With the holiday season now officially in full swing, there’s one must-do activity on everyone’s mind: shopping. Picking out the perfect presents for friends and family can be a tedious task—and an exhausting one if you don’t find what you’re looking for right away. Instead of approaching your holiday shopping as an arduous undertaking, opt instead to make a trip out of it, to a luxury hotel, no less. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors scoped out five hotels prime for a credit card workout, offering everything from guided shopping tours to impeccable locations just steps from some of the world’s best retail districts.
Escape to the sunny paradise of Los Angeles for a stay at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Montage Beverly Hills. The opulent hotel puts you in the middle of Beverly Hills’ Golden Triangle, which means you’re just blocks away from iconic Rodeo Drive and its laundry list of boutiques such as Jimmy Choo, Prada and La Perla. Book a stay at Montage this holiday season and let the expertise of in-house stylist, Joseph Katz, take the reigns on your shopping experience. You can choose from a variety of fashionable offers, including full-on customized outings to the area’s best shops such as Christian Dior and Hermès, or you can even enlist Katz to serve as your very own personal shopper.
Surprise a loved one with the ultimate gift of a carefully curated Dream Closet, inspired by your choice of one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Katz will scour the racks to obtain the must-have pieces of an A-Lister’s signature style, and his 15-plus years of experience in the fashion world (he’s a fashion contributor to NBC LA and In Touch and Life & Style magazines, among other outlets) means he’s well connected to both well-known and fresh-on-the-scene designers. A day spent snagging designer frocks will inevitably work up an appetite, so grab dinner at Montage’s Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star restaurant, Scarpetta. The menu is chock-full of delicious bites such as black farfalle with lobster, cauliflower and crispy capers, as well as lavender-honey-glazed duck breast with charred broccoli di cicco, baby turnips and plums.
Perfectly poised on the corner of East Superior Street and Michigan Avenue in the city’s tony Gold Coast neighborhood, the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel puts you in an ideal spot for accessing Chicago’s best shopping. Known as the Magnificent Mile, Michigan Avenue is the Windy City’s version of Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive or New York City’s Fifth Avenue, housing a slew of high-end shops such as Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Burberry and Chanel, among others—not to mention Ralph Lauren, which is in the same building as the hotel. The streets just off Michigan Avenue aren’t to be missed either, with charming stores such as Tory Burch and Kate Spade on nearby Oak Street.
Aside from its placement near the shops, The Peninsula Chicago serves as an elegant place to unwind after a long day exploring Michigan Avenue. A secluded front entrance gives the hotel a more residential feel, and its lobby bar—complete with a working fireplace—is a go-to spot for evening cocktails. Once you’ve had your fill of classic concoctions, retreat back to your generously-sized guest room—that can even be specially decorated for the holidays—and spend some much-needed relaxation in a soaking tub. It’s a splendid way to decompress after a full day of retail therapy.
There’s something undeniably magical about Paris, from its stunning architecture and awe-inspiring artwork to its quaint corner cafés and pristine chic storefronts. No trip to the French capital would be complete without a bit of shopping, and Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris puts you right near the Champs-Élysées, arguably the city’s most famous thoroughfare. The tree-lined Avenue George V, where the hotel is located, is home to countless luxury brands itself, including Louis Vuitton, Jean Paul Gaultier and Bulgari, and a few blocks over, Avenue Montaigne sports top labels such as Max Mara, Valentino and Bottega Veneta On the other side of Champs-Élysées, you’ll find Rue Saint-Honoré, which is marked with luxury brands ranging from Lanvin and Yves Saint Laurent to Ferragamo and Goyard. And if this doesn’t sate your craving, major department stores such as Printemps and Le Bon Marché are about a 15-minute cab ride away.
If you’re still stumped on gift ideas for friends or family, you’ll surely be inspired by the exquisite interiors of Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris. The eight-story building dates back to 1928 and is outfitted with remarkable period pieces from the 18th century, including still-life paintings and a show-stopping chandelier from Florence in the lobby. Take a walk around the hotel and soak in its beauty (including the always-stunning flower arrangements) before heading out for a day perusing the shelves at the city’s high-end stores. When you return from your retail expedition, book a soothing treatment at the hotel’s spa — perhaps a detoxifying body wrap or regenerating argan oil massage will help you unwind after a long day of haute holiday shopping.
Newly opened, The Quin, is making a big splash in the New York City hotel market. From its pristine Midtown Manhattan location to the impressive triplex penthouse, it’s quickly becoming one of the hottest reservations in town, and for good reason. The hotel’s special “Q’rated Couture” package is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to accomplishing your holiday shopping in one fell swoop. In addition to a personal driver for a four-hour jaunt to the Big Apple’s best shops (in fact, Fifth Avenue is just one block from The Quin), you’ll be scheduled for a one-hour appointment with a personal shopper at luxury mecca, Bergdorf Goodman. As if that weren’t enough, enjoy a $150 gift card to the store, too.
One of the unique features to The Quin is its attaché desk, located just off the lobby. Here, you’ll find dedicated experts in a variety of areas, including shopping. Consult with the designated attaché, Delilah Jones, for assistance in mapping out your go-to stops on the four-hour shopping trip, creating a detailed itinerary that’s easy to follow and execute. Once you’ve wrapped up your excursion, head back to the swanky hotel to unwind in your guest room’s soothing glass-enclosed rain shower outfitted with Fresh bath products, and then rest your weary head on the ultra-luxurious Duxiana bed for a good night’s sleep.
If you’re familiar with London’s neighborhoods, you’re well aware that the city’s Belgravia area is the crème de la crème of ritzy districts. Lucky for you, Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Belgraves — A Thompson Hotel is conveniently located in a central position within Belgravia, giving you easy access to London’s famous sights (Hyde Park, British Museum, Buckingham Palace) and, more importantly, shopping. Belgravia’s three major retail strips—Pimlico Road and Elizabeth and Motcomb streets—are just a short walk from the trendy hotel. While you could undoubtedly spend an entire day perusing the countless high-end boutiques in the neighborhood, Belgraves offers a “Catwalk to Closet” package that’s sure to simplify the entire process.
Begin your day of shopping with a four-hour guided tour with Kristina von Oertzen, founder of the popular online guide to London’s best stores, My Shopping Spy. Zipping around in a private cab, von Oertzen (who is available until Dec. 19) will not only escort you through Belgravia’s offerings, but also to other popular fashionista havens such as Notting Hill in West London and Shoreditch in East London, plus everywhere in between. Once you’ve sufficiently shopped until you’ve dropped, enjoy a charming afternoon tea service back at Belgraves, designed by new executive chef Sophie Michell, in the hotel’s Pont St. restaurant.
Photos Courtesy of iStock_leepettet, F Oudeman-Hermes and Four Seasons