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Quirky hotel amenities: TPG staff, readers share their favorites

March 27, 2022
7 min read
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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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Complimentary wine and cheese at the Westin Versa, Napa. (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

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.

The dog pen in the lobby at the Asheville Aloft features dogs up for adoption. (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

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.

Related: How hotel amenities can improve a business trip

Excursions and activities

BinocularsSenior 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.

The Ranch at Rock Creek in Montana. (Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

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 bookSenior 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.

Other TPG readers mentioned gondola rides at the Hotel Kette in Venice, and complimentary guided horseback rides at the Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa in Costa Rica.

Comfort and luxury

CarsManaging 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.

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. (Photo courtesy of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts)

Get tucked into bed by Snoopy – This was a pre-pandemic favorite of Family Travel Writer Tarah Chief, offered at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel in Southern California.

(Photo by powerofforever/Getty Images)

Heated toilet seatsSenior 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.

Related: Hotel views you'll want to see for yourself

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.

BrewDog Hotel in Columbus. (Photo by Mimi Wright/The Points Guy)

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.

Music

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.

Pets

“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.

Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Colorado. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

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.

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.

Memorably quirky

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 The Ritz Carlton Turks and Caicos. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases