Forget Macau, when we are looking some thrills we take the trip to Ap Lei Chau to worship at that temple of designer bargains, Horizon Plaza. An essential stop for any overseas visitor, the sheer size of the place can be rather overwhelming, so we combed 28 floors to find you the best outlets to visit, plus journeyed outside to find one of Hong Kong’s best kept secrets!
1. Ralph Lauren
Everyone loves a bargain, especially when it comes in the form of new season Ralph Lauren. Unlike other discount shops, the Ralph Lauren outlet store (22/F) at Horizon Plaza is organised, stylish and stocks a small selection of the most covetable clothes from the spring/summer 2011 season. The long, serape cardigan that has an element of ‘wild-west meets Mexico’ was a favourite and came at a 50% reduction. Even more tempting was the classic white ruffled skirt that could be yours for a mere 500HKD.
2. Max Mara
Although, not quite as spectacular as the Ralph Lauren store, Max Mara (27/F) still has a small range of clearance items that are worth sifting through. There is a good collection of shoes on offer, although sizes are limited, and a range of last season Max & Co. (their range aimed at younger women) dresses and tops for less than 500HKD. Sadly, the iconic camel coats were nowhere to be seen, having said that I’m not sure you would ever need one in Hong Kong.
The leading designer importer in Hong Kong is Joyce and their outlet store (21/F) is packed with last season bargains. This is the place to go if you are looking for something really special- an outfit to a wedding or a cocktail dress. Here, you will find last season’s designs at up to 80 % off. Spotted on the racks front of store, designer dresses by Alaia 50000HKD marked down to 15000HKD and Alexander McQueen dresses at around 8000HKD. Other designers include Giambattista Valli, Oscar de la Renta, Balenciaga and Victoria Beckham.
Sizing ranges from European 34 to 40. Each month, the stock is reduced by around 10 %. Towards the rear of the store, you will find separates for both men and women by designers such as Rick Owen, Etro and Dries van Noten. The shoe range was a little disappointing when we visited but there were still some great buys. There was also an interesting collection of designer jewellery pieces.
4. Lane Crawford
One of the largest outlet stores in Horizon Plaza, Lane Crawford (25/F) is one of our favourites. If you are looking for a few designer pieces to give your home some pizzazz, Lane Crawford is worth a visit. Stocking not only clothes and shoes, you can find designer homewares and furniture. We saw linens by Frette, Society and Missoni. Furniture designers include Established and Sons and Herman Knoll. We visit here to pick up designer candles for more than 60 % off.
In addition to the homewares, the shoe and bag section is worth a look. Discounts of up to 70 % can be found here and there is plenty of choice, particularly if you are size 36 to 40. We spotted bags by Marc Jacobs, Christian Louboutin, Marni and Pierre Hardy at more than 50 per cent off.
Lane Crawford stocks both men and womens clothing here. After the sales finish in the main stores, there are great finds here, particularly in the mens section. However, some of the clothing can be up to three years old, so carefully check each piece for damage or staining as they do not accept returns.
An outlet store that you can easily overlook and that appears quite expensive is Pompeii on the 22nd floor. However, this outlet buys current season samples and overruns from the top designers. The best buys are the Yves Saint Laurent bags, around 13000HKD, and Tods bags around 7000HKD. Other designers include Gucci, Prada and Roberto Cavalli. The clothing racks are well organized by size and season making it easy to find bargains.
If you are looking weekend wear stop in at Diesel (27/F). This edgy looking store was jam packed with a mountainous stack of jeans for both men and women at around 1000HKD. In addition, a leather jacket (3500HKD) and t-shirt (approximately 400HKD) along with a scarf (100-200HKD) twirled nonchalantly around your throat will round off your casual chic look.
7. Beyond Horizon Plaza, Prada (formerly known as Space) Outlet Store
Although not far from the other outlet stores, Prada is not situated in the Horizon Plaza. It is more centrally located in Ap Lei Chau making it a little easier to get to by public transport and, boy, is it worth the journey. Clean, elegant and stylish, this may just be one of Hong Kong’s best-kept secrets. Endless rows of two previous seasons worth of Prada clothes line the pristine shelves and racks with discounts that vary depending on the item. The Prada and Miu Miu bags are definitely worth spending some time on and range from 2,950 to 8,000 HKD. The real bargains, though, are to be had on the sale rack at the back of the shop, which offered deductions of up to 80%. Here you can put away a little black dress for the tidy sum of 1500 HKD and skirts and ski pants (yes…ski pants!) can be found for less than 500HKD. This is possibly one of the best ways to do designer on a budget in Hong Kong.
Getting there: For Horizon Plaza, take Bus 90 from Exchange Square Bus Station in Central. This bus runs every 10 to 15 mins to Ap Lei Chau Estate Bus Terminus. From the Terminus take the free Horizon Plaza Shuttle Bus which runs every 5 to 15 minutes.
You can also take a taxi from Central which will take you approximately 30 mins and cost around HKD60. There are plenty of taxis outside for your return trip.
For Prada (Space), South Horizon Plaza take bus 590 from Exchange Square Bus Station in Central. Get off at Marina Square on South Horizons Drive.
You can walk between Prada and Horizon Plaza. It will take around 15 to 20 minutes but you won’t want to because you will have too many bags!