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Q&A with PretAirporter Travel Shopping Blog winner: The Whisky Lady

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“My mission is to remove the dusty cliché that whisky is only an old man’s drink. Also working as a freelance representative for distilleries in France and estimating bottles for whisky auctions. Many of my friends say I have the best job in the world, I try to believe them but honestly, if it was true, my daily tasks would also involve free shopping sprees and cuddling kittens…”

Well, we can’t help on the kitten front, but we can certainly help with the shopping spree. Anne-Sophie, as our first overall winner for the PretAirporter Travel Shopping Blog Awards, there’s USD$300 winging its way to you as we speak. But before you dash off to the nearest bottle shop, we just have a few questions for you.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

I have to say Scotland, of course. You’ll probably guess why…

Which airport did you last visit?

London Gatwick Airport last week during a quick stopover in London to judge the IWSC ‘Spirit Communicator of the Year’ award.

What’s the best thing you’ve bought at an airport?

That has to be whisky. You probably know many distilleries release travel exclusive bottlings. For instance, I got my hands on a very nice Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01 last week – a killer dram.

What’s the one thing you always take with you when flying?

My notebook. I like writing articles the old-fashioned way when flying, it’s this one moment where I can really be focused and alone without being distracted by my phone notifications or e-mails.

Lastly, which is your favourite airport and why?

Tough one… I like Dubai Airport for its incredible shopping experience, but I’m more familiar with Amsterdam Schiphol and really like wandering around the halls before catching a flight – it hosts nice foodie spots, a World of Whiskies shop and The Johnnie Walker House which is a recent addition but worth checking out.

What the Whisky Lady doesn’t know about the water of life, frankly, isn’t worth knowing

Thanks so much for taking part, Anne-Sophie and congratulations on winning. We hope you enjoy a wee dram to celebrate!

Airport StyleCelebrity StyleDestinationsFashionLifestyle

Lacoste pops up at China Duty Free Mall in Haitang Bay

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Fans of tennis and fashion should get down to Lacoste’s pop-up store in Haitang Bay, pronto. Running until 26 June at China Duty Free Mall in the CITS Haitang Bay Duty Free Shopping Complex, the concept celebrates both the French Open and the announcement of the new ambassador, Novak Djokovic.

Within the shop, an exhibition is dedicated to the legendary French tennis champion René Lacoste, a showcasing of the latest collection, and an interactive game. Here, customers can play tennis on digital screens for a chance to win a special gift.

Currently ranked number four in men’s singles tennis, Novak Djokovic joined Lacoste last month as the new brand ambassador. But his involvement goes beyond just fronting campaigns. The French clothing label worked with the 30-year-old Serbian to create the Novak Djokovic performance collection, which features pique polo shirts, shorts, a khaki blazer, trousers, and a zip jacket. Designed for both comfort and style, the range proudly bears Djokovic’s signature on the left sleeve of the polo shirt. So even if you’re not hitting the clay courts of Roland Garros anytime soon, you can still look – and feel – the part.

AccessoriesAirport StyleDestinationsFashionFragrancesLifestyleSunglasses

Off To The Beach? Here’s A Last-Minute Outfit You Can Pull Together With Some Airport Shopping

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Online travel specialists TravelBird have just released their annual Beach Price Index ranking over 300 beaches worldwide on the cost of spending one day at each.

Did you know that the most expensive beaches are in Norway? Or that Botany Bay in Kent is the UK’s least pricey beach? Or that Vietnam’s tropical shores came up as the most affordable in the world?

To calculate their affordability, the price of five essentials were researched for each destination: the cost of a bottle of sun cream (200 ml), a bottle of water (500 ml), a beer (33 cl bottle), lunch (including drink and dessert for one person), and an ice cream (vital). At Norway’s Kristiansand Beach, that shopping list would set you back the equivalent of USD$65.59. Whereas in Vietnam’s Cua Dai Beach, all of this would be yours for the princely sum of USD$13.37.

