I make an effort to go back to Melbourne every year to catch up with my friends, try out the new restaurants and refresh my wardrobe. This year, I went via Abu Dhabi. Our plan was to only stopover for 1 night en-route to Melbourne but I insisted on stopping over for 2 for extra time to explore Abu Dhabi AND check out the Hermes store however low I knew my chances were. I secretly pushed for staying at the Jumeirah Etihad Towers (as opposed to one of the international brands we usually stay at) because I knew the Hermes store is located in the mall called Avenue connected to the hotel.
The first thing I did after breakfast was pop into the Hermes store. The shelves were filled with all types of bags in different colours and sizes. I wish I took a picture of the store, it was very bright and colourful. I believe they have more bags on display compared to the Ginza store in Tokyo when I was there at the beginning of the year.
I was admiring the Bolide and Lindy on display when a sales associate asked if I wanted to try anything on. My first request was for a black Lindy in size 26. She came back with 2 Lindys – Bleu Nuit in size 26 and black in size 30. Although I preferred size 26, I knew black is the colour I will always treasure when it comes to bags (almost all my bags are black). I had a flashback to when I nearly settled for Bleu Ocean, a dark blue colour very close to black when I was looking to purchase my first Birkin (read more about my journey to purchasing my first Birkin here). She was really sweet and offered to check again. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a black Lindy 26 in stock at that time so I decided to get it. I didn’t have a bag in this size and thought it would be good to have a range of sizes in my collection. The Lindy is also meant to be a casual every day bag so getting the size 30 made sense because it can hold more.
We then moved on to rodeos, charms, jewellery and small leather goods. I think we hit it off really well and she had a very good understanding of my preferences after we discussed what I like and didn’t like about the items she showed me. I had scored a Lindy 30, a saddle charm and Soya gloves. At this stage, everything was going well I thought it would be a good time to ask for a Birkin or Kelly. With butterflies in my stomach, I tried as casually as I can ask her if she had any Birkins or Kellys even though I have read on The Purse Forum that it is nearly impossible to be offered a Birkin or Kelly if you are not local. She smiled at me and said she had to ask her manager. She said that she only has one Birkin in size 25 that is in the colour Capucine. I turned it down immediately and she understood where I was coming from as we talked about my preferred colours earlier. She told me to wait again while she called her manager again. After what seemed like forever even though it was probably just a five minute call, she came back and told me she knows I am going to be very happy with what she can now offer me.
I followed her to a room. The first bag she showed me was a Bleu Sapphire Birkin 30 in Epsom leather with gold hardware and I was already ready to say yes as it is one of the bags on my wishlist. Then she said she has a new arrival that I will definitely like. I knew the bag had not been shown to anyone else before because the plastic packaging was still on. It was as new as it could get. She pulled out a black Kelly 28 from the dust bag and I fell in love with it at first sight. I knew without a doubt I was going to get it.
Here is a picture of me holding on to my skirt nervously as she unboxed the Kelly (I didn’t even know this picture was taken until recently)!
As we left the room, the SA said to me, “Now you have a bag with gold hardware to match the hardware on your new gloves”. This comment was made in relation to my initial hesitation of getting the Soya gloves with gold hardware. I would have preferred palladium hardware as most of my jewellery is in white gold or platinum but I couldn’t pass on the chance of getting gloves in my size. I was so happy I was offered a black Kelly, the colour of the hardware wasn’t even part of my decision-making process. Also, my first preference would have been a Kelly Sellier but none of those preferences were running through my head from the moment I saw the black Kelly 28.
Obviously, I went photo crazy after and took heaps of pictures of my loot. Here are some of them.
I was on such a high checking off items on my wishlist, I had unknowingly spent almost 2 hours in the store. I went to Abu Dhabi expecting to only purchase a few small leather goods and was very blessed to have met a sales associate I had chemistry with and had the most amazing shopping experience at Hermes.
Ms. Birkin and her new friend, Ms. Kelly.
The additional time I spent in the Hermes store and taking pictures of my loot after we dropped the “baggage” back in our hotel before heading out again which reduced the time I had planned for sightseeing significantly, including making a quick day trip to Dubai and going to the desert. Nonetheless, I still managed to go to a visit the main places of interest in Abu Dhabi and nice restaurants.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque. This is magnificent and a must see. I am not doing it any justice with my lousy photography skills and I was unable to capture the entire exterior of the mosque from where I was which gives you an idea of how big the mosque is. Note that there is a strict dress code or you will be denied entry. When I was indoors, I was warned by the security guard for hanging my sunglasses on my button-up cardigan which created a v-shaped neckline, so please be aware and respectful of their culture and religion.
Emirates Palace. It is a self-proclaimed 7 star hotel that aims to showcase the Arabian culture and walking distance from Jumeirah, but be prepared to sweat if you choose to walk in the heat. I know because we walked back from Emirates Palace. Note that there is also a dress code.
Observation deck 300. This is located in Tower 2, level 74 of the Jumeirah. Entrance for visitors is AED75, with AED50 redeemable as F&B vouchers at the venue, while entry is complimentary for hotel guests staying at the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and children under 4 also enter for free. We were unable to make reservations for afternoon tea while we were there as it was fully booked. Note to self: Plan ahead next time.
BOA Steakhouse. This is definitely worth trying and the night views around the restaurant are beautiful.
Ray’s Bar. This is located on the 62nd floor of our hotel. In my opinion, the steak at BOA steakhouse is slightly better. The lighting was pretty dark so I was unable to take any decent pictures of the food.
Last but not least, the wonderful spread at breakfast in Jumeirah. Stay tuned for my post on travelling in first class apartments with Etihad Airways and on the Jumeirah hotel.
Abu Dhabi is definitely one of my new favourite holiday destinations. I had a wonderful time and would be back!
Thanks for reading!