For those who pursue shopping with a passion, the Waikele Premium Outlets offer one of Oahu's great adventures. Gathered here in Waipahu, about 30 miles from downtown Honolulu, are more than 50 name-brand shops, covering nearly 64 acres of retail-zoned space and offering some of Hawaii's best big-brand bargains.
The Waikele Premium Outlets are part of the Chelsea Property Group, a division of Simon Property Group, which owns dozens of outlet centers across the United States, as well as locations in Mexico, Japan, and Korea. Operated exclusively under the Premium Outlets and Premium Outlet Shopping names - registered trademarks of Chelsea Property Group - each outlet store here is individually owned and operated by leading designers and manufacturers.
Among the categories of goods represented here are designer fashions, sportswear, shoes, children's items, fine leather, luggage, accessories, jewelry, housewares, home furnishings, gifts and specialty items.
Among the specific brands featured are A|X Armani Exchange, Banana Republic, BCBG Max Azria, Barneys New York, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Coach, LeSportsac, MaxMara, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Tommy Hilfiger, and more.
The decision to locate in the Waikele Premium Outlets was made by each individual company, so the groups here are not identical to those seen at other Chelsea Property Group locations on the mainland. However, every effort has been made by management to create the Island's largest collection of the finest designer brands, while offering savings of 25 to 65 percent every day.
To complement the top-name brands of the Premium Outlets, a separate facility has been opened across the street. It carries more practical, less fashion-centered goods. Called the Waikele Center, it houses another two dozen stores, ranging from Eagle Hardware to the Sports Authority. Here you will find restaurants, too, which were deliberately left off of the Waikele Premium Outlets' fashion-not-food tenant list.
Those who come to the Premium Outlets often can take full advantage of the Chelsea VIP Shopper Club. It is an Internet-based membership-based club for savvy bargain-hunters, providing online discounts, a voucher for a free VIP coupon book, brand information, special event notification, and e-mail announcements of "Deals Around Town.'' Members receive free access to the VIP Lounge, a password-protected portion of the Club website, where merchants post exclusive coupons. No membership card is required - just access to a printer.
Another special opportunity for shoppers is a program called "50 Plus Shopper Perks.'' Those who are at least 50 years of age can receive an additional 10% in savings every Tuesday, simply by presenting photo identification with proof of age to the cashier at participating stores. Lists of those shops offering the discount are available at the information desk within the Premium Outlets.
Although the trip to Waikele Premium Outlets can take the better part of an hour when traffic is heavy, getting there poses no problem. The Waikele Trolley provides round-trip service daily, combining open-air comfort with narrated tour information as the route passes Aloha Tower and Pearl Harbor. Departures and drop-offs are from central pick-up points throughout Waikiki and the cost is $26 round-trip, with lots of room available for your shopping bags.
Alternatively, you can drive there by taking the H-1 Freeway 15 miles west of Honolulu. The Waikele Premium Outlets can be seen directly off the highway at Exit 7. The address is 94-790 Lumiaina Street, Waipahu, HI 96797.
You should plan to allow about 5~8 hours for your entire shopping excursion. Hours of operation are 9am to 9pm most days of the week and 10am to 8pm on Sundays, with special extended hours on holidays, but closed for Christmas.
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