When you stay in as many hotels as I do - a number that's approaching 50 in the last two years - things sort of start to blend together. The lobbies, pools, and rooms all begin to look alike, making it difficult to distinguish one hotel from the last. Every now and then, however, I stumble on a hotel amenity that's unique and helps to make the stay a memorable one. I'm not talking about my usual favorites like the white duvet, free Wi-Fi, and easy access to Starbucks, but instead things, both big and small, that leave their mark on this hotel junkie.
Here are a few hotel amenities that I find it hard to live without.
|A cheese and fruit tray by the ocean is always nice.|
Before arriving to the One Ocean Resort in Atlantic Beach, I received an email from the concierge asking me to fill out a guest preferences survey. It all seemed pretty standard at first - anticipated check-in time, high or low floor request, special bedding if needed - but then I got to the section for the Snack Cabinet and was fully intrigued. The survey listed a variety of popular snacks and asked for me to identify my favorite. When I arrived in the room, the first thing I did was look inside the cabinet, curious if anyone had even bothered to read the survey. Apparently they did, because to my surprise there was a mountain of Milano cookies waiting inside. In the end, I consumed Pepperidge Farm's daily output of Milanos, and wished every hotel room was equipped with a Snack Cabinet.
|No, I didn't ask for a restock.|
So, this isn't exactly the technical name for this amenity, but what else am I supposed to call the pitcher of fruit or cucumber infused water in the lobby? Since most of the hotels I visit are in Florida, I usually return to the lobby hot and in need of something refreshing. The pitcher of water, covered in condensation, instantly brings both a smile to my face and happiness to my tastebuds. In fact, I've grown to love lobby water so much, MJ has started making it for me at home. I'm unsure why this incredibly cheap hotel amenity isn't offered in more properties, but I would gladly accept one mint on my pillow instead of two to help make it happen.
|Yep...this will do.|
TV in the Bathroom Mirror
A few months ago I paid a visit to the newly renovated Villas of Grand Cypress in Orlando. While giving myself the nickel tour of the villa, I noticed that the remote control for the TV was in the bathroom. I assumed the maid must have left it there by accident and didn't give it much thought. That is until I went to turn on the TV in the bedroom and soon after heard voices coming from the bathroom. Turns out, the remote belonged there all along, because it controlled a monitor hidden in the bathroom mirror. Who needs a magazine when you can watch Fashion Police instead?
|Or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse...whatever.|
The hotel room corkscrew is like Alex Rodriguez in the playoffs. They're never there when you need them. I don't often take a bottle of wine back to the room, but when I do I want to open it now. Not thirty minutes from now when room service finally decides to grace me with their presence. I can't blame them for not rushing to my aide - after all I'm the one being cheap and not ordering the wine on room service - but that doesn't stop me from getting annoyed by every passing minute separating me and wine. All the more reason for every hotel room to come equipped with the $.97 cent corkscrew. Well, that, and they make cool souvenirs.
|OK, so maybe I'm the reason they aren't in more rooms.|
Personalized Room Keys
I'll be right back, we have special room keys for you.
Club Level...score! At least that's what I assumed the desk agent at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort meant by "special room keys." As she handed over the key cards, my eyeballs grew to the size of grapefruits and MJ had to lift my jaw off the floor. There in my hand was the most awesome thing I had seen since Pebble Beach: hotel room keys with the logo of this little travel site printed on them. I'm not sure how practical it would be to do this for literally every guest that checks-in, but those hotels willing to do a little snooping on Facebook stand to make a permanent mark in the memory book of their guest.
|Sure beats a picture of the hotel.|
Unlocked Concierge Lounge
Having a room on the Club or Concierge Level of a hotel is a great convenience, especially when you need that late afternoon snack before dinner. In most hotels, guests have full access to the lounge during the day and the area is locked down late at night. Understandable, since I have vivid memories of a couple boy band members throwing a party in the concierge lounge of my hotel back in the day. Every now and then, however, someone forgets to lock the lounge, putting the hidden stash of chocolate chip cookies in danger of being discovered by snooping guests with a late night sweet tooth. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
|You can run, but you can't hide.|
The message here is simple. It doesn't take much to make a hotel memorable. Sometimes it's the little things like a pitcher of water in the lobby or a corkscrew in the room that make the difference. Too often though, hotels get wrapped up in the big, flashy amenities that they miss easy opportunities on the small stuff. Then again, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that an unlimited supply of Milano cookies are bound to make for a happy guest.
Enjoy Your Stay