By Terry Trucco
Hotel shops sell a lot more than Band-Aids, bathrobes and bottled water. Many stock amusing, even unusual items you’d be happy to give – or receive.
And here’s the best part. Many offer online as well as in-hotel shopping. So browse what caught our eye. There’s still time!
Turn the key and this 3.6-inch smoked oak ball morphs into a music box that plays . . . Mozart, or to be precise, “Voi che sapete” from “The Marriage of Figaro.” Made in Germany’s Black Forest, the Mozartkugel 18-chime music box is persistent, playing whether rolling or still. Available at the Standard High Line NYC or online. $125.
You can’t have drinks at the Plaza’s fabled Oak Bar at the moment, which remains closed (sniff). So here’s the next best thing — a mug printed with a photo of the Oak Room and Bar, ca 1945 or ca 1989. Or choose one with an exterior image of the hotel’s inimitable facade, ca. 1945 or 1989. They’re $20 apiece in the Plaza gift shop — cheaper than the cost of a Perfect Manhattan last time we visited the sadly missed Oak Bar.
Wind her up, and this palm-size Statue of Liberty dances on a desk top, table top or, as advertised, in the palm of your hand. Our pick for Stocking Stuffer of 2012 is available in the Waldorf-Astoria gift shop and costs $7.50. Buy one or a New York City chorus line.
You can’t take home Loopy Doopy, the 16-story mural painted by minimalist artist Sol Lewitt at the Conrad New York. But you can pick up a plate, bowl or trivet emblazoned with one of his emblematic designs. The shop at the Conrad, in the shadow of Lewitt’s mural, is one of the best hotel shops in town. Lewitt china starts at around $40.
This black slim wristband from HEX lets you wear your Apple i-Pod Nano, so your music is always, er, close at hand. So is the time, of course. The Nano pops in– and out — of the band. Control buttons are built into the side along with an integrated audio port cover. Headphone cords run up your arm or slip into your sleeve. Available in black and other colors for $24.99 at W New York or The W Store online.
The Eloise shop at the Plaza is one of the biggest — and pinkest — hotel shops in town. In addition to a fancy space for tea parties it offers Eloise tea sets, dolls, books, stuffed toys . . . and T-shirts. Available in white or pink, this one costs $25.
Yes, peacocks are gorgeous birds (if you don’t have to listen to them), but they have a special meaning at the Waldorf-Astoria. Peacock Alley was the name for the link between the original Waldorf and Astoria hotels — back when they stood on the block now commandeered by the Empire State Building — due to the swells that swanned from one property to the other. Peacock-embellished Christmas ornaments, mugs, dessert plates and teapots are a few of the signature items you can pick up at the Waldorf gift shop, from $12.
For anyone who has longed to spin the life of the party, consider I Wanna Be a DJ cufflinks. Available online at The W Store, the links made from base metal, finished in rhodium plating and come with a gift box. $65.
Standard hotels and eyeglass makers Warby Parker teamed up to create the Warby Parker X Standard unisex sunglasses. This not-so-Standard take on classic 60s shades comes with Polarized green lenses and a printed orange lens cloth designed by San Francisco artist Jeff Canham. The shades cost $95 and are available at the Standard High Line shop and online.
We love ballet, so to our eyes this boxed creation devoted to the Ballets Russes is the most gorgeous book of the season. We stood in the Assouline book store at the Plaza and happily turned the pages, browsing vintage images of Balanchine, Nininsky, the Baby Ballerinas and costume and set designs by Leon Bakst, Picasso and more. The only deterrent? The price ($750). But hey, you can look.