London – Harrod’s Extraordinary Shopping

London is famous for its quality shopping, and Harrod’s is one of the few stores which has had a pinnacle position for generations, although long-time shoppers do see a difference with the current ownership.

A few decades ago, Harrod’s was purchased by mega-millionaire Mr. Mohamed Al Fayed (who also owns the Ritz Hotel, in Paris). You’ve probably heard the name, as he was the father of Princess Diana’s ill-fated boyfriend, Dodi Fayed.

Along with Macy’s, New York City, Harrod’s is one of the largest stores in the world. It’s store motto: Omnia Omnibus Ubique — All Things for All People, Everywhere — sums it all up!

The store started in 1834, in Stepney, and it was a business which purveyed teas. The world-famous Harrod’s Food Hall has been the recipient of all that knowledge. It’s a fabulous experience, even though, again, long-time visitors say it is not infallible, like it once was.

This is also underscored by the fact that the Royals no longer patronize the store, even though some Royal Warrants have not expired. That’s a shame, as many feel this ownership apparently definitely lacks something in honoring the store’s history.

But, it’s still a special experience for most visitors. Harrod’s is a million square feet and 330 departments of pure bliss for the inveterate shopper!

There are 28 restaurants inside – serving everything from Dim Sum to health smoothies to Italian gelato to Breton crêpes, Neapolitan pizzas from a wood-fired oven and also, English pub lunches and English afternoon tea.

Harrod’s is ready to customize picnic hampers, cakes, gelato flavor, gifts and even perfume formulations. And, it’s staff of 5,000 (from 50 different companies) is aware that Service reigns.

Expect to see a dispensing pharmacy and its own bank apart from all the extra-ordinary versions of the usual things you would expect to see in a department store – in Men’s, Women’s, Children’s, Home, Office, Sports, Games and Gifts.

Christian, the famous lion cub, was purchased at Harrod’s in the late 1960’s (before a law protecting exotic wildlife from sale). He was successfully returned-to-the-wild in Kenya by his Australian owners, John Rendall and Anthony ‘Ace’ Bourke with the expertise of George Adamson (of “Born Free” fame, who rematriated Elsa, the Lioness). They bought Christian at Harrod’s to “save” him and how they kept him in London is another story!

When you’re in London, enjoy visiting Harrod’s and the other English flag-ship department store, Selfridge’s!

More about Harrod’s

©2009 Mystic at Travel Vacation Review