Skip to main content

14 ridiculous hotel amenities

By Pam Grout, for CNN and Maggie Hiufu Wong, CNN
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 0416 GMT (1216 HKT)
In The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin, a 30-minute tour on a carriage around the former British concession is available for RMB50,000 ($8,100). In The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin, a 30-minute tour on a carriage around the former British concession is available for RMB50,000 ($8,100).
Royal carriage
Choice of 20 Fender guitars
Fragrance butler
Wake-up calls from celebrities
A kidnapping followed by a picnic
Pet goldfish
Chocolate parlor
Ring-delivering owls
Sunshine butler
Sleep concierge
Recording studio
Pet psychologist
Manta ray phone
Porsche rides
  • Transcending Wi-Fi, pillow menus and full minibars, these hotel amenities truly give you something to brag about back home
  • Music fans may be interested in a Fender guitar at Hard Rock, Chicago, or a recording studio at Sunset Marquis Hotel, California
  • Kimpton Hotels provide stand-in pet goldfish while Provenance hotels have a pet psychologist on call

(CNN) -- Private pools, flat-screen TVs, mega liquor bottles.

Been there, seen it, drunk that.

Hotel amenities these days are as much a ploy to get you to gush about them to your friends back home as they are to make your stay comfortable.

This list of over-the-top hotel amenities is worth bringing up because each is a rare one-off, not available in all sizes.

1. Choice of 20 Fender guitars

Who needs an in-room iPod, when one of 20 Fender guitars is available for free at Chicago's Hard Rock Hotel?

Although guests do have to put down a credit card (in case they start to channel Pete Townshend's guitar-smashing antics), they can keep their chosen ax bedside until such time as they either take their band on the road or check out.

Choices range from a $1,600 Stratocaster to classic Telecasters and bass guitars.

Also available are floor amps and Nixon headphones that will vprevent renditions of "Freebird" from rocking out other guests.

Those that don't know a "G" chord from a "C," can tune into a streamed 70-minute lesson from guitar instructor Rico Monaco.

The hotel now offers a similar program for DJ mixers in addition to guitars.

Hard Rock Hotel, 230 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill., 60601, United States; +1 312 345 1000

2. Royal chariot

Taking inspiration from the historic British concession where it's located, The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin is built to resemble an ancient British palace.

And what European palace is complete without a horse-drawn carriage and uniformed horseman?

Branding itself as a wedding hotel, the Ritz offers an extravagant "royal wedding package" that includes a Rolls Royce grand entrance, free-flowing Champagne tower, royal-themed cake and a ride on the carriage.

Non wedding guests can enjoy a 30-minute ride on the carriage around the former British concession too - for the princely sum of RMB50,000 ($8100).

The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin, 167 Dagubei Road, Heping District, Tianjin, China; +86 22 5857 8888

It\'s a dog\'s life, hence pet psychologists.
It's a dog's life, hence pet psychologists.

3. Pet psychologist

They're said to be mankind's best friend -- and don't we treat them like it.

Hotel deLuxe offers guests' dogs acupuncture and even Reiki treatments, and has an in-house pet psychologist for guests to connect with their pets better.

Dog expert Stanley Coren can answer questions about canine emotions and intelligence.

The service is available at these Provenance hotels: Hotel Max (Seattle), Hotel deLuxe (Portland, Oregon), Hotel Murano (Tacoma, Washington), Hotel Lucia (Portland) and Hotel Preston (Nashville, Tennessee).

MORE: Europe's best new boutique hotels

4. Wake-up calls from celebrities

At Nashville's Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, a monster hotel with 2,882 rooms, waterfalls, indoor rivers, daily light shows and more tropical vegetation than Biosphere 3, guests can opt for a rousing "Rise and Shine" wake-up call from a Who's Who of country music stars, including Vince Gill, Trace Adkins, Kellie Pickler and Wynonna Judd.

Guests might even bump into them in the flesh at the adjoining Grand Ole Opry stage, a Nashville institution since 1925.

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, 2800 Opryland Drive, Nashville, Tennessee; +1 615 889 1000

5. Sleep concierge

After paying all this money for essentially a place to sleep, why not get some guidance on how to do it right?

The Benjamin has been a pioneer in the trend with an in-house sleep consultant, Rebecca Robbins.

The sleep team and Robbins, co-author of the book "Sleep for Success!," provide advice to adults and children.

Kid-size bathrobes and pillows, storybooks and dolls are available. Kids are then rewarded with a certificate for sleeping well.

The hotel can also prepare the room for optimum napping, on request.

The Benjamin, 125 East 50th St., New York City; +1 212 715 2500

6. Recording studio

In the basement of the Sunset Marquis Hotel in California is a professional recording studio that attracts some of the biggest names in showbiz, including Katy Perry, Tom Hanks, Christina Aguilera, Aerosmith and Clint Eastwood

The Nightbird studio handles tracking, editing and mixing with state-of-the-art technology and a staff of engineers.

Sunset Marquis Hotel, 1200 Alta Loma Road, West Hollywood, California; +1 310 657 1333

MORE: Be a celebrity-- or just rent their home

Four-course picnic? Sign us up!
Four-course picnic? Sign us up!

7. Kidnapping followed by a picnic

Every couple that checks into Namale Resort and Spa on Fiji's Vanua Levu island is "kidnapped" at some point during their stay and taken to a surprise four-course picnic somewhere on the lush resort's 212 hectares.

Sometimes it's next to a waterfall, sometimes in a cave, sometimes on a private deck overlooking a blowhole in the Koro Sea. Guests never know when they will be summoned.

Namale Resort and Spa, Hibiscus Hawaii, Savusavu, Fiji, +1 858 381 5177

8. Pet goldfish

Forced to leave Rover behind? No worries. At Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, guests can request a stand-in pet.

