Friday, April 29, 2011

IKEA Beijing

I was gonna start a blog post on my Beijing trip, but got distracted by the Royal Wedding. LOL! So I am writing about something way easier to recount, because this was the highlight of my trip. Ok, ok, next to the Great Wall climb, but yea, major highlight, I would say.

So let me save the rest of the Beijing retelling for another day, and start with this post on IKEA Beijing, which happened on the last day, by the way.

I love, love, love IKEA. Although I know it isn't posh-posh to go gaga over IKEA, but hey, I love the store (so sue me). My mom's sister once labeled IKEA as cheap furniture that suits its price. But heck, I don't care. I think quality and design have both improved through the years. My mom loves IKEA, too, but she doesn't see it fit for her home (read: di bagay) so she leaves the IKEA passion to me (read: bagay sa bahay ko, LOL). My dad loves IKEA as well, and can spend the whole day there testing pillows (his obsession) and bringing tons to the cashier, only to have my mom screen and ditch. LOL.

Anyway, I try to visit IKEA each time I visit a country that has it. Hong Kong, a country I frequent, opened its biggest IKEA store at MegaBox last year. We all thought it was huge, but alas, it is nothing compared to the Beijing store, which has the makings of an IKEA Warehouse similar to the ones in the US and Sweden.

Let me tell you, or wait, let me show you how huge.

IKEA has only one store in Beijing. The receptionist at the hotel laughed when I asked her for directions to the nearest store. "Only one store in Beijing. Why eeeekeeeya? You buy furniture?" I had her write the name in Chinese so I could ask the cab driver to take us there. The cab driver knew exactly where it was, and happily took us to that one store (a rare treat, let me tell you, because hailing a cab in Beijing is so darn hard!).

The cab ride took about 20 minutes from Forbidden City, and cost us about 36RMB (roughly around 260pesos). When we stepped out of the cab, it looked pretty much deserted as only a handful of customers were around the store's facade. Alas, wrong first impression. The place was packed! But you won't have the feeling because...

IKEA Beijing is huuuuuuggggggeeeee!!!

Don't let the empty store front fool you. Parking was at the basement, under the store.

We were kinda pressed for time, since we were leaving for Manila that evening, and it was pretty late so I forgot to take pics of the main lobby. Oops. Do believe me when I say it was magnificent. Hehe.

We headed straight for the 3rd level, to the restaurant, which was big! The... uh... stolen photo I took doesn't justify the actual state of IKEA Beijing's restaurant, which seats around 1,000 (or more). And let me tell you, at 1pm, on a Tuesday at that, the place was brimming!

Stolen shot of the huge, huge restaurant. Taken as we were walking out.

My kids were hungry, and I couldn't quite decide on what to get. No steak specials or roast chicken at this IKEA restaurant. They were serving the usual, plus Chinese food. Well, it looked like Chinese food to me. So I decided on the usual - Baked Salmon with dill Mashed Potatoes and A's and RL's favorite, Swedish Meatballs. We normally have the meatballs with spaghetti noodles or fries, but I couldn't relay that via hand signals, and I only know basic-basic Mandarin, so I settled for the usual mash (good thing they weren't serving boiled potatoes that day). I also got a Smoked Salmon wrap to go (to eat on the plane).

Delicious Baked Salmon. Nom! This picture is making me crave for some!

A visit to IKEA must include having a serving of their Swedish Meatballs. Check out the Lingonberries! Nom!

We breezed through the showroom. Nothing there I haven't seen, really. The last time we were at an IKEA store was less than 6 months ago. Plus, I already had a list in my head of what to get. Nothing too heavy since we couldn't ship out a box this trip (I did take note of new stuff I wanted for the July trip to the homeland). Of course we had to take a 30 minute detour. My kids, RL most especially, love to play with the toys at Children's IKEA. RL fell in love with the new DUKTIG Mini Kitchen.

Photo Credit:

Yep, my son loves to pretend-cook, ever since he saw his male cousin E's mini kitchen. 700+RMB plus a really big and heavy box... so... uh, no thanks. I'll dig out A's kitchen or my old Fisher Price stove and cooking utensils nalang. But yea, I had to peel him away from the display. Screaming and kicking. Next time, Baby. Next time.

The items at IKEA Beijing were cheaper than most items from IKEA Hong Kong. Weekly specials and Even Lower Prices were indeed lower! The 5W-7W CFL bulbs were selling for as low as 5RMB each! Crazy low!

We were amazed at how huge the place was. The two top floors were sprawling. One could easily get lost there. But waaah! The lower Market Hall was even bigger!

I wanted to bring home those 199RMB round accent chairs! (see bottom of photo)

Overall, the visit took more or less 3 hours, dining-in included. The lines weren't as long as I had expected, but that's because they had 35 cashiers, with around 80% open, too!

I couldn't take a better pic since there were people looking at my huge SLR and I wasn't sure I could take pics at this store. IKEA stores in Hong Kong don't allow photos inside their showrooms. So I wasn't sure if it was the same in Beijing.

The IKEA trip made my Beijing vacay worth it. KY even says so. Literally made me forget I was frustrated with my Mandarin skills and their non-existent English skills. Not to mention my failed attempt at hand signals/ sign language and the useless English-Mandarin translator app I had downloaded for this trip ($4.99 pa!).

Of course we had to get soft-serve Ice Cream before leaving. Actually, we shared 5 cones (1RMB each) and a hotdog meal (5RMB for a sandwich and a refillable drink). It started raining so we couldn't go out to get a cab. Thus the 5 cones. Hehe.

IKEA Ice Cream, anyone?

IKEA Beijing was just bliss! Funny, never thought I'd say that about a home store.

I just have to say it again. I LOVE IKEA.


When in Beijing, check out IKEA at the following location:

No.59 Futong Eastern Street ,
ChaoYang District , Beijing 100102

For easy, hassle-free commute to the store, ask the front desk personnel or the hotel concierge to write down the store name and address in Chinese. Easier for the cab driver when he knows exactly where to go. Hehe.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails