The World in Birmingham
After Super September, http://birminghamcentral.blogspot.com/2015/09/super-station-for-super-september.html, it could almost be called Shopping October, or Shoptober, with the £150 million Resorts World Birmingham opening on Wednesday 21 October before the redeveloped Mailbox opens the following day on Thursday 22 October alongside the refurbished flagship Topshop / Topman store in the Bullring.
Opening at 10am, Resorts World is the fifth branded leisure and entertainment facility opened by Genting and its first resort in Europe. The resort has been built next to Pendigo Lake at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and features an outlet shopping mall, casino, hotel, spa, restaurants and cinema. The Cineworld 11 screen cinema with purpose built IMAX auditorium won't open until Friday 23 October and gamblers won't be able to use the new casino until Monday 26 October.
Artists impression, reproduced from: http://www.thevoxcentre.co.uk/resorts-world
The design of the resort is deliberately reminiscent of a luxury cruise ship and the seven floor building will be able to accommodate nearly 12,000 people and provide up to 1,200 jobs, http://news.worldcasinodirectory.com/resorts-world-birmingham-announces-phased-opening-beginning-october-21-14970. The casino is expected to the UK's largest with 31 table games and more than 100 slots. Genting received a large casino licence, referred in the media as a Super Casino, in June 2011 and the casino will cover nearly 11% of the entire Resorts World complex.
The resort's four-star Genting Hotel, the first in Europe, will begin booking guests in from November 2nd with it's 178 boutique rooms and suites featuring Feng Shui design.
Shoppers will get the first experience of the new resort with two thirds of retail outlets set to open at 10am with stores selling products no longer available on the high street at 30 per cent discount, http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/goody-bags-discounts-resorts-world-10295930. Restaurants Pizza Express and TGI Friday will open but the majority of the 18 bars and restaurants won't open until Monday 26 October alongside the casino and spa. Shops and restaurants at the resort include:
- GAP Outlet
- Farringdon and Forbes
- Patisserie Valerie
- Pretty Green
- Las Iguanas
After Wednesday's Resorts World opening the focus for shoppers turns back to the city centre with the £50m revamp of The Mailbox opening at 10am on Thursday 22 October.
CGI of the new Urban Room, reproduced from http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/whats-on/shopping/mailbox-resorts-world-topshop-open-10267482
The revamp follows the launch of Everyman Cinema and the beautifully glam new Harvey Nichols store, which has relocated from the front of the Mailbox to be a literally dazzling focal point at the end of a new skylit Urban Room.
The new Harvey Nichols is a blueprint for all future stores and it's 45,000 sq ft space is styled from variegated marble to plywood and copper as a luxury boutique, http://www.drapersonline.com/news/shopwatch/harvey-nichols-birmingham-in-a-different-class/5077600.article#.ViathRPBzRY
It's a game changer, not only for the Harvey Nichols brand, but for department stores internationally. 'The idea is to have the feel and spirit of a boutique,' says Virgile + Partners director, Carlos Virgile, during a tour of the impressive mono level site. 'There's no walkway, it's all free flowing.'
Housed within the newly refurbished Mailbox mall that the brand first inhabited in 2010, the 45,000 sq foot space has been doubled in size for this reincarnation. The city of Birmingham (where cranes and scaffolding are currently de rigueur) is itself in the midst of a major period of growth and regeneration, also staking claim to more Michelin starred restaurants than any other English city outside of London.
As well as giving discerning shoppers a greater choice it has created jobs by trebling staff numbers to 200, http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/birmingham-harvey-nichols-opening-boosts-9758327, and has alongside it's glitzy neighbour, John Lewis at Grand Central, raised the aesthetic game for retailers in Birmingham.
A few photos showing the store; BBC level entrance, store interior and its grand LED lit entrance.
Stores in the revampled Mailbox include Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Jaeger, Gieves & Hawkes and Castle Fine Art.
The following pictures show the view looking out from the entrance to Harvey Nichols giving a tempting idea of the skylit slatted urban room that will be revealed on Thursday.
The opening is accompanied by a series of events to celebrate the revamp and welcome visitors.
On Friday, there be an exclusive Mailbox Cocktail Trail to follow, with drinks inspired by the mall available for just £5 each.
Visitors throughout the Celebration Weekend will also have the chance to win a trip to Paris for two, just by taking a picture in front of a specially created scene inside. A lucky runner-up will win an exclusive Mailbox experience.
On Saturday and Sunday there will be panel discussions with experts and interactive demonstrations to provide insight into the shops, salons, bars, galleries and restaurants.
One hundred Beautiful Moments are set to delight visitors throughout the weekend, from random acts of kindness to little surprises that raise a smile.
Also opening on Thursday at 10am is the Bullring's Topshop and Topman flagship Birmingham store with 30 per cent more space. Featuring a new Personal Shopping area the sotre also sees departments which have doubled in size such as shoes, maternity, lingerie, petite, tall and the premium Boutique line. The opening will see live DJ sets and pop ups giving away gifts.
On top of all this there are further shops and restaurants opening in Grand Central with Birmingham-based independent YakiNori offering sushi and bento boxes and Clintons offering a card for every feeling and Nandos due to open on 28 October.
With Christmas getting closer and festive decorations available to buy in both John Lewis and Harvey Nichols it's only a few more weeks until the Frankfurt Christmas Market and Craft Market opens along New Street on 12 November until 22 December, http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/frankfurtmarket
It's an exciting time for Birmingham and for shoppers everywhere.