Think Barneys, not Hudson News. The latest hotel shops qualify as stand-alone boutiques that reside in hotels almost coincidentally. Curated down to the last Walker crisp or Haribo raspberry, the best are destinations in themselves. And with good reason.
The Standard Downtown in LA showcases creations by local designers, like a line of fragrances concocted by an Echo Park resident. “She came in and wanted to sell to us,” says Claire Darrow, Standard creative director. “That happens a lot in LA. There’s a lot of creative energy.”
Besides outposts of Opening Ceremony and Project No.8, two thriving downtown New York boutiques, the Ace New York commissions items sold online and at the front desk, like custom Pendleton blankets, a nod to the hotel’s Portland, Oregon spiritual roots, and limited edition Converse sneakers based on a 1940 shoe design (only 300 pairs were made, and they’re gone). “Objects give you an emotional connection to a place,” says Alex Calderwood, who owns the hotel. “I genuinely believe someone may get a pair of shoes or anything else related to Ace, and when they go home and put on the shoes or shirt or whatever the item is, I think it gives them a sense of memory of their time here.”
Want to know more? My piece in today’s New York Times walks you through the latest hotel shop trends.