The hotel gift shop has traditionally been a place to find an emergency tube of toothpaste and a few unappealing mementos of your stay. But somewhere you’d actually want to spend time? No chance. Fortunately, this is changing, thanks to a few visionaries who have finally realised that holidays are an excellent time for us to indulge in a little shopping. In fact, some destinations are now so good they should come with a warning that visiting them will sure result in an excess-baggage bill...
THE ACE HOTELS
This global chain has a well-established cool factor – and the in-house boutiques to match. The Ace is known for partnering with other brands to create exclusive collabs, many of which have a connection to the local area. In the NYC outpost, this means plaid blankets from heritage brand Pendleton, while in LA, you might find a book of works by film director Mike Mills. So desirable is the offering, the company has even created its own Atelier Ace brand of products that have become globally covetable. Even if you’re not checking in, they’re also available in the Ace’s online store.
PARAMOUNT HOUSE HOTEL, SURRY HILLS, NSW
The Paramount was named Gourmet Traveller’s hotel of the year in 2018, and we can’t help but think the retail offering might have had something to do with it. Many of the details that make the rooms here so special are also available to purchase, including bath and body products from Aesop. There’s also a tightly edited selection of clothing with a distinctly Sydney flavour, such as vibrant printed pieces from Double Rainbouu. If this isn’t enough, the hotel also plays hosts to semi-regular markets in the rooftop Paramount Rec Club, with a strong focus on design and homewares.
SOHO HOUSE, BERLIN
Retail maven Alex Eagle is well known for her boutiques (simply called The Store), throughout the UK and Europe, and Soho House in Berlin plays host to The Store’s flagship location. This is hotel gift-shopping on a grand scale, as The Store is spread over a very generous two floors, and encompasses a cafe and working space alongside its tempting assortment of fashion, homewares, art, music and literature.
HALCYON HOUSE, CABARITA BEACH, NSW
From its interiors to its spa, there’s no question this coastal retreat has resort-chic down to a fine art. In the boutique, this translates to a selection of the most fashionable pool-to-patio essentials, such as wide-brimmed hats from Sarah Jane Curtis, wicker basket-bags from Heimat Atlantica, and playful accessories from Lucy Folk. With such a covetable aesthetic, Halcyon House is fast becoming not just a destination but a way of life.
Written by Michelle Bateman