For instance, have you ever seen one of those mini reading lights directly above the bed that is movable in all directions, so much so that you can actually point it to the exact landing spot of where you are holding your book or magazine thus the term 'reading light' ? Better yet, the on/off button is within reach so you don't have to fumble or get out of bed to turn it off as you drift into heavenly hotel sleep. This is relatively new to the hotel scene but I hope catching on. Functional, helpful, and appreciated.
And speaking of heavenly, have you ever had the extreme experience of staying at a W Hotel and sleeping in a heavenly bed? I have, and yes it is. In fact, if there is anything higher than heaven, which I don't believe there is, but if something should be identified in that otherworldly category that's what I would use to describe those heavenly beds. Westin Hotels premiered them quite a few years ago and many hotels have followed suit with their own versions, but to this day I believe there is nothing that compares to the original. Why? It's soft. It's firm. It's fluffy, and comforting. It gives you the sensation of floating. On clouds. In Heaven. To quote their own description of these magnificent wonders, "guests are treated to ten layers of pure comfort that add up to one exceptional sleep experience." And Heaven knows travelers need their sleep!
- a full length mirror
- good lighting in the loo (come on folks, we can't get beautiful if we can't properly see ourselves), and bonus points if one of those magnifying mirrors is present, too
- comfy seating of some sort beyond having to flop down on the bed
- a functional desk area with lots of electrical outlets because yes, many of us do have to work in those rooms
- multiple plug in-stations that have been planned and carefully thought out instead of power strips and chords running everywhere
Okay, then, what are some of the other surprising touches I love? I'll share a few from some of those high end luxury hotel experiences:
- Nightly turn down service that also comes with milk, cookies, and a small 'slipper towel' placed on the floor next to the bed where your feet will naturally fall should you need to get up in the night. One wouldn't want your feet to directly touch the cold floor now, would one?
- a 'stumble light' that comes on automatically when those feet touch the floor in the middle of the night. Think of it as an auto night light so you are not fumbling/stumbling around in foreign territory during the dark.
- Ever seen a purse rack? It was a first for me, too, but on a trip to Mexico when I entered the restaurant the hostess ask for my purse so that she could hang it on the rack by my table. Looked like a short coat rack but with hooks for purses. Dandy, and one less thing to maneuver at the table.
- Would you be surprised if your name was flashed up on a screen at checkout with a big 'Thank You for Staying With Us Ms. Lombardo!' I sure was, but I left with a smile.
- A bellman that actually does more than carry your bag. When they are well trained, bellmen will show you how to work the room's electronics, offer to fill your ice bucket, place your suitcase on that luggage rack, open the curtains for the 'unveil of your spectacular view', tell you about anything special going on in the hotel, and much more. Granted I'd chat it up, too, if I knew my tip were getting better, but still, when done sincerely it helps you settle in and feel more comfortable just as you would want to do for guests entering your own home.
- Of course I do love me a good room service amenity, and I've certainly received my share of memorable ones that go well beyond delicious chocolate covered strawberries. In particular, I once received a chocolate piano to advise me that the hotel's new piano bar would be open that evening and there would also be complimentary champagne served. Quite charming, and they had me at piano bar!
Small details, big impact. That's what makes a hotel memorable.
How about you? What kind of surprising things do you find in hotel rooms? Inquiring minds want to know!