The phrase “hotel amenities” once meant you got a hair dryer in your room and, if you were really lucky, cable television. But as travel has boomed and hotels get nicer, competing for business travellers means offering amenities people have never seen before. In some ultraluxury locales, this can mean a private helicopter pickup at the Peninsula in Hong Kong, or a personal style consultant at the Montage Beverly Hills. But it can also mean simple details such as wine dispensers in your room and access to electric cars. From Toronto to Peru, here are some of the coolest new amenities hotels are offering.
Getting your energy up before a big business meeting is crucial and as fun as in-room Wolfgang Puck coffee is, you probably can find better while you’re in Seattle. The Four Seasons Seattle has its very own coffee concierge, who will deliver a steaming-hot cup of craft coffee right to your room in a shiny Seattle mug (or in a to-go cup if you’re not good with ceramics).
Vinyl isn’t just for hipsters and your grandparents anymore. Hotels are realizing that relaxing on the couch to the scratchy sounds of Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald is the perfect way to de-stress after a long day of meetings and city exploration. At the new Anndore House in Toronto, some rooms come complete with a turntable and a random selection of records, ranging from folk songs to jazz to the soundtrack of Mary Poppins.
Teslas. So many Teslas
Nothing says “take me seriously” like showing up in the most envy-inspiring electric car ever created. That’s why Tesla rentals have become the hot new transportation amenity, replacing the time-honoured tradition of a personal chauffeur and Lincoln Town Car. The Radisson Blu Mall of America in Minneapolis partnered with TREVLS Tesla Rentals so the hotel’s guests can get a Tesla in less than 30 minutes with the swipe of a tablet. The Four Seasons San Francisco has a Tesla house car to take guests anywhere in a two-mile radius. And the 1 Hotel in Miami Beach also provides guests with Teslas to use within a three-mile radius, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. So, no, you can’t roll it up to the club like you’re Pitbull.
In-room wine dispensers
Nothing worse than having a hankering for a nice glass of red wine before bed – then realizing you’ll have to find the nearest liquor store after you already put on your pajamas. The Confidante in Miami Beach has solved this problem by fitting select rooms with Plum Wine Machines, which dispense glasses of pinot noir and sauvignon blanc, chilled to the perfect temperature.
Gyms that don’t require leaving your room
Long gone are the days of the sad elliptical and dusty exercise bike sufficing as hotel gyms. Now, luxury gyms are the norm and hotels that want to get a serious leg up on the competition are taking fitness equipment to individual rooms. Westin announced a program this year to put – the spin bikes that let you virtually participate in classes all over the world via a mounted screen – in guest rooms. And many locations in the Even Hotel chain offer in-room gyms with resistance bands, exercise ball, yoga mat, yoga block and fitness videos available on-demand.
The breathtaking city of Cusco, Peru is a striking tableau of mountain scenery and Spanish colonial architecture, but the towering altitude of 3,400 metres (11,200 feet) could leave some guests feeling deprived of oxygen. That’s why the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco has an oxygen station built into every room to help travellers acclimatize faster and spend more time enjoying the view than gasping for air.
Books by your bed
In the barrage of smart TVs, on-demand programming and Netflix in your room, sometimes we forget how nice it is to end the day wrapped up in a good book. A company called Bedside Reading has partnered with several luxury hotels to put free books in rooms – and guests can even take the book with them when they check out. So, no need to rush through Fifty Shades Freed because you have a short stay. The program is currently at the Mandarin Oriental in New York and Washington, the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, Acqualina Resort & Spa in Sunny Isles, Fla. and other locations.
Much like you must drink coffee in Seattle, so must you have at least one beignet while in New Orleans. Instead of sweating through the line at Café du Monde, the Hilton New Orleans Riverside provides cooking classes to teach guests how to create their own versions of local culinary delicacies. Along with beignets, guests can learn how to mix Hurricanes, cook gumbo and craft their own crawfish etouffee and po’boys.
Showers upon arrival
Few times in life do you feel more like showering than after a long flight. But what happens when that flight arrives in the morning and your hotel room isn’t ready? The Canopy by Hilton Washington D.C. Bethesda North, located outside Washington, has created a “transfer lounge,” which serves as a sort-of lobby locker room where weary travellers can shower, shave and otherwise refresh themselves if they arrive before check-in.
Meal kits and other food delivery
For long-term guests, cooking in your room can be a nice break from restaurant foods, but there’s no guarantee of finding a grocery store nearby. The Montrose West Hollywood offers a Blue Apron-inspired service that provides guests with meal-preparation kits for pizza, chicken wraps, steak or salmon. Other hotels have partnered with companies such as Delivery Dudes to offer more delivery options than the traditional room service. And the forthcoming Nobu Hotel in Toronto will offer room service from the widely acclaimed Nobu eatery.
Robot butlers bringing you ice cream
The ultrafuturistic H Hotel near Los Angeles International Airport has a butler that will bring you towels, snacks, toothpaste, or even ice cream upon your command. The robot’s name is Hannah and she’s known to roam the halls of the H Hotel at all hours without the need for a break, or a gratuity.