The Grand Bazaar Shops showcases diverse collection
It was once considered one of the most valuable underused pieces of land on the Strip, but the puzzle of how to best use the parcel at the southeast corner of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard in front of Bally’s is coming together in the form of The Grand Bazaar Shops. The new shopping destination was initially inspired by world-class shopping destinations such as Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar or London’s Portobello Road and developed to suit Vegas sensibilities. Dozens of vendors inhabit stalls and small shops laid out in several rows, with a wide-open promenade dominating the layout and adjoined by islands and covered alleys that offer everything from wearable art and design-your-own jewelry to custom screen-printed T-shirts and hair extensions to couture for dogs and hot sauce for their humans.
The Grand Bazaar Shops’ late February soft opening took place as some tenants were still unpacking items and setting up merchandise, while others such as jewelers Alex and Ani propped doors open as they shaped their interiors. Semi-circular sofas provided rest stops for pedestrians in the main promenade, where Lolo featured fragrant soaps from Turkey next door to an impressive inventory of American Indian jewelry and art. Martin & MacArthur’s handsome koa wood watches, pens and walking sticks were on display next to the corner shop where Honolulu Cookie Company gave away samples of their pineapple-shaped, preservative-free confections.
The anchor store of the “interactive retail experience” is Swarovski, where shoppers can browse an array of crystal offerings including a beautiful blue Gibson Les Paul guitar, its top encrusted with the company’s cut-glass stones. Customers are invited to Swarovski’s walk-up window to “haggle” for the guitar—or offer $9,000 to streamline the process—as well as other products. A bedazzled Martin acoustic guitar, crystal skulls, Beats by Dre headphones, compact mirrors and Swarovski dice can all be bargained for.
The Swarovski Crystal Starburst on top of the shop cannot be haggled over, however. During the day the 14-foot sphere, created by Las Vegas’ legendary Young Electric Sign Company, sparkles with color that changes as it’s viewed from different perspectives. At midnight the Starburst becomes the central attraction of a light-and-sound show as the bazaar rooftops become illuminated and world-beat music fills the public spaces. Nine hundred and eleven “rays” tipped with crystal spheres extend from the two-ton Starburst’s center, with LED sources creating more than 1,800 points of light. It shimmers and changes hue as it both indicates the approach of the Grand Bazaar Shops’ closing and the level of Swarovski’s technical expertise. It’s a dazzling event.
Once the show is done, you have less than 30 minutes to backtrack and pick up items on that “maybe” list. Wristwatches by Swatch, collectible prints from Disney Fine Art, Hammitt suitcases, handbags and necklaces from AG by Ana Gutierrez Wearable Art, and bath and body products by Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics are among the many temptations, with a plethora of dining and dessert options soon to provide the final pieces to make the Grand Bazaar picture complete.
Bally’s, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m. daily. 702.736.4988