Guadalajara is home to many U.S. style shopping malls, but one stands head and shoulders above the rest: Plaza Andares.
Architecturally stunning, Andares is a swanky, futuristic commercial center located in a modern, upmarket area of the city’s Zapopan district.
Opened in November 2008, Andares is home to a host of big name fashion outlets, including Levis, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Benetton and Lacoste, among others. The mall also features upscale department stores Liverpool and El Palacio de Hierro, plus a Mac Store and electronics giant Best Buy.
The Play City casino and a multiplex cinema mean visitors have no shortage of entertainment options. The terrace and garden spaces host live music, dance, charity events, fashion shows and arts and craft exhibitions on a daily basis. Even the parking lot is innovative. The enormous lot with a capacity for 1,000 vehicles has an overhead lighting system to highlight empty spaces, plus pink parking spaces reserved for pregnant women or moms with infants.s. Adjacent to the mall, the Andares complex boasts 187 luxury apartments, two recently completed corporate buildings, a host of classy restaurants and a major hotel currently in construction.
“Green” To the Max
In reward for its innovative approach to the environment, Andares has won several prestigious international gold medals for developmental sustainability. The mall has collection points for used batteries and unwanted cell phones. It treats its own wastewater; uses biodegradable products and the latest energy-saving technology and promotes ecological causes by hosting workshops and holding conferences on environmental issues.
The green, natural atmosphere is pervasive. Lush vegetation scales the walls of the courtyards, where you will find fountains, ponds full of fish and colorful flower beds. With an array of comfortable seats and benches available, Andares offers arguably the most relaxing shopping experience in all of Mexico.
Undeniably “fresa” – Mexican slang for posh – Andares attracts a wealthy middle- and upper-class clientele, both domestic and international. Marketed as a “lifestyle experience,” Andares offers personal shoppers and a VIP experience. The “Concierge” service includes 38 personalized customer service options, including valet parking, restaurant reservations, shopping safekeeping and umbrella and wheelchair loan. In case of any emergency a paramedic is on standby 24/7.
Foreign tourists are encouraged to splash their cash, with concessionaires providing sales tax (IVA) refunds at a booth which opened in the mall last year. This effectively enables duty-free shopping, with refunds processed immediately after purchases are made. It is an attractive alternative to last-minute panic buying at the airport.
Andares draws many families on Sunday outings and it is the first pet-friendly mall in Mexico, with 6,000 dogs already signed up as welcome visitors. For those tired of shopping, kids can enjoy the playground and golf lovers can even pass the time on a nine-hole putting green ($3 USD; open 11 a.m. to 8.30 p.m.).
Plaza Andares is located at Puerta de Hierro 4965, just off Avenida Patria, in Zapopan, Guadalajara. Post code: 45116.