Each season I do a round-up of unusual hotel perks for CNBC. Here’s the latest.
In-room coffee makers, Wi-Fi, a bottle of water and, sometimes, complimentary nationwide phone calls are now among the standard amenities travelers will find included with most hotel rooms.
But to stand-out and, in many cases, justify, the sometimes
hefty ‘resort’ or ‘convenience’ fees many properties now tag onto bills, more
offbeat and intriguing perks are showing up in the list of amenities
For example, the Fairmont
Southampton in Bermuda offers guests complimentary daily garden and Hamilton
Harbor tours. And the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco offers
built-in oxygen systems in every room and coca leaf tea, to help
guests acclimate to the high altitude in Peru.
From hairdo help and loaner athletic gear to culinary
classes and cuddling chickens, we found a wide variety of unusual amenities
being offered to guests at hotels in the U.S. as well.
sparkling wine and shopping bonuses
Located near Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market and the Puget Sound waterfront, the Thompson Seattle welcomes guests with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. The perks build from there with complimentary blow outs and bang trims at a nearby salon plus tickets to area attractions and museums (when available. Even better, the Uncovered Seattle program, secures discounts and/or bonus offers for guests at a dozen downtown boutiques, jewelry stores and spas. (Rates start at $279. Daily ‘destination fee’: $25.)
Gear shed with hoverboards, cameras and
(Gear Shed at The Hotel Zags; courtesy Harriet Baskas
In Oregon, The Hotel Zags Portland fits into
the Rose City’s hipster scene with complimentary perks that include a ‘gear
shed’ filled with everything from bicycles and basketballs to hoverboards,
skateboards, guitars, fishing poles and cameras.
Soon-to-launch lobby events include astrology programs, art classes in the hotel’s living wall courtyard and “forest bathing” – walks in the city’s greenery.
Hotel guests also get one $15 mini-bar or hotel sundry shop credit each stay, access to an elaborate game room and passes to a nearby gym. (Rates start at: $199; Guest amenities fee: $24/day.)
Gourmet bagels and bonus
In New York City, the Park Terrace Hotel overlooking
Bryant Park the bonus perks are both tasty and thoughtful.
A community closet on each floor is stocked
with take-what-you-need amenities such as deodorant, Malin + Goetz soap, collar stays, toothbrushes and other
necessities travelers often leave behind. And the hotel’s complimentary daily
breakfast offers a veritable Big Apple food tour with gourmet classics such as Zucker’s
bagels, Murray’s Cheese and Doughnut Plant donuts. (Rates
start at $350/night; No resort fee.)
In addition to nibbling tours and aromatherapy
Wellness Whiff Walks, guests can try to spot the fairies living in tiny houses
made from repurposed gourds.
Additional amenities include local shuttle
service and admission to Billings Farm & Museum, home to
Jersey cows, draft horses, Southdown sheep and heritage chickens. (Summer rates
start at $279; Resort fee: $35/day)
A hotel greeter is stationed at Los Angeles
International Airport to welcome arriving guests who have booked transfers to
the hotel. “Peninsula Time” allows extremely flexible check-in and check-out
times, so guests may, for example, check in at 8 a.m. and out at 10 p.m. A
Rolls-Royce ferries guests to area destinations. And returning guests find personalized
monogrammed pillowcases on their beds.
Frequent guests of the Peninsula Beverly Hills may also
store luggage onsite while they jet off to another city and make use of the
hotel’s complimentary unpacking services when they return. (Rates start at $595: No resort fee)
Culinary classes, creative writing and charming
The resort also offers guests stress-busting
opportunities to hang out with puppies and with the resident flock of fluffy and
friendly Silkie chickens, who have fur-like feathers. (Rates start $265; No resort
and snorkeling gear
Guests at the Fairmont Orchid, a luxury resort along the Kohala Coast of Hawaii Island can use complimentary snorkel equipment to spot fish and Hawaiian sea turtles in Pauoa Bay and take advantage of a complimentary 45-minute photoshoot with a professional photographer. (Photo packages can be purchased). The resort also offers complimentary star gazing sessions and classes in Hawaiian crafts and culture. (Rates start at $269) Daily resort fee: $35).
Pets – and their people – can participate in the parade for free. There are trophies awarded in categories such as Best Costume, Most Patriotic, Most Visionary Pet, Owner & Pet Lookalikes and Least Likely to Succeed as a Pet.
After the parade, there’s a Pet Talent [or Not] Show.
The Watergate package includes a one-night stay on the Top of
the Gate rooftop bar in a Glamping Globe outfitted by Terra Glamping, a
nightcap with Tang cocktails, s’mores and a house-made moon pie; a moonlit yoga
class; the opportunity to name a star; sunrise breakfast, souvenir map of the
constellations on July 20, 1969; and access to a top-floor suite. (To book,
call: (855) 290-6832)
In Seattle, the NASA Apollo 11 command module, Columbia, and other artifacts from the Smithsonian’s Institution’s Destination Moon exhibit are on view through September 2 at the Museum of Flight. To celebrate, guests at the five-star Four Seasons Hotel Seattle will receive space-themed amenities, key cards and Moon-themed space toys, while guests at the Hyatt Regency Seattle will be greeted by a 20-foot-tall inflatable astronaut in the lobby. Both hotels have Apollo-11 themed cocktails as well.
Space Coast check-in
Along Florida’s Space Coast there are a
long list of special exhibits and events at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor
Complex at Merritt Island; an Astronaut Walking Pub Crawl on July 12 in
Cocoa Village and, on July 13, an Astronaut Parade in Cocoa Beach and a free
concert at Riverside Park at Cocoa Village. To celebrate, guests booking the 50th
Anniversary of the Moon Landing package at the Quality Inn & Suites
Cocoa Beach July 11-14 will receive commemorative t-shirts.
The most over the top is being offered by the Post Oak Hotel
at Uptown Houston. The two-night, three-day package costs $10,000 and includes
a round-trip private helicopter ride between the hotel and Ellington Field; a
private lunch and guided tour of the Johnson Space Center with an astronaut; $300
food and beverage credit at the hotel and Grounding Ritual treatments at the
You to the Moon & Back” package at the Hotel Derek, includes a
moon-inspired welcome cocktail, specially created moon chocolates, personalized
horoscope, breakfast in bed and complimentary valet parking (Available July
1-31, Rates start at $189 on weekends, $259 midweek).
During July, Houston’s Hotel Alessandra is offering a weekend package that includes an
overnight stay, freeze dried ice cream, a NASA Archives coffee table book plus
$50 food and beverage credit in the space-shuttle inspired Lucienne restaurant
or chic Bardot lounge. (Rates start at $434).
At the space-themed Marriott Marquis Houston, July’s Mission
to the Moon package includes a Moon Melt Massage and a $50 resort credit, which
you might use towards one of the special “Over the Moon” cocktails. (Rates
start at $454).
The Visit Houston website lists lots
more Space City Month events and hotel
packages as well tips finding cosmic cocktails like the Space City Sour at the
Bayou & Bottle bar the Four Seasons Hotel – Houston that features a far out
image of a man on the moon
etched on the surface of the cocktail.