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While many travelers are content with a complimentary bottle of water and Wi-Fi when staying at a hotel, these days, some properties are taking their amenity games to the next level. With creative and luxurious offerings — some complimentary and others that come at a premium — these hotels serve to satisfy the demands of the ever-discerning guest. From lunch with a sumo wrestler to artisan soap concierges, here are 10 over-the-top resort amenities that actually exist.
Champagne Sabering at St. Regis Residences (Various Locations)
A stay at one of the opulent St. Regis Residences located around the world is well worth celebrating with a bottle of Champagne. And guests that feel the urge to indulge can partake in an evening Champagne sabering ritual — a tradition that dates to the French Revolution and was allegedly invented by Napoleon Bonaparte himself. A bottle of Champagne is delivered to the suite along with a handcrafted saber made by the master French silversmiths Christofle. Then, it’s over to the guest to slide the saber along the bottle’s neck in order to break the glass, pour the Champagne, and raise a toast you’ll remember long after leaving.
Complimentary Bentley Test-Drive at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa (San Diego Area, California)
Fancy cruising in a Bentley around the open roads of Southern California on your next vacation? That can be arranged when staying at the 45-acre luxury Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa in Rancho Santa Fe, located about 30 minutes north of San Diego. All you need is a driver’s license and proof of auto insurance to be able to test-drive a Bentley Continental GT, Bentley Continental GT Convertible, or Bentley Continental Flying Spur (available on a first-come, first-served basis). If you aren’t familiar with the area, the staff can recommend scenic drives such as Highway 101, the La Jolla coastline, and Temecula Wine Country. Just remember to return the car at the end of the day!
Creactive by Cirque du Soleil at Club Med Punta Cana (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic)
Some think of vacations as a time to do nothing but unwind, while others see them as a chance to immerse themselves in cultural and adventure activities. At the all-inclusive Club Med Punta Cana, guests can do a little of both. Inspired by the world’s most-famous circus entertainers, Creactive by Cirque du Soleil allows both kids and adults the chance to try their hand at 30 acrobatics and artistic activities. The playground offers a German wheel, trampoline, acrobatic bungee, trapeze, and more. For the less adventurous, there is also mask painting and other creative workshops.
Crime Caper Detective at the Conrad London St. James (London, England)
Since the Conrad London St. James is located close to New Scotland Yard (the headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Police), why not try your hand at solving a crime? The hotel invites guests to become sleuths for a day in its unique Crime Caper Detective offering. Guests of all ages can work on a fictional crime scene created by former Scotland Yard detectives and police officers. The clues are spread throughout the hotel’s event spaces, and guests must use forensics, finger-printing, DNA testing, and other detective techniques to get to the bottom of the mystery. Help is on hand from trained crime investigators, and the kids can take home detective souvenirs. Guests can book the two-hour experience for two to four people starting at £399.
Fender Guitars at Hard Rock Hotels (Worldwide)
Music is at the forefront of the Hard Rock brand, and guests can turn their room into a private studio when staying at any of the Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos worldwide. A selection of Fender guitars is available to borrow free of charge as part of the Sound of Your Stay experience. The guitars are equipped with an amplifier and headphones, so guests can rock out without annoying their neighbors. Beginners can also access guitar lessons. The rock-themed amenities continue throughout your stay, with complimentary personalized playlists and turntables and curated vinyl record collections available to check out from the front desk.
Helicopter Glacier Tour at Sonora Resort (British Columbia, Canada)
Travelers that check in to the Sonora Resort are probably coming to enjoy the pristine wilderness of British Columbia’s Discovery Islands. It’s a place surrounded by forests, mountains, and waterways, where dolphins frolic and orcas and humpback whales feed. But the best way to take in the breathtaking surroundings is from above, with the resort’s Heli Adventures. The program combines a thrilling helicopter tour with experiences on the ground; options include kayaking and paddle-boarding on a glacial lake, hiking across alpine meadows, and trekking over a glacier. Those who prefer a more relaxed end to their helicopter ride can make stops at a winery and an artisanal distillery. While the tours aren’t cheap (rates start at $1,520 CAD per person), the experience is one you won’t forget anytime soon.
Lunch With a Sumo Wrestler at the Palace Hotel Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan)
In a city like Tokyo, visitors can have a hard time deciding what to do first, but one unexpected option is to delve into the fascinating world of sumo wrestling. Guests at the Palace Hotel Tokyo can have that easily arranged for them. The Sensationally Sumo package is as up-close an experience of Japanese heavyweight wrestling as you are likely to find. Visit during the tournament season for a guided tour of the famed Ryōgoku Kokugikan sumo hall and receive tickets to the tournament. In the off-season, watch the wrestlers during training sessions and then join them for lunch. There’s no need to worry about the language barrier, because the experience includes a Sumo sports broadcaster guide and a translator. Packages start at around $8,000 USD per person and include two nights of accommodation, daily breakfast, and private transportation.
Pillow Menu at The Benjamin (New York, New York)
Most hotel guests will agree that one of the keys to a good night’s sleep is a high-quality pillow. In New York City — which, ironically, is “the city that never sleeps” — The Benjamin hotel has teamed up with sleep expert Dr. Rebecca Robbins to make bedtime something to truly look forward to. The hotel’s complimentary Rest and Renew Pillow Menu includes a selection of 10 curated luxury pillows suitable for a variety of sleeping positions. There’s everything from an anti-snore pillow to a lullaby package with built-in speakers to lull guests to sleep. Guests will also have access to a 24/7 sleep team who can offer sleep advice. Simply browse the in-room menu, ask for your favorite, and then rest well before a day of exploring Manhattan.
Record Concierge at Kimpton Goodland (Santa Barbara, California)
Those who want to listen to their favorite tunes on vinyl while vacationing on the Southern California coast should look no further than Goleta’s Kimpton Goodland. Each room at this laidback surf hotel just outside of Santa Barbara comes kitted out with a retro Crosley turntable and selection of vinyl records. If the offerings aren’t quite to your taste, then you can head down to the hotel’s in-house VNYL record shop and browse through everything from 60s surf rock to 90s hip-hop. Records can be taken back to the rooms for the ideal holiday soundtrack free of charge and are also available for purchase to take home.
Soap Concierge at the Viceroy Riviera Maya (Playa del Carmen, Mexico)
It’s always nice to freshen up before and after a day out exploring your vacation destination. The Viceroy Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen sets the (soap) bar high in terms of toiletries. After settling into one of the villas at this opulent beachside resort, a soap concierge stops by the room to offer guests a choice of locally-produced soaps in a range of scents, such as chocolate, cinnamon, lemon, and rosemary. The soaps are cut into bars large enough to last for a guest’s stay, and you can continue the sensory journey long after you leave paradise by purchasing additional bars to take home.