Of course, whether you’re headed to the world’s cheapest or most expensive beach, seaside fashion calls for rules of its own. Think casual and classic – but with a twist. These pineapple trunks by Ted Baker are the perfect example of tropical chic. Ditto the Havaianas (you really, really can’t go wrong with these no matter what colour you choose). A fresh white t-shirt will set off your tan, while a pair of Oakleys will set you apart from the knock-off Wayfarer crew. Lastly, a spritz of liquid sunshine by Sir Paul Smith and you’re ready for your Baywatch moment. All available at good airport shops.

1. Mango T-shirt 2. Oakley Sliver Sunglasses (travel shopping exclusive) 3. Ted Baker Ontima Pineapple Printed Swim Shorts 4. Havaianas Brasil Logo Flip Flops 5. Paul Smith Sunshine For Men Limited Edition Eau De Toilette available at World Duty Free
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Announcing the winners of the PretAirporter Blogger of the Month Awards

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To kick off the monthly PretAirporter Travel Shopping Blog Awards, we are delighted to showcase our very first winners.

Each month the best posts across beauty, fragrance, fashion, luxury, wines and spirits, are awarded a ticket in Dubai Duty Free’s Finest Surprise luxury car draw (offering the chance to win a fantastic latest model car) and a special PretAirporter award logo. The overall winner each month also receives a USD$300 cash prize, which this time goes to The Whisky Lady. Congratulations, Anne-Sophie!

The initiative will culminate in December with the PretAirporter Global Blogger of the Year Awards, featuring some outstanding cash, product prizes and winners’ trophies. The ultimate winner will also earn a paid stint as Editor-in-Residence at PretAirporter.

Blogger of the Month: Beauty

Breakeven London

Blog post: Tangle Teezer Summer & Disney

With a master’s degree in Fashion Journalism, Fani is displaying an equally masterful blogging ability. Born in Greece, she’s lived in London since 2010. Her blog includes helpful reviews of fashion and beauty products, along with the occasional foodie travel post. In this post, she champions the hair-taming abilities of a trusty Tangle Teezer. A product perfect for children and adults alike to keep unruly hair looking its best.

Blogger of the Month: Fragrance

The Candy Perfume Boy

Blog post: Speed Sniff: Nuit de Megève by Eight & Bob

When not drinking tea, playing with cats or annoying his boyfriend, Thomas – a.k.a. The Candy Perfume Boy – can be found indulging his passion for all things scented. Accompanied by his own comprehensive guide to the nuances and sciences of perfume, The Candy Perfume Boy writes detailed and evocative reviews of the latest perfumes on the block. The Speed Sniff reviews are particularly user-friendly, providing honest but concise opinions and making perfume accessible to the masses.

Blogger of the Month: Fashion

Happily Grey

Blog post: Subtle

Mary of Happily Grey writes a refreshing fashion blog, in that she doesn’t pretend to be an expert or dictate the latest trends. Rather she documents her daily moods and styles to provide inspiration for her followers. Her posts are complete with artistic photography and detailed descriptions of each outfit, explaining why they look so good. This post, titled subtle is anything but. And all the better for it.

Blogger of the Month: Luxury

SilverSpoon London

Blog post: Luxury Travel Tips: How To Plan The Perfect Honeymoon

Angie Silver travels the world in style. Her self-confessed wanderlust has taken her to places including: Europe, South East Asia, Australia, the USA, and South Africa. She’s always eager to try local cuisines and her blog often includes detailed restaurant reviews. Having married in 2014, she has personal insight into writing honeymoon advice. Her post provides handy tips on budgeting, destinations and even what to pack to ensure you look your best.

Blogger of the Month: Wines & Spirits

The Whisky Lady

Blog post: Weekly Whisky News Round-up

Dispelling the myth that whisky is only for middle-aged and older men, The Whisky Lady provides proof that anyone and everyone can appreciate it. When not blogging, Anne-Sophie works as a representative for French distilleries and estimates bottle prices for auction. So, she certainly knows a thing or two about whisky, the water of life. She also includes food pairings and recipes for each reviewed whisky. Her weekly round-up is a tidy information pack about the latest releases in the whisky world; accessible, informative and a valuable resource for any whisky enthusiast.

