We’re usually talking about cool new boutique hotels, but today is all about hotel boutiques. The gift shops located in hotels have come a long way from the place for sundries and a few postcards. Hip and trendy destinations call for something a little cooler than that. Slowly but surely, hoteliers have upped the shopping ante, commissioning one-of-a-kind designer goods, collaborating with local artisans, and turning yesterday’s gift shops into destinations in their own right. Concierge.com compiled a list of some of the Best Hotel Boutiques around.
At Ballymaloe House, in rural Ireland, there’s a farm, cooking school, and restaurant on 400 acres of grounds. Guests take mulled wine from the café to sip while browsing through the store, a cozy farm building with stone walls that form a perfect backdrop for artful earthenware such as indigo-and-white floral Burleigh platters and handblown Jerpoint glass.
The Ace Hotel manages to truly get their guests to experience the city they are in. In New York City, that translates into two on-site outposts of trendsetting boutiques, Project No. 8a and Opening Ceremony. No. 8a (“a” for Ace) is billed as the anti–souvenir shop, shilling vintage 42nd Street peep-show tokens, I ♥ NY snow globes with floating trash bags, and mod sex toys lining apple-green vintage library shelves.
Reflections is the Thai equivalent of New York’s Ace Hotel, and you can bring the kitschy Technicolor aesthetic home courtesy of the hotel shop. Here you’ll find ottomans made from recycled rice bags, rainbow woven baskets, and cherry-red velvet Buddha busts. So instead of coming back with wooden elephant statues and faux-silk scarves that often aren’t even made in Thailand, you can snag some souvenirs that actually reflect Bangkok’s playful design scene.
In the case of the Mondrian South Beach, a trip to the vending machine it could mean coming back with anything from a Paul Smith toothbrush to the keys to a Bentley. Named the Semi-Automatic, this glowing purple vending machine lines an entire wall of the lobby. Prices range from $5 for Kiki de Montparnasse mints to a cool $1.2 million for the deed to a two-bedroom condo in the hotel.
To check out other spectacular hotel boutiques, view the entire list at Concierge.com