Best New Hotel Amenities

Posted by Fodor's Guest Blogger on May 25, 2011 at 12:37:20 PM EDT | Post a Comment
By Ellin Stein Kimpton-dream-menu-woman-sleep-mask-cookies.jpgIn-room wi-fi, minibar champagne splits, high-end toiletries, chocolates on the pillow . . . boring. In a world where guests have grown to expect a high level of amenity as standard, hotels are looking for ever more distinctive offerings. Here are some creative hotel amenities to look for, some gratis and others worth a splurge.

Sleep Aids: A Growing Complimentary Trend

The "Sleep Concierge" at New York’s Benjamin Hotel will equip you with one of 12 different types of pillow ranging from buckwheat to magnetic to anti-snore, plus white noise machine. The "Dream Menu" at the Kimpton Lorien in Alexandria, Virginia supplies a similar range of pillows, along with sleep aids such as masks and earplugs, all without charge. A teddy bear will cost you $20, however.

Unique In-Room Recreation

Rooms at the Ace Hotels in New York, Portland, and Palm Springs feature retro record players along with LPs selected by local indie music experts (records are free in-room, $5 each if you want to take home.) For the higher-minded, the Study at Yale Hotel in New Haven, Connecticut provides designer reading glasses, along with reading material chosen by New York’s Strand bookstore, as well access to University athletic events, plays, and concerts (price varies). Glasses are on loan but can be purchased for $60-$90. If you’re looking for something more than that champagne split to spice up your stay, the new W Hotel Leicester Square in London provides adult toys for him and her ($15 each). More Rock n Roll lifestyle: guests at Chicago’s Hard Rock Hotel can borrow one of 17 Gibson electric guitars plus headphones at no charge. The hotel will also arrange lessons.

Al Fresco Eaters: NYC Trend Alert

New-York-CityCentral-Park-Great-Lawn-Picnic.jpgNew York’s Surrey Hotel will supply a free gourmet picnic basket stocked by upscale grocery Dean & Deluca, along with blanket and suggestions for the best spots in Central Park. In the same city, a package at two Ritz-Carlton Hotels throw in a bike rental for one full day along with your picnic basket to help you get to your spot. The Summer In The Park special at the Central Park branch ($725/night) also includes a gondola ride on the park’s lake, while the Battery Park outpost’s version ($445/night) includes a 90-minute boat ride with Manhattan by Sail instead.

Special Solutions to Packing Problems

Forget your camera? The Nisbet Plantation Beach Club on Nevis has complimentary Flip digital video cameras available for capturing the island’s beauty and provides a free DVD to burn your video to. Missing Everything? The Stafford London offers a "Baggage Emergency Response Squad" that will hassle the airline on your behalf and provide emergency supplies of underwear and toiletries plus priority laundering once your luggage shows up. The service is free, except for replacement clothing.

Animal-Friendly Hotels: More Options than Ever

Dog-terrier-luggage-black.jpgHear a buzzing noise? That would be from the 10 beehives on the roof of London’s Lancaster Hotel, which create the honey given as a free VIP guest amenity. Since dogs aren’t big on fruit, the Nolitan hotel in New York (opening July 1) will greet your canine companion with a complementary basket of toys and treats. Boston’s Nine Zero provides Fido with a "welcome treat", plus bowls and pet bed. For a fee, the hotel will also arrange walks—and massages—for dogs.

Get in Touch with Your Wilde Side

Guests in Room 118 of London’s Cadogan Hotel, the site of Oscar Wilde’s arrest for gross indecency, will find a complimentary replica of the writer’s smoking jacket available to wear—epigrams not included.
About the Writer: Ellin Stein contributes to Fodor’s London and England guides and has written on culture and travel for numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic including The New York Times, The Telegraph, and The Guardian. She is the author of the forthcoming Beyond A Joke: The National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, and How Comedy Insurgents Captured the Mainstream.
Photo Credits: Kimpton Lorien, iStockPhoto / Alija, iStockPhoto / mphillips007
Posted in Deals, Hotels Tagged: Hotels, Amenities

Member Comments (2)  Post a Comment

  • Flaviu on Nov 26, 13 at 12:16 PM

    I couldn't agree more. Hotels need to provide more and more amenities to set themselves apart and show a higher standard of accommodation. Companies like CAHM ( offer many such amenities, but sadly, many hotel owners fail to understand what a huge impact such a small invest would have.

  • arthurlow on Jun 1, 11 at 11:25 AM

    Speaking of hotel amenities: If you're really looking for a breakthrough bedding product, look into M Low Design's revolutionary Already Made Duvet™. What makes it so unique is that this is the one duvet that can be laundered in one piece, insert and all. To hotel guests, it looks just like a standard duvet – they can even feel the buttons at the bottom. But these buttons do not open and the insert is actually sewn into the duvet…making what was a 2-piece concept, 1 fully integrated piece.

    What’s more, with this duvet, you no longer have a problem trying to get the insert to lay flat and evenly. The insert stays put; it won’t bunch up in places and give you an uncomfortable night’s sleep!

    Most important, the Already Made Duvet represents is a new standard in hotel hygiene.

    Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that in a conventional duvet, the duvet insert is rarely if ever cleaned! So hotel guests are sleeping under a duvet that harbors countless germs, bacteria, viruses, allergy pathogens from dust mites and bodily emissions. To say nothing of bedbugs!!!

    On the other hand, every time the ‘Already Made’ Duvet™ is washed, the hypoallergenic insert is washed together with the duvet cover.