — be it international picks such as Superdry or local offerings such as Something Boudoir, if not the whole crew from Jaspal Group. New brands that have just landed in Thailand for the very first time include German leather accessories MCM, hip hop streetwear brand A Bathing Ape, extremely luxurious swimwear Vilebrequin, Korean fashion store Stylenanda and Japanese lifestyle store Beams.
In short, whatever brand you want will probably be there. Fans of cutting-edge designers should be glad to hear that the M floor has turned into something of a Club 21 wonderland, as all of its associate brands have gleaming flagship stores of their own — a first for some. Grab this season's latest colour-block collection at Carven, check out the first massive Rag & Bone store or find chic casual wear at PS Paul Smith — not only the first in Thailand, but among the largest PS stores in the world.
Foodies will fall in love with what this place has to offer. There are literally hundreds of cafes, restaurants and booths to satiate any food craving. On the B floor of The Waterfall Quartier and The Glass Quartier is the Gourmet Market and Food Hall, spanning over 10,000m².
The Food Hall features brands that are doing well in Thailand as well as newcomers from around the world.
Among the occupants are the standards such as Burger King, KFC, Swensen's and McDonald's, and more recent ones such as Bon Chon Chicken, Tenyuu and Ninth Cafe.
Newcomers include Japanese premium burger brand Little Mermaid, Singaporean barbecued meat brand Bee Cheng Hiang, South Korea's dessert cafe Softree, Taiwanese fried chicken brand Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken, New York's popular dessert club ChikaLicious, Japan's most famous omelette rice restaurant Pomme-no-ki Japanese Omu Rice, Pie Face and Jones the Grocer, from Italy.
If you are in the mood for something quick, easy and affordable, the Food Court is a great place to check out.
The price is rather reasonable — a simple meal costs about 80-100 baht, and the choices are diverse — Japanese, Thai, Chinese, along with other little treats to be enjoyed on the go.
Famous food brands are also available outside the Food Hall, such as Pierre Herme, Fauchon, Harrods Tea Room and La Baguette, in case you need to refuel during your shopping spree — and after walking around such enormous buildings, you definitely will.
EmQuartier is located opposite The Emporium, next to Sukhumvit Soi 35 (Phrom Phong BTS station). Opening hours are 10am-10pm daily.
Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken’s shop at EmQuartier’s Food Hall.
The EmQuartier Food Hall and Gourmet Market.
Softree dessert cafe at the EmQuartier’s Food Hall.