The most we expect from a basic hotel room while we’re on our travels is a comfortable bed, a clean bathroom (perhaps even a TV), and when things get really exciting, a mini bar and chocolates on the pillows! Even for those of you who have had the pleasure of staying in a 5-star hotel before (you lucky people!), the chances are you won’t have come across many of these bizarre hotel services. There’s hospitality and then there’s practically bribing guests to come back again by pulling out all the stops and then some!
When we picture 5-star hotels, most of us might think of champagne on ice upon arrival, Egyptian cotton towels folded into beautiful origami shapes on the bed, and designer toiletries in the bathroom. But did 5 stars ever make you think of services like your own personal bartender, golden iPads, or a pet goldfish? Of course not. But believe it or not, each of these over-the-top hotel amenities are very real in some hotels around, and there are lots more weirdness where these came from! It seems that high-end hotel companies of the world are trying to outdo each other by putting a stranger and stranger take on the word ‘luxury’. Who knew these 20 5-Star hotel ‘services’ were really a thing?
20 A ‘Pillow Fight’ Kit In Florida
Admit it, guys, when have you ever stepped into a perfectly crisp, newly-made hotel room and not thought about having a pillow fight? Fortunately, there is a hotel in Florida that caters to just this sort of childlike sense of fun in all of us, and boy are they dedicated to it. The much-loved Ritz-Carlton hotel in Palm Beach, Florida offers its guests a service known as the ‘family pillow fight package’ and comes in at around $60 for the privilege. We know what you’re probably thinking, why put such a hefty price tag on something that’s included in the room already? As it turns out, the Ritz-Carlton doesn’t mess with sissy hotel pillows. They want to encourage all-out war with their pillow fights!
The hotel’s impressively weird ‘pillow fight package’ looks something like this: guests have 30 brightly-colored silk pillows sent to the room, two sets of child-size boxing gloves, and a suggestion of different game ideas to help guests make the most of their pillow fight showdown. Adults will probably get bored far quicker than the kids, but to be given permission to send fancy hotel pillow feathers flying around? This pretty much sounds like every kid’s dream. The package also includes a tray of milk and cookies to enjoy once the pillow wars have them all tuckered out.
19 An In-House Tattooist In Venice Beach, California
We’re not sure how desperately in need of a tattoo you’ll be while on holiday, but for anyone who needs this kind of service in their life, this hotel is definitely for you. In the hip Venice Beach area of California, Hotel Erwin provides their own tattoo artist on the premises for any guests looking to get an inky souvenir of their stay. As part of the hotel’s ‘Ink and Stay’ package, guests are treated to a $100 tattoo voucher towards any design of their choosing, a bottle of Lubriderm lotion to numb the pain, an ice-pack, and a complementary bottle of Tequila. Rock and roll!
For any casual tattoo lovers out there, Hotel Erwin also caters to you with their selection of temporary tattoo designs in the hotel’s nightstand. The hotel clearly rewards loyalty to many of their ink-loving regular guests because they even offer a bonus voucher of $500 towards one of their permanent designs. The only catch is, you have to get a tattoo done that reads ‘I heart Hotel Erwin’ before you can claim it! Let’s be real, though, if you’re a regular at Hotel Erwin, this is probably a phrase you’ll be more than happy to sport.
18 The 24-Karat Gold iPad In Dubai (Obviously)
If you prefer your gadgets on the gilded and ridiculously expensive side, then Dubai’s version of the humble iPad is something you might be interested in. That’s right, guests staying in the luxury Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai will be greeted with a smile, a room key, and a 24-karat gold iPad engraved with the hotel’s logo. (Doesn’t this sound like something that’s just begging to be included in the modern James Bond movies?)
Other than giving guests the wow factor, the super-luxe device acts as a ‘virtual concierge’ for guests so they can access all the hotel’s services at the tap of a button.
Guests that are particularly bowled over by the idea of a genuine gold iPad can take the ultimate gadget geek souvenir home with them, as the Burj Al Arab sells the gilded gadget in the hotel’s boutique for a cool $10,200! The hotel itself leaves no stone unturned when it comes to wowing guests with its unnecessarily show-stopping features. The building boasts things like a gigantic tropical aquarium, vast rainbow-colored walls, and a dancing water fountain that often puts on displays and shows at night (none of your basic motel pool or jacuzzi tubs here).
