Emporium Melbourne is the fine-shopping mecca at the heart of Melbourne. It is the kind of place where the window displays alone have me cooing, and where shops have their own inbuilt coffee-stops. And thank goodness for that, because everything here is so detailed and stylish you'll need three coffees to take it all in.
To do Emporium Melbourne justice, you need to explore all five floors. Start anywhere, and do a lap of each floor. At a cursory glance, Emporium Melbourne is easy to dismiss as a collection of over-priced brands catering to the wealthy. This isn't entirely the case (though there are plenty of big brands and some serious price tags). There is plenty here to delight plebs like me, and enjoyment that's within my price range.
While it's true that the high-quality brands are a key part of Emporium's unique flavour, what really makes it beautiful is the way the high class atmosphere is maintained throughout the entire centre. This is, honestly, the best place I've ever been window shopping; the displays alone are worth the visit. And of course, the interiors match those gorgeous displays; a little favourite of mine is the Review shop.
Then there are those gems scattered liberally throughout the centre, stores like the Metropolitan Museum of Art Store. This beautiful little shop is hidden on level 3 near the tunnel to Myer, and has a beautiful selection of art books, jewellery and gifts. There are cleverly stimulating toys for kids, excellent art-specific and other educational books, and many pieces of wearable art to admire.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art store
There's even a whole corner for cat-themed merchandise. I mean, really – this place is too good.
Another corner of beauty hiding in the Emporium is Robinson's bookshop. This is how bookshops should be – wooden shelving, densely packed with quality books covering a wide range of interests. They even have comics and a few choice board games. Heaven.
Other shops to feed the mind are an ABC store and an Australian Geographic.
To stimulate the senses, there are several tea shops. There's an outlet of the popular T2, only 100 metres from the shop in Melbourne Central. There's also this little beauty, the Tea Centre, that has a gorgeous selection of cups, tea pots and teas.
The food court here is the best food court in Melbourne CBD, hands down. Not only is it gorgeous to look at, it has a great variety of healthy and delicious food outlets. Options include sushi, juice and salad bars, a vegan café, a paleo café, pho, Spud Bar, Mexican cuisine, Malaysian cuisine, and several coffee shops. And that's just within the food court.
Cafenatics is the best place for coffee in the food court: it does great coffee, strong and rich with no bitterness. The sizes aren't great but the coffee is still very satisfying. You can also enjoy it in a nearby seat with the great views on offer:
For the chocolate lovers, there is Chokolait, a local favourite that never disappoints. The chocolate pavlova at Chokolait is easily my favourite dessert – ever. Not even exaggerating.
However, today I tried the New York Chocolate Bar. While it doesn't have chocolate pavlova, it's a beautiful shop to sit down and enjoy a delicious hot chocolate, and to be tempted by the gorgeous chocolates on offer.
In terms of the actual shopping available, the Emporium will not disappoint either ladies or gentlemen. In fact, it's great for men, as there are almost as many boutique shops here for the guys as there are for the girls (which is quite rare). There are men's shoe shops that whip you with the smell of leather as you walk past, and more than a few suit shops for the stylish working man.
For the women, well - you'd be hard pressed not to find anything you're looking for, as long as you're looking for something gorgeous.
When you need to stop for a coffee, I highly recommend Botica for its flavoursome coffee. It has a caramel taste and a very smooth finish, so it's a fitting kind of coffee to sip while enjoying the pristine surrounds of the Emporium.
The Emporium is also home to the first Uniqlo shop in Australia, and is an essential part of the Emporium experience.
You'll find so much at the Emporium, including a boutique optometrist, beauty bars and hair-dressers, Pandora and Swarovski jewellery stores, and fashion outlets including TopShop, Hugo Boss, CK, Karen Miller, Sass & Bide, Ted Baker, and so very much more.
No matter your preferred cup of tea, the Emporium has something excellent to offer every shopper.