Vlogger of the Month

Niomi Smart

Post: Spring Look Book

25-year-old Niomi Smart first began vlogging in 2014. An all-rounder, Niomi’s vlogs consist of healthy recipes, lifestyle tips, travel, and fashion advice. Her comprehensive guide to the latest fashion shows you how to make the most out of your spring wardrobe – particularly if you live in the colder British climate. Her guide is complete with a store list so you can also go and buy that jacket.

Instagrammer of the Month

GypsyLovinLight

Mother of two Helen Janneson Bense is half Finnish, half Australian and lives in Western Australia. Having specialised in nutrigenomics and worked with children with autism spectrum disorders around the world, she whole-heartedly believes in a simple, loving way of life. Her Instagram is a gallery of beautiful travel shots and beach fashion inspiration.

 

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I spent 23 hours at the best airport in the world and this is what happened

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You would think for a person who has over 25 country stamps in their passport, they would know how to fly efficiently.

Short layovers, pre-booking a seat in the upper-deck Economy on A380, packing an extra pair of pants, sheet masks and earplugs at the ready as soon as a baby boards the plane — I had been nailing air travel for years.

But things changed last month.

I was flying from New Delhi to Denpasar, Bali, which should take no more than 14 hours, but in an attempt to save money, I ended up with a ticket that came with a 23-hour layover at Changi Airport in Singapore.

TWENTY THREE HOURS.

I saved £150, but in the anticipation of this mother of all layovers, lost my sanity. Will to live. Thirst to travel. All of the above.

If you’re thinking this booking was stupid enough, wait for this… I decided to not leave the airport and explore Changi for the entire 23 hours. There needs to be an award for these kind of travel decisions, and if there’s one already, please DM me.

If Alice needed a Wonderland in an airport, I’d recommend Changi.

My only consolation was Changi’s latest accolade of the World’s No.1 Airport according to travel site Skytrax. With a footfall of 59 million passengers a year and 10 out of 10 rating for quality of service, I thought, spending an entire day at this world-class airport wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world?

There’s a wonderful cliché that reads: “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”. Making Changi Airport the protagonist of this journey, I was ready to channel my inner Tom Hanks à la The Terminal.

My first hour started just how all wonderful travel stories start. A posh meal. Upon landing at 6pm, I went directly to the jewel of T3, The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck. This 79-seat, all-day dining restaurant has all the comfort food. Like a big hug from mummy. Its offerings are exactly what transit passengers need. Smoked salmon and creme fraiche pizza; Wolfgang’s Herb Roasted Half Chicken served with broccolini and citrus gremolata; and crispy calamari with pepperoncini aioli and spicy marinara sauce. There’s an extensive list of fine wines, whisky and cocktails for thirsty passengers too.

Vegetarian Pizza at The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck

After feeding my soul with wine and pizza, I decided to walk off the calories and visit the gardens of Changi. Singapore loves its foliage, and this airport alone has eight gardens in its three terminals.

The Butterfly Garden in T3 has 1,000 butterflies from 40 different species, all fluttering away in their tropical habitat. The Sunflower Garden, tucked away in a quiet outdoor area of T2, has hundreds of healthy buds blooming away for a perfect Instagram moment. Then there’s the Orchid and Enchanted Garden, also in T2, which comes to life with special sound, light and water sensors. If Alice needed a Wonderland in an airport, I’d recommend Changi.

The Butterfly Garden

With hours two, three and four spent chasing waterfalls, I then retreated to the free movie theatre at T3 which is open 24 hours a day. While there’s no popcorn on offer, the 7/11 convenience store next door has beer and crisps for nibbles. The cinema has six movies playing on loop, so if you miss one at midnight, watch it again at midday the next day, provided you’re still loitering.

The Transit Movie Theatre

After sobbing with Viola Davis in Hidden Figures and LOL-ing with the Trolls, I went on a mission to claim one of the 12 free lie-down beds in the Snooze Lounge. A girl’s gotta sleep, right?

