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In-room guitars. Yoga with live flamingos. A daily dousing of slime. Gold-flake-infused cappuccinos. All across the globe, hotels and resorts come with amenities most of us would never dream of.
With award travelers in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most surprising hotel perks in the world. Many are at properties where you can redeem or earn points. At others, you can always earn points by using the right credit card. Either way, you can enjoy a rewarding stay with amenities you’ll be talking about for years to come.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
Looking for a convenient tipple in Miami? Moet & Chandon has a vending machine at the Lennox Hotel Miami Beach to instantly wet your whistle. Thirsty visitors can buy a token from reception, where champagne flutes are available to borrow, then crack open a 200 mL bottle of Brut Imperial, Rose Imperial or Nectar Imperial and say cheers. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World and a World of Hyatt Category 6 hotel, a free night here costs 25,000 points.
Vegans will be in their element at Palmaia – The House of AiA in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. All of its suites are classified as vegan, meaning there are no animal products (amenities or furniture) in them. The four on-property restaurants also offer plant-based menus.
As they say, a little music is good for the soul, and the Hutton Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, gives guests the chance to lift their spirits without ever leaving the room. Have a Fender guitar delivered to your room for free, along with amps and microphones — all just on loan, of course. Experts will love it. And for novices, there’s an app loaded with playing instructions, meaning a stay here could have you on the track to country music stardom.
These days, road trips are becoming especially popular. If you’re the type who does your best thinking on the open road, The Sinclair Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas, has a way to help you share your thoughts with others. The lobby of this hotel has its own studio booth where you can record your own professional podcast.
A road trip in the northeast could have you checking in at the Inns of Aurora in the Finger Lakes region of New York. There, you’ll find a unique hotel amenity: Guests can order a tongue scraper delivered to their room. Wondering what that is? Ask the on-site certified Ayurveda Health Counselor to provide guidance on this ancient tool for removing plaque that builds up on the tongue during sleep. This simple ritual prevents plaque from being incorporated into the new day’s digestion.
If you’re an animal lover, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in the Bahamas can put your Zen to the test. Its outdoor yoga class includes some unlikely participants: the resident flamingos that mingle with guests striking a pose. A standard room here is available for 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night.
» Learn more: World of Hyatt: The complete guide
At pet-friendly Delamar Greenwich Harbor in Connecticut, guests can select from a pet services menu. In addition to grooming and pet-walking options, there is also a pampering doggie massage to treat man’s best friend with the ultimate relaxation.
Guests can explore the world of oyster harvesting at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina in Cambridge, Maryland. Free tours take guests through a small exhibit before giving them the chance to catch and harvest their own oysters. That’s not something you do every day.
Sometimes, it’s the simple things that help you relax. Fun retro games and toys like Mad Libs and an Etch A Sketch are stocked in the rooms of the Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa in Napa Valley, California.
Located within a coffee plantation, Costa Rica Marriott Hacienda Belen welcomes some elite guests with an unusual amenity: A traditional drip coffee maker is a fitting way to get your morning java kick each day of your stay. Better yet, you can take it home with you; it’s a gift from the hotel. You can book a free night here for anywhere from 27,500 to 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
» Learn more: The best ways to rack up Marriott Bonvoy points
At the all-inclusive Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, guests can participate in “daily slimings,” just like those from the channel’s TV show “You Can’t Do That on Television.”
Check out these 3D cocktails at Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, which participates in the Accor Live Limitless program. Once you add the liquor, a small model in the shape of the hotel and consisting of sugar and other natural flavors dissolves as the perfect mixer into your cocktail.
If it’s a hair-of-the-dog experience you’re looking for, W Scottsdale in Arizona has a unique option: Drunken Donuts. Guests can order these doughnuts delivered to their door from a nearby bakery. They come with injectable vodka shooters sealed in their own containers. The experience is on pause due to COVID-19 restrictions but slated to return at a later date. This resort is a Category 6 property with a free night costing between 35,000 and 60,000 points.
At The Lanesborough in London, guests can enjoy popcorn delivered to their room by private butler. It comes with a complimentary gin and tonic, which could be the perfect way to get your evening started, whether you’re headed out on the town or staying in with Netflix.
The hallway vending machines at Bankside, an Autograph Collection hotel in London, are stocked with some unusual goodies guests can purchase in a pinch. Aside from last-minute necessities like underwear and perfume (especially useful if the airline lost your luggage), there are some surprising choices.
You can buy expensive Champagne, “sparkly pants” (whatever those are) and even an engagement ring if you’re feeling particularly spontaneous after a bottle of said Champagne. If you are planning to drop some major cash on the vending machine, it might be wise to pay for your room with points. This is a Category 7 property with a free night costing between 45,000 and 70,000 points.
Realizing how much plastic waste comes from the traditional hotel room key, Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney introduced wooden keys. These wood and bamboo cards replace the 52,000 plastic room keys that the hotel says get discarded per year. They come from legally harvested and sustainable hardwood forests.
At Niyama Private Islands Resort in the Maldives, many accommodations feature these family-friendly old-fashioned popcorn makers. Whether you prepare a bucket for a bedtime movie or to enjoy by your private infinity pool overlooking the turquoise Indian Ocean, it’s certainly an unusual in-room amenity. Prefer sweet to salty? There’s free homemade ice cream in the freezer, too.
At The Peninsula Tokyo, the best suites include dressing areas with nail polish dryers. Just sit at the dressing table and wave your hands near the dryer, then head out looking your best without worrying you’ll smudge your perfect manicure.
File this one under “Where else but Dubai?” At Burj Al Arab, in the hotel’s atrium lounge — said to be the tallest of its kind in the world — guests can sip the “Ultimate Gold Cappuccino,” with 24-carat gold flakes blended into the brew and sprinkled on the foam on the top, too. Not bad for the recent price of just $23, though who knows where commodities prices will go.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card