When staying in a hotel, most travelers anticipate finding the basics: A comfortable bed, fluffy towels, running hot water, and a flat screen TV.
Yet when staying at certain properties, expectations of luxuries and amenities go way up—at times way over the top. As competition in the travel space heats up, posh hotels are going out of their way to make sure guests get more bang for the big bucks they shell out to stay there.
"With the rise of Airbnb, luxury hotels have been upping the amenity quotient to differentiate themselves," said Jack Ezon, president of Ovation Vacations. "Since they can no longer compete on bricks and mortar alone, they are adding meaningful touches and amenities that make their hotels more of an experience than a nice place to stay."
Guests booking a suite at Deer Path Inn on Chicago's North Shore, for example, are treated to a complimentary, fully-stocked bar with premium wines, top-shelf spirits and a pantry filled with English-inspired favorites.
Meanwhile, guests of all-inclusive Twin Farms resort and spa in Barnard, VT ($1,500/night) receive a collectible, wooden handmade Stave puzzle custom-made for the property. Repeat guests and VIPs at the Peninsula Beverly Hills get personalized monogrammed pillowcases on their beds.
With that in mind, CNBC took a look at some of the hotels offering top-of the line guest perks.
Across Lake Washington from Seattle, 13th floor, the 2,000-plus square foot E WOW suite ($5,000/night) at the recently opened W Bellevue doubles as a party palace. It features two bedrooms, three bathrooms, surround-sound audio, an in-room pool, poker tables, a kitchen and a retractable 46-inch flat screen TV. A king bed hanging from the ceiling and the hanging porch swings that line the suite's border offer great views of the lake.
Fans of the Boston Bruins will want to check out the brand new 570-square-foot suite named after hockey great Bobby Orr ($500 to $1,500/night) at the historic Ames Boston Hotel. The hallway ("Bobby Orr Way") leading to the 14th floor suite is lined with photos taken during Orr's career. In the living room, guests will find two seats from the original Boston Garden, a replica scoreboard with the time and score halted at the exact moment Orr scored the winning goal during overtime on May 10, 1970, a functioning "penalty box," and flooring to invoke to look of a hockey rink. The bedroom features Orr's retired banner from his personal collection and other pieces of memorabilia.
How about a car with that room?
At the Pebble Beach Resorts in California, (starting rates from $720 to $1,000/night), all overnight guests receive complimentary use of a Lexus for up to two hours during their stay, as part of its Lexus Test Drive Program. Lexus owners also receive a $100 credit through Lexus with a minimum two-night stay at a full rate.
Rancho Valencia, (starting rates: $639/night), Rancho Santa Fe's 45-acre luxury resort, has a complimentary Porsche Test Drive Program that gives guests a chance test out new models for up to four hours a day. If they like what they drive, guests can consult with the on-site Porsche-certified concierge to make a purchase.
The Halcyon, a hotel in Denver's Cherry Creek neighborhood (rates start at $229), offers guests complimentary use of Vespas, bikes and a wide variety of other outdoor gear during the stay. The Gear Garage includes longboards, bocce ball sets, fishing rods and 'adventure packs" filled with Frisbees, Swiss Army knives and binoculars.
Forget the fanny packs. The Kimpton Journeyman Hotel ($219 to $1000/night) in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward not only has loaner bikes, it keeps custom leather backpacks on hand for guests to borrow during their stay. They contain a custom see-the-city itinerary and anyone who mentions the special summer password ("Sun Salutation" [SHHH!]) gets a surprise gift.
Provenance Hotels, with properties in Nashville, New Orleans, Portland and Seattle, folds in a city-specific perks for its guests. Those who stay on the sixth floor of the West Wing at Sentinel in Portland have complimentary access to the "Room at the End of the Hall" — a library-like space with a pantry stocked with treats made by local makers that is catered all day long. Guests who stay on the fifth floor at Hotel Max will find their rooms equipped with record players and vinyl records curated by Seattle's iconic label, Sub Pop Records.
When it opens in November, Seattle's new Hotel Theodore will have locally-made his-and-her loaner rain jackets by Freeman in the closets.