ION Orchard makes me happy – be an Insider today!

By 7 May, 2014 Life, Shopping 3 Comments
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  • Ample parking space
  • Pleasant smell
  • Clean toilets
  • Good service staff
  • (Almost) Everything I need under one roof

All the points above will make my day – and for some reason unknown to even myself, I feel happy whenever I’m headed to ION Orchard.

It could really be the custom blended fragrance diffused through the mall that makes me so happy… or knowing that I’m always greeted with a smile, and that I never have to face a queue for the toilets at my favorite mall.

{ I started with the intention to write down what I like about ION Orchard but never have I imagined that this would be… so long and turn into an insider article itself! }

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Meet Song.

He is the valet at level 5 (before valet service got pushed to level 6) and the first smiling face I see when I enter ION Orchard (that’s if the staff at the gantry don’t smile at me first) and we always acknowledge each other with a wave or a smile.

Whenever there are people in my car they give me this incredulous look “You know the valet?! How often do you come here, man?!”

VERY OFTEN. : D

What? I love parking in ION! I can even tell people where to park (dependent on where they are going) and off the top of my head I can give you a list of carpark prices in the Orchard area lol. But ION Orchard will always remain my favorite place to park, from the day I got my license. “ION is the best place for you to park and the lanes are so wide!”, said Eve helpfully, when I just passed and was afraid of tight spots – little did she know that I would become this faithful to ION and even make friends with the valet, haha.

Anyway, about Song – he is extremely nice, and worthy of a thousand compliments for always having a smile on his face, and not forgetting to ask me if I’ve eaten, or how my day was – It’s great to know that my car is in safe hands!

Other than the valet – you can also find Balaclava, and an alternative entrace for Magosaburo, as well as Dermacare at the lift lobby entrance!

{ Tip: If you’re headed towards Jewelry street (b2) / F21 (b1)  (nearer to the MRT), take the lift down from the lobby which has only two lifts – it’s much faster and goes from Level 8 – B2 only ;) }

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And after you’ve parked at level 5 (if you’re early or lucky enough!), people would usually take the escalator down to level 4, where you can find:

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The wonderful concierge, which is also partially a SISTIC counter for you to get tickets to plays, musicals & concerts – and just beside it is the Gallery at ION L4, which also leads you to Salt Grill & Sky Bar (pretty cool entrance and lift to the highest level of ION, I must say!)

It is also the level I frequent to redeem my carpark points!

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In order to redeem points from your purchases made in ION Orchard, you must first be an ION+ Rewards member. You will gain access to discounts, dining privileges (10% off at participating merchants), and get notified of promotions! You can check out the latest promotions and offers for ION+ Rewards members here!

{ Auntie Evonne Tip: After you’re an ION Rewards member, you just need to spend a min of $100 to redeem 5 points for parking, and every $100 thereafter constitutes as 1 point. So if you spend $200, you’ll get 6 points – and each point = $1 SGD. Which means a total of $6 to deduct from your parking that day ; )

The best part is it can be accumulated and brought over. So if you have 12 points and your parking fee’s only $6, you’ll still have 6 points left to deduct for your next parking visit. Cool, isn’t it? It is also one of the most convenient parking reward system I’ve encountered – redemption/deduction is automatic as it is registered to your car’s IU unit, which means no more waiting for comp tickets to get zapped / encountering an enraged auntie whose carpark redemption doesn’t work, etc.! }

If there’s a queue at the concierge at L4, you can also redeem these points at other concierge booths – L1 (outside Sephora), L2, and B3 (outside Epicentre).

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I think some may be curious as to why I featured Singapore Airlines, but I received extremely good service and explanation about miles redemption here – and they even have internet kiosks for you to do your check-in online / claim miles online etc. I just found it ridiculously convenient that there’s an SQ Service Centre just at my favorite mall.

And then we move on to the toilets. ION’s toilets have been my preferred choice (seriously, I am extremely picky about toilet cleanliness and such) and their standards have NEVER dropped. It’s always spick and span, no thanks to their excellent staff (who also gives me a smile every time!)

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The girls working in ION Orchard have their favorites too – and they love Level 4′s toilet because it tends to be pretty quiet and also because of this friendly auntie here, who has gotten herself several compliments for her good service, from what I’ve heard! I remember her waving to me and telling me there’s tissue underneath the mirror when I felt kind of blur the first few times I was in ION.

Also on Level 4, you can find the pretty brunch and tea place Becasse, Jones the Grocer (which also operates Becasse), Japanese joints like Magosaburo, Enmaru, as well as popular dim sum / hot pot spots Taste Paradise and Imperial Treasure Steamboat! I have dined at most of the places here (told ya, hardcore fan of the mall), and the service have always been excellent.

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You also can find Crate & Barrel (which spans to B3), Prints, The Planet Traveller and there’s even laundry service just beside Traveler’s World!

