Let’s All Go to The Lobby

Around the South, chic hotel shops highlight local artisans and goods

Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Magdalena

Hotel Magdalena in Austin, Texas.

Whether it’s a custom-made serape robe for lazy Sunday mornings culled from a hotel boutique at an Austin hideaway, or a hand-blown glass decanter plucked from a retail store at a bucolic property in Tennessee, the goods at hotel shops these days often represent the forefront of the region’s tastes. They support a bevy of makers and independent designers and, post travel, help you recreate your stay at home. These eleven Southern hotel gift shops (including G&G’s own in Charleston, South Carolina) just might be worth the trip alone.

Hotel Magdalena retail shop

Austin, Texas

“The gift shop is full of poolside essentials, organic-inspired apothecary products, an impressive book collection, and Magdalena mementos, all with a 1970s flair,” says the retail manager, Carmen Collins, who also curates the nearby Hotel San José shop (more details on that one below). 

Store merch: Candles by Austin-based artist Lauren Robertson of Hey Moon Ceramics; geometric planters by local ceramicist Rory Foster (found in the lobby and on suite patios); serape striped robes created exclusively for the hotel, handwoven in India.

Why it’s special: “We give guests a chance to take home their favorite parts of the hotel, from the in-room bath amenities to the ceramic planters on the patios and glass fish bottles used at the restaurant.”

photo: Courtesy of Freda

Freda at the Ace Hotel New Orleans

Marfa, Texas, and New Orleans

“I named the shop after my grandmother, who lived in West Texas and taught me the importance of supporting unique craftsmanship and individuals,” explains shop owner Susannah Lipsey. “I started by working with the local maker scene to make each store unique to its surroundings.”

Store merch: Elaborate headpieces by artist Kate McNee; oil paintings by Cubs the Poet; handmade rings by Mondo Mondo.

Why it’s special: “We are a fun place where people can come chat and find something special from the place they are visiting and from designers from all over.”

photo: Courtesy of Blackberry Farm

Blackberry Farm Shop

Walland, Tennessee

Farm fresh: “We look to offer items from local artisans mixed with some more recognizable brands,” says Meredith Tizedes, director of retail. “We also work with our own world-class Farmstead team to craft preserves, charcuterie, and baking mixes that enable guests to enjoy flavors from the Farm long after their stay.”

Store merch: Handblown decanters and beer glasses by Pretentious Glass Co; handcrafted tableware by McQueen Pottery; and cashmere wraps by Lingua Franca.

Why it’s special: “A significant portion of the offerings are custom created and tailored to Blackberry, so you won’t find many of the items anywhere else.”

photo: Courtesy of the Hotel San Jose

Hotel San José retail shop

Austin, Texas

Nostalgic nod: “The initial concept was centered around featuring maker friends of the hotel,” Collins says. “We have found that guests love to take part of their stay home with them. Not just souvenirs, but wanting to recreate the feeling—the robe you relaxed in during your stay, the glasses you drank wine from on the courtyard, and the incense from the hotel.”

Store merch: Red globe candle holders by Ghost Pepper Glass; wooden baby toys by Wild Oak Co. inspired by the iconic vehicle parked in front of the property; and canvas and leather bags by Taiwanese purveyor Kamaro’an.

photo: Courtesy of El Cosmico Provisions Co.

El Cosmico Provisions Co.

Marfa, Texas 

Shop story: “When El Cosmico opened in 2009, resources were pretty limited, so things like camping essentials, a good bottle of wine, and a nice hat to offer shade from the high plains sun were really needed,” says owner Liz Lambert.

Store merch: Robes and bedding designed exclusively for the hotel, and chain-stitched satin sleep masks by Austin–based company Fort Lonesome.

Why it’s special: “I think that in some ways a retail shop like ours is akin to a human personality,” Lambert says. “It represents a specific viewpoint, interest, and personality that is a reflection of those who create it.”

photo: Ally Sloway

Fieldshop by Garden & Gun at The Dewberry
Charleston, South Carolina

Store merch: Small-batch syrups and cocktail bitters by El Guapo in New Orleans; design tomes; and stemware by South Carolina’s Stephanie Summerson Hall of Estelle Colored Glass

Southern comforts: Shop the pages of the magazine, including plenty of products made in the South.

photo: Courtesy of the Keep Shop at Noelle, Nashville, Tennessee

Keep Shop at Noelle, Nashville, Tennessee; Keep Shop at The Alida, Savannah, Georgia; Keep Shop at Hotel Emeline, Charleston, South Carolina; Commerce at The Adolphus, Dallas, Texas 

Behind the scenes: Christine Visneau, Vice President of Retail, Art + Curation, at Makeready, oversees all four shops. “It’s about the story of each hotel and about how we complement and don’t compete with it. It’s like curating a museum.”

Store merch: Fedoras by the legendary local hatter Stetson (Commerce); leather bags by the husband-and-wife duo of Hunker Goods (Keep Shop at Noelle); screen-printed tees by Studio 13 (Keep Shop at the Alida); fish prints on rice paper done in a Japanese art technique called gyotaku by the local chef Andrew Clay (Keep Shop at Hotel Emeline).