The wisdom goes at upscale hotels that “for money you can get anything,” notes Jan Freitag, vice president of STR, a provider of market analysis for the hotel industry.
That is, anything within reason, Freitag says. He cited a legendary example of a very wealthy guest at a five-star property in Germany who wanted to rent out the entire local fair for his child—the hotel tried, but it was a request that was not within reason. That said, we've gathered examples of amenities and experiences that are already being offered at hotels around the world.
Freitag notes that luxury hotels are doing “really well,” despite the financial hard times of the past few years. For a while, luxury was equivalent to a four-letter word, “but there are a lot of high net worth individuals still left who feel good about spending, even after tightening the belt in ’08 and ’09, so I think high - end leisure travel is back and high-end business travel as well.”
Here are some flourishes that hotel brands have added to distinguish their guest experience, including a few examples provided by TripAdvisor.com.
By Colleen KanePosted 8 Mar 2011
Starting in January, the iPad tablet replaced touch panels in every guest room at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, where it provides guest services and room controls.
Guests of the Plaza can use the touch screen to order room service, contact the concierge (or make their own dinner reservations), and control their room’s lighting and climate, plus general web browsing. Another benefit is moving away from having a guest directory in the room.
The paperless benefit of the iPad is also being pushed by The Forty 1 North Hotel Marina Resort in Newport, Rhode Island, which puts in-room iPads on its list of eco-conscious measures.
Directories, menus, maps, and daily newspapers are all delivered paperlessly to guests using the iPad.
You know a hotel serves celebrity and royalty when it has a helipad, like Brazil’s Hilton Sao Paulo Morumbi.
But whether or not throngs of fans or subjects are clambering to get at you, anyone with the scratch can hire a helicopter to make day excursions from Angela’s Beach Club Hotelin Angeles City, the Philippines. Flown by the hotel’s house pilot, Willy, the chopper goes anywhere in the country the passengers please, for example, a 30 minute flight to Manila for a shopping trip, or an hour to Hundred Islands, as long as there is access to fuel.
Animal-related perks occupy their own expanding subcategory in the strata of luxury amenities. Numerous hotels offer pet packages for guests who bring their own critters, including food bowls, animal beds , treats, and walking services. Boston’s Nine Zero Hotel even offers pet massage (or, as it’s known to the animal: petting).
Some hotels provide the pets themselves as an amenity. TripAdvisor mentioned Kimpton’s Guppy Love program, which offers a beta fish on request—but how about full-sized dogs? A Labrador named Luke resides at the Loews Annapolis, and certain properties among Fairmont Hotels and Resorts in the United States and Canada have resident hotel dogs they call Canine Ambassadors,who are available for guests to take on walks and runs. These hotel mascots have their own email addresses, they’ve inspired two books, and a few of them even have dedicated Facebook pages.
The Algonquin Hotel in New York is known for its literary history, primarily because of the famous Round Table and former wisecracker-in-residence Dorothy Parker. So what modern gadget could be more appropriate than an e-reader?
A selection of preloaded readers are offered to the hotel’s guests, and as part of a partnership with Harper Perennial, several book downloads are offered to guests each month. What would Ms. Parker have to say about this modern book-sharing? Probably something brilliant and rude. Miami’s Epic Hotelalso provides guests with pre-loaded Sony e-readers, and Fairmont Hotelsoffer Kobo readers.
Plenty of upscale hotels and resorts offer cooking instruction plumped up with extras . One example: the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok offers a four-session Thai cooking classplus airport transfer, breakfasts, welcome dinner, and daily jet lag massage.
But for those who value gourmet experiences, what’s more indulgent than uncovering and savoring the earth’s “black diamonds”? The Hotel Crillon le Brave in Provence offerstruffle and wine weekend events, which include truffle hunting with an expert truffier, a cooking demonstration with their chef, a wine tasting, and dinner with full truffle specialties.
TripAdvisor tipped us off that guests staying in suites at The Peninsula Beverly Hills have the keys to a Cadillac for use throughout their stay. The hotel also offers the Red Carpet Ready Experience, involving in-room styling, jewelry accessorizing, and a photo shoot in the style of an awards show red carpet.
The Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills recently announced its Suite Drive program,wherein guests booking the top available suites have access to models such as a Rolls Royce Phantom, Ferrari F430, Ferrari California, Bentley Flying Spur, Maserati, Bentley GTC, Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Lamborghini Gallardo, Mercedes-Benz SLS, Mercedes-Benz S600 or a Porsche 997.
Butlers are officially a thing at better hotels, resorts, and cruise ships. Don’t know how to work your laptop? Call the tech butler. Need a bath drawn to the right temperature? Ask for a bath butler. How do you work this fireplace thing? You don’t—you call the fireplace butler. These three butlers are available by request at the Taj Boston.
Keswick Hallat Monticello in Virginia offers a few other butler services. Their baby butlers provide crib linens, DVDs, bottle warming services, and custom-developed gourmet children’s meals, as well as babysitting services.
Love butlers provide romantic atmosphere for honeymooners and other couples, such as rose petals with turn-down service, champagne, long-stem roses, chocolate-dipped strawberries, bubble bath with aromatherapy oils, private gourmet dining, and aphrodisiac canapés.
A private jet is the ultimate in luxury, and clearly is not an amenity provided by many hotels.
However, anyone with a million dollars to blow can book a weeklong stay for two at the lavish Emirates Palacein Abu Dhabi. The package includes a private jet for day trips like a jaunt to Iran to create your own Persian rug, and another to the Dead Sea in Jordan for a day at the sea and an afternoon Anantara spa treatment in the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar. Oh, and a day trip to Bahrain in the private jet for a "pearl deep sea experience." The pearl you leave with will be set in jewelry settings before the week is done.
Participants in this week of opulence also have at their disposal a chauffer-driven Maybach, deep sea fishing, and “gifts including the rarest pearls in the world from Robert Wan and a selection from Holland & Holland Sporting Guns.”