Did I also mention that L4 is a great place to take OOTDs… in air conditioning? : p I didn’t want to go too far so Tricia and I walked in and took a few snaps!

LPDNY Sweater, Zara Shorts, H&M x Anna Dello Russo boots & Rebecca Minkoff bag ; )

LPDNY Sweater, Zara Shorts, H&M x Anna Dello Russo boots, Butler & Wilson accessories & Rebecca Minkoff bag ; )

Tricia & I having brunch at Becasse, before an event at Sephora!

Tricia & I having brunch at Becasse, before an event at Sephora! You must try their banana french toast, it’s DELECTABLE!

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Level 3 can be summed up with three words.

STICKY. DATE. PUDDING.

Yes, it’s the famous sticky date pudding at The Marmalade Pantry! XD

{ Auntie Evonne’s Tip – Download The Entertainer App, which is basically a coupon book in your phone – if you like the restaurants they work with, purchase a subscription (lasts a year, we’re almost half way through the year…) and you can claim 1-for-1 main courses at The Marmalade Pantry! Google about the app and check out the eateries they work with (there’s also vouchers for hotels / flights etc so it’s quite worth it really) }

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Other than The Marmalade Pantry’s food – there’s also Repetto, which is relatively new, as well as Alice + Olivia with their kitsch range of clothing, Furla for their beautiful bags (esp the candy range), Vivienne Westwood and Agnes B are amongst my favorites, and who can forget Penhaligon for their wonderful fragrances? You need to step inside and find your fragrance profile!

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Level 2 is, well, a level I can’t shop at yet, hahaha BUT Church carries some really nice English men’s shoes! If you’re looking at a gift for your man, this is the place to check out. There’s also TWG here and the taxi stand is located on this level as well.

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One day la, I will be shopping at this level and buying a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti shoes (and not on discount also okay), hahaha.

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Now the action on this floor is quite concentrated on one place – the playground of all girls (and some guys) – SEPHORA.

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You can typically find MUFE in all Sephoras – but at Sephora ION, there’s also Dior, MAC, Marc Jacobs Beauty (exclusive to Sephora) and most recently – Shu Uemura! There will be some Sephora Exclusives, but take note that their famous eyebrow pencils are not available in Sephora unfortunately.

My favorite find in Sephora… is not make up.

Say Hi to Nura D’Lempicka, Master BA of Sephora ION!

Nura doing her thang on me - pardon the spastic "in the midst of makeup" expression here

Nura doing her thang on me – pardon the spastic “in the midst of makeup” expression here

The first time I met Nura, who’s mixed Thai, Chinese and Dutch – she wow-ed me away by matching me PERFECTLY for both under-eye and blemish cover concealers – I’ve been using her recommendations ever since and they are still the best matches I’ve had - you must remember to ask her to share her trick for concealing!

Thank you for the tips, Nura!

Thank you for the tips, Nura!

(I believe she’s off on Tuesdays – call Sephora to enquire before you head down to look for her – I LOVE this woman and I’ve been recommending my friends to look for her.)

Of course, other than Nura, there are plenty of friendly BAs in Sephora you can seek help from should you feel lost (I know usually people would because of the sheer amount of products available there!)

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Auntie Evonne Tip: Get on Sephora’s White Card programme! Registration for the Sephora White Card is free – clock up to 250 points ($1 = 1point) on your card, and get 10% off your next purchase! Also, be privy to White Card Exclusives and discounts when you get on their mailing list!

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And just outside Sephora, you’ll find the other Concierge counter with smiling faces for car park redemption and other enquiries you may have (trust me, it is SOOOO easy to hit $100 in Sephora!)!

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Level one’s where all the exciting brands are. The newly opened MM6, Saint Laurent and their delectable bags, Bottega (always drop by to check out bracelet colors), Ferragamo (their heels are probably the most comfortable I’ve ever worn, can last all day in them!) and you can even stop for tea at TWG!

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I use Standard Chartered for both work and personal purposes and what luck it is to have a branch right in this mall!
The best part is that they seem to have an on-going tie up with Standard Chartered which gives the cardholder plenty of benefits in ION:

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{ Aunty Evonne Tip: From now till 18th May – Spend a min of $80 from Friday – Sunday and get 2 hours worth of parking free at ION Orchard! (No need to be ION+ Rewards member). You can check out the comprehensive list of promotions if you use a Standard Chartered card here! }

You can also withdraw money from DBS Atms located at a rather secluded corner on this level (near Thomas Sabo) – the queues aren’t as long as the ones outside the MRT station.

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Plenty of Fashion brands are also located at this level – Warehouse (you really need to step in because they have pretty nice clothes!), Ted Baker (love their men’s shirts), Bimba & Lola, G Star Raw, A|X, Guess, Bebe (love their dresses!), Kate Spade Saturday (super reasonably priced bags), Pandora, and last but not least, Samantha Thavasa!

