When I got the invite to come check out Accents, the gift shop in the new Conrad New York hotel, I figured it’d be worth a photo or two in a Seen & Heard round-up. But I genuinely enjoyed it. First, it’s the kind of shop that’s rare south of Canal, where you can buy gift-y things for (primarily) $50 to $150. There are brands you may recognize, such as John Derian paperweights, Margo Morrison jewelry, Mulholland leather goods, and Chan Luu accessories, as well as interesting knickknacks you won’t find everywhere (such as the Sol LeWitt tiles, bowls, and cheeseboards, made by a company called Ceramica under the supervision of LeWitt’s wife; you may recall there’s a massive Sol LeWitt mural, “Loopy Doopy,” in the hotel atrium). Accents also carries gift books—including several cookbooks—gourmet foodstuffs, men’s shirts, pet toys, and more.
I got to chatting with Bridget Akinc, vice president at the Hawaii-based Sullivan Family of Companies, where a division runs gift shops all over. (Sullivan also owns the Hawaiian supermarket chain Foodland.) I hadn’t thought much about hotel gift shops, to be honest, so I was fascinated to discuss how having better-known brands gives customers confidence about the quality of lesser-known ones, how guests are more likely to expect local merchandise than in years past, how Accents stored a lot of stuff in drawers for a more residential vibe (you’re encouraged to snoop), how the store is trying to appeal to hotel guests and workers at Goldman Sachs and the World Financial Center and residents (which is not the case for most hotel gift shops), how the relatively low price point is because travelers just won’t spend more in most hotel gift shops, and how with the exception of the art on the walls, everything fits in a carry-on.
These photos are only what caught my eye or what I thought was photographable; there’s more, particularly jewelry.
P.S. Because it’s open late (10 p.m. or 11 p.m., if I remember correctly), it’s ideal for last-minute gifts.
Full disclosure: Akinc offered me four Mast Brothers chocolate bars, which I declined. She insisted I take one, so I did, just to be polite. And Adam ate half of it, so any ethical compromise has been almost entirely mitigated.
Recent New Kid on the Block/First Impressions articles:
• Matt Bernson
• Kaffe 1668
• Potbelly Sandwich Shop
• The Ludlow Shop
• Hale Organic Salon
• Super Linda
• Lotus Blue
• Art Projects International