Duty Free for You and Me at The Shilla Seoul
Since 1986, one hotel has dominated both the luxury sleeping and shopping scene in Seoul: The Shilla. Although the hotel has been around for a little longer than that, 1986 was the year that it birthed an independent duty free shop, making the upper echelons of luxury goods available at a price that was almost a deal. The Shilla now operates more shops on the Korean holiday island of Jeju and in Incheon airport, but its original two-floor boutique remains a cult shopping destination.
For anyone who feels the salacious temptation of a duty free catalog in the seat-back pocket, a stop in at The Shilla may be deadly (to your bank account). Being surrounded by smiling, impeccably-coiffed salesgirls and shiny products proves a drug for those who achieve VIP status at The Shilla shops.
In July, The Shilla introduced their in-room duty free shopping by catalog; simply point out what you would like, pay with your credit card during check-out, and pick up at The Shilla's Incheon airport counter. It's the Korean way of stimulating the economy: making impulse purchases as easy as possible.
Need some retail therapy away from the US markets? The Shilla is offering special rates on their suites through the end of the year: $393 for a Junior Suite, $930 for a Premier Suite, and $2,146 for the Royal Suite. Considering that these prices include limo pickup from the airport, mobile phone rental, internet and buffet breakfast while still costing less than a single Chanel handbag, it's a huge deal.
[Image via Flickr/gihun]