There is much excitement afoot on London’s scent scene. Just a few years after opening the Salon de Parfums on the Sixth Floor, Harrods have unveiled the first phase in a huge beauty and fragrance redevelopment – and it’s somewhere any perfume-lover could while away many a happy hour, meandering through the many different boutiques.
First off, this perfumed playground doesn’t feel like Harrods. We don’t mean that in a negative way, just that it’s more like a beautiful and gorgeously-lit mall environment, with boutiques and displays that invite browsing, and expert help on hand if you need more help. (The whole experience feels very un-pressured.) There’s music. And so much to look at. And so, so very much to smell, including many different in-store exclusives. (And menswear, if you were looking, has been bumped up to the Second Floor. We imagine there’ll be a few shocked chaps looking for a new tie who’ll instead find themselves in a scented, colourful playground.)
The inviting space has no hard edges and lots of curves, with shops-within-a-shop for all the leading brands and many new names, including the talked-about Fueguia, from Argentina, whose first London outpost this is. Frankly you need pretty much a whole day to sniff your way through Fueguia’s dozens of scents alone – although they’re easy to navigate, and easy to smell, via glass ‘balloons’.
There are spiffy areas for Penhaligon’s, Diptyque, Atelier Cologne (you can have items personalised on the spot), Salvatore Ferragamo, Le Labo, Jo Malone London (who get a corner and a window – do NOT leave without checking out the ‘doll’s house’ of home fragrances, please. Beside Guerlain (read our review of their fragrance consultations here) there’s a Dior counter groaning with scented temptations (Dior hand wash, anyone?) and a Carolina Herrera counter flanking the walkway. And within the Gucci section in the centre of the department, you can take your time over the hard-to-find The Alchemist’s Garden collection, from perfumer Alberto Morillas.
Check out the many exclusives from perfume houses including Lancôme, who offer a line-up of four in their Maison Lancôme Haute Parfumerie line-up, Armani (the Privé Musc Shamal which we review in the latest edition of The Scented Letter), Dolce & Gabbana, Guerlain (the so-special Royal Extract) and YSL among many, many others. Scroll down for some photos – and check out our Instagram, here, for even more.
It’s worth pointing out that of course the Salon de Parfums at the top of the shop still belongs on any perfume-lover’s itinerary, offering an even more exclusive shopping experience. And whatever you do, don’t turn your back on the original Harrods Perfumery (once known as ‘The Black Hall’) – it, too, remains hugely worthy of a visit. These other spaces are – well, just different. But still jam-packed with the scented wonders of the shopping world.
There are future phases of this redevelopment to come later this year, for skincare – and even vegan/natural brands, which will vie for attention with the derm cosmeceuticals, together with the opening of 13 treatment rooms on the Lower Ground Floor. (Gosh, we can remember when that was a PUB. How times have changed.)
But what we would say is: watch this space – because next week, it will be the turn of Harvey Nichols to make a splash on the capital’s ever-more-exciting fragrance scene…
Our noses couldn’t be happier about it all.
Harrods Beauty Halls, Ground Floor, 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW1W 7XL (we suggest using the Basil Street entrance)
Open: 10am-9pm every day except Sunday (11.30am-6pm)