I’d be honest and say that Samantha Thavasa made a great decision by being in a very prominent corner of ION (high traffic) because they got my attention with THIS particular bag.

The white Samantha  Thavasa bag that Miranda Kerr's holding has got my heart!

The white Samantha Thavasa bag that Miranda Kerr’s holding has got my heart!

It looks sort of like a lovechild between a Hermes Birkin and Saint Laurent, hahaha. But I really, really love the blue inner lining and the combi with gold hardware… *heart flutters* plus it’s just the PERFECT size – I cannot stop thinking about it!!!

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Ah, B2 is another level of excitement. This is where all the main traffic is – coming from the Orchard MRT exit, and from all the malls linked underground to ION.

The first few shops you’d see – CHANEL. L’OCCITANE. BOBBI BROWN. and sandwiched between BB and Chanel, DIOR!

Now the Dior boutique you see here – is quite different from what you’d expect in Sephora. It’s called the Dior Backstage Studio and in here, you’ll be able to get Backstage exclusives!

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Meet Tammy & Han! I had the privilege of meeting Tammy during a Dior Event, and Han came highly recommended by many people – especially Yina who got her make up done by Han during the launch and loved it!

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Han is the resident 师奶杀手 and it’s not hard to see why! I had Han help match me a lip color suitable for my outfit that day!

“Apply Dior’s Lip Glow or the Lip Maximizer at the start of your make up routine – and as you work your way to your lips (the last step), you’ll find that lip color application goes on smoother, and you’ll get added shine!” – Han, Senior Backstage Makeup Artist

Once again, excuse the 痴呆 expression please.

Once again, excuse the 痴呆 expression please.

Dior’s Addict Fluid Stick is their latest range of lip colors – in wonderfully bright 16 colors to match any skin color and any mood – I’ve swatched all 16 of them but yet to finish editing them (soon, soon!).

“Dior Addict Fluid Stick enables a flawless application in a single sweep:
the high-impact colour and long wear of a classic lipstick,

combined with the shine of a gloss, all in a thin film that delivers sensational comfort.”

 

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You can also get your foundation shade matched over at this counter! They actually have a nifty handheld device which reads your skin shade and matches you for their huge range of foundations! Quite cool, I must say!

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Dior has also just launched their latest makeup palettes and you should really check it out! Love the blues for Summer 2014 ; )

YSL Beauty is currently undergoing renovation – they’re taking over half of where FANCL used to be but if you head down that way, you’ll also find Shu Uemura right opposite it. (rather hard to miss with the shu shu shu shu shu signage haha)

Hello, Sherin & Jessica!

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Remember I mentioned that the eyebrow pencils are not available in Sephora ION? Well, they’re about 2 levels away so you needn’t worry – the main reason for not having the pencils in Sephora is because each BA in Shu are trained to sharpen these pencils in a special way!

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Yes, you don’t poke them into a pencil sharpener and twist like the conventional pencil. Instead, they have a special technique which requires the right amount of strength and an entire day’s worth of training to master. I’m serious. They told me that they spend one entire day just sharpening the pencils. Can I sign up for that, please? Haha. I tried doing it myself and broke the pencil lead thrice, lol!

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I also got Jess to touch up my make up for me – my cheeks were still undone, so we tried their latest lip & cheek product, Tint in Gelato – yes, you can use this on both your cheeks and lips! These dry matte instead of glossy so they make for wonderful blushes and come in an amazing array of colors too!

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“Try using Shu Uemura’s pentagon sponge or the light bulb sponge to apply the tint on your cheeks rather than using your fingers for a more consistent and even finish.” – Jessica Ng, Accredited Make Up Artist

Thought that Jessica looks gorgeous here so I want to post it! She's really jovial and friendly : D

Thought that Jessica looks gorgeous here so I want to post it! She’s really jovial and friendly : D

Lip & Cheek, done! ; )

Lip & Cheek, done! ; )

Besides the very prominent beauty brands, I usually drop by TCC for meet ups as well – sometimes you can find me typing away on my laptop (usually rushing work, haha) and I love that place for working because of the power points available, and also because I get 15% from the TCC Card : p (Not really a Coffee / Starbucks girl)

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Uniqlo & Topshop are also hard to miss on this level – as well as Victoria’s Secrets, H&M, Vince Camuto on the other end of the mall! Don’t forget the very useful Singpost, which is located along Jewelry Street – they open daily till 7pm, even on Sundays – unlike the other usual SingPosts in your neighbourhood.

