A Place to Rest Your Head (and Empty Your Wallet)

The lobby vending machine sells an outlandish array of novelties and luxury items, from a Ouija board to a 1957 Ford Thunderbird convertible.

Hotels, once largely the domain of travelers in search of a good night’s sleep, are now becoming spaces for innovative retail concepts. Designers and corporations are using hospitality settings to promote their brands; others are redefining the lobby gift shop and, in one case, turning the pop-up concept inside out.

1 The Ace Hotel is partnering with the outdoor-apparel brand Tretorn to outfit the staff at its boutique New York City; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle properties in a custom version of the classic Tretorn Stråla Vinter. The rubber rain boots, which have the Ace and Tretorn logos discretely stamped in the footbeds, are also available to consumers.

2 Last August, Target took over the Standard Hotel in New York to launch its fall 2010 fashion collection, which had 66 dancers strutting their stuff behind the building’s 155 south-facing windows while models paraded the new clothes in a nine-room stage that mimicked the hotel facade.

3 Earlier this year, Commune collaborated with Alma Allen and Nancy Pearce to open the Community Shop at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, where everything for sale was made by American artisans and craftsmen.

4 At the Mondrian in South Beach, Miami, an over-size vending machine occupies an entire wall of the hotel lobby. It offers an outlandish array of novelties and luxury items, from a Ouija board and a Paul Smith toothbrush to a Flip camcorder and a 1957 Ford Thunderbird convertible.

5 During the recent London Design Festival, the design duo Jamesplumb opened the One Room Hotel inside of Hostem, a new East London menswear store. By day, the space hosted an exhibition of the interior designers’ work; after hours, individuals could spend the night in the single-room suite, which was equipped with a library and selections from the designers’ own film archive.

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