The hotel shop, with its practical mix of sundries, souvenirs and candy bars, has been a predictable if uninspired lobby fixture for years. But as hotels scramble to distinguish themselves, many are rethinking their shops, upgrading and expanding merchandise and fashioning shops as destinations for both guests and local residents, much as they did with restaurants a decade ago. More Barneys than Walgreens, shops at many upscale hotels in the United States and abroad are increasingly flaunting the trappings of high-style boutiques. In addition to toothpaste and floss, the shops now stock items found in voguish gift shops, fashion emporiums and even art galleries. They also stock goods specially made for the hotel that go beyond bathrobes and sheets. Cocktail dresses, bracelets and earrings designed exclusively for W Hotels are featured in W hotel shops in cities like Mexico City, London and Barcelona, Spain. The Standard Hotel in New York invites artists to create installations in the shop, which are offered for sale along with limited-edition prints, posters and even playing cards based on their work. Staples like magazines, jewelry and fragrances also are for sale. Get the full story at The New York Times