Courtesy of Shutters on the Beach
David A. Keeps
August 28, 2015

Finding a souvenir of the great hotel where you just stayed is getting harder all the time. Ashtrays and matchbooks are taboo, and bathrobes and baseball caps feel passé. Color postcards, once a staple at even the most basic motel, are becoming a rarity, though the classic Do Not Disturb sign is still hanging in there.

But some enterprising properties see this as an opportunity and are getting creative with their mementos. Now, you can forego hotel gift shop staples—who needs another coffee mug?—and dive into the deeper waters of collecting with hotel surfboards.

This summer, Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica commissioned the hip, Brooklyn-based design firm Eskayel to produce a custom surfboard, hand finished by the legendary board shaper Josh Martin and emblazoned with an inlay of artist Shanan Campanaro’s Areca Palms fabric. Each one goes for $1,750. Don’t surf? Don’t worry; there’s even a coordinating reversible beach towel for $68.

At the Beverly Hills Hotel, an Estrada Surfboarding 6-footer pairs the classic banana-leaf wallpaper print in the classic Fountain Coffee Room with the hotel’s signature green and white stripes. It’s sold at the gift shop for $1,649 and can be ordered by phone at 310-887-2140.

It’s not just a West Coast thing. Surfing the web, we discovered that the Surf Lodge in Montauk now offers a hand-made, mid-length Almond board called Almond Joy, which starts at $900.

David A. Keeps is on the Los Angeles beat for Travel + Leisure. The host of Ovation TV's "Art and The City," he writes regularly about travel and design. Follow him on Twitter at @davidkeeps and Instagram at @davidkeepsinsta.

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