In simpler times, free WiFi and warm chocolate chip cookies at check-in were perfectly acceptable hotel amenities--some even called them perks. But in what can only be described as a veritable arms race of concierges and insert-artisanal-product butlers, amenities at the world’s most luxurious hotels are exceptionally--and unusually--extravagant.
Hotel shuttle services are usually far from glamorous, unless you’ve booked a stay at the Heidelberg Suites in the Rhine Valley region of Germany. Their VIP shuttle ferries you to and from the hotel in your choice of a Maserati or Porsche, so you always arrive in style quickly.
There are concierges that secure reservations at the most exclusive bistros, and then there are those that help you select soap. At the Viceroy Riviera Maya, a soap concierge offers artisanal selections created by indigenous Mayan communities, with choices including rosemary, peach and chocolate.
Sun worshippers, prepare to take lounging to a whole new level. At the Ritz-Carlton in Miami, Tanning Butlers offer sunglass polishing, magazines, cold towels and sunscreen delivered straight to your chaise.
For the traveler who’s seen every terry bathrobe, scrumptious bubble bath and have had all manner of food-related spa services, there is a final frontier of travel perks, and it’s solid gold. A solid gold iPad, that is. At the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, guests receive a 24-carat iPad at check-in, from which they can order room service and peruse the spa menu. Alas, the Midas-touched iPad is merely a loaner, but take-home versions are available for purchase at the hotel’s boutique.
Browse the gallery for our full list of over-the-top and unusual hotel amenities.