17 Your Very Own Pet Goldfish
In recent years, the hotel industry and travel industry, in general, have gone big on the idea of reducing stress and bringing more calm into the lives of guests. You may have heard of emotional support animals who provide a form of therapy and support for travelers. Well, the Kimpton Hotel chain in the U.S. and Canada is looking to bring the equivalent kind of comfort into hotel rooms too, by putting a temporary pet goldfish in any guests room who might request one.
The Kimpton chain–which has over 50 locations across the U.S. and Canada–set up this service which they named the ‘Guppy Love’ program. Cute.
We can see where the Kimpton Hotel staff are at with this idea since most of us will agree that there’s something quite calming about watching fish swim about. But what about needing to feed it? Kimpton has you covered on that score. Staff are responsible for taking care of your temporary in-room pet, so you can simply enjoy the company and vent about how your business meeting went. As kooky as this type of hotel amenity may be, the health benefits certainly justify the odd factor. The presence of pet fish is known to reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure so it’s no wonder why this is a popular feature for many sole travelers.
16 Celebrity Wake-Up Calls In Nashville
Hotel alarm calls and wake-up alerts are normally a pretty mundane and mostly annoying affair. Unless you’re a morning person while on your travels, most of us may need to arrange a wake-up call to our room, especially if you’re traveling on important business and need to be bright and early for that super crucial meeting. The only problem is that your room phone’s ringer always seems as if its amplified by a thousand more decibels than your pleasant smartphone alarm tone, and while a loud wake-up call certainly does the job, it’s not exactly pleasant. Enter a certain hotel resort in Nashville that prefers to give its guests a warm and welcoming start to the day (assuming you don’t detest country music, that is!).
At the grand Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee, the hotel’s wake-up calls make sure of it that guests don’t lie in any longer than they should by giving people the option to arrange an alarm call from the cream of the country music star crop. Guests who find it hard to get out of bed in the early hours will be up and toe-tapping in no time thanks to a rousing chorus of “Rise and shine” by the likes of Trace Adkins, Vince Gill, and former American Idol star Kellie Pickler.
15 Couples Are ‘Kidnapped’ And Taken To A Picnic In Fiji
Because laying a picnic blanket under a shady spot and munching on homemade sandwiches is so last century, certain hotels provide a service that gives couples the kind of picnic experience they’ll never forget—by scaring the life out of them first. Couples who arrive at the uber-romantic Namale Resort & Spa in Fiji are ‘kidnapped’ at some undisclosed point during their stay and whisked away to a secluded picnic spot (you think we’re kidding?). Details as to how the guests are actually kidnapped are a little hazy, but we guess this is all part of the fun! Okay, so the kidnapping part isn’t as bad as we’re making it out to be. Couples at the resort in Fiji’s heavenly Vanua Levu island resort are told that they will be summoned at some point during their trip (just not when). Yikes. I just hope they have ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs at this hotel like any other place as this could get pretty awkward.
Once honeymooning couples are taken to their surprise location, they are treated to an incredible four-course picnic spot anywhere in the resort’s breathtaking 212 hectares. It could be near a waterfall, in a cave, or on a private deck looking out to sea. Take that, normal picnics!
14 A Floating Brunch In Bali
You were probably warned by your mom to never swim after eating, so how about swimming while eating? Yeah, maybe don’t tell your mom about this place. Because in the AYANA resort and spa in Bali in Indonesia, the wonderfully quirky catering staff provide a little extra something to go with your morning meal—the fact that it’s served floating to you on a tray. So, whose idea was it to make brunch this interesting? It’s thought that the floating meal service put on by the hotel is a nod to the popular floating farmer’s markets that Bali and many other Asian countries are famous for.
The familiar images of boats in Thailand selling flowers and fresh fruits in every color of the rainbow is a pretty stunning sight, so why not enjoy the floating food experience as part of your stay in the AYANA resort? Slapping on the sunscreen and bathing suit early in the morning may not be what you had in mind, but the experience sure sounds worth it.
For $140 per person, a butler sends a three-course gourmet breakfast across the water to you, complete with tea, coffee, or champagne if you so wish.
Something tells us that the drinks won’t be launched over on pink inflatable coasters!
13 Library Of Films (Handpicked By Industry Experts) In London
If you’ve ever stayed in a basic hotel, chances are you haven’t exactly been bowled over by the film watching experience in your hotel room. Most of the time, the selection of films on offer is pretty lackluster and the price for one film viewing is usually close to the price of a DVD itself! Does anyone really rent a hotel room movie anymore? Well, they might be tempted to if they stayed in this London hotel. Film buffs will rejoice at the thought of staying in the W Hotel in London’s Leicester Square since guests get to choose from an impressive roster of films (that have been hand-selected by film industry experts).
