Desert Hills Premium Outlet Shopping Mall, Cabazon, California
Having visited Atlantic Village Outlet Shopping Centre in Devon, England over the summer, it was interesting to compare and contrast the American version at Desert Hills Premium Outlet Shopping Mall in Cabazon, California. This outlet mall is one of a number of similar conglomerations in the US, Puerto Rico, Japan, Korea and Mexico – for instance, New York City visitors might like to investigate Woodbury Common at Central Valley, NY, an hour’s bus ride north of the Big Apple. The Desert Hills location is bisected by a road and a wide pedestrian crossing, which means easy access can be gained from either direction, as there is ample car parking for both sections of the mall.
A Wide Variety of Apparel, Jewellery, Cosmetics and Homewares
The mall has 130 outlet shops, including Ralph Lauren main lines, Polo Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Clarks Shoes, Ecco, Vans, Giorgio Armani, Nike, Burberry, Juicy Couture, Ugg Australia and Izod. This makes it much larger than the UK’s alternatives, and gives access to big American brands at what seem like ridiculously low prices given the British Pound-Dollar exchange rate as well as the outlet discounting. In addition, their Sale Season is in full swing in January and the already low prices are complemented by further discounts and ‘buy one get second at x amount’ offers. In British grocery stores these are referred to as BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free) offers, but the US model seems to be to offer a discount on a second item rather than having it for free.
There are stores to cater for many different styles of men’s, women’s, children’s and babies’ shoes and clothing, several leather and luggage outlets plus jewellery ranging from Claire’s Accessories to Ultra Diamonds as well as numerous gift and speciality shops.
Pack Light and Visit Early in the Stay to Avoid Paying Baggage Excess
When visiting the area, it is highly recommended that potential shoppers pack light when leaving their destination and make a stop at Desert Hills early in their stay for new clothes. Otherwise there is the distinct possibility of having to pay excess baggage charges when returning home. Some of the offers are irresistible, given that many of the stores are considered designer brand names in the UK, yet are everyday wear in the USA. For instance, a Polo Ralph Lauren cotton T-shirt with the embroidered brand logo on the left chest will retail in the United Kingdom at between £30 and £45. At Desert Hills they were available in December 2015 for $12.99 each with a sale offer of 2 for $20.00 (approximate exchange rate $1.50 to £1.00.)
The outlet mall culture is highly popular with large parties of Oriental shoppers, who appear to head en-masse to one of the luggage stores to purchase new suitcases before proceeding to fill them up at the other shops.
Transportation to Desert Hills Outlet Mall
The mall has two free parking areas, one on either side of the road. There is a discounted rate for car rental available from Enterprise Rent-A-Car as well as options for trains and shuttle bus services. The route up from Anaheim takes car drivers on a picturesque route along I-10, although in wild weather this does require care. It is a drive of between 90 minutes and 2 hours depending on conditions but is well worth it for the shopping experience at the end of it.
Food and Drink at Cabazon’s Outlet Mall
It would be perfectly possible to make a day trip to the mall, finances permitting, as there are enough stores to keep everyone happy for several hours. It is an outdoor complex but the buildings have a verandah style design providing cover if needed. There are two food courts, one in each wing of the precinct. Each serves a mixture of cuisines at reasonable prices – including Chinese, Italian and American – as well as having a coffee shop. There are restrooms in each food court area plus in various other locations throughout the centre.
Desert Hills is a great location for designer bargains. In addition, it is easy to find and simple to navigate on foot once there. A visit to Harry and David food speciality store in the Eastern Wing is a must, as the staff often hand out samples of their stock to try as customers browse. Vans quality sneakers and trainers are hard to resist and the discounts to be had on at least some of the designer brands, such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Nike are not found anywhere else. In addition, this is a day trip which can be undertaken should the, normally compliant, Californian weather disappoint.
You can also read about palm desert street fair shopping here.