As these horizontal beds are free to use, I spent 40 minutes stalking one passenger, and another 20 death-staring a child, and finally at 3am I became a proud owner of a bed. Tucked in under my pashmina and eye mask in place as I was about to snooze off, my neighbour made his presence felt. Not only was he snoring in high decibels, the man was releasing sneaky little toots and puffs from every hole in his body. That’s hour nine and ten of my 23-hour transit for you.

With him finally taking his bodily gas onto a plane, I managed to get five undisturbed hours of shut-eye, only to be woken up by a therapist who was offering a reflexology special. Oh, tickle me fancy! Leaping out of bed, I booked in for a 30-minute foot massage, followed by a luxurious rainforest shower at the Be Relax Spa.

Rejuvenated and recharged, I was now ready for some childlike, zero-judgement fun.

Slide@T3

First up, TheSlide@T3. This 12-meter high slide wiped out every bit of fatigue left in my body. This is the world’s tallest slide in an airport, and it takes about five seconds to whizz down to the bottom. I may or may not have climbed up and slid down over five times.

The outdoor swimming pool in T2 was next on the agenda. The rooftop pool, a bar serving colourful beverages and glorious sunshine — the perfect combination for long-haul transit. Taking a dip in the pool while soaking up Vitamin D made me forget that I still had five more hours of transit time left.

Changi’s Outdoor Swimming Pool

A strong coffee from the newly opened Pret a Manger, another foot massage courtesy of the free OSIM massage chairs dotted along T3, and a second shower later, I was ready to give my credit card a workout.

The shopping directory at Changi is eight pages long; you won’t be able to escape some retail relief at this airport. While Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Hermès gave me all the #OOTD feels, my humble credit card was drawn towards the Zara store in T3.

In tow with three new dresses, two pairs of shoes and unnecessary accessories, I headed to the very sophisticated Raffles Long Bar (run by DFS on the upstairs level of its amazing duplex store) for a de rigueur Singapore Sling. As I sipped on my crimson drink, I spotted the Hello Kitty café below. Bright, cheerful and loud: the space looked exactly where you would imagine Hello Kitty and her friends to gather, sip tea and eat scones.

Well Hello Kitty!

My hour 23 started with the announcement of the boarding for my Bali flight and I knew it was time to break up with Changi. This was it. She and I were done.

However, Changi Airport authorities announced last week that they aren’t done. Come 2019, Terminal 1 will be getting an additional building called Jewel, with 300 restaurants and shops, a 40-metre tall waterfall called the Rain Vortex and Singapore’s largest indoor garden, Forest Valley.

Guess I’ll just have to accidentally book another ridiculously long layover at Changi soon. Shame!

Airport StyleDestinations

Flying from Athens? Here’s what you need to know

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Greece is renowned for its ancient temples, but now there’s a contemporary twist on the theme. Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport has been transformed into the glistening, marbled temple of consumerism that you see here, showcasing the best local and international designers and a host of gourmet delights. Spanning 2,026sq m, the revamped space in the intra-Schengen terminal is home to 13 new stores, including Weekend by Max Mara (making its Greek airport debut); Michael Kors; Emporio Armani; Hugo Boss and Zeus+Dione.

If you haven’t heard of Zeus+Dione, they are well worth checking out. Based in Athens, the brand was founded by a pair of friends, Dimitra Kolotoura and Mareva Grabowski, from the ashes of the Greek financial crisis. They wanted to build a company that championed the products of their country’s artisans, and rescued traditional crafts from the brink of extinction. It worked. To date, Zeus+Dione’s modern, minimalist designs have been featured in the likes of Vogue, Monocle and Wallpaper*. We’d recommend picking up one of their silk blouses woven in northern Greece, which make for a comfortable and lightweight option while travelling.

