What better way to end the year than by walking through the mesmerizing new phase of the Avenues: Grand Avenue. I remember seeing sketches of what this new phase was meant to look like but walking through was an entirely different experience. Phase III of the Avenues is something that was built up so much and for so long, especially with the introduction of Harvey Nichols in Kuwait. Our Instagram accounts flooded with pictures of the VIP opening and I imagine the official opening at 10am the following day was equally crowded. Unfortunately, I am employed and had to wait until the weekend to see it for myself. For the first time, I was not disappointed with a place that has been so overly hyped.
That Thursday, my friend Dalal slept over and I expected us to snooze through the morning and fail our cunning plan of waking up early to beat traffic and find a parking spot at the mall. I was actually about to fail and continue sleeping when I heard her voice around 9:45am, “Bibi, if we want to make it to Phase III we should go now…” Just as my eyes were closing again she said the magic words… “Harvey Nichols.” Half an hour later we were heading out the door.
We parked at Phase II, which turned out to be great because as we walked through the threshold from Phase II into Phase III I truly felt like a kid that just entered Disneyworld for the first time. I gazed around, absorbing every corner and each detail of the latest addition to Kuwait’s favorite mall. The trees, the building structures, the restaurants, it was all beyond any predetermined expectation.
Originally, this trip was solely intended for Harvey Nichols. Once we arrived, we realized that Harvey Nichols was just the icing on top of the cake. After exploring the two story department store corner by corner, we made our way through the rest of the “street” which has many more planned openings. Everyone else told me it feels like you really aren’t in Kuwait, and looking around, everything I spotted backed up this claim. With Olive Garden to our right and Victoria’s Secret to our left, Dalal and I proceeded to spend four hours at the Avenues (not to give Phase III all the credit for this, it is a huge mall after all).
From a female’s perspective, the best part of the new phase at the moment, other than Harvey, (yes we are on a first name basis) is PINK by Victoria’s Secret. This is actually a large standalone PINK store, even by international standards, and I was delighted to see the staff huddled up having a pep talk on how to serve customers better (also spotted a similar huddle at the Cheesecake Factory before they opened). This was another aspect I admired about the execution of this phase; the service was impeccable. Many foreigners have been brought in as staff to make sure each store functions perfectly. The best part? What we’ve seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg! The Grand Avenue branches into lovely little corners and pathways with so much more retail goodness coming our way. Who needs to save anyway? Life’s short! Hats off to Alshaya for doing such a wonderful job bringing this new venue to life. It really felt like we took a trip without setting foot in the airport.