Guam: A must-visit destination for shop-a-holics
FiFTY SHADES OF RED - Arian Yupangco (The Philippine Star) - December 8, 2013 - 12:00am

 With the holiday season in full swing, there are three things on a lot of people’s minds: shopping, shopping, and shopping. Personally, I don’t need any special occasion or season to go on a full-blown shopping spree. It’s simply in my nature. Let’s just say that if shopping were a sport, I’d be a tri-athlete. If you’re currently finding the local shopping scene a little lackluster and want a more exciting “spree experience” with unique finds, great deals, and amazing scenery to go along with it, then make sure to have your credit card and passport ready because you’ll need be needing them in Guam — the new shopping mecca.

With kind arrangements made by the Guam Visitors Bureau and the Alouatta, Inc. group, I jetted off to this idyllic, tropical island only three hours away from home to see for myself what Guam has to offer for the everyday shop-a-holic. Allow me to be your personal guide and show you the prime shopping spots you’d happily empty your pockets and drain your bank accounts for. Our first stop…

Guam premier outlets

Who can’t resist a great buy? Answer: no one. Guam Premier Outlets should be at the top of your must-visit list once you’ve set foot on the island, with familiar brands to be found inside, ranging from the budget-friendly to the budget-be-gone, such as Nine West, Payless, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. One store had customers, including myself, willing to line up for at least half an hour to lay their hands on everything from children’s toys, to cosmetics, to home décor, to footwear, and more, all at the best prices I’ve ever seen. That’s what you get when you visit Ross Dress For Less — leaving the store without at least a bag full of new purchases is almost impossible. My favorite purchase from Ross? Katy Perry’s new Killer Queen perfume for only $29.99. Other great stores include Twinkles, a store exclusively for kids that sells clothes, school supplies, and toys, as well as Bestseller Bookstore, for all bookworms out there who like a varied range of books and magazines to browse through with a coffee shop inside for you to relax and enjoy your new reads right away.

Address: 199 Chalan San Antonio, Tamuning, Guam, 96913

Store hours: Open daily: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Tumon sands plaza

What can only be described as a luxury fashionista’s dream, Tumon Sands Plaza, located in the heart of Tumon Bay, is packed with over 20 high-end, upscale brands including Gucci, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., and Bulgari, just to name a few. If the words “budget,” “savings,” and “credit limit,” mean little to you, then the Tumon Sands Plaza is your kind of place. After all that hard work shopping, sit back at the Cartier Café courtyard and sip on a hot latté or treat yourself to a quick bite to eat at popular Honolulu Coffee Company while pondering your next splurge.

Address: 1082 Pale San Vitores Road, Tumon, Guam

Store hours: Open daily: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

KMART

Attention, Kmart shoppers, once you set foot here, don’t expect to exit for at least an hour or two. As the biggest store on the entire island, even veteran shoppers like me will find themselves unsure of where to start. This is literally a one-stop shop that’s especially popular with Japanese and Korean tourists. For your fashion needs, popular clothing brands you can find here include Bongo, Joe Boxer, Wrangler, and even Selena Gomez’s Dream Out Loud collection that’s been a hit so far with tweens. For the beauty product junkies, you’ll be delighted to spot Rimmel, Maybelline, Physicians Formula, and Revlon in the cosmetics section, and aisles upon aisles of hair and skin- care items that include Bed Head, Garnier, Schwarzkopf, and Olay that’ll make you feel just a tad bit overwhelmed. For dudes, don’t worry, there’s a virtually limitless selection of DVDs, gadgets, and men’s clothing and accessories for you to choose from. With the place also open 24/7, you’ll have more than enough time to get everything you need. For the day, at least!

Address: North Marine Drive, 404 Marine Corps Dr, Tamuning, Guam

Store hours: Open 24 hours

Micronesia mall

Somewhere between an outlet mall and your regular shopping mall complex, you get Micronesia Mall, the largest shopping center on the island. When you hear “largest” and “shopping center” together, you know you can only expect great things. Not only does the center have a good ol’ Macy’s department store inside — which is enough reason to drop by in the first place — but also homegrown brands like Bench and Beauty Bar. If you’re thinking of bringing back some Guam-themed souvenirs, the Micronesia Mall is packed with stores just for tourists, such as Minkie, Royal Hibiscus, and the Dollar Discount Shop. Be sure to stop by the large food court that has Panda Express, Taco Bell, Denny’s, and more to satisfy your cravings.

Address: 1088 Marine Corps Dr, Tamuning, Guam

Store hours: Open daily: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

 

DFS galleria

A familiar name to globe-trotting shoppers, and home to some of the most sought-after luxury brands in the world, the DFS Galleria mall in Guam is almost what you would call a shopping mecca, or simply a haven for anyone with the urge to splurge. You can easily find brands such as Benefit Cosmetics, Michael Kors, Givenchy, M·A·C, Dolce & Gabanna, Prada, and dozens more. With the biggest cosmetics department section on the island, makeup aficionados and newbies alike will go a little gaga over what’s being offered here, too. Even if you forget to pick anything up, there’s also a satellite DFS store at the Guam Airport for your last-minute buys.

Address: 643 Chalan San Antonio, Tamuning, Guam 96911

Store hours: Open daily: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

 

Agana shopping center

If you’re feeling a little homesick, but still can’t resist the urge to shop, then be sure to drop by the Agana Shopping Center at least once during your stay in Guam. Here you’ll find — that’s right — an SM Department Store. Familiar, Philippine-exported items, that range from personal care products to food, are also present in its popular Pay-Less Supermarket, just one of the many branches scattered around the island. Despite its limited number of stores, it is home to a bigger collection of other local and lesser-known brands, making it a good place to purchase a variety of unique finds.

Address: 3115 Route 4 O’Brien Dr., Hagatna, Agana, Guam 96932

Store hours: Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Wait, did I forget to mention one of the absolute best parts about shopping in Guam, aside from the amazing collection of things to buy all over the island? Two words sum it up best and are music to any shop-a-holic’s ears: tax-free. I can assume you’re already making that call to your travel agent, so let me just say…bon voyage!

* * *

Follow me on Instagram (@arianyupangco) and Twitter (@ArianYupangco), and check out my beauty blog ‘Ari’s In Wonderland’ at http://aris-in-wonderland.blogspot.com/.

 

ARI CENTER CHALAN SAN ANTONIO GUAM SHOPPING STORE TAMUNING
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