As for beauty, you can now shop your favourite products from a dizzying array of luxury labels, including Aqua di Parma, Jo Malone, Benefit, Bobbi Brown and Armani Privé. Though if you’d like to keep it local, award-winning skincare brand Korres has also opened up shop. The self-styled “Modern Greek Apothecary” prides itself on using only natural ingredients, and the products’ chic packaging makes any bathroom sink look sophisticated. A great gift idea if you’re after tasteful souvenirs…

New Opening: Korres brings Greek natural beauty to Hellenic Duty Free

What’s heartening – and apparent to any visitor – is the thought that has gone into curating these shops and products. The Greek concept of kerasma, which refers to the gesture of offering guests a tasty treat, is alive and well with cheerful sales assistants giving you the opportunity to enjoy a last taste of Greece before you fly. Of course, if that has you hungering for more, you can always swing by the Terkenlis bakery in the ‘Cava’ area. Featuring a range of freshly baked Greek pastries and treats including tsoureki (a popular Greek Easter sweet bread), cakes, tarts and syrup sweets, the aromas alone will guide you in the right direction.

The emphasis on local hospitality continues into the walk-through duty free shop, where a wine-tasting machine allows travellers to taste any of 16 Greek wines. What’s more, you don’t have to be an oenophile to appreciate what you’re drinking as a wine expert is on-hand to introduce you to the various Greek regions and wineries.

“This is the last stop for visitors to Greece and their last chance to get a taste of Greece,” says Hellenic Duty Free Shops CEO George Velentzas. As such, it will come as little surprise to learn that nearly a third of the products on sale are Greek. Velentzas adds, “We are very happy that during these difficult times we are able to support and assist local societies and local economies.”

So the next time you fly through Athens, be sure to factor in some extra time at Hellenic Duty Free. After all, those 16 wines aren’t going to drink themselves.

Destinations

Runway Bar Takes Flight in Hong Kong

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Ever wanted to go on holiday without having to travel anywhere? Well now you can, as a new bar concept promises to transport you for the evening. Runway, a kitsch 1950s aeroplane themed establishment has opened on Wyndham Street in Central, Hong Kong. The new venue aims to transport customers all around the world with global drinks and dishes; complete with retro plane-themed interior design and lively music.

Tour around the globe without leaving your seat at Runway

The decor includes metal structures, propellers, leather and wood to recreate that jet-set experience. Plane wings even make up the bar, which is covered in a world map lit with LEDs – literally highlighting the origins of Runway’s dishes. At the weekends, the bar is also host to the resident DJ Mojito.

Runway’s signature cocktail, The Pearl Harbour, was inspired by the popular local dessert, Yeung Chi Gum Lo or Mango and Pomelo Sago pudding. It’s a sweet combination of rum, mango, pomelo and tiramisu flavoured syrup, topped with sago and decorated with a raw cocoa rim. Three Priority Landing G&Ts also feature on the menu; Butterfly Pea Flower (a purple Asian bloom) is used to infuse the gin with a distinct botanical flavour. One such drink was created by Gin Jubilee 2016 Hong Kong Champion Tomi Ho.

Mango and pomelo sago pudding in a glass

The food menu consists of sharing plates, inspired by eight different countries. Examples include, Air Speed Gambas (Spanish garlic prawns), Thai Engine Charred Pork (braised pork neck served with herbs, tomato, papaya and nam jim dressing), and Indian Traffic Pattern Kofta served with flat bread and yoghurt dip. And if you’ve still got room for dessert, there’s Booming Coconut Pudding which comes in a coconut shell with chia seeds and truffle ice cream.

Booming Coconut Pudding with chia seeds and truffle ice cream.

So buckle your seat belt and enjoy the ride at this new Hong Kong bar.

Shop B, Ground Floor, Carfield Commercial Building, 75–77 Wyndham Street, Central District, Hong Kong
BeautyCelebrity StyleCosmeticsDestinationsLifestyleTraveller Exclusives

Cultural exchange: Chinese blogger Magic Yang on ‘The Beauty of Thailand’

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Sense of place: for the uninitiated this is the art of imbuing an identikit international airport with the standout characteristics of its wider location. Not so much what lies beneath as what lies outside.

The Kingdom of Thailand has more than its fair share of wonders from the floating markets to the Grand Palace, the beaches, the food, the people…How to distil all that into the shopping area of an airport terminal? How to avoid the bland catch-all and instead offer an inviting microcosm of the idiosyncrasies of the place?