The service is known as the ‘W Film Files’ and gives guests the chance to enjoy some of the best films of the last few decades as picked by Hollywood insiders themselves. Some people on the W Film Files team have included one of the producers of The King’s Speech and a costume designer on the Harry Potter franchise. Along with each film in the collection, guests are given the expert’s reasons for choosing the flicks and offered a private screening suite to view their chosen film in more comfort and style than your average hotel bed. Sweet!
12 A Private Pianist At The Goring Hotel (Near Buckingham Palace)
You don’t have to be royalty to be serenaded by gentle piano music playing in the background of your hotel suite (but it helps!). Hotel guests on a luxury budget will enjoy the unique and quintessentially English service put on by staff at The Goring Hotel near Buckingham Palace, as guests can request a private pianist to play for dinner guests at their suite or simply to entertain guests at breakfast and provide a kind of Downton Abbey vibe while they wake up.
To have the full close-to-royalty experience, guests can also enjoy a number of other luxuries at no extra cost, including things like personal monogrammed stationary, towels, and bathrobes. Personalized slippers and handmade chocolates can also be yours too, and as you can gather, it doesn’t come cheap.
To give you an idea of just how posh this palace-like hotel is, it was the exact place where Kate Middleton spent the night before becoming the Duchess of Cambridge. That’s right, this was Princess Catherine’s bachelorette venue of choice! To complete the royal experience, the bellboys at The Goring Hotel (that’s ‘footmen’ to you and I) are dressed in regal red waistcoats and the décor is traditionally elegant, making a weekend break here seem like a brief trip to the past with a nice spot of tea, of course.
11 Chris The ‘Sunshine Butler’ In Jersey
Just to be clear, this isn’t a butler who can literally bring the sunshine out for people (if it were, the UK demand for these guys would skyrocket overnight!). No, a ‘sunshine’ butler is someone who is hired to help guests enjoy the sun even more while on their beach or poolside holiday. It seems to us that if you’re catching a few rays on a sandy white beach or lounging by the infinity pool, you already have everything you could ask for in the relaxation department. So why is this kind of service a thing? So that wealthy holidaymakers needn’t even reach for their cocktail without the help of someone. This has the Kardashians written all over it.
For holiday-goers who are all about the luxe (and some might argue, lazy) poolside life, places like The Club Hotel & Spa in Jersey’s capital St. Helier is ideal. The hotel’s resident sunshine butler, known to locals as Chris, was hired for his equally sunny personality, and it is Chris’ job to provide pool lounging guests with anything they might need—this can include polishing sunglasses for people, providing sunscreen lotion, handing out fresh watermelon slices, and providing ‘iced towels’ on particularly hot days.
10 Your Private Bartender In New York
When a mini bar (and even a luxury mini bar) isn’t enough, some hotel guests might like to take it even further and hire their own private bartender as part of their room service. Kind of makes sense. Why pay over the odds for a miniature bottle of fruit juice or tonic water when you can have a full-sized cocktail mixed by a pro?
The Surrey Hotel in New York offers such a service to make sure guests have their holiday drinks shaken and not stingy (sorry).
Of course, guests could always order a drink at the hotel bar like everyone else, but if you’re having a lazy duvet day or fancy something a little more high class than another hot chocolate before bed, your own private bartender mixing your own private drinks may be just the ticket. Simply let the concierge know your favorite tipple and a pro will be up to create your ideal drink to perfection. A personal bartender can be requested as often as guests like, but the best part about the service is that you get a lesson in how to mix your own cocktail next time. So for those wishing to impress company in their hotel suite, this temporary skill can come in pretty handy!
9 Dog Surfing Lessons In California
Because hotel hospitality isn’t just for humans! Your four-legged friend can also benefit from the 5-star treatment while on holiday, in the form of learning how to surf. If you’re ever on vacay in sunny California, you may be tempted to pluck up the courage and take some surfing lessons if you’re feeling a little adventurous. But if you’re traveling with your pet pooch, then you may have to get in line. The Loews Coronado Bay Resort & Spa in Cali offers an adorable service they call ‘Su’Ruff Camp’ especially set up for dogs looking to ride the waves. Because, why not?
