Samui Wining & Dining
STOP PRESS!
The face of shopping on Samui has changed forever – for the better!


Page-28

It’s the biggest thing to happen on Samui since the airport opened 25 years ago, and island residents have eagerly been awaiting its opening. What has caused such a stir, you ask? Well, it’s Central Festival Samui – a themed mall located between Chaweng Beach Road and Chaweng Lake.

        Some might argue that big malls belong in the city. Now this might ring true had the design of the Central Festival Samui been a multi-storey concrete block, as one would find in Bangkok, for example. But thankfully, CPN Property Development & Investment had the foresight to design a mall that fits in with the local environment, and enhances its surroundings. The gardens, walkways, alfresco food area as well as the buildings of the development sprawl over 37 rai of land, with 90,000m2 of floor space.

        Central Festival Samui celebrated its grand opening on 29th March and continued with week-long festivities and special offers for shoppers. The new shopping centre features contemporary architecture and is inspired by the vintage ‘Chaweng Port’ theme. As you stroll through the centre, you’ll see decorative themes such as the Sino-Portuguese influence, the Fisherman’s Village and the Old Town Market, showcasing the colonial-style architecture and the ‘East meets West’ fusion.

         ‘Mall’ is probably not the best term for Central Festival Samui, as it brings to mind images of a concrete jungle. For want of a better word, ‘village’ is perhaps a better way to describe this shopping extravaganza. It was designed to blend in with the environment, so you’ll only find two storeys here, with sections joined by landscaped walkways. In fact, a substantial part of the budget was spent on landscaping – something not needed in CPN’s other shopping centre projects that are of a more traditional mall design.

          So, to keep it interesting and avoid the mall look, four main areas are linked with the walkways and a central garden. First, there’s the main entrance, which connects Chaweng Beach via contemporary-style restaurants and bars, offering both air conditioned and alfresco dining. This area is known as the ‘Old Port’, and is the first dedicated lifestyle dining and gastro bar landmark on Samui – a great place to chill and hang out.

          Plenty of space has been allocated so that the shopping centre can host a variety of events, and you’ll find frequent concerts, fashion shows, product launches and other entertainment at the stage area. And for kids, there’s the ‘Pirates of the Mario Land’, as well as a small outdoor play area with climbing apparatus on its own ‘beach’, so kids can let off steam while mum rests weary legs after a day of shopping. And there is also a cinema planned, which will open later in the year.

          Fashion lovers are spoilt for choice in the Fashion Zone, where boutiques stock both international brand names, as well as local designers, such as Psylo and NiCol B, who’ve chosen to open outlets in this prime shopping location. Interesting elements in the ‘Fisherman’s Village’ area have been used to build a scenic backdrop for the anchor tenants, highlighting Samui’s fishing trade. And then we have the ‘Old Town Market’, an open-air food park designed in a colonial style, combining both Eastern and Western architectural elements.

           Locals will be particularly pleased with the anchor tenants on offer; the first being the Central Department Store – which houses over 400 brands, including men’s, women’s and children’s wear, shoes, bags and accessories, jewellery and cosmetics, luggage, linen and home-ware. Another draw card for locals and expats is a Tops Market, offering a choice selection of local and international food products and groceries, many of which haven’t readily been available on the island before.

          B2S stocks stationery and books and Power Buy is an electronics emporium, targeting both locals and tourists alike, while Super Sports will keep fitness and outdoor enthusiasts well kitted out. Aside from these strong anchor tenants, around 200 independent shops and restaurants complete Central Festival Samui, making this a one-stop shopping and entertainment hub. Many locals avoid Chaweng as a lack of parking can make the trip a nightmare. Well, thanks to Central Festival, this problem has been solved. With four entrances and parking for 600 cars and 1,200 motorcycles, there’s more than enough space to accommodate those wanting to explore the new mall. Even better is the loyalty ‘One Card’ which comes in a version for locals as well as expats, as well as ‘Tourist Card’, all of which offer an automatic 5% off purchases at the Central Department Store, B2S, Super Sports and Power Buy, as well as other discounts and promotions, so be sure to sign up for yours if you haven’t yet.

          So top up that credit card, don your walking shoes, and head down to Central Festival. It’s not just a mall, but is indeed, much more, and has in only a short time, become an attraction for visitors and island residents alike.

          

 Rosanne Turner


 


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