Whether it is a MINI Cooper to cruise around in, a Fender guitar to strum ballads on, chocolates left on the pillow or a handwritten personal note from the general manager - with a bit of creativity hotels can make every guest feel like a VIP.
Text: Laura Myers // FOTOS: iStock
In the late 1970's, properties were looking to gain an edge over their competitors by differentiating themselves with an ever-increasing variety of guest luxuries. It has been termed “amenity creep”, the action of hoteliers to continually add more amenities to the hotel and room to satisfy guest expectations as well as respond to competition. Some amenities have come to define hotels, as they are used as a marketing tool to gain notoriety e.g. The Biltmore Hotel’s enormous swimming pool, in Miami. Over the years, we have all encountered the mini-sewing kit, small toiletry bottles, shower caps, shoeshine mitts, and toothbrushes etc. With the onset of social media, more properties are turning to luxury services and amenities for a memorable Instagram snapshot. Here are a few to consider.
Business travelers on a tight schedule will appreciate complimentary airport pick-up service with express check-in, Wi-Fi access codes and pillow menus, en route to their hotel. Upon arrival, a 10-minute welcome shoulder massage would delight any guest. In the lobby, fresh fruit or warm baked cookies with beverages can help transition from the hectic traveling day to the soothing comforts of arriving at the destination. Additional service offerings could include: complimentary vouchers for spa or gym visits, an unpack and pack service, grocery and personal shoppers, same-day: laundry, dry cleaning, or a shoeshine; reservations and information on the city.
In the rooms, HD TVs displaying a crackling fire or a forest scene will induce tranquility. Leaving a gratis basket of fruit, crackers, olives, and water or juice will stave off the hunger pangs. Some hotels offer personalized, pre-selected, stocked minibars for the guests to indulge e.g. vegan products. Guests will appreciate full-sized, quality toiletries instead of fumbling with the mini toiletry products. Installing rain showerheads in the bathroom is relaxing for anyone trying to unwind. Fluffy, absorbent bathrobes and slippers will help guests get cozy. Quality soft linens in the bathroom and on the bed create a luxurious experience. A memorable turn-down service could include an inspirational poem, wildflower book marker, premium chocolates or even a slice of pie left on the nightstand. On the practical side, providing a set of earplugs, eye mask and a lavender pillow spray will be a welcome relief for restless sleepers.
Providing a Coffee machine and a tea cooker with large, ceramic mugs and spoons instead of plastic cups gives a feeling of luxury. For those who don't have time for breakfast, a special treat could be a free basket of fresh breads with butter pats and marmalade left at their door. Alternatively, you could offer the early riser a pre-ordered breakfast to-go bag.
For stressed travelers, The Kimpton Hotel provides a gold fish bowl to borrow in the room. In Japan, some hotels have a room with cats to pet to help unwind the most keyed-up guest. The rise of the specialty butler or concierge who delivers to the guests’ room: fresh, made-to-order cocktails, fragrances to sample, organic soap slices to use, and even seasoned popcorn can be a luxury service. Bluetooth mirrors in the bathroom are a special bonus to catch up on the news or listen to your favorite tunes while you brush your teeth.
25hours Hotels offer a MINI Cooper to borrow and cruise around town. The choice of car is no coincidence, of course. “This brand stands for an intensive, individualistic and unconventional attitude to life. Therefore, it is a perfect match for our company“, says 25hours Hotel company’s Chief Brand Officer Bruno Marti. Other hotels lend Porsche, Mercedes Benz, and electric cars to drive locally. The Chicago Hard Rock Hotel has Fender guitars and headphones to borrow and streamed guitar lessons for guests to use in their room. The Westin Austin Downtown offers rooftop guitar lessons from local bandsAllow your guests to be artistic by leaving painting easels and paints in the room. Many eco-conscious hotels offer complimentary bicycles to ride. Moreover, for those who forgot their running equipment, renting a pair of running shoes and having a staff member to guide a guest on a run is a VIP perk.
Many properties offer a local taste of the community blended into their amenities. Others provide artistic furnishings, paintings or music that reflect the area. Simply find what portrays your property, location and niche to create a unique mix of amenities that will be memorable to your guests. It is often the little things, and the unexpected luxe, that can make a lasting impression.