because once is enough

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

DISCLAIMER: The author acknowledges her accountability and responsibility for this post. 

I am writing this post for those people who have never set foot inside the infamous, newly-opened SM Aura Premier at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. As for me, I have visited the place once, and that was yesterday, so everything about SM's so-called "high-end" mall is still fresh in my memory. Here's my one time, big time experience at SM Aura:

Here's what it looks like from the outside:

SM Aura Premier (Exterior)

As you can see, it's shape is not like the usual SM malls that we know of. The building behind it is connected to the mall. It's still under construction, though. I think it will serve as an office space or a hotel of some sort in the future; I'm just not quite sure.

Now here's what you'll see when you come inside:

SM Aura Premier (Interior)

SM Aura Premier (Interior)
The interior of the mall is indeed very spacious. Maybe because some stores are not yet opened, or simply because there's no crowd. One thing I noticed with Aura is the absence of kiosks or stalls on the center aisles of the mall. So if you're craving for a Zagu drink or a waffle, then you better forget about Aura. 

Forever 21 at SM Aura Premier 
This Forever 21 store is the first thing that you will see as you enter the Aura. As you can see, it has two floors, and the store has its own escalator. The first level, however, is not that big. I wasn't able to check the second level but I think it's just of the same size. I think SM Makati and SM North EDSA's Forever 21 stores are bigger than Aura's two levels of combined. A two-level Uniqlo store is just beside Forever 21, btw.

Chatime at SM Aura Premier
For milk-tea lovers or just thirsty people, Chatime is open to serve you. A Happy Lemon store will soon be opened in the 5th level, I think.

But if you are hungry, don't you dare go to Aura. Its version of the typical SM Foodcourt is called Food on Four. However, there are only three to five food concessionaires that are already open. My sisters and I actually came to Aura to have dinner, but we ended up eating somewhere else. Not because we cannot afford the food in Aura, but because there is just no place to eat to begin with.

Jollibee at SM Aura Premier
This particular store somehow breaks the high-end feel of the mall. But it's one of the most visited stores in the mall since, I'm guessing, SM failed to bring the right crowd to Aura. This Jollibee right here is the refuge of those who wanted to see the mall, went around, and got hungry. 

SM Supermarket at SM Aura Premier
Here are just some SM affiliate stores that are staple to the SM malls that we know. The Supermarket is basically the same; just note that standee on the far right is a virtual customer service assistant attempting to be high-end.

Cinema at SM Aura Premier

Nothing quite interesting about Aura's Cinema, except from the fact that it sells movie tickets for a higher price than those at regular SM malls. I haven't been inside the cinema so I can't judge. Btw, Aura has a Director's Club cinema if you can afford it.

SM Business Services at SM Aura Premier
But good news to those who hate long lines when paying their bills or transacting government services like NSO, PAG-IBIG, SSS, and the like. SM Aura's Business Services booth is not that crowded.

If you think you have no place inside the Aura because the stores look alien to you, you can always go to the 5th level of the mall--the Skypark. Here, you can sit on one of those plant boxes and just appreciate the beautiful sunset.. if you can see it behind the condominiums, that is.

Aside from the stores that are yet to open in the near future, that sums up the entirety of the famed SM Aura. I don't think SM did a great job by opening a store that is not even half-finished. Another thing is, I don't think SM was able to cascade the right message that the Aura mall is exclusive for the high-end crowd. Which is why wrong people troop to the wrong mall with the wrong expectations. I was also surprised to know that an SM Aura was being built right in the Ayala-owned BGC. Everyone was just surprised why Sarah Jessica Parker is here (and who is she, really). 

Just some notes on SM Aura:
1) The exterior of the building is not really impressive. It screams, "Hey, I'm still a work in progress, but SM needs to make money right now so here you go. Take it, or leave it."
2) It seems out of place in the BGC.
3) I don't think the real high-end people the mall was built for will really dig it. It seems like a mall for not-so-rich people to feel rich even just for a short while--a place where they can stroll, but they will leave the mall empty-handed.
4) It's a waste of time and space. My sister and I were looking for a simple Toy Story lunch box for my nephew, but to our dismay, the Department store offered few selections and too much spaces. 
5) It's just not worth traveling for.
6) So long as the two letters S and M are part of the mall's name, it will never achieve the Greenbelt 5-level of being "high-end." SM has been a brand of comfort to all Filipinos, so as long as its SM, it will never be exclusive to a certain crowd only. It will always be for everyone.

For now, thumbs down for SM Aura Premier. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The cinema here does not justify the price of the tickets nor the mall standard itself. It's too small; far from what I expected it to be. However the sound quality of the theater is superb!

    1. Oh. That's good to hear! :) Thanks for your input, Miguel! :)

    2. No problem! This is literally my tambayan because my workplace is near it :) Still wondering why do they not have a cyberzone or timezone lol

    3. Actually! I haven't visited SM Aura again, but I'm hoping everything's better than before. :)

  3. Nice article and review! But IMHO, I think it's better if point #3 of the last paragraph will be rephrased. Also, I don't think Greenbelt 5 is a high end mall though. Just my two cents. ����

    1. Hi Reggie, thank you very much for your feedback. Reading my point #3 again, yeah, I agree that it was sort of harsh! Sorry for that! But thank you for pointing that out! Happy new year, Reggie! :)

  4. I go to SM Aura because there are stores that are not in any other place (Suite Blanco, River Island). Restaurants are good too. However, the first time I went there, I was really appalled because it was RAINING inside the building. And I'm not talking about the Sky Garden. I'm talking about the floor directly below it. Unbelievable. I've also been there on a busy Sunday and it was really tacky. Para lang siyang Megamall na mas maluwag, and you're right, without the aisle kiosks. High Street na lang kahit open-air.

    1. Good to know that there are now good restos in Aura. Must revisit and revise this blog post. Haha. Haven't experienced that infamous rain inside Aura though. Haha. Thanks for the input, Teh Topnotcher! :)

  5. SM Aura Premier - Luxury shopping mall in Philippines -

  6. Well, poor judgment. I love the place.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Laki naman ng expectations mo teh.. ganun talaga. Kaya nga under construction. Work in progress. Kaya nga mahal kasi ang main target market nila yung Class A.. foreigners.. pero pwede ka naman tumalon sa Market2x kung ayaw mo sa Aura. :)



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