There’s no denying hotels have been feeling the heat over the past decade. Upstarts like Airbnb have combined homely accommodation with unique local experiences, and Qantas and Virgin are increasingly muscling in with holiday packages.
That’s why many hotels are now pulling out all the stops – enticing travellers with perks ranging from sweet temptations to luxury vehicles in a battle to give guests the best, most brag-worthy stays ever.
Here we round up some of the world’s best hotel amenities.
For music lovers
Music has the power to make us feel at home, and a growing number of hotels are helping guests set the mood in their rooms.
Soulshine Bali and Royal Park Canvas Hotel in Sapporo kit out their rooms with record players and vinyl records, while Kimpton Clocktower in Manchester offers a Music Concierge service where guests can browse an eclectic range of vinyls to be delivered to their room.
At Dawn Ranch in California, guests get complimentary access to Fender guitars and online guitar lessons.
But if you really want to step things up, Deplar Farm in Iceland is home to a world-class recording studio where you can rock out with a private jam session or record your own tunes.
Guests can strum to their heart’s content at Dawn Ranch, but how many complaints are there from neighbouring rooms?
Health and wellness
Even committed fitness fanatics can struggle to pack their workout gear into the confines of a suitcase, meaning hotel gyms often go unused.
There’s no excuse to skip your workout at Fairmont Makati in the Philippines, which loans gym clothes and sports shoes.
In Virginia, US, the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner has epic suites featuring full gym set ups and Peloton speed bikes.
For a slower place, Salt of Palmar in Mauritius supplies bicycles for exploration and in-room yoga mats in case you want to practise your child pose at sunrise.
At California’s Farmhouse Inn, guests can pick up free bath scrubs and mix their own bubble baths at an artisan bath bar.
Confucius said the easiest way to win hearts is with lollies. Probably. Hence, guests are enticed with a rotating variety of sweet temptations during Movenpick Hotel’s signature ‘Chocolate Hour’, while Ovolo has goodies available around the clock with their self-service lolly bar at reception.
Ovolo’s lolly bar, positioned at the ground-floor elevators, are a hit with guests of all ages.
For more adult treats, The DogHouse, the world’s first craft beer hotel located in Ohio, has in-room beer taps and a stocked mini-bar in the shower.
At Chalet Ivy Jozankei in Hokkaido, guests can dispense their own wine from the bar at any time of the day.
Although high-end hotels give guests a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous, the experience usually ends at the front door.
Not at The Berkeley in London, where guests can step out in style by borrowing vintage items, including handbags and jewellery from Chanel, Dior, and Hermès.
The swanky Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel gives guests a free ride in its Rolls-Royce Ghost to anywhere within three miles.
In Positano, the owner of Hotel Poseidon lets you cruise in his own vintage VW Beetle free of charge.
For sustainable luxury, guests can get behind the wheel of a fully electric Audi E-Tron at The Limelight for a two-hour joy ride through the mountains.
The Hotel Poseidon’s vintage VW Beetle.
Exclusive access and experiences
In Hawaii, Halekulani gives visitors free access to a half dozen museums, galleries and cultural centres, plus access to productions from the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra and Hawaii Opera Theatre.
Fraser Island’s Kingfisher Bay Resort offers a dozen free ranger-guided walks, including a bush tucker experience.
Surfboards are available free-of-charge to guests at QT Bondi (pup not included).
Paying for equipment to partake in local activities can be one of the creeping costs of travel, but some hotels are now helping guests dive into niche hobbies by giving them everything they need.
Closer to home, QT Bondi helps guests live up to the coastal town’s reputation by loaning out foam surfboards.
Meanwhile, at Botswana’s Zarafa Camp, guests can capture National Geographic-worthy snaps with top-of-the-range Canon camera gear in their rooms and informal workshops at the end of their safari.
Some hotels are appealing to their guests’ inner child, as well as their actual children.
Exhaust your cheeky monkeys with a day on the ropes with Club Med’s trapeze lessons, or encourage them to embrace their creative side at The Chatwal in New York, which has a puppet theatre for little ones to re-enact their favourite movies – as well as offering free prams, so families can travel light.
And the Oscar for Best Supporting Puppeteer goes to… The Chatwal
Kids will also be buzzing when they’re serviced by a futuristic robotic butler at M Social Auckland.
At The Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver, you can book a stay in a video game-themed suite that includes a Donkey Kong arcade machine.