It’s the perks that make a hotel stay more memorable. From the more predictable and basic like a few water bottles, to much more quirky – and in some cases downright unique – amenities. Of course, some perks have been reduced or even removed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are plenty left.
When I was a kid, I remember staying at an Embassy Suites hotel on vacation, and my parents made sure we were back from our day trips in time to grab drinks and snacks at the “reception of the director”. Years later, my wife and I accelerated our return to the Westin Versa in Downtown Napa to participate in the complimentary wine tasting (or at least the wine tasting included in our daily resort fee).
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When I think of the amenities I’ve enjoyed while staying in hotels, I think of the huge free paella snack at the Westin Grand Cayman where we honeymooned, dogs for adoption (and pets and rides) at the Aloft in Asheville, NC, and the Peloton bike I got to use at a Marriott in Virginia .
Honestly, though, most of them pale in comparison to the ingenuity and, in some cases, quirky conveniences that my TPG colleagues and some of our readers experienced when we quizzed them.
To better expose all this, I have categorized these unusual amenities.
Excursions and activities
Binoculars – David Slotnick, Senior Aviation Affairs Reporter received them for aircraft tracking purposes Grand Hyatt Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). And Zachary Goldman bought them for whale watching during his stay at the Waldorf Astoria.
Lego Butler – Coordinating Editor Christine Smith remembers it from her stay at Ashford Castle in Ireland, where the property will deliver a set to children (for $44) along with its other perks “exclusively for (their) young guests” like board games, homemade cookies and a personalized bedtime story.
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Electric bikes – Video director Tom Grahsler was able to rent them during his time at the Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana. On a sprawling property, he said having a motorized mountain bike was “awesome and fun.”
Pulse log – Senior Writer Katie Genter found this in the lobby while staying at the Andaz Capital Gate Hotel in Abu Dhabi. It provided local secrets from past visitors and was a good tool for getting ideas for what to do, she said.
Comfort and luxury
Cars – Editor Clint Henderson was able to enjoy a Maserati courtesy car and chauffeur service during his stay in Italy at the Excelsior Hotel Gallia in Milan. Kyle Olsen, Points and Miles Reporter remembers free use of luxury Lexus cars at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas. Another TPG reader remembers a hotel where they offered a Rolls-Royce.
Heated toilet seats – Tanner Saunders, Senior Hospitality Journalist previously shared his pleasure of this bathroom equipment available in many international hotels, which he discovered for the first time during a stay in Japan. On the same subject, Ben Smithson recalls a hotel stay where there was a fireplace in the bathroom.
Food and drink
rum and coke – Editor Benet Wilson recalls finding a six-pack of Coca-Cola and a bottle of Cruzan rum while staying at a hotel on the Caribbean island of St. Croix.
Beer – Social Media Manager Mimi Wright remembers the draft beer (to complete the shower beer fridge) at the BrewDog Hotel in Columbus, Ohio. Similarly, a TPG reader remembers the Grove’s in-house brewery, a “brewtique” hotel in Ontario.
TPG readers also referred to the late-night peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the The New Orleans Pavilionchampagne vending machines Lennox Miami Beachand similar wine distributors at the St. Regis in Washington, D.C.
Turntable – Content Director Nick Ewen said he liked it to the music theme Hotel Elisabeth, a Marriott Autograph Collection property in Fort Collins, Colorado. Nick noted that it was fun to teach his daughter a way to play music that didn’t involve an iPhone or Alexa.
Another TPG reader recalled a hotel in Sarasota that offered ukuleles in their room.
“Borrowable” dogs – Content director Andrea Rotondo took note of this option at the Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch in Coloradowhere the hotel housed a St. Bernard that visitors could spend time with.
Other readers remembered cocktails for dogs during a Virgin Hotel in Dallas, dog massages at a hotel in Los Cabos and goldfish for the duration of your stay at the Kimpton Monaco in Denver and the Maximillian in Prague.
Related: Most Dog-Friendly Hotels in America
And then there are those really quirky arrangements
Ghostbusters slime – several TPG staff and readers have mentioned this oddity at the Curtis Hotel in Denverwhere a Ghostbusters-themed sequel is.
At various other properties, we’ve heard of bunk beds built into book shelves, guitars and amplifiers available while staying in soundproof rooms, custom wire stitching kits to match what you’ve packed, mineral water from nearby hot springs delivered directly to the room and shoes available for workouts.
Whether enhancing your visit or transforming an otherwise routine stay into one that is truly luxurious, or in some cases simply making your stay more entertaining, there is no doubt that unique amenities help shape the memories that we keep with us after a stay in a given property.
If there’s a piece of gear you’ve experienced that’s even weirder than anything on this list, we’d love to hear about it! Join us on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages and let us know your favorite quirky hotel amenities.