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Our Favorite Shop-Small Destinations of the Year
Our editors’ picks for special finds at unique stores.
Hotel Sin Nombre
The Mexican city of Oaxaca is a mash-up of the ancient and the vanguard, where some craftspeople claim an artistic lineage of 150 generations, while others are young creators embedded in the contemporary world. The city’s newest lodging—whose name means “hotel with no name”—is a perfect example of the local artistic fusion, with 24 rooms, each decorated with handmade carpentry and rugs, and a vegan restaurant set behind a meticulously restored 17th-century façade near the Zócalo. The property’s four partners include Elliott Bennett Coon, an artist who is also the cofounder of Gem & Bolt, which distills mezcal infused with the native damiana flower. Her top stops to shop are off the beaten track yet still accessible—all but one are within walking distance of the hotel.
From $160; hotelsinnombre.com
Set on a beautiful walkway along the city’s historic aqueduct, this small pottery workshop showcases traditional earthenware in the colors of Oaxacan clay. The pieces also support a good cause: Sales help fund an initiative to maintain pottery customs throughout the state.
LOS BAÚLES DE JUANA CATA
This gallery specializes in exquisite textiles curated by owner Remigio Mestas Revilla in a range of styles, including embroidered huipils (traditional woven blouses) and rebozos (shawls), as well as more modern designs. Revilla takes seriously his role of preserving fine textile production across the Oaxacan state, working with artisans to revive lost and disappearing techniques.
Calle Macedonio Alcalá 403; 52-951/501-0552
Designer Christina Hattler collaborates with Mexican artists to create limited-edition clothing, accessories, and textiles using centuries-old methods. The shop, which is appointment-only, is also Hattler’s studio, so she gives visitors a glimpse of her process, whether it’s designing a fringed rebozo or a blanket inspired by the work of Sol LeWitt.
You can’t go to Oaxaca without picking up its native spirit, and Coon calls this purveyor of more than 100 different maguey distillates the city’s “mezcal library.” The collection highlights the many species of agave—both wild and cultivated—and a bit of education is served with every bottle or sip.
JOSÉ MENDOZA TALLER
The nearby artisan village of Teotitlán del Valle is known for its wool rugs and beeswax candles. Of the many workshops there, Coon’s favorite is this atelier brimming with graphic rugs, each emblazoned with colorful arrows, stripes, or traditional Huichol patterns.
Prolongación de Buenavista 54; 52-951/5003335.
— Kevin West
J.K. Place Paris
One of Paris's grandest new hotels has opened up in a quiet and neighborly section of the Left Bank, hidden behind the stately façade of a former embassy on the western edge of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Typical of Italy’s cult-favorite boutique brand J.K. Place, the 29-room property is filled with fine art and antiques, yet it still feels like home, even with its Sisley Spa, indoor pool, and outpost of the Miami Italian restaurant Casa Tua. Hotel manager Riccardo Ortogni’s shopping recommendations are all easy ambles from the discreet front door.
From $820; jkplace.paris.
This Rue Bonaparte apothecary offers beautifying ointments and perfumes galore, but it’s the tastefully tailored service that sets it apart. Combs can be engraved with your beloved’s initials, fragrant soaps are monogrammed on demand, and the in-house calligrapher can personalize gift-wrapped parcels.
To Ortogni, this neoclassical mansion feels like an extension of the Louvre. The gallery’s antiques, dating from the medieval period to the 1850s, might include heaving motherof-pearl chandeliers and dainty 18th-century carved snuffboxes. Ortogni can facilitate VIP access to the private space for hotel guests.
A fashion brand for those who want something less predictable, Molli specializes in sophisticated women’s knitwear. Its boutique on Boulevard St.-Germain is packed with chic dresses, sweaters, and accessories, all designed in Paris and made in family workshops throughout France and Italy. Confused about what suits you best? Helpful staff provide unhurried, honest advice rather than pushing for a quick sale.
Walking sticks, wallets, and more are on offer at this boutique, but what Alexandra Sofjer is most renowned for is her umbrellas. Bespoke designs are hand-made in rare woods (Makassar ebony and snakewood, for example), finished with delicate fabrics (such as silk satin), and even embellished with crystals or shells.
