Most travelers are content with complimentary bottles of water and a few chocolates left on the pillow after turn-down service, but these days, luxury hotels are upping the stakes when it comes to amenities. Guests today can drive complimentary Porches, use 24-karat-gold iPads, and sip cocktails made by a private bartender. Read on for our look at the best over-the-top hotel amenities around the world.
By Christina Valhouli
WHERE: The Quin, New York City
Guests of The Quin will find the hotel doesn’t even call it a minibar: The “Provisions Cabinet” is stocked with custom luxury home, fashion, and beauty products. You'll find high-quality 12.29 candles made especially for the hotel with in the signature Heritage scent, and a jewelry box with a handcrafted, limited-edition Sirissima necklace by designer Siri Willoch Traasdahl (formerly of Bottega Veneta and Marc Jacobs). There's also a custom-made deck of specialty playing cards, featuring designs by the artist Daniel Egnéus.
For food, snack on popcorn from Brooklyn-based Pipsnacks or indulge in world-class Neuhaus chocolates, which you'll find in a kid-friendly, Smurf-decorated gift box. The cabinet also boasts glass-bottled Jana artisan water and a variety of imported juices.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's New York City Guide
Browse Unpublished Letters
WHERE: Segera Retreat, Kenya
A safari is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most travelers, but Segera Retreat manages to add even more “wow” factor. The property gives its guests access to a private collection of unpublished, handwritten and typed letters composed by Ernest Hemingway, David Livingstone, Karen and Bror Blixen, and many more who have explored Africa. The letters come from the private collection of Segera’s owner, Jochen Zeitz.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Kenya Guide
WHERE: AYANA Resort and Spa, Bali
A handful of Asian countries, including Bali, are known for their “floating markets,” which are essentially farmers' markets that take place on boats. Guests staying in an AYANA Resort and Spa villa enjoy a fresh twist on this experience with a luxury floating brunch. Break out your bathing suit for breakfast served on a floating tray in the villa's private plunge pool, where a butler launches a three-course gourmet breakfast that's accompanied by coffee, tea, or champagne for $140 per person.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Bali Guide
WHERE: Hotel de Rome, Berlin
Forget your little black dress? No problem. The Hotel de Rome offers Schumacher designer dresses at no extra charge, whether guests are looking to wear a cocktail dress or an evening gown. The Schumacher shop is located just a few minutes from the hotel, which can organize a private shopping trip there.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Berlin Guide
WHERE: The Goring, London
Located near Buckingham Palace in London, The Goring is perhaps best known as the luxury hotel where Kate Middleton spent her last night as a commoner before the royal wedding. Guests who would also like a taste of royal life can book the Royal Suite. Here, at no extra charge, the hotel can arrange for a private pianist to serenade guests on the suite’s bespoke grand piano. Guests can also enjoy personalized stationery, bathrobes, and slippers in addition to hand-made chocolates.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's London Guide
WHERE: Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown
Washington may be full of rising stars, but the Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown offers a nonpartisan way to observe them. The hotel’s new Constellation Series program offers a complimentary tutorial from a University of Maryland astronomy graduate student, who helps guests gaze through telescopes on the hotel’s rooftop.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Washington, D.C. Guide
Private Island Getaway
WHERE: Laucala Island, Fiji
Booking a vacation to a private island resort in Fiji would feel like getting away from it all for most people, but guests staying at Laucala Island can take privacy even further. The hotel arranges excursions to Tadra Beach (meaning “dream beach” in Fijian), which can only be reached via boat, catamaran, or Jet Ski. Tadra Beach is available to just one couple at a time. The excursion is complimentary for guests celebrating an anniversary or honeymoon, and a spa treatment can be arranged there, for a fee.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Fiji Guide
WHERE: Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, Rancho Santa Fe, California
Feel like driving a new Porsche while on vacation? That’s no problem if you’re staying at the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa. Through an exclusive partnership with Porsche of San Diego, the resort offers guests a complimentary vehicle (cars must be returned the same day). Rancho Valencia’s concierge can suggest ideal places for a test drive, including Highway 101 and La Jolla's beaches. And, if you happen to fall in love with the car, there’s a Porsche-certified concierge on-site who sends guests home with the ultimate souvenir.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's San Diego Guide
WHERE: Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Having a fireplace in your room is incredibly romantic, but lighting it on the first try and keeping the flames going is another story. Guests at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado can leave that to the experts by requesting a visit from the fireplace butler, who arrives dressed in outdoor gear and a red flannel hat. The butler lights the logs and serves hot chocolate or steaming apple cider in ceramic camping mugs.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Santa Fe Guide
24-karat Gold iPad
WHERE: Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Burj Al Alrab is known for taking luxury to a whole new level. Case in point: At check-in, guests are offered a 24-karat-gold iPad engraved with the hotel’s logo. You can use the gadget as a “virtual concierge” to access hotel information and services. It's also available for purchase at the Burj Al Arab’s bespoke boutique for roughly $10,200, along with an iPad mini, iPhone 5, and BlackBerry Q10—all made of gold.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Dubai Guide
WHERE: The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta
There’s no excuse for not keeping up with your fitness program at The Westin Peachtree Plaza, as runners don’t have to pack a thing. Rent New Balance workout gear for a fee and have the items delivered to your room. The complimentary running concierge also accompanies guests on a jog around the city and shows them the best routes.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Atlanta Guide
WHERE: The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria New York, New York City
New York is a city that has it all, but if you're looking for something special that very few other people can get their hands on, check into The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria, which occupies the top 14 floors of the Waldorf Astoria. VIP guests enjoy the Top of the Waldorf Rooftop Honey that's produced in the hotel’s six apiaries. You'll also receive recipes incorporating honey from the hotel’s culinary team and resident mixologist.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's New York City Guide
WHERE: Cavallo Point, San Francisco
Views of the Golden Gate Bridge or the San Francisco skyline from Cavallo Point's rooms are pretty impressive, but guests who like to take in the scenery with a special drink in hand can request a private bartender's services, for a fee. DIY-inclined folks can have cocktail ingredients delivered to their rooms, or ask the bartender to prepare hand-shaken cocktails.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's San Francisco Guide
WHERE: Las Ventanas al Paraíso, Los Cabos, Mexico
Arrive at Las Ventanas al Paraíso with the love of your life in tow, and the hotel’s Romance Department can assist with everything else. The team can leave a message in a bottle for your loved one to discover, arrange a horse-drawn carriage ride, or set up a private candlelit dinner, complete with a serenade by a classical guitarist. The romance team also plans elaborate wedding proposals—including a professionally-made movie that captures the moment.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Los Cabos Guide
WHERE: Hotel Monaco, Portland, Oregon
The Hotel Monaco is known for being exceedingly pet-friendly; after all, it hosts Portland’s Next Top Dog Model contest. The hotel goes above and beyond typical pet amenities by arranging sessions with pet psychic Bridget Pilloud of Pets are Talking. Pilloud works with animals to help improve relationships with their owners and solve any behavioral problems.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Portland Guide