Advantages Everything under one roof, excellent display, great for window shopping
Disadvantages You're sharing the floor with 40,000 other shoppers!
|Is it worth visiting?|
We visited Berlin in December and, whilst it was very pretty to see the snow everywhere and the Christmas markets all lit up beautifully, it was also very cold. On one of the days we decided to take refuge in KaDeWe, a huge department store which is so big that only London's Harrods store is bigger in Europe. With almost half a million items to buy, it really is the shopaholic's dream.The store is actually called Kaufhaus De Westerns (Department Store of the West) and is presumably shortened to make it easier to say and easier to fit on the sign above the door. It is located near the centre of the former West Berlin on the major shopping street Tauentzienstrasse, right at the end. You can't miss is because it is in a huge building that takes up a whole block and there are always hundreds of people swarming in and out of its doors.
It has seven floors in total and follows the general layout of most other department stores of its kind with beauty products on the ground floor. As soon as you walk in the door the smell hits you as you are affronted by a million and one counters with all (and I mean all) of the major brands represented. There are beautifully made up women offering all manner of pamper products as well as plenty of sample perfumes to try. Also on the ground floor is the 'Luxury Boulevard', which is not to be missed as it is home to the big hitters like Cartier, Louis Vitton and Gucci. If you are anything like me, you'll just be window shopping here, but you are just as welcome all the same. Rather than looking down their noses at you (as is all too often the case) the shop attendants greet you with a smile and treat you as they would any other paying customer, which I loved.The next floor is devoted to men's designer wear. As my husband is not one for shopping, we skipped this one and headed straight up to floors three and four which are devoted to womens wear. The third floor is all about the designers whilst the fourth floor is where you'll find more affordable and mainstream stuff, as well as kid’s clothes and lingerie. The two floors are both well laid out by designer so it is easy to find what you are looking for. One of the great things about KaDeWe is that is covers over 60,000 square metres, so even when it is packed, you don't feel like you are be crowded as you wander around the floors - there is plenty of room for everyone.
The fifth floor is devoted to interior design and is fabulous to wander round. There are whole rooms laid out, so it is a wonderful place to go if you are looking for inspiration. The stuff they sell is quite high end, although there is a lot of lower priced stuff like kitchen wear and the like if you really feel the urge to spend.The sixth and seventh floors were my absolute favourites though and, even though my feet were killing me by this point, I'm glad I made the effort. The sixth floor is what they call 'seasonal' and when I went it was full of all things Christmassy. There were decorations, trees, toys, trinkets, ornaments and advent calendars everywhere. For someone who loves Christmas like I do, it was like I was in heaven! You can't fail to get in the spirit with such a display; it really isn't to be missed.
The seventh floor plays home to their food halls and they really are something to behold. Quite strangely KaDeWe proudly boasts that they have two football fields worth of food on display! There is everything you could possibly imagine and then some. Around the edges are the delicatessen stalls offering everything from fish to cheese and a lot in between. It is a real eye opener seeing some of the things they have - a lot of which I'd never seen or heard of before. The counters are all incredibly busy and are interspersed with places to sit and eat the things they sell. In the middle of all this are various displays of packaged food, from fine hand made chocolates to fresh coffee and exotic teas. Whatever it is you are looking for, you are bound to find it here as well as lots of things you weren't looking for!So if you are in Berlin, you should absolutely visit KaDeWe, it is a wonderful place to spend you money or window shop if you don't have any. Be warned though, you'll be sharing the floor with between forty and fifty thousand people each day!
For your information:Opening hours:
10am - 8pm Monday to Thursday
10am - 9pm Friday
9.30am - 8pm Saturday
It is closed Sundays except for special times (i.e. the run up to Christmas)
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