There seems to be a patisserie or boulangerie on every corner in Paris, but Ortogni makes a weekly pilgrimage to this timber-framed bakery for a special reason: It sells “the best cinnamon buns in the world.” The crusty sesame sourdough is just as heavenly, and housemade apple-and-pear jam spreads beautifully on a still-warm loaf. .com.
— John O’Ceallaigh
In The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton calls Newport, Rhode Island, “the escape from duty into an atmosphere of unmitigated holiday-making.” A century later, the salty seaside community remains a quintessential American getaway, where the Gilded Age mansions of Wharton’s day share the yacht-filled waterfront with restaurants, shops, and luxury inns. The latest talk of the town is this 197-room boutique hotel where owner Phil Hospod (who’s also behind the Freehand New York and the Line DC) has partnered with the best local chefs, bartenders, and artists. Hospod’s favorite nearby spots provide a leisurely afternoon worthy of Wharton’s enduring sentiment.
From $269; thewayfinderhotel.com
A Newport staple for more than 20 years, this one-of-a-kind shop mixes vintage and modern homewares—including French midcentury furnishings and John Derian tableware—with a collection of statuary and plants. Antique birdbaths, sundials, and obelisks are all there, wedged between stacks of terra-cotta and marble urns coddling greenery of every sort.
Housed in a prerevolutionary building on Historic Hill, this prim shop fronted with royal-blue awnings and a British flag is for those with a decidedly old-school style. The collection of men’s and women’s clothing—which comes exclusively from European designers—is chock-full of classics like Drake’s of London pocket squares, Dubarry boots, and Barbour jackets.
This distillery-brewery is a talented multi-tasker, turning out a host of small-batch spirits (moonshine included); dozens of stouts, ales, and IPAs; and canned cocktails. Hospod is partial to RhodeTrip, the label’s New England IPA, or, for something to sip on, the limited-release Thomas Tew Reserve Rum.
Founded by a husband-and-wife team right in their Newport kitchen, this Thames Street shop is what Hospod calls a “modern maritime apothecary.” It sells handmade body scrubs, soaps, and candles. The scents—with names like Atlantic, Changing Tide, and Coconut Bikini—are all inspired by the sea and coastal life.
— Annie Davidson
Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok
The new Four Seasons is hardly short on style, with its Jean-Michel Gathy interiors, sleek infinity pool, and impressive art collection. But more than any design detail, the hotel’s location is what offers guests a world of Bangkok discoveries. Set along historic Charoen Krung Road, it’s at the center of the city’s burgeoning Creative District, where avant-garde designers, of-the-moment artists, and talented taste-makers come together in one hotbed of ingenuity. Chief concierge Thanarat Menbangphung has connections with all the top purveyors—and he can even send you off in the hotel’s boat to visit them.
From $400; fourseasons.com
After a day or two in the Bangkok heat, you’ll be ready to stock up on this shop’s colorful, lightweight dresses and functionally tailored pieces in bold prints and breathable silhouettes—just what you need to stay cool in the
sizzling night markets.
Menbangphung calls this abandoned warehouse turned community arts space “industrial-chic” for
its eclectic mix of design shops, ranging from a graffiti-art gallery by Britain’s DJ Goldie to P. Tendercool, which specializes in bespoke furniture crafted from rare and exotic woods.
THAI HOME INDUSTRIES
Jaivid Rangthong’s housewares are on display in an old Thai house near the Chao Phraya River. Alongside indigo-dyed cotton fabrics and pottery, find the designer’s iconic stainless steel flatware— inspired by the traditional Thai tools used to slash through rice paddies—which is included in the permanent collection at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
35 Charoen Krung Soi 40; 66-2/234-1736
This sleek shop exhibits and sells wearable sculpture from local and international designers. Featured artists include Switzerland’s David Bielander—known for avant-garde pieces such as his DIY series of gold rings and bracelets that resemble folded cardboard—and Thailand’s Apinya Oo Boonprakob, who combines wood and other organic materials with precious metals and crystal in brooches, necklaces, and double-finger rings.
— Jackie Caradonio