The dog surfing program (yep, this is a legit hotel service!) has been going at the Loews Coronado Bay resort since 2005 and is still going strong! The hotel prides itself on being super dog-friendly (and owner-friendly, by the sounds of things). Guests coming to stay with their pooch at the resort are provided with maps of great local spots for walking your dog, a supply of poop scoop bags for your stay (fancy!), an in-room meal for your pooch, and of course, the surf lessons, complete with a cool surfer dog dude bandanna and board shorts. All yours for $389 for one night!
8 A Fragrance Butler In Vancouver
From sunshine butlers to fragrance butlers (you best believe there’s a butler for every possible occasion if the money’s right!). If you have a sizable holiday budget and like to spritz on some perfume while on your summer vacay,
don’t even bother packing your favorite eau de toilette in your luggage in the first place, especially if you’re headed to Vancouver.
Forget decanting your favorite scent into an airport-friendly vial for your carry-on luggage—the Hotel Georgia in Vancouver has a ‘fragrance butler’ on hand to have you smelling fresh and gorgeous in no time.
Alongside the usual room service of champagne and gourmet food delivered straight to your door, those wishing to sample a different scent for every day of your stay need only ask the hotel’s concierge of your perfume needs and a white-gloved fragrance butler will be with you in two spritzes of Calvin Klein. Hotel Georgia’s fragrance butler supposedly greets guests with a tray of 10 different fragrances (5 for him and her, respectively). For travelers with particularly expensive tastes who may not be bowled over by a fragrance butler, some city hotels like New York’s Chatwal Hotel allows its guests to create their own unique perfume.
7 Assistants In Romance In Los Cabos
Most hotels with a rating of 4 stars and upward do a decent job of creating a romantic atmosphere for their guests. The majority of travelers coming to a luxury hotel, after all, are usually couples and especially for those celebrating their honeymoon (or a trip to rekindle the magic), a relaxing and cozy room is just what the doctor ordered. But in order to stand out from the crowd, it’s not always enough for hotels to merely offer champagne on ice and a bed covered in rose petals anymore. Couples in love are looking for a place that pulls out all the stops on holiday and one particular Mexican venue has more spicy romance ideas than you could ever need.
Take your other half to the Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos and you won’t be disappointed. The hotel’s specifically hired team of love gurus known collectively as the ‘Romance Department’ do exactly as advertised by seeing to it that you and your partner have a stay filled with beautiful surprises and unforgettable moments at every turn.
Want a horse-drawn carriage ride? Done. Fancy a candle-lit dinner while serenaded by a classical guitarist? Done. How about leaving a message for them to find in a bottle and help with an epic wedding proposal? All yours if you stay at Las Ventanas!
6 A ‘Fireplace’ Butler In Boston
Something that we feel is kinda lacking in modern hotel rooms (and in homes, in general) is a good old-fashioned fireplace, and if you’re the kind of traveler who can’t bear to go without seeing a roaring fire when you’re on the go, then the Taj Hotel in Boston has your back and what’s more, they have a resident ‘Fireplace Butler’ to accompany you too. And just what is a fireplace butler, you may well ask? Someone on hand to help you create that perfect crackling fire in your hotel suite.
Boston’s luxury Taj Hotel boasts over 40 junior and executive suites, each with the quaint homely element of a parlor complete with its own working wood-burning fireplace. A great fire doesn’t light itself, though, which is why you can arrange to have your very own butler to select the wood and stoke the fires for you on a bitter winter evening. The Taj runs a seasonal service from November through to March that provides guests with a ‘Firewood Menu.’ This covers all the available wood for your perfect log fire, including Birch, Maple, Cherry, and the hotel’s own intriguing ‘Taj blend.’ I say! When a choice of log fire material sounds like an up-market coffee selection, you know you’re in for a treat.
5 Without A Best Man At Your Wedding? Hire One In South Carolina
As much effort as we put into creating the perfect wedding day for ourselves or others, things never go completely according to plan. And if your wedding hiccups involve something a little more pressing than missing table favors–like say,
a best man who has gone AWOL at the last minute–then this amazing hotel resort in Carolina is on hand to save the day. The Wild Dunes Resort in Charleston, South Carolina helps out grooms with a best man down.
For whatever reason, some grooms to be can find themselves without their right-hand dude either from last minute illness or simply out of being too indecisive as to who their best man should be. If this is the case in the run-up to your big day, don’t sweat it, as Wild Dunes literally have a best man for hire.
