Gaysorn Plaza is a beautiful upmarket shopping mall filled with designer brand stores. What it’s not filled with is customers. Which is a pretty difficult accomplishment in Bangkok. But it has its uses. It’s a great air-conditioned cut-through to get from the Chit Lom BTS station out onto Ratchadamri Road.
You’d think a mall that includes Prada, Dior, Ferragamo, Armani, Hugo Boss, and Louis Vuitton would be a major draw. But many of those same stores can be found just up the street at the equally dear Siam Paragon, which is managed by the same corporation. Siam Paragon is always overflowing with customers. So if you want to avoid the crowds, Gaysorn is the place to go. And since Beachball is the only person I’ve ever heard claim they shop there, there’s always that.
Gaysorn’s location is hard to beat, the white marble and gleaming chrome complex sits on the corner of Ploenchit and Ratchadamri Roads and just across the street from the ginormous Central World Mall, it should be one of Bangkok’s premier shopping destinations. With its five floors filled with a hundred of the highest level of brand name shops, it probably once was Back when the exchange rate favored touri from the west. Nowadays, not so much. Where once the value of the baht meant picking up items from Fendi at the price of a song, now that same merchandise costs the same as it did back home. If not more. Bangkok is a major shopping destination but it gained that rep because of the deals to be had. Those great bargains are no longer in existence at Gaysorn.
For some visitors the mall still offers goods not available in their home country, and for those in Bangkok on business staying at one of the nearby five star hotels, a quick dash into the deserted mall satisfies their need for picking up a small token of their affection for those left at home. The mall also serves consumers who don’t quite understand the difference between buying Prada off the rack and an original because the world needs proof that a fool and his money are soon parted.
Having said all of that Gaysorn is probably the mall I’ve been in the most in Bangkok save MBK. It is a great shot of air conditioned comfort when used as a short cut out onto Ratchadamri Road. The decorations used in the mall’s soaring rotunda are always worth a few minuets of your time, and Gaysorn’s Christmas decorations are first rate too. So it is a great mall to ooh and ahh at even if you don’t drop any baht there.
Not that the mall is completely devoid of shopping experiences for the average touri. There is now a branch of Bookazine on the same level as the entrance to the BTS Station, making’s Gaysorn’s branch one of the easiest to get to in town. And Thann, one of my – meaning Noom’s – favorite brands of smelly stuff has an outlet tucked into a uniquely decorated restaurant that takes on the appearance of a leafy jungle made from corrugated cardboard at the foot of the escalators leading into the mall from the BTS, and also a full-scale spa, Thann Sanctuary, which was voted one of the Top 55 spas in the world by Conde Nast Traveller Magazine. No happy endings available, just to keep the record straight, but at 3,500 baht for a short-time 70 minute spa treatment you’d expect something to put a smile on your face. Equally enticing, at least aroma-wise, is the Bangkok’s branch of Davidoff where you can ponder why it is that when cigars smell so bad when lit while in mass and filling a small store their aroma can be so heavenly.
Whether the stores in Gaysorn actually make money, or management has decided to invest a few million baht to entice customers inside, plans to renovate and expand the ten-year-old mall are afoot. A 1 million baht face lift, under the concept of Gaysorn: The House of Luxe, comes to the existing mall first, which is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
Meanwhile, and scheduled for opening in 2014, a 3.5 billion baht, 30 floor retail/office mixed use mall will be built next door between Gaysorn and the Arnoma Hotel under the name of La Maison which the developer describes as a hub of luxury lifestyle products. The enlarged upscale shopping center will continue to buck the trend with no anchor department store, supermarket, food court, or cinema, but hopes to make its corner of Ratchaprasong into one of the world’s luxury fashion and lifestyle avenues like Place Vendo’me in Paris and Ginza in Tokyo.
If you are looking for a cool, quite, classy place to window shop but not buy, Gaysorn Plaza is the place. If you are looking for designer wear at cut-rate prices you’ll be better off shopping for knock-offs at the night market down the street.
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