We all, from the business traveller to the annual holiday-makers to the gap year adventurers, love a souvenir. A reminder of a place ticked off the world map, of cultures experienced. More and more, airports and retailers are tapping into this potential. In the current climate of globalisation, it still means something to have travelled to another land.

 

One recent example saw Shiseido and King Power International Company (Thailand) using influencer marketing to engage with travellers. The collaboration promoted the delights of Thailand while at the same time raising Shiseido brand awareness.

The campaign included social media and digital content, in-store promotions and exclusive Shiseido products available only at King Power Thailand stores. With Thailand a popular overseas destination for Chinese tourists, this campaign sought to engage with Chinese Millennials in particular.

 

Thai artist Riety Darisa K
Chinese fashion and lifestyle blogger Magic Yang

A leading Chinese fashion and lifestyle blogger, Magic Yang, stars alongside Thai artist Riety Darisa K, in an accompanying film ‘The Beauty of Thailand’ in which the two influencers take a tour of the Thai capital Bangkok. A star of social media in her homeland, Magic Yang’s loyal fan base of Chinese Millennials follow her for her personal style which is inspired by her love of travel and adventure and the places she visits. In the build-up to the official launch of the Shiseido/King Power campaign in April, Magic Yang posted exclusive behind-the-scenes pictures of her trip to announce her involvement and shared the film across her hugely popular Weibo and WeChat accounts.

Eagle-eyed viewers will be able to spot subtle Shiseido product placement in the film. The three favourite Shiseido products of Magic Yang: Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate; Perfect UV Protector SPF 50+; Rouge Rouge all feature.

Signature Shiseido: The pop-up store in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (above) and in the King Power Srivaree Complex store downtown (below)

 

In tandem with the influencer’s digital content, King Power Thailand’s main store at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport and the King Power Srivaree Complex (downtown) store played host to pop-up Shiseido stores building on the sense of place. A photo booth installation allowed travellers to personalise their photos with Riety’s Thai-inspired visuals which were then printed onto customised luggage tags. Complimentary skincare treatments and lip makeovers were also available.

Smile for the camera: A photo booth gave travellers the chance to create a bespoke ‘Beauty of Thailand’ luggage tag

Centre stage was an exclusive Shiseido skincare set curated by Magic Yang with bespoke packaging designed by Riety. The limited edition set, available only at King Power Thailand stores, contains Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate for Face and Perfect UV Protector SPF50+/PA++++.

A sense of exclusivity: The limited-edition set curated by Magic Yang and designed by Riety

Customers spending THB 14,000 or more were eligible for a ‘The Beauty of Thailand’ cosmetic bag and for those spending over THB16,000 a Shiseido tote bag was offered as an additional gift with purchase.

As part of the installation, Riety created three artworks depicting the traditional and modern facets of Thailand:

 

Riety: “Classic Thailand is inspired by the different religions, races and art that flourished throughout its rich multicultural history”
“In order to bring the heavenly plane of Swarga Loka to life, I drew from an opulent palette of colours and textures”
“To convey the energy of Bangkok’s dynamic modernity, I chose its tallest structure – the MahaNakhon building”

King Power International Senior Executive Vice President Susan Whelan explained: “We are passionate about sharing the Kingdom of Thailand’s rich history and unique culture with the world, and we have been instrumental in developing and supporting cultural initiatives throughout this time. This exciting collaboration initiated by Shiseido perfectly encapsulates the wonders of Thailand as seen through the eyes of our talented home-grown artist Riety and prominent social media personality Magic Yang. We are delighted with this opportunity to not only strengthen our long partnership with Shiseido, but also enhance our all-important tourism links with key visitors from China.”

Shiseido Travel Retail Vice-President Marketing Elisabeth Jouguelet noted: “Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists – it is not only a beautiful and enthralling country but a true retail destination in its own right. Through our strong partnership with King Power International and collaboration with Riety and Magic Yang, we have been able to create a platform which brings a genuine Sense of Place to our retail activation.”

If you happen to be passing through Bangkok in the next couple of days, there’s still chance to enrich your trip with a visit to the pop-up stores which run until 31 May.