Gucci, Chanel, Prada, anyone? As the economy and high gas prices continue to pinch consumers' wallets, trend-savvy shoppers flock to outlet malls searching for the best deals on everything from high-end designer merchandise to wardrobe basics. "Our centers from coast to coast are seeing increases in visitorship," notes Michele Rothstein, spokesperson for Premium Outlets, the outlet division of Simon Property Group. "And our core outlet shopper, who has always known that outlet shopping is a great choice, continues to brag about their outlet finds. The outlets are a great way to save money on your favorite brands. Who doesn't love a deal?"
So whether you want to get a jumpstart on holiday shopping or just love to shop, we've culled the best designer outlet malls from California to New York and recommended nearby places to stay. So get ready and rev up those shopping engines — and don't forget your sneakers!
Destination: Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, Central Valley, New York, (845) 928-4000. Located one hour north of New York City, shoppers flock to the 220-store mall — featuring the largest collection of designer stores in the US — for deals from luxury brands like Burberry and Gucci to mainstream retailers like J.Crew, Juicy Couture and MaxStudio. Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th and Last Call by Neiman Marcus also have locations at Woodbury. For shopping convenience, the mall has lockers and a shipping service to mail your buys.
To stay: Apple Valley Inn, Glenwood, New Jersey, (973) 764-3735. The Shop & Stay package includes two nights with a full country breakfast each morning, a VIP shopping coupon book, two bottles of water to keep you hydrated while shopping and more.
Destination: Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, Wrentham, Massachusetts, (508) 384-0600. In October, Bloomingdale's will open an outlet at Wrentham, adding to the mall's 170-store roster, which already includes Barneys New York, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo and more.
To stay: Copley Square Hotel, Boston, (800) 225-7062. Book the Passion for Fashion package and receive deluxe accommodations, continental breakfast, round-trip transportation to the outlet mall, VIP coupon book, a $25 gift card and complimentary wine from 5 to 6 p.m.
Destination: Manchester Designer Outlets, Manchester, Vermont, (802) 362-3736. Boasting discounts from 30 to 70 percent off retail, the designer outlet features luxury designers like Giorgio Armani, Escada and Michael Kors plus coveted brands like J.Crew, BCBG Max Azria and Polo Ralph Lauren.
To stay: Equinox Resort, Manchester, Vermont, (800) 362-4747. Stay at the historic luxury resort and spa and get a $50 gift certificate for the outlet mall and $750 worth of coupons.
Destination: Desert Hills Premium Outlets, Cabazon, California, (951) 849-6641. Just an hour's drive from Los Angeles and 20 minutes west of Palm Springs, this is where Hollywood's elite comes for designer deals. The mall has 130 outlet stores, ranging from Coach, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Elie Tahari, Etro, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Judith Leiber, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tod's, Yves Saint Laurent and more.
To stay: Rendezvous, Palm Springs, California, (800) 485-2808. The 1950s-styled bed and breakfast offers a $50 gift card and coupon book if you book the Shop Till You Drop package. The package also includes a one-hour massage and chocolate-covered strawberries. From $240.
Destination: San Marcos Premium Outlets, San Marcos, Texas, (512) 396-2200. Designed after the Piazza San Marco in Venice, the 140-store outlet includes luxury fashion brands like Fendi, Gucci, La Perla, Michael Kors, Loro Piana and more. San Marcos has been ranked the third-best place to shop in the world as seen on ABC's The View.
To stay: Radisson Hotel & Suites, Austin, Texas, (800) 395-7046. The Shop and Stay package offers breakfast, a $25 food and beverage credit, parking and $500 worth of shopping coupons. The hotel also has an outdoor pool where you can wind down after a long day at the mall.
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