Luxury Hotel Merch Is in High Demand. Here’s Why.

The quiet luxury trend is yet to die—in fact, it’s evolving.

The latest frontier in the world of stealth wealth is hotel merchandise, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. Luxury properties in particular have seen a rise in demand for their logo-emblazoned memorabilia, such as T-shirts, hats, towels, and bathrobes.

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“Branded hotel merchandise demonstrates a level of access,” Sarah Wetenhall, the CEO and president of the Colony Palm Beach, told the Times. “It shows you are part of a certain social circle.”

Guests are taking home with them items from the mundane—bathroom amenities and ashtrays—to the absurd: The Eden Rock hotel in St. Barts, for example, sells an $18,645 chessboard. The Carlyle in New York offers merch like a baseball hat and Bemelmans Bar cocktail napkins, and the managing director of the hotel said that the property expects sales of such items to rise 25 percent this year compared with last year.

While many people buy or take merch to commemorate a trip, others are snapping up the T-shirts and towels without even having stepped foot in a given property. Brett David, the owner of Spring Street Vintage in N.Y.C., said that nothing sells as quickly as hotel merch, such as that from places like the Beverly Hills Hotel. Two customers at his store even got into a bidding war over a sweatshirt from the Chateau Marmont. And on eBay, you can buy limited-edition Sunset Tower Hotel items for multiples of what they originally sold for.

Jeff Klein, the owner of that hotel, isn’t really on board with the trend, though. Sunset Tower only sells its merch directly in its on-site gift store. “It shouldn’t be just anybody can buy it. It doesn’t make it feel special anymore,” Klein said. “It’s really for our customers to enjoy.”

Call hotel swag the latest status symbol, with people forming connections by being able to identify the pricey property where others have vacationed.

“When you see someone else wearing something from a place that is special to you, it’s like you belong to the same club,” Marisa Coulson told The New York Times. “We both love the same thing and know the same place and experienced the same vibe and appreciated it.” That is, unless you bought that Chateau Marmont sweatshirt secondhand.

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