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If you take the escalator down from Shu Uemura, you’ll find even more beauty brands on this relatively quiet stretch of ION (well, compared to B2…)

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Kiehl’s (get samples to try before you buy, that’s their motto!), Astalift, Laneige, Biotherm Homme, Skin Inc Supplement Bar (highly raved facials), VMV Hypoallergenics for the most sensitive of skins and quite a few more! There are also clothing labels like Uniqlo (spanning two levels, from B2 – B3) and also H&M which has an escalator to get to B3 from B2 as well.

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As you come down from H&M on B2 to B3, you’ll see EpiCentre (Selling Apple gadgets) just outside of it as well as the beginning of many food places – the restaurants on the lower levels are far more affordable than on L4, and you can find my favorites here too – Imperial Treasure Noodle & Congee House, Soup Spoon, Nara Thai, and yum, Itacho Sushi, where we took a break for dinner at!

P.S. – Did you know that Apple has recently, and VERY sneakily renewed their MBA range of laptops? Processor speeds have been updated to 1.4ghz from 1.3ghz… tempting much! 

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Itacho has been a favorite since it opened in ION and I still like it just that I visit less often since there are so many choices in ION itself! Also there tends to be a long queue after 630 it seems, so go early or queue!

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Ahhh, B4. The fastest way to B4 is via the long escalator which leads directly to it from B2! Love this short cut and you can find it between Estee Lauder / Rubi shoes!

Most of the time when I say I need to go to B4, it is only for a few things and my friends are quite used to it – either Boost Juice, or my Butterfly Bun! Hehehe.

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Stopped by here for a short break in the midst of all that liaising and shooting and my Vit C Detox Juice was much welcomed!!!

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Other than the food court where I often stop by for my Bah Kut Teh (Balestier Founder BKT!) and Butterfly Bun fix ($1, and hands down the most “got standard” Butterfly Buns I’ve tasted in a long while), there’s also Daiso ($2 errthang!), Gelateria Italia is my husband’s favorite, and I love getting the Taiyaki (Japanese red bean pastry which comes in a fish shape) from Tsukiji Gindako too!

For quite a while, we also really liked the quality (and a lil bit expensive) katsu over at Ginza Bairin and I always get drawn to the chocolates in Royce. I also get my weekly dosage of 8 days at the mama shop, and as we move along, you can also find both Watsons & Guardian at this level though they’re at different “sections”!

Muji (LOVE their PP Storage series!) is at a corner of the mall and so is Jason’s, which actually offers pretty nice seafood to go as well as fruits and Japanese vegetable specials from time to time! Since I usually park here, I tend to do my grocery shopping and Muji shopping here as well (easier to lug things from here to the car).

I think you can tell why I love this mall so much – I get so many things done here and there’s just so many things to buy. Just yesterday, I brought a friend shopping and she managed at $400 haul from Sephora!

If you find a particular staff’s service exemplary, do send in a compliment – the service staff which are often complimented get a service star badge which boosts staff morale = more smiles around for everyone, yes? ; D

P.S. I’ve always been on the hunt for scents that smell close to ION’s – If you like how ION smells like, try getting the Green Tea & Citrus candle from True Grace (available at Strangelets along Yong Siak) or White Tea & Ginger from To be Calm ; ) Both candles cost around $59 SGD!

 ION Insider Blogger – Call for Entries!

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We all know there are benefits to being a blogger – you get first dibs on news, product reviews, attend events and many more!
And of course the many wonderful friends I’ve made along the way and it’s a joy having them around because we share a common interest!

Sure it takes a lot of planning and hard work (I spent 5 hours directing/taking photos, 1.5 hours editing, and 6 hours writing/editing/compiling this) but if you like what you are writing about, you’ll definitely enjoy the process and nothing beats the satisfaction of publishing a good blog post and knowing that people will enjoy reading it! (I hope? Haha)

If you love to write, review and share news with your friends, why not consider being an ION Insider’s resident blogger?
Whether your interest is in food, lifestyle or beauty – ION has it all for you to explore, and even I want to be an Insider blogger myself!

Click here to JOIN the search now!

Good luck to all the participants ; )

{ Advertorial | Partial photography credits to Ron Lee of EyeDeas | Thank you ION, Sephora, Dior, and Shu Uemura for letting us shoot in your stores! }

3 Comments

  • Linda says:

    What a wonderful guide to Ion!! So many of my faves listed here, including Itacho! But I’ve yet to valet park… Just zoom all the way up!

    • ling says:

      Thank you Linda!!! <3 <3 Hehehe there are a few valet points – downstairs and then there’s one on the 5th, and then 6th floor. Usually I just zoom up and if there’s no lot and I’m in a rush I’ll just valet at either 5th or 6th! : p

  • Hera says:

    I shall make it a point to actually WALK around Ion Orchard instead of just going there for Sephora next time! Hahaha. This is gonna be my starting guide. If only I wasn’t so directionally challenged. >< Must have taken quite a day for this post! Appreciate the pretty pictures and helpful tips love! :3

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