Need a Last-Minute Holiday Gift? These NYC Hotel Shops Want to Help

As hotels have edged into endeavors that have nothing to do with lodging – art galleries! screening rooms! bingo nights! – retail scores high as a splashy extracurricular effort.  With Barneys edging out Walgreens as a role model, it can be easier to find a one-of-a-kind necklace than a newspaper – remember those? – in the shop adjacent to the lobby.

This can be a good thing as the holidays move into full swing. We set out on an informal shopping spree, camera in hand, and came up with a sampling of items that would look good under a tree, from stocking stuffers to big ticket.

Behold, the first annual Overnight New York holiday gift guide. Read more

A Hotel Vending Maching That Dispenses Ouiji Boards and 24-Karat Gold Handcuffs? Meet Hudson Hotel’s Semi-Automatic

Hudson's semi-automatic.

Hudson’s semi-automatic.

Semi-automatic? It’s a vending machine, not a weapon, and you can see this big, oddly futuristic contraption in the lobby at the Hudson here in New York as well as at the Mondrian South Beach and the Sanderson in London. Read more

Forget Aspirin and Band-Aids — Hotels Look to High-Concept Shops To Entertain Guests, Lure Locals And, Yes, Make Money

Shopping inside: Ace New York.

Shopping inside: Ace New York.

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. Read more

“Fifty Bags That Changed the World,” A New Picture Book About Bags No Traveler Would Ever Check

Book bags.

Book bags.

What new book would we choose if we were curating a hotel library? This slim, picture-rich volume compiled by London’s stylish Design Museum bags one of our votes. Read more

Are Those Designer Condoms in the Mini-Bars at Thompson Hotels?

Fashion Week may be history, but designers haven’t stopped unveiling their newest creations. Read more

Touring The Waldorf=Astoria, From the Kitchens to the Mirrors of Versaille

On a visit to the Waldorf=Astoria, I saw a notice for history tours of the hotel offered every Thursday and Saturday morning at 11:30.

Not many hotels boast sufficient history or chutzpah to warrant a tour priced at $50 a person (they do throw in lunch). Besides, the Waldorf devotes four bulging lobby display cases to memorabilia, from place settings for royal dinners to photos of illustrious guests, like Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy and Bruce Springsteen. What more could there possibly be? Read more

Waldorf Astroria’s Guerlain Spa Closes and Poses the Question: Are Hotel Spas an Endangered Species?

Given the blast of parties, press releases and popping champagne corks whenever a spa opens at a hotel, it’s amazing how quiet a closing can be. Consider the Guerlain Spa at the Waldorf Astoria. Read more