I’ve been in Singapore this week checking out – and experiencing – the new pre-security attraction at Changi Airport called ‘Jewel‘.
Housed inside a toroidal (doughnut-shaped) glass and steel structure designed by noted architect Moshe Safdie, the Jewel attraction sits next to Terminal 1 on a piece of land that once housed a parking lot.
Inside there’s a lush four-story tiered garden, more than 280 retail and dining outlets, a Yotel short-stay hotel, and a multi-screen IMAX theater. But the attraction’s centerpiece is without a doubt the 140-foot-tall Rain Vortex that is now the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.
A few ticketed activities in Jewel’s ‘Forest Canopy’ will open in June, including a 164-foot-long glass-bottomed bridge, nets for bouncing and walking above the forest, mazes, topiary sculptures and more.
In addition to global brands such as Adidas, Coach and Levi’s, Jewel’s many shopping venues include a good number of new-to-market shops.
There’s the first Pokémon Center outside of Japan, shops selling gift foods and plenty of Singapore brands, such as In Good Company (clothing) and Supermama (design and crafts items).
Gift by Changi Airport carries many specially-made Changi Airport-themed items, including the airport’s signature orchid, spice and plant-sourced scent and work by sought-out local artists.
From Shake Shack to fine dining
Dining options in Jewel Changi Airport range from fast-food to fine dining and include cuisines from Asian to Western. Singapore’s first Shake Shack (with unique to Singapore menu items) is here as are numerous cafes that offer ‘outdoor’ dining with a view of Jewel’s forest and waterfall.
amenities for travelers
Many passengers have long layovers at Changi Airport or have many hours to wait between hotel check-out time and late-night flights.
For those passengers Jewel has early check-in counters, bag storage facilities and a pay-per-use lounge.
The newest in the Yotel chain of “cozy” in-city and airport hotels, the YOTELAIR in the Jewel Changi Airport has 130 cabin-sized short-stay rooms.
Each room has its own shower and toilet, TV, WiFi and a space-saving ‘Smartbed’ that can change positions at the push of a button.
There’s a gym for guests, but during my four-hour stay I discovered that the best part of this YOTELAir is the patio that sits out front. It was a perfect, private spot to have a coffee, gather my thoughts, view the waterfall, the forest and all the shoppers going by.
Opening rates at the YOTELAIR are S$140 (about $103 US) for overnight stays in a Premium Queen Cabin and S$80 (about $59 US) for day stays of four hours. (Shower-only packages will be S$20 – about $15 US).
Here are some more, from Jacksonville International in Florida and Hollywood Burbank Airport in California.
At Jacksonville International Airport, Made in JAX, located in the pre-security courtyard, offers a variety of items crafted by Northeast Florida artists and artisans from Jacksonville, Amelia Island and St. Augustine.
Amelia Island Marketplace, modeled after one of Northeast Florida’s most popular tourist destinations, has a variety of souvenirs for beach lovers and apparel from local sports teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp , Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles.
At Hollywood Burbank Airport, there are adorable pet-themed gifts at Up, Pup ‘N’ Away in Terminal A.
Have you found some great holiday gifts in airport shops this year? Share a photo if you can.
As the holidays get nearer, community groups will staff complimentary gift-wrapping tables (donations encouraged) in many airport terminals. So no one will be the wiser when you show up with a lovely wrapped gift you bought on the fly.
Pendleton from Portland
(2_ Pendleton store at Portland
International Airport. Courtesy Port of Portland)
Oregon-made products to pick up at Portland International Airport range from parachuting DB Cooper action figures ($4.99)and Moonstruck Chocolate’s dark chocolate bar honoring the iconic PDX airportcarpet ($12) to woolen scarves, throw pillow, shirts, Native American-inspiredblankets and co-branded Waterstone rain boots at the Pendleton shop. Bonus: PDX has street-pricing and there’s nosales tax in Oregon.
Dainty candy from Detroit
The Frivolous shop at Detroit Metropolitan Airport lives up to its promise of being filled with “wonderfully unnecessary” gift items. Consider candy ‘coal’ and dainty boxes of raspberry gummi candies ($7.99) or brightly colored, fully functional retro push-button phones ($69.99).
Craft beer six-packs
A bottle of wine from any of the more than two dozen Vino Volo airport locations would make a lovely gift. At Nashville International Airport, travelers can pick up six-packs of bottled craft beer to go at the Tennessee Brew Works kiosk and at Yazoo! Brewing or 4-packs of 16-ounce cans at Fat Bottom Beer Brewing.
The recently opened NoDa Brewing at CharlotteDouglas International Airport offers mix-n-match four packs of cans to go, with signature beers such as Coco Loco and Hop, Drop ‘N Roll.
Channel Seattle with flannel -or soap
“Sleepless in Seattle” nightshirts($32.99) are still available at airport shops in Seattle, even though the film is now 25 years old. The Sub Pop retail shop carries some of record company’s cool clothing line, including a $65 “Fremont Flannel.” And, at Made in Washington, Seattle’s own Jimi Hendrix is honored with PurpleHaze Lavender soaps ($9.99)
Crabs from Miami International Airport
Some Legal Sea Food branches at Boston’s Logan Airport will pack live lobsters to go, while at Miami’s International Airport, fresh Florida stone crabs can be packed for gift giving at Prive Gourmet Market or at My Ceviche.
Presents for pets and their people
At Phoenix Sky HarborInternational Airport (PHX), Connections (T4) sells Arizona Gourmet Doggie treats ($6.99), while Mosaic (pre-security T4) offers a wide range of fun dog-themed refrigerator magnets ($5.95).
Cute pet toys from BarkBox, which are usually available only by subscription, are for sale this season at numerous airport Hudson shops, including in Phoenix; Fresno, Los Angeles, San Jose, SanFrancisco, Orange County and Oakland, CA; Portland, OR; Seattle; andMinneapolis-St. Paul.
One great thing about doing holiday shopping at airports is that the stores open very early and close super late. Another plus: you can now find SouveNEAR’s vending machines stocked with locally-made gifts and craft items in Oakland International Airport (OAK), Kansas City International Airport (KCI) and NewarkLiberty International Airport (EWR; Terminal A).
Eko Kreations has napkins embroidered with California wildflowers (set of 4; $45) in theSouveNEAR machine at OAK, bottles of Zim’s Hot Sauce (set of 2, 3-oz bottles,$11) are available at KCI, and a tin filled with 10 scented mini soaps from OohLa La Petite Boutique is available at EWR.
Celebrity treatment at LosAngeles International Airport
A gift membership($4,500; not including per flight fees) or a one-time visit ($2700 – $4,000) to ThePrivate Suite at Los AngelesInternational Airport is a luxury splurge sure to impress.
The private terminal has its own security and customs/immigration screening as well as individual suites for guests with bathrooms, food pantries, daybeds and runway views. Suite-to-aircraft transportation (in BMW 7-Series sedans) is included.