CNN came out with its list of the 10 best shopping cities in the world and to everybody's amazement, Kuala Lumpur came fourth immediately after New York, Tokyo and London. In fifth place was Paris and sixth was Hong Kong.
In Kuala Lumpur, 1 Utama was selected as the Shopping Mall of choice, and special mention was made of its "indoor rock-climbing facility, massive rooftop garden with 500 species of exotic plants, and indoor rainforest with koi ponds and freshwater aquarium".
You can read the report if you google for it under travel.cnn.com./worlds-10-best-shopping-cities. The report is followed by reader's reactions, mostly questioning why Kuala Lumpur of all places! Even Malaysians find it hard to believe.
I think 1 Utama stands out by offering attractions that other malls do not. In the rooftop garden I meet people who are delighted to be in a unique garden while their shopoholic spouses are shopping away inside the mall. Otherwise they would have had to hunt for a vacant seat (usually scarce) and struggle to avoid dozing off in a public place. Mall owners often do not realize that for every ardent shopper there may be a companion who is bored stiff. I also meet visitors from all over the world who have heard about this magical garden and have made it a point to visit when they come to Malaysia.
In the Rainforest in the Mall downstairs, smokers have a pleasant place in which to have a puff. I do not smoke myself but I know people who need to smoke once in a while.
Most mall owners think a dollar spent on a garden is a dollar down the drain and so most shopping malls end up like other shopping malls -- boring, over-commercialized and non user-friendly. It was good of CNN to make the point that the best shopping malls offer more than shopping.