A hired best man may not be armed with a deeply personal and funny speech filled with in-jokes about the two of you, but you certainly get a fun and entertaining stand-in for your money. The move by Wild Dunes resort was apparently inspired by Kevin Hart’s hired best man character in the 2015 rom-com, The Wedding Ringer. According to hotel resort in Charleston, the temporary best man is every bit as fun and lovably goofy as Kevin Hart so if you’re in need of a wacky and pumped-up best man to solve the last-minute wedding disaster, this is the place.
4 An In-House Pet Psychic In Oregon
From dog surfing lessons to getting in touch with their spiritual side, there’s definitely room for pets when it comes to enjoying 5-star hotel treatment, and there are a couple of hotels in Oregon in particular that cater to the latter. If you happen to be traveling with your four-legged pal, it might be easy to forget that pets need a break too. So if your pooch or cat is suffering from a bit of travel fatigue, you can book them in for a pet therapy session of sorts, in the form of psychic readings that tap into your pet’s energy and well-being.
The Hotel Monaco in Portland, Oregon–which also hosts Portland’s Next Top Dog model contest–provides guests the chance to better understand their pets. Resident pet psychic Bridget Pilloud behind the blog “Pets Are Talking” helps guests work through any behavioral problems that their four-legged friend may be having and other issues that affect the pet-owner relationship.
Pet lovers traveling through the Portland area may also want to stop by the Hotel deLuxe, as every room is a pet paradise of designer beds, an extensive library of books on pet massage techniques and even a menu that boasts “human-grade” food!
3 A Tartan-Clad Butler In Scotland
As this list proves, there is seemingly every kind of butler for pretty much every kind of occasion, and for those who have no need for a sunshine or fragrance butler, there is this type of butler: one who will greet you clad in tartan clothing and tell you everything you need to know about your Scottish ancestry (if any). As this particular butler holds his post at the Balmoral Hotel In Scotland, tartan wear shouldn’t be much of a surprise to guests, but the butler’s ability to scour through your family tree in search of your true Scottish roots and backstory may be of particular interest to many guests.
Resident butler Andy Fraser–known affectionately as simply the ‘tartan butler’–greets guests at Edinburgh’s Balmoral hotel. And for those curious to know about their possible Scottish ancestry, Andy is there to answer any questions you might have. Considered quite the expert, Balmoral’s very own ‘tartan butler’ can promise to trace your Scottish heritage down to your clan. And once he does, Andy can arrange to take you and your guests on a personal guided tour around your ancestor’s region and even stop off at one of Edinburgh’s many kilt shops to have your very own kilt hand-stitched! If you’re all about tracking down your family tree, then this is definitely the service for you!
2 A Tall-Friendly Room In Miami
As someone who literally drew the short straw in life in terms of height, I almost certainly can’t relate to bashing my head on ceilings or feeling cramped on public transport, but I certainly feel for whoever has to put up with this on a daily basis, which is why a hotel in Florida accommodating tall travelers is an absolute stroke of genius.
The aptly-named Epic Hotel in Miami completely and 100 percent caters to the taller guests since they actually offer ‘Tall Rooms’ as part of their service to make the Shaquille O’Neals of the world feel more comfortable. As hotel service goes, that’s pretty epic!
The 13 ‘Tall Rooms’ on offer in the Epic Hotel resort include helpful features like extra long beds (9 feet in length, to be exact!) and raised shower heads. This may not be the strangest kind of hotel amenity on the list, but it’s certainly not one we’d have ever considered to be real, so kudos to Miami for catering to the taller guest. Unloading off a long plane journey and cab ride to relax in one of these luxury suites must be a breath of fresh air for people in desperate need of the leg room.
1 Complimentary Musical Instruments And Lessons In Chicago
Most hotels in the world would prefer to discourage people playing music in their rooms so as to not disturb other guests, but at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago, staff are all about people expressing themselves (just as long as they use the headphones provided, of course!). Don’t let that put a dampener on this, though, because headphones may not seem so rock ‘n roll, but the amazing choice of musical instruments and equipment on offer at the Hard Rock Hotel definitely does have the chain living up to its name.
If guests so wish to, they can have access to any one of the hotel’s 20 Fender guitars, including the classic Telecaster models and bass guitars. Musically-inclined guests can also be given their own floor amp and DJ equipment to strum out tunes and play around with decks to their heart’s content. And as for guests who may not be so musically-inclined but are happy to explore and experiment, the hotel also offers in-room video lessons on how to play the guitar. There is something for every kind of guest to love about the Hard Rock hotel, though, since even music lovers in general will be able to request their favorite choice of music sent to their room. Rock on!