This is the third post in a 6-part series covering our site inspections at three Chic Outlet Shopping Villages in Madrid, Dublin and Paris. The luxury shopping venues located just outside the city limits offer customized, full-service programs for international groups. There are nine Chic Outlets in Europe.
About 45 minutes from central Dublin, Kildare Village is one of Chic Outlet Shopping’s fastest growing retail venues. In 2013, attendance was up 38% over 2012, and Kildare will be bringing in a new MICE manager in early 2014 to ramp up group attendance.
Presently, there are 64 shops and one restaurant. Another 34 shops and two more restaurants are scheduled to open by 2015, and some of the new retailers are very high-end. For example, the fabulous London-based Mulberry label opened here last October, the only standalone Mulberry store in Ireland.
Presently for lunch, L’Officina is a warm Italian restaurant serving Afternoon Tea and creative dishes such as truffled mushroom-filled ravioli with parmigiano chantilly. That goes well paired with a Hugo Boss Italian suit.
Kildare Village is one of the most fashionable shopping experiences in Dublin, with a strong showing of English brands, including Hackett, Anya Hindmarch, Radley, Savoy Taylors Guild and Ted Baker. There’s also a wealth of well-known international labels ranging from Boss to Ralph Lauren.
As customary at all Chic Outlets, we arrived in a luxury black coach and were welcomed in the VIP salon with champagne and finger sandwiches. Lee-Ann McCarthy, tourism manager at Kildare, sat with us while explaining how she’s worked with groups booking Dublin’s best properties, including Four Seasons Dublin, Shelbourne Marriott, The Fitzwilliam, The Merrion and the Dylan Hotel, owned by pop band U2.
At this point, this is when attendees would meet up with their personal shopping escorts if planners have reserved the service. It’s highly recommended to find the best deals and learn interesting background behind the various brands.
Kildare Village can also provide planners with additional information about unique, local Dublin experiences for group attendees, acting almost as a destination concierge with a finger on the pulse of Dublin’s luxury scene. For example, check out the wonderful Pichet restaurant offering “a modern take on a classic bistro.”
“We know all the best hotels, spas and attractions in the area, so we love to share that with MICE planners,” says McCarthy. “We customize every group experience, that’s how we market the brand.”
McCarthy also recommends that planners consider taking the train from Dublin, which stops right at Kildare. Previous groups have bought out a selection of rail cars and hired a DJ for the journey. Then they’ve participated in a whisky tasting in either the VIP salon or L’Officina restaurant.