There’s nothing like a bit of retail therapy to soothe your soul while on holiday. Ong Chin Huat checks out Seminyak Village Shopping Mall, Bali’s new shopping destination
Sun, sand and surf are what attracts most visitors to Bali. But what about the fourth S? Yes, I’m talking about shopping! This tropical island which has wooed sybarites from all corners of the globe now has a spanking new addition to its booming retail scene and it’s in the form of shopping mall, albeit one which fosters local artisans and creates a community who share a common love for fashion, style and glamour.
The Seminyak Village Shopping Mall is a modern glass and light-infused structure which blends seamlessly into the surroundings of Seminyak, a fashionable shopping, dining and night life enclave in Bali. Located just a stone’s throw from the luxurious Legian Bali and hip and happening hotels like the W Retreat & Spa and Luna 2 Studiotel, this shopping mall adds a new dimension to the usual shopping scene found in beach resorts all over Asia.
Instead of perspiring in the heat, avoiding cars and motorcycles weaving along the main shopping drag and haggling over the price, Seminyak Village is air-conditioned and cool and offers a spacious and relaxing respite from the heat and what can sometimes be a nerve-wrecking shopping experience. This stylish retail space was designed by the well-known architects Fredo Taffin of Ku De Ta fame and David McCracken who also designed Westfield Shopping Centre in London and The Gardens Mall in Kuala Lumpur.
With over 60,000 sq ft. spread over two levels with a glass skylight flooding the place with natural sunlight, Seminyak Village is a fashionita-on-vacation dream come true with over 30 shops and an access of 100 brands on offer. Dato’ Sri Farah Khan, a Malaysian high fashion and retail doyenne and the driving force behind this mall said the idea of building Seminyak Village came about from a book she read named ‘My Life in Bali’ by French author Sandrine Soimaud and beautifully illustrated by Edith Baudrand. “I have been coming to Bali for the past 25 years and as I have so much interest in its culture, history, tradition and handicraft, I jumped at the opportunity to buy this land and build a shopping mall which would fit into the Seminyak lifestyle,” she says, adding that Seminyak Village Shopping Mall is the first and only air-conditioned mall located in Seminyak.
As there were already a plethora of sleek hotels dotted around this southern beach resort, Khan decided that a contemporary shopping mall was what Seminyak needed. “The idea was to have a modern shopping destination yet keep the tradition and heritage of Bali alive,” Khan says.
And to that end, Khan has succeeded brilliantly. Apart from international designer brands like MCM (the first freestanding store in Indonesia), M Resort which carries labels like Missoni, Just Cavalli and Clover Canyon and the multi-label store Rococo Resort, there are specially dedicated sections within the mall called Marketplace and Indonesian Emporium which provide holiday makers and visitors alike a glimpse into the rich and varied handicrafts unique to Bali as well as modern, quirky items made by designers, craftsmen and artisans all over this Island of the Gods.
Indonesian Emporium is curated by Belgian interior designer and party planner extraordinaire Eric van Bruggen, and with his excellent eye and exquisite taste, he has gathered some of the most coveted traditional handicrafts found all over Bali and made them available for the convenience of shoppers in Seminyak Village, making shopping in the Indonesian Emporium akin to visiting one of the many local handicraft markets in Bali, except that it’s in a cool and clean environs. It’s a fabulous opportunity to buy gifts and souvenirs at a reasonable price without traversing all over this exotic island in search for that elusive item which can be taken home.
“Most people stay in Bali for just a couple of days and might not have the time to visit the different villages scattered around the island. So we had the idea of bringing the best village handicrafts as well as local Balinese designers under one roof,” Khan tells us, confirming her reputation as a retail maven.
Tastefully curated by Khan, the tenant mix in Seminyak Village is a confluence of local brands and international labels such as Naga by Milo Migliavacca, well known for his floaty and ethereal-print batik kaftans to the likes of Shahida Parides, Eugenia Kim and Khan’s own eponymous label, Farah Khan which has shimmered and shined on A-list celebrities on the red carpet.
Walking around the shopping mall, you notice that the underlying theme is one of resort chic and most of the merchandise on offer caters to the jet-set who wishes to look elegant while lounging by the beach or diving into a swimming pool. If there’s one item you cannot leave Seminyak Village without, it’s the Cocoa & Honey Lip Bliss by home-grown brand Sensatia Botanicals.
A GMP-certified cosmetics company which promotes equality among its workers, this nourishing lip balm tastes as delicious as it sounds and is made from pure cocoa beans, wild honey and Ylang Ylang essential oils and is the perfect antidote for chapped lips ravaged after a day basking under the sun.
If the strain of traipsing from shop to shop and signing your credit card bills prove too much, then hop onto the escalator which will transport you to the beautifully landscaped rooftop where you can indulge in a relaxing massage in the Zen-like Spring Spa to soothe those aching muscles resulting from carrying all those shopping bags. Need a manicure? Vita Luxe Nail and Beauty Bar will buff and polish your talons to perfection while Essensuals Hairdressing salon by Toni & Guy can touch up those highlights on your hair to ensure you are Instagram-worthy.
Men are certainly not left out in Seminyak Village. As Bali is mostly a holiday destination, it is almost certain any shopaholic worth her Birkins will be accompanied by her better half, preferably one who foots the bills. MC2 Saint Barth has trunks and boxers in adorable prints and its light weight fabrics will dry quickly to enable him to go from the pool to the restaurant without a hitch. Looking for something trendy to wear clubbing? AQ/AQ and CLVII are two cult brands from London and available at M Resort which will give any man some street cred. And if keeping good time is something you value, then look no further than InTime by Time International which carries a selection of watches such as Bell & Ross, Ball Watch, Hamilton and Zenith.
When it comes to wining and dining, one is certainly spoilt for choice at Seminyak Village. From organic cuisine to hand made ice-cream, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in the mall to refuel at after a marathon shopping spree. The mall recently organised a Wine & Food Festival where artisanal delicacies and locally sourced organic produce was on offer. Special mention must be made for the mini Wagyu burgers in Wahrung, owned by artist Louis Wah and Nitrogenie which hand makes mouth-watering ice-creams using liquid nitrogen. For a sundowner, check out Tiger Palm, an all-day cafe created by street food chef Will Meyrick who puts his own unique spin on Nyonya cuisine. Don’t forget to order their specialty, the Espresso Martini … your perspective on life just might shift with this delectable concoction, especially if it’s accompanied with the succulent smoked chicken wings.
Seminyak Village Shopping Mall – Where and how
For further information, please visit www.seminyakvillage.com
AirAsia Group operates 205 weekly flights into Bali from various cities in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and Thailand, offering all its guests easy direct access as well as convenient connectivity from over 100 cities to the paradise island. For further information, please visit www.airasia.com