Six Simple Amenities that all Luxury Hotels Should Offer

I’ve been traveling a ton lately and am very fortunate to stay at many stellar hotels. While some stuff tends to become one luxurious blur, others tend to stand out in the sea of hotels. Recently I started to take mental notes of things that truly grab my attention within my hotel rooms. I’m not talking about the special treats I usually find waiting in my room, but instead, something that is standard in the hotel. None of these items are particularly grand, but they do make me a happy hotel guest. Here’s a rundown of what I think should be standard in all luxury properties and the places I’ve seen