Reviews by andrew81371

3 reviews, joined 18 July 2004

Harvey Nichols Harvey Nichols (Department Store)
08 August 2005

Visited Harvey Nichols for the first time in a couple of years and was as disappointed now as I was then. The shop is like a jumble sale only without the possibility of a bargain attached. It was impossible to browse without being practically knocked over by fellow customers jostling for an inch of floor space or being harassed by heavily made-up and insincere sounding sales staff.

There is simply too much stuff crammed into this shop and far too many brand colours and logos shouting at you from every direction. The place looks very tired and even the food hall has lost its initial sparkle.

People must be mad to think of this place as trendy.

The only saving grace is the bar at the top. Once you've suffered the heat, the overwhelming mix of scents, the snail's pace escalators, the artificial light, the crush and the snobbery you are more than willing to pay over the odds for a stiff drink and a glimpse of natural light.

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Harrods Harrods (Department Store / General Sports Shop / Food Hall)
18 July 2004

The food offering at Harrods is the best of any department store in the world. As a Londoner it is the ideal place to find something really special for dinner in the food halls or to take friends for lunch in the Georgian restaurant. There is something for everyone on the buffet and carvery or a la carte and it's always calm and conversation-friendly.

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Peter Jones Peter Jones (Department Store)
18 July 2004

The new Peter Jones is bright and fresh and still holds a huge range of merchandise. The service is still exceptional. It is great that the store received proper investment and not closed down as was the fate of the Partnership's stores in the suburbs.

John Lewis maintained throughout the refurbishment, however, that the unique character of the shop would not be lost. I believe most of it has in fact disappeared.

The main factor which strikes me to be detrimental is the loss of quiet in the store. The open plan floors with hard flooring throughout makes it really noisy and no longer the oasis of calm it once was. The re-positioning of the escalators makes it much easier to move from floor to floor but the circulation of people in the central atrium makes it a less comfortable place to stop and browse.

The loss of the art deco clock in one of the stairwells and the addition of the cheap looking neon column of lights on the spiral staircase lends nothing to the 30s masterpiece and just detracts from the simple beauty of the building.

The welcome relaxation of the old Restaurant is replaced by a challenge of trays, queues and chrome. Unless you are lucky enough to grab one of the few tables in the window The Top Floor offers a view not of London's skyline but of what appears to be endless air conditioning vents.

The Cafebar is a seventies throw back lacking any elegance or spaciousness. Why?

The loss of the Gift Department and the well proportioned light and airy room of the Pictures Department is unfortunate but we are told necessary.

The stock in the new Peter Jones seems more about trend and fashion than timeless design. There's also a narrower range of prices to choose from, these seem higher on average.

As a life long devotee of the place, not as a resident of Chelsea but from south of the river, I'm also puzzled by all the black and white signs around the shop, distinguishing it from all the other branches. Why? Is Peter Jones no longer a proper John Lewis?

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