I was almost seven years old before I ever spent the night in a motel. Though it was a cheap place off the strip in Panama City Beach, Florida, I thought is was the coolest thing in the world. Our room had a color TV inside the room (we didn’t have one at home), a balcony overlooking a parking lot, miniature toiletries, a machine that you could put quarters in to make your bed vibrate. And did I mention the motel had a swimming pool with a sliding board? If that wasn’t enough, someone at the motel made up the beds for us and left us mints on the pillows! To a young boy used to vacationing in state park campgrounds, this was the life of a king.
Over the years I’ve enjoyed experiencing the evolution of hotel amenities. Three-channel color TVs are now digital flatscreens with hundreds of channels, gaming features, and Internet access. Mini-bars and Keurig machines are now more common than pillow mints. Competition and technology have helped create new standards for hotel amenities. But it’s location and innovation that have taken hotel amenities to heights that would make a king envious. Here are eight hotels with outstanding amenities—and I’m not just talking about folded toilet paper corners and towel animals.
Azul Sensatori by Karisma
Located just a south of the Cancun airport on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, the Azul Sensatori Hotel by Karisma is a lushly landscaped property with world-class food, a spectacular spa menu, and postcard sunrises. Upon arrival, guests may select their pillows from a pillow menu, soaps from soap menu, and scents for their linens and the room. Other amenities include pool and beachside cabanas, a lazy river, jacuzzis, and an adult only pool with a swim-up bar.
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
In addition to being set in a Hawaiian paradise, the Four Season’s Resort Maui at Wailea offers their “Complete Suite Experience,” which includes round trip airport service, private in-suite dining, breakfast, specialty flowers, and massages. The resort is home to three of Maui’s top-rated restaurants and offers complimentary use of cabanas and an outrigger canoe. The infinity pool is one of the best we’ve experienced anywhere in the world.
The Arrabelle at Vail Square
If you’re looking to hit the slopes, check out The Arrabelle at Vail Square in Vail, Colorado. In addition to stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and relaxing rooftop hot tubs, The Arabelle has a full-service spa with 11 treatment rooms. With the resort’s ski valet service you don’t have to lug your skis or clunk around in ski boots as it will all be waiting for you near the lifts. Record your runs with the use of a complimentary GoPro. Other amenities include heated bathroom floors, in-room gas fireplaces, and a grocery delivery service.
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa is located inside Disney’s California Adventure Park. Hotel guests can beat the crowds as they have access to the park before one hour before the park opens to the public. The hotel has three themed swimming pools, the award-winning Napa Rose restaurant, easy access to Downtown Disney, and is the only Disney property with a full-service spa. Pinocchio’s Workshop is an on-property licensed child activity center for children ages 5-12.
Viewfinder Tip: Click the amenities tab on Expedia’s hotel booking page for a list of the hotel’s amenities
Westin Verasa Napa
The Westin Verasa Napa located in downtown Napa, California, provides you with athletic wear and running shoes. This is especially nice as it allows you to pack less. There is a one-time $5 fee for the service, but you get to keep the socks. In addition to the 24/7 fitness center, the hotel provides small maps with 3-mile and 5-mile walking/jogging routes that allow you to take in some of the amazing wine country scenery.
Rancho Valencia is a luxury resort in Rancho Santa Fe, California, that partners with luxury brands to enhance guest experiences. Guests can select a Porsche from the resort’s fleet for a drive up the Pacific coast. For golf fanatics, the resort offers the Callaway VIP Experience where guests are fitted with custom golf clubs and can spend a full day training with golf pros and at the Ely Callaway Performance Center.
Hard Rock Hotel Chicago
Fulfill your rock star fantasies with a unique musical amenity from the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago. The hotel’s Picks® program gives guests free use of Fender guitars and basses. Select your guitar from a menu of 20 different models and they will be delivered to your room along with an amplifier and a set of headphones.
WestHouse Hotel New York
A member of The Small Luxury Hotels of the World™, WestHouse Hotel is located at 201 West 55th Street in Manhattan. Added to your room charge is an additional fee of $40 per adult per night but, that gets you amenities such as an all-day Barista bar and non-alcoholic beverages, sweet and savory breakfast, high tea in the afternoon, light bites and a selection of alcoholic beverages served from 5-8 p.m., high-speed Wi-Fi, a 24-hour fitness center and in-room bottled water. Considering how expensive eating and drinking in NYC can be, this is a bargain!
What are your favorite hotel amenities?