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The New Hotel Gift Shop

Issue 01

There is no doubt, travelling is an efficient and exciting way to diversify your personal treasures.  In fact, one of the most thrilling parts of travel, outside of experiencing new cultures, food and architecture, is finding something unique to take home.  These memorable trinkets, which we go to great lengths to schlep home, bring diversity to our homes and tables and evolve into conversation pieces with guests. The satisfaction of our “find” is only heightened by an exciting acquisition story related to the object’s purchase.

If you find yourself travelling this summer and are bored with markets, an often overlooked gem for entertaining and home décor items is the hotel gift store.  While some hotel gift stores conjure up images of tired, unimaginative retail spaces filled with overpriced or downright unattractive products, the new, reinvented hotel gift stores have successfully divorced themselves from their former tawdry image.  In fact, the next generation of hotel gift shop bears little resemblance to its previous incarnation.  Rather, one can often find stylish and eclectic assortments of lifestyle products, selected to reflect the local environment and brand identity of the hotel. Starwood’s W hotel chain was one of the earlier hotel brands to introduce a refreshed, “cooler” hotel store concept.  In addition to shopping the W hotel’s bedding and housecoat lines, those that appreciate its design aesthetic can also select from a diverse range of jewelry, obscure tech gadgets, unique furniture and other design forward home accessories.

No longer unique to the W hotel, travellers around the globe can delight in design-forward hotel gift shops.  Take a look at the scale and scope of Amsterdam based Options!, an entire department store of contemporary Dutch and foreign goods for the Exchange hotel which opened last year. Other interesting hotel retail concepts include that of the Standard hotel (New York) which collaborates with cool lifestyle brands on its in-store wares, the Drake Hotel’s (Toronto) General Store, which mixes vintage items and contemporary brands or Mama Shelter’s (Paris + Marseille + Lyon + Bordeaux + Istanbul) avant garde Aladdin’s cave of practical and obscure conversation pieces.

At the opposite end of the curated gift shop, are the hotels that hand make their in-store items such as the ones found at Berge guesthouse.  Located in the mountains between Munich and Salzburg, Berge’s gift shop delights guests with handmade maple wooden bowls, carved spoons, bread boards, porcelain bowls and egg cups.   Finally, there is the hotel-store partnership concept where hotels partner-up with retailers bearing a complementary design spirit such as what the Story Hotel in Stockholm has done with its partner; Sodermalm based vintage store, Herr Judit. Similarly, the Ace Hotel partnered with retailer, Opening Ceremony in New York to create its hotel store. Next time you travel and happen to stay in a hotel that looks like it has style and taste, be sure to pop into its store, you never know, you may stumble upon.

The New Hotel Gift Shops Around the World:

  1. Options! Damrak 49, Amsterdam
  2. Mama Shelter  Mama Shelter Paris: 109, rue de Bagnolet, Paris Mama Shelter Marseille:64, rue de la Loubière, Marseille
  3. Drake General Store 1144 Queen Street West, Toronto
  4. Berge Equipment Kampenwandstrasse 85, Aschau im Chiemgau
  5. Story Hotel Shop Riddargatan 6, Stockholm
  6. Ace Hotel Opening Ceremony 1190-1192 Broadway, New York

 

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