The usual setup, geared to the forgetful guest, is a closet with a few sundries such as toothpaste and razors—along with a generic item or two that could travel home as a souvenir. But a handful of L.A. hotels have elevated their gift shops to store-size spaces offering apparel, jewelry, and accessories that exemplify the city’s highest style. Check into these locations for a shopping trip as memorable as a deluxe suite stay.
The gift emporium at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills (310-247-0400) is an open affair with arty wares displayed under glass—everything from designer Piero Fornasetti tables and chairs to Kiki de Montparnasse sleep masks that indicate whether you’d like to do that or something naughtier. You’ll also find animal skin lighters (stingray, shark, snake), D.L. & Co. plates emblazoned with the Seven Deadly Sins, and life-size bicycles in gold. The shelves hold Assouline coffee-table books and nonstick tape “for the restraining arts,” to be practiced before calling it a night.
The shops at the Terranea Resort (310-265-2800) aren’t just for tourists—Palos Verdes locals come here for high-end gifts. Pointe Discovery has outdoorsy accessories such as backpacks with pictures of endangered species, hiking gear, and James Perse sportswear. The Marea boutique spreads across three rooms filled with jewelry, DVF leather flip-flops, swimsuits for all ages, and Alice+Olivia dresses. The Spa at Terranea shop carries a host of aromatherapy lotions and perfume solids, Michael Star hats, Zen poetry books, and T-shirts that wish you namaste.
There’s an old-world glam to the W Hotels-The Store at the W Hollywood (323-798-1300), where you’ll discover packs of cigarettes in a fishbowl next to the guppy lighters and a retro Moshi Moshi telephone receiver that plugs into a cell phone (should you be worried about radiation). Racks of Goorin Bros. fedoras and a beaded clutch from Deepa Gurnani beckon to hipsters who venture off the Sunset Strip.
Winston Churchill slept here. The Queen Mary (877-342-0738), berthed in Long Beach, houses several shops in which you can find everything from memorabilia of the Great War to tchotchkes that would look appropriate in an Iowa diner. The Queen Mary Store, in the former Allied war room, sells photos of celebrities who sailed on the luxury liner and other relics from the years following its 1936 maiden voyage. For vintage postcards, framed prints, CDs of tunes from the 1930s and ’40s, and fancy model ship kits, head to Past Times Collectibles. At the Queen Mary Couture shop, it’s hard not to ogle the art deco woodwork while trying on rhinestone-studded T-shirts and fun cocktail rings. Finally, scope out the shot glasses and teddy bears dressed as bellhops in the Stacks Aboard the Queen Mary store.
Butter-soft microfiber totes in shades from camel to pewter beg to be caressed at the richly outfitted gift shop at the Montage Beverly Hills (310-860-7800). The staff helps customers sort through the multitude of costume and vintage jewelry behind glass along one wall. Handmade Erica DiPaolo cards include a tongue-in-cheek study of a rhino, a lion, and a gazelle playing checkers. Pop up to the spacious spa shop on the third floor for shiny hair ties and SpaRitual vegan nail polishes.
Inside the JW Marriott at L.A. Live (213-765-8600), local talent is on hand at the Blvd Shop. You’ll find John Kelly chocolates from the Hollywood sweets maker and bags by L.A. designer Dahli Coles. Oliver Peoples sunglasses, glossy coffee-table tomes on Hollywood icons, and Tumi luggage are also available in the lobby shop. The second-floor spa stocks a healthy selection of Toms shoes and Oribe hair products.
Photograph by Ethan Pines