Hotel perks

Chicken cuddling, loaner gear and hairdo help with your next hotel stay

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 included. 

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.

Hairdo help, 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 guitars

(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 amenity closet

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.)

Fairy houses, Whiff Walks and Garden Pun Tours

In Vermont, summer and fall guests of the Woodstock Inn & Resort are offered a bounty of free classes and complimentary tours at the resort’s 3.5 acre, certified organic Kelly Way Gardens.

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)

 Monogrammed pillowcases and airport greeters

The 5-star Peninsula Beverly Hills pampers guests with plenty of posh perks.

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 chickens  

Courtesy Sunrise Springs Spa Resort

Amenities at the Sunrise Springs Spa Resort in Santa Fe, New Mexico include unlimited experiential wellness activities ranging from fitness, yoga and meditation to cooking and creative writing classes and courses in making healthy beauty products.

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 fees.)

Stargazing 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).

Expedited airport screening for Loews Hotels loyalty program members

Here’s a interesting offer that may just spark a trend:

Loews Hotels & Resorts has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to promote the Trusted Traveler Network, which meshes the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Global Entry and the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Pre✓ programs.

Members of the hotel’s YouFirst Platinum loyalty rewards program will get complimentary enrollment in the Global Entry program. With a Global Entry membership, U.S. citizens are automatically qualified to participate in expedited screening with TSA’s Pre✓ program.

Current Platinum YouFirst members (which includes guests with 10+ stays) will be invited by email to participate in this one-time offer, which will made available for the next 60 days.

Good idea? For those who travel a lot and stay loyal to one hotel, you bet!