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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.

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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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TPG featured card

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • 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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023