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Atlantic White Shark Conservancy
Photograph: Courtesy Atlantic White Shark ConservancyGreat white shark stalking at Chatham Bars Inn

The 11 most over-the-top hotel perks

When you want more from your stay than free Wi-Fi and mini shampoo, these rooms with benefits go the extra mile

Written by
Meaghan Agnew

Free Wi-Fi now comes as standard, perks for pooches are on the rise, and many top spas have hotels attached. For a staycation or trip with a difference (we’re talking Tesla rides, shark-stalking expeditions and fireplace butlers), check into one of these perktastic properties.

Most over-the-top hotel perks in America

Fireplace butler
Photograph: Courtesy Four Seasons Santa Fe

1. Fireplace butler

As if the classic Southwestern beehive wood-burning fireplace wasn’t enough, the Four Seasons Santa Fe does one better with an on-call lumber steward (swoon) who brings you fresh logs and then builds and/or stokes your fire to your exact, if clueless, specifications. If only TaskRabbit were so attentive.

Pound puppy hikes
Photograph: Courtesy Red Rock Mountain Resort and Spa

2. Pound puppy hikes

It’s exactly what it sounds like and just as awesome. Puppies are delivered from the local shelter to the all-inclusive Red Mountain Resort in Southwest Utah, where each four-legger is paired with a hotel guest for a hike through nearby Snow Canyon State Park. Not only do the pups get much-appreciated exercise but also some free advertising to boot, which has led to several guest adoptions.

Sex toys on tap
Photograph: Courtesy The Drake Hotel

3. Sex toys on tap

Hotels and sex are natural partners, but packing kinky accoutrements can be a mood killer—and handcuffs in your carry-on could cause delays at security. The Drake Hotel in Toronto (yes, we made an exception for our neighbors to the north) makes your sexytime stress-free with its Pleasure Menu, a room-service orgy of condoms, floggers, vibrators and a $600 24-carat gold dildo that seems the very embodiment of (s)excess.

Great white shark stalking
Photograph: Courtesy Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

4. Great white shark stalking

Owing to a successful seal conservation program, the Cape Cod, Massachusetts, town of Chatham has also seen a surge in the population of great white sharks. Chatham Bars Inn has embraced its Carcharodon carcharias overlords and launched a partnership with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy to help visitors do the same. During a daylong trip, guests can hop aboard a research vessel to help track, photograph and even tag specimens.

Equi-spective horse encounter
Photograph: Justin Kriel

5. Equi-spective horse encounter

What does “equi-spective” mean, you ask? Short answer: becoming one with a horse. Longer answer: At the Salamander Resort & Spa in Northern Virginia, you’ll spend two hours learning about your own communication and emotional abilities through one-on-one interaction with a horse carefully selected for your persona. Sounds dippy? We’ve done it, and it’s life altering.

Sleep consultant
Photograph: Courtesy The Benjamin

6. Sleep consultant

Let’s be honest: We all suck at sleeping. But at The Benjamin in Manhattan, expert Rebecca Robbins will mend your insomniac ways. The sleep-medicine professor has designed an entire program to help you nod off, including in-room spa treatments, eye masks, a lullaby music library and a pillow menu. Sounds like the best sleepcation ever.

Bath attendant
Photograph: Courtesy The Inn at Palmetto Bluff

7. Bath attendant

If you fantasize about having a servant to prepare the perfect downton-style soak, check into The Inn at Palmetto Bluff. The South Carolina resort will provide you with your very own bath butler, who’ll draw the dip of your dreams using either a milk or salt soak and a thoughtful blend of herbal oils. More bubbles? Less lavender? But of course—just spell out your preferences. And yes, champagne is also involved.

Ping-Pong club
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

8. Ping-Pong club

What else would you expect from a hotel that boasts water-bed cabanas and a wood-paneled retro gym? The Standard Downtown LA plays host to the city’s first private Ping-Pong hangout; when you’re done humiliating yourself at one of 11 regulation tables, you can drown your table-tennis sorrows at one of three full bars. This is definitely not your parents’ rec room.

Tesla service
Photograph: Courtesy Virgin Hotels

9. Tesla service

Oh, NBD, just taking a jaunt around the Loop in one of the world’s fastest-accelerating cars. The house car at Virgin Hotels, Richard Branson’s latest venture, is the gas-free Tesla Model S, a sporty red dreamboat that’s available to guests on a first-come, first-served basis. The concierge will drive you anywhere within a two-mile radius of the hotel, which is just enough to see what that baby’s capable of.

Pet psychic
Photograph: Courtesy Hotel deLuxe

10. Pet psychic

Pet perks like special beds and treats are nothing new, but Portland’s Hotel deLuxe is maniacally devoted to your canine bambino. At the pooch-crazy property, doggie room service, acupuncture and massage are all on the menu. But the pièce de résistance has to be the in-room pet psychic readings, which might finally shed light on why Katy Hairy has become fixated on chasing shadows.

Fairy godmother
Photograph: Courtesy Barnsley Gardens Resort

11. Fairy godmother

Don’t tell your nieces, but Barnsley Gardens Resort, a charming and whimsical hotel in Georgia, blesses you with a real live fairy godmother, who’ll grant you wishes you didn’t even know you had. Planning on watching the firefly show at dusk? Oh, look, a firefly-catching kit! Want to ramp up the romance quotient? Why, here’s champagne and rose petals in the room! She even has a wand. Will there be anything else, Cinderella? 

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