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Most unusual, over-the-top hotel amenities
Who writes home about a flat-screen TV when you have a Stratocaster in your room? Or an owl delivering your engagement ring?
Private pools, flatscreen 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 you can make your own music on one of 20 Fender guitars available for free at Chicago’s Hard Rock Hotel?
Although you do have to put down a credit card (in case you start to channel Pete Townshend’s guitar smashing antics), you can keep your chosen axe beside your bed until such time as you either take your band on the road or check out, whichever comes first.
Choices range from a US$1,600 Stratocaster to classic Telecasters and bass guitars.
You’ll also get a floor amp and Ludacris headphones that contain your rendition of "Freebird" within the boundaries of your four walls.
And if you don’t know a “G” chord from a “C,” just tune into a streaming 70-minute lesson from guitar instructor Rico Monaco.
230 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill., 60601, United States; +1 312 345 1000; www.hardrockhotelchicago.com
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2. Fragrance butler
Take this, TSA.
At Vancouver’s tiny Hotel Georgia, 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.
Tom Ford’s Black Orchid starts at US$75 per 30 milliliters.
801 W Georgia St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6C 1P7, Canada; +1 604 682 5566;
3. In-house tattoo artist
Just a few steps from the boardwalk in California’s Venice Beach, boho-chic hipster Hotel Erwin offers its own in-house tattoo artist.
The hotel’s Ink and Stay package comes with a US$100 tattoo voucher, a bottle of Lubriderm lotion, an ice-pack and a bottle of Patrón tequila.
Temporary tattoos can be found in the nightstand for guests with a lower pain tolerance.
1697 Pacific Ave., Venice Beach, Los Angeles, Calif., 90291, United States; +1 310 452 1111 www.jdvhotels.com
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4. Wake-up calls from celebrities
At Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Resort, a monster hotel with 2,881 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.
2800 Opryland Drive, Nashville, Tenn., 37214, United States; +1 615 889 1000; www.gaylordhotels.com
5. A 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 lushresort’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.
The good news is the kidnapping is not at gunpoint.
Hibiscus Hawaii, Savusavu, Fiji, +1 858 381 5177; www.namalefiji.com
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6. Pet goldfish
Forced to leave Rover behind? No worries. At Kimpton Hotels, you can request a stand-in pet.
The Kimpton’s in-room goldfish can’t sit or fetch, but they can, if you believe scientific studies, calm nerves, reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure.
And if that doesn’t work, Kimpton also offers in-room yoga lessons.
At various locations in the United States; +1 800 546 7866; www.kimptonhotels.com
7. Vintage record players
Anybody who remembers that unmistakable crackle when a stylus first hits vinyl is invited on a trip down memory lane at Brooklyn’s King & Grove Hotel.
Included with the old-fashioned Crosley turntables is a selection of albums that cuts across musical eras: The Byrds, The Beatles, Richie Havens, Joan Baez and The Doors, to name a few.
160 N. 12th St., Brooklyn, N.Y., 11249, United States; +1 718 218 7500; www.kingandgrove.com
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8. 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.
110 Moo 4, Koh Kood Sub district, Trat 23000, Thailand; +66 (0) 3961 9800; www.sixsenses.com
9. 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."
Cong, County Mayo, Ireland, +353 94 954 6003; www.ashford.ie
10. Oscar Wilde’s smoking jacket
Not all 65 rooms and suites at London’s Cadogan Hotel offer this one-of-a-kind amenity, but Room 118, where Oscar Wilde was arrested in 1895 for “committing acts of gross indecency” offers a wearable replica of the famous playwright’s smoking jacket along with a bottle of his favorite pink Perrier-Jouët and a menu of his gastronomic favorites -- hock and seltzer (wine and soda), absinthe and Victoria sandwich sponge cake.
75 Sloane St., London, SW1X 9SG, England; +44 (0) 207 235 7141; www.cadogan.com
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