Hotel shops have a bad rap. If, when imagining a hotel gift shop, your mind drifts to naff swimsuits gathering dust, gaudy jewellery and a random assortment of nick-knacks that even Great Aunt Jean would turn her nose up at, you wouldn’t be alone.
A few hotels, however, are doing the hotel gift shop exceptionally well, including collaborations with big-name fashion brands, working with local artists (to create souvenirs you actually want), and selling homemade produce. Some have even expanded their offerings online, meaning you can shop local crafts from South Africa, Kaftans from Positano and homemade jams from Somerset, all from your living room.
Here’s our selection of the best hotel gift boutiques, and there are no fridge magnets in sight.
Le Sirenuse, Positano
Across from Positano’s charming La Sirenuse Hotel, you’ll find Emporio Sirenuse, a lifestyle boutique which boasts a ready-to-wear collection designed by owner Carla Sersale. The Resort 2020 women’s collection is a tribute to Picasso, and other émigré artists who drew inspiration from Positano’s craggy cliffside, and seductive sea views. Russian and Slavic motifs helped to inspire the prints. Items include kaftans, floaty maxi-dresses and printed shirts – all of them ready to shimmy you from beach to bar. There’s also a curated collection of homewares (many of them exclusives), and collaborations with artists and designers. Their latest collaboration, a nod to the Byzantine era, is with niche fashion brand Ancient Greek Sandal – expect butter-soft leather and zig-zag trims.
Ham Yard Hotel, London
Nestled within a quiet courtyard amid bustling Soho, Ham Yard Village offers a relaxed alternative to shopping in central London. On the doorstep of the Ham Yard Hotel – which boasts a bowling alley, and rooftop vegetable patch in its list of guest amenities – you’ll find a range of boutique shops, most of which are independent. Shops include My Cup of Tea who offer unique blends and a tasting counter and Vanessa Gounden who combines bold prints and innovative tailoring to create the ultimate in female power suits. There’s also a hair salon and theatre tucked away in the village.
Eden Rock, St Barths
The Eden Rock in St Barths radiates glamour and sophistication, in fact, the entire island does – it’s French-inspired food, crystalline waters and lush scenery have long seen the fashion set flocking to its sandy shores. It’s no wonder then, that the Eden Being boutique at the Eden Rock hotel boasts a long list of collaborations with big-name designers. A kid’s line designed by Stella McCartney, an exclusive fragrance by Diptyque and leather clutches by Anya Hindmarch are just some of the recent collaborations available. Expect colourful dresses by Etro, Missoni kaftans and diamond bracelets by the uber-luxe Chopard jewellers. A favourite? Alexandra Llewellyn limited edition Eden Rock – St Barths backgammon board. Pack light, as you’re bound to need extra luggage space after a trip to Eden Being.
Singita, Kruger National Park, South Africa
On a mission to create and maintain a balance between conservation, community development and eco-tourism, Singita offers a luxury safari experience which helps protect wildlife. Their 15 award-winning lodges (spread across Africa) all have boutiques and galleries which stock a selection of clothing, art, and items made by local craftspeople. Think safari-inspired collections with linen shirts, Panama hats and cashmere wraps which are perfect for cold evenings in the bush. The Singita online store has exclusive homeware pieces which include rattan chairs and brass chandeliers.
The Drake Hotel, Toronto
The Drake Hotel (which has no affiliation to the Toronto native and rapper of the same name), is as much an arts and culture hub as it is a hotel. Located on Toronto’s artsy Queen Street West – once named the world’s coolest street by Vogue – The Drake Hotel rubs shoulders with several independent boutiques and galleries.
Its own, Drake General Store combines a gift shop, flea market, gallery and a ‘Made in Toronto’ section. Expect home décor, beauty products and a commissary which sells bottles of Maple Syrup.
The Newt in Somerset, Castle Cary
Set on a remote countryside estate surrounded by an abundance of gardens (tours are offered daily), dense woodland and orchards filled with over 3,000 apple trees, The Newt in Somerset is the break to the country we’ve all been waiting for. The hotel makes the most of its vast surroundings and a farm shop on-site sells fresh veg from the garden and a large selection of apple juice and cider (the perfect use for all those apple trees). Their online shop offers fresh produce, items for your pantry (including homemade jams and marmalade), linens, homewares (including local pottery and ceramics) and gifts.
Hotel Il Pellicano, Tuscany
Hotel Il Pellicano is a discreet, but utterly stylish, hideaway on the Tuscan coast. The Boutique is overseen by Marie Louise Sciò, the CEO & Creative Director of the Pellicano hotel group. Expect to find the very best in independent Italian designers stocked at the shop, including textiles from Milan based Lisa Corti and luxury velvet slippers from Vibi Venezia, owned by the Arrivabene sisters. The hotel also did a 2019 collaboration with Birkenstock, which saw seven styles designed by Sciò, each one inspired by the hotel’s Mediterranean location.
Ace Hotel, London
Located in Shoreditch, one of London’s most creative neighbourhoods, the Ace Hotel is a firm favourite with travellers and locals alike. Alongside a string of hotels scattered across the world, the Ace brand also owns Atelier Ace, an in-house creative agency who design most of the accessories and clothing sold in their hotel shops. Their online site includes specific city ‘collections’, including printed tees from Seattle and branded New York tote bags. You can even recreate your Ace Hotel bed in your own home by purchasing the Ace brands bedding and pillows.