The Kimpton's in-room goldfish can't sit or fetch, but they can, if scientific studies are to be believed, calm nerves, reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure.

And if that doesn't work, Kimpton also offers in-room yoga lessons.

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, at various locations in the United States; +1 800 546 7866

9. Chocolate parlor

Move over, Willy Wonka. Soneva Kiri's over-the-top chocolate parlor serves non-stop free chocolate from mousses and fondues to candies, lattes and brioche.

Who even knew there was such a thing as vinegar chocolate or citrus and thyme chocolate?

A team of sweet-toothed chefs oversees the handcrafted, Fair Trade chocolate that makes its way to this resort on the Thai island of Kood.

Soneva Kiri, 110 Moo 4, Koh Kood Sub district, Trat 23000, Thailand; +66 3961 9800

READ: The Japanese inn that claims to make you beautiful

10. Ring-delivering owls

At Ireland's Ashford Castle, a 141-hectare property on the shores of Lough Corrib and River Cong, a resident owl named Dingle is always available to swoop in with an engagement ring around his neck.

Dingle has also been known to deliver notes and messages.

This medieval castle, built in 1228, also played a starring role in the John Wayne-Maureen O'Hara movie, "The Quiet Man."

The castle is undergoing renovation until March 2015.

Ashford Castle, Cong, County Mayo, Ireland, +353 94 954 6003

Sunglasses polished, legs misted, lotions applied and your watermelon is on its way.
Sunglasses polished, legs misted, lotions applied and your watermelon is on its way.

11. Sunshine butler

If you spot a well-dressed person by the poolside, expressing eagerness to rub sun lotion on your back, don't be alarmed.

The Club Hotel & Spa in the Channel Islands has recently introduced their "Sunshine Butlers" to guests at the terrace pool.

The butlers offer poolside services like polishing your sunglasses, applying sun creams and providing cooling face and foot misters, iced towels and watermelon.

The Club Hotel & Spa, Green Street, St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands; +1 1534 876 500

12. Manta ray phone

Four Seasons Resort Landaa Giraavaru at Baa Atoll, Maldives -- a UNESCO World Biosphere -- provides guests with a direct line to any manta rays in the area.

Well, almost.

Guests signed up for the "Manta-on-call" service during the manta ray peak season -- June to November -- will receive the latest sightings of manta rays in the area and be taken away on a speeding boat to the location.

Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, Baa Atoll; +960 66 00 888

MORE: Best romantic summer getaways

13. Porsche rides and others

Not a fan of being chauffeured around?

At Rancho Valencia, all hotel guests have access to a fleet of Porsches.

Guests at all 25hours Hotels can hire Mini Coopers during their stay.

And for eco-conscious guests, the Hyatt Regency Jeju hotel on Jeju Island -- the "Hawaii of Korea" -- offers free electric cars.

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, California; +1 858 756 1123

25Hours Hotels at various locations

Hyatt Regency Jeju, 114 Jungmungwangwang-ro 72 beon-gil, Seogwipo-si, Jeju Province, South Korea; +82 64 733 1234

And with your caviar, we recommend Tom Ford.
And with your caviar, we recommend Tom Ford.

14. Fragrance butler

Take this, airport security enforcers.

At Vancouver's tiny Hotel Georgia and some other Rosewood's city hotels, there's no need to monitor perfume bottles to make sure they're less than 100 milliliters because there's no need to even pack them.

A white-gloved fragrance butler bearing 10 fragrances (five for him and five for her) on a silver salver will knock on your door within minutes of you notifying the concierge your wrists need spritzing.

Some selections can only be found in a specific hotel, for example Hermes Eau des Mervailles at The Carlyle in New York or Guerlain L'Instant de Guerlain at Rosewood Sand Hill in California.

Participating hotels include The Carlyle (New York City), Rosewood Crescent Hotel (Dallas, Texas), Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek (Dallas, Texas), Rosewood Sand Hill (Menlo Park, California), Rosewood Hotel Georgia (Vancouver), Al Faisaliah Hotel (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) and Rosewood Corniche (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

READ: Joy of the towel elephant: Hospitality industry loves and hates

Part of complete coverage on
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
A foreign language can be the best aphrodisiac, so we traveled the world in search of the hottest accents.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0735 GMT (1535 HKT)
Hidden from the rest of the world for decades, Myanmar's Lethwei boxing is experiencing a revival globally.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1117 GMT (1917 HKT)
This aging cargo work whale makes more than 60 flights each week, carrying parts for all of the Airbus programs.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)
Vikings, vicious politics and vindaloo curries -- Scotland isn't all tartan and bagpipes.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 0026 GMT (0826 HKT)
Former brothels, public toilets and war bunkers now provide eccentric watering holes for those willing to drink deep.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0304 GMT (1104 HKT)
Ushaka Marine World, Durban, South Africa
Joburg is trendy, Cape Town is glamorous, but Durban has style -- and a restaurant inside a shark tank.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0756 GMT (1556 HKT)
Tirana's nightlife
Former Tirana stronghold of a totalitarian leader now home to a pulsing clubs and bar scene.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0040 GMT (0840 HKT)
This once-a-year luxury cruise visits untouched islands and never-snorkeled reefs.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
Peter J. Goutiere was just shy of 30 years old when he piloted a Douglas C-47 from Miami to Kolkata, India.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Breathtaking scenery, championship design -- many of the courses dropped into the Canadian Rockies are among the most memorable in the world.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1306 GMT (2106 HKT)
A floating hippo in the Thames river designed by artist Florentijn Hofman
Why Florentijn Hofman is sending a giant beast into London's River Thames.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
September 6, 2014 -- Updated 0042 GMT (0842 HKT)
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.