Quirky hotel amenities: TPG staff, readers share their favorites
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They’re the perks that make a hotel stay more memorable. From the most predictable and basic like a couple of bottles of water, to much more original — and in some cases, downright unique amenities. Sure, some perks have been pared down or even discontinued during the COVID-19 pandemic, but plenty remain.
As a kid I remember staying at an Embassy Suites hotels on vacation, and my parents ensuring that we were back from our daytime excursions in time to enjoy drinks and snacks at the “Manager’s Reception.” Years later, my wife and I hastened our trek back to the Westin Versa in downtown Napa to partake in the complimentary wine tasting (or at least, the wine tasting that was included in our daily resort fee).
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When I think through amenities I’ve enjoyed while staying at hotels, I think of the giant complimentary paella snack at the Westin Grand Cayman where we spent our honeymoon, the dogs up for adoption (and pets and walks) at the Aloft in Asheville, North Carolina, and the Peloton bike I got to use at a Marriott in Virginia.
Honestly, though, most of these pale in comparison to the ingenuity of, and in some case quirky, amenities my TPG colleagues and some of our readers have experienced when we polled them.
To best lay this all out, I’ve categorized these unusual amenities.
Excursions and activities
Binoculars – Senior Aviation Business Reporter David Slotnick received them for the purpose of plane spotting at the Grand Hyatt Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). And Zachary Goldman got them for whale watching while staying at the Waldorf Astoria.
Lego Butler – Coordinating Editor Christine Smith remembers this 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) younger guests” like board games, homemade cookies and a personalized bedtime story.
Electric bikes – Director of Video Tom Grahsler was able to rent them while staying at the Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana. On an expansive property, he said having a motorized mountain bike was “awesome and fun.”
Pulse book – Senior Writer Katie Genter found this in the lobby during her stay at the Andaz Capital Gate hotel in Abu Dhabi. It provided local secrets from past visitors, and was a good tool to get ideas on what to do, she said.
Comfort and luxury
Cars – Managing Editor Clint Henderson got to enjoy a Maserati courtesy car and chauffeur service during his stay in Italy at the Excelsior Hotel Gallia in Milan. Points and Miles Reporter Kyle Olsen remembers the complimentary day use of luxury Lexus cars at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas. Another TPG reader remembers one hotel where they offered a Rolls-Royce.
Heated toilet seats – Senior Hotels Reporter Tanner Saunders previously shared his enjoyment of this bathroom amenity available at lots of international hotels, which he first experienced during a stay in Japan. On the same topic, Ben Smithson remembers one hotel stay where there was a fireplace in the bathroom.
Food and Drink
Rum and Coke – Senior 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 beer on tap (to complement the shower beer fridge) at the BrewDog Hotel in Columbus, Ohio. Similarly, a TPG reader remembers the built-in brewery at the Grove, a “brewtique” hotel in Ontario.
TPG readers also chimed in about the late night peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the Le Pavilion New Orleans, champagne vending machines at Lennox Miami Beach, and similar machines vending wine at the St. Regis in Washington, D.C.
Record Player – Director of Content Nick Ewen said he enjoyed this at the music-themed Elizabeth Hotel, a Marriott Autograph Collection property in Fort Collins, Colorado. Nick noted it was fun teaching his daughter a way to play music that did not involve an iPhone or Alexa.
Another TPG reader remembered a Sarasota hotel that offered ukuleles in their room.
“Borrowable” Dogs – Director of Content Andrea Rotondo took note of this option at the Ritz Carlton, Bachelor Gulch in Colorado, where the hotel housed a St. Bernard that visitors could spend time with.
Other readers recalled dog cocktails at a Virgin Hotel in Dallas, dog massages at a hotel in Los Cabos, and goldfish pets for the length 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 these amenities that are truly quirky
Ghostbusters slime – multiple TPG staffers and readers mentioned this quirk at the Curtis hotel in Denver, where there’s a Ghostbusters-themed suite.
Intergalactic communication coming to you live from our Sci-Fi floor – thats just out of this world, Happy New Year and #NationalScienceFictionDay! 👽
#StayHappy and #LiveLongandProsper pic.twitter.com/JN3r3rRYcv
— The Curtis hotel (@thecurtishotel) January 2, 2020
At various other properties, we heard about bunk beds built into book shelves, guitars and amplifiers available while staying in soundproof rooms, custom thread sewing kits to match what you packed, mineral water from nearby hot springs piped directly into room and shoes available for workouts.
From enhancing your visit to turning an otherwise routine stay into a truly luxurious one, or in some cases, just making your stay more entertaining, there’s no doubt that unique amenities help form the memories we carry with us after a stay at any given property.
If there’s any amenity you’ve experienced that’s even quirkier than anything on this list, we’d love to hear about it! Connect with us on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages and let us know about your favorite quirky hotel amenity.
Featured image by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.
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