Indulge in Shoes and the City

"BUT I rationalised that my new shoes shouldn't be punished just because I can't budget.”

Carrie Bradshaw and her always fabulous-looking trio of friends will stop at nothing to make sure they have the latest and greatest when it comes to fashion.

The popular lead of Sex and the City also declared she had spent about $40,000 on shoes alone.

But the best thing is, when you look in the right places, you don't have to worry about stretching the budget for exactly what you want.

Sure, you can spend upwards of $400 for a pair of Jimmy Choos if brands are your thing. But with such a wide variety available, and stocktake sales in full force, there is no reason why you can't find a bargain for less than $50.

So when the opportunity to indulge in a weekend of nothing but shoe shopping emerged, my mental shopping list was growing by the minute.

Although not much of a girly-girl myself, even I know the importance of the impact a great pair of shoes can have on any outfit, whether it be a jeans and T-shirt ensemble or a more stylish backless halterneck evening dress.

The Shoes and the City package with the Royal Albert Hotel in Brisbane city is ideal for a weekend with the girls and windows full of every kind of shoe your heart could ever desire – boots, stilettos, kitten heels, peep toes, ballerina flats, slides, platforms.

They all whirled by in a brilliant flash of colour and I found it hard to peel my eyes off one particular pair of black and white French peeps. Brisbane is a treasure trove of shoe stores, from Wittner and Hype DC Shoes to Nine West and Midas, all within walking distance of the hotel.

While check-in at the hotel is at 1pm, the lovely staff at the desk will hold on to your luggage until your room is ready, even alerting you to when it is available if you wish, freeing up your hands to carry the array of shopping bags you are bound to end up with.

By the time noon rolled around, I was grateful to have worn a comfy and easy-to-remove pair of shoes. This not only meant I was free from blisters and other nasties, but it was a piece of cake to slip them off and try on as many pairs as physically possible.

With the hotel in such a prime location, we had to make a few emergency drop-offs of bags to ensure we were not too burdened throughout the day, plus take a quick rest before setting out again.

Even if your legs have decided they cannot go an extra step, by the time the shops close their doors, plenty of dining options are available to tantalise any tastebuds within a few steps of the hotel entrance. The only way for us to wrap up a day of girly fun, shopping and shoes was to indulge in a few Cosmos and gossip until the late hours of the night.

Once our jaws had seized from all the talking, it was time to kick off the shoes and flop into bed in one of the deluxe hotel rooms.

Once the sun was up and those tired legs had been rejuvenated, it was off to Pane e Vino for a delicious breakfast overlooking the hustle and bustle of the city.

Its modern décor included signed celebrity plates, which were adorned with hilarious messages and pictures. But, the lure of the retail industry called again and, once refuelled, more retail therapy beckoned.

So if you are in need of a serious shoe wardrobe resuscitation, grab your girlfriends and head to the heritage-listed Royal Albert Hotel.

From $185 twin-share, the Shoes and the City package includes overnight accommodation, breakfast at Pane e Vino, a guide to the best shoe stores in Brisbane and gift vouchers for Wittner Shoes Queens Plaza and Hype DC Shoes Queens Street.

And in case you haven't seen it yet, the Sex and the City 2 Movie is screening at the nearby Event Cinemas, Brisbane Myer Centre.

The package is valid Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights until August 31, subject to availability.

For more information or to book, call 1800 655 054 or visit www.royalalbert.com.au.

The writer was a guest of the Royal Albert Hotel.


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