Hotel amenities used to be simple: a mini bottle of shampoo, a branded pad of paper, maybe a mint on your pillow at night. But increasingly, properties are going above and beyond to make guests feel right at home—think custom cocktails shaken in room, genealogy concierges who will dig up your ancestry, and even cufflinks for rent (hey, they’re easy to forget!). We tracked down a few of the world’s most inventive amenities.
A Northern Lights sighting is a bucket list item for most visitors to the arctic, but seeing the spectacle is far from guaranteed—even as far north as Lapland. Throughout the winter, Arctic Snow Hotel in Rovaniemi outfits its signature glass igloos with an alarm that immediately goes off when the lights are showing—no matter what time of day or night. Even better? Room rates automatically include the service. All you have to do is wake up.
Washington, D.C.’s The Darcy hotel offers a number of inspired amenities — think cocktail butlers, pop-up flower markets, and a nightly gin tasting— but perhaps its most ingenious is The Haberdashery program. The hotel partners with Read Wall, a local suit maker that supplies ties, cuff links, pocket squares and other menswear for when you leave your formal gear at home—or receive an impromptu invite to a congressman’s fundraiser. Items are available for rent or purchase.
Attention baseball junkies: You owe yourselves a night at Hotel Commonwealth’s Fenway Park Suite. The expansive room, located 507 feet from the iconic park, is decked out with Red Sox gear, including original ballpark seats on the terrace, baseball mitts, a number from the original Green Monster scoreboard, and vintage baseball cards. The kicker? Room rates include a bag of actual dirt from Fenway Park — just don’t let it spill in your suitcase.
Tracing ancestry is a favorite pastime for visitors to Ireland, and the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin makes it even easier to discover family histories. Hotel guests can request the help of the hotel’s Genealogy Butler, an accredited genealogist who has been helping guests study their heritage for the last six years. All you have to do is request the service when booking, and fill out some preliminary information to help the genealogist dig into the case. Once in the motherland, you’ll sit in on a one-hour session with the butler, who will assess your family tree—and help plan trips to your ancestral home.
Boston hosts one of the world’s most famous marathons each spring, so it should be no surprise that guests at The Westin Copley Place can enlist the help of a “running concierge” to guide them through the city on a workout. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 6:30 a.m. (April – December, weather permitting) one of the hotel’s seven guides will lead a group on a three or five-mile course. Not an early bird? Grab one of the hotel’s running route maps and set out on your own; the suggested routes go along the Charles River, by the Museum of Science, and through Cambridge (depending on the distance).
Pooches get the royal treatment at the Graduate hotel in Tempe. Every dog that stays at the pet-friendly property receives a free BarkBox—a subscription service that sends a collection of new toys and treats for pups each month—plus a comfy dog blanket and a water bowl to use during the stay. If you subscribe to the service during your stay, you’ll get a free month back home (not to mention plenty of appreciative dog snuggles).
Waking up to bacon sizzling is perhaps one of the most relaxing feelings on planet—and at the Epicurean Hotel in Tampa, that treat is available every single morning. Hotel guests can rent sleep therapy machines from the minibar, and choose from 10 different customized sounds to lull them asleep or wake them up in the morning—think crashing Hawaiian waves, crackling fires, and yes, sizzling bacon. Can't live without the sizzle? Take one of the machines home with you for $60.
(As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with some discounted services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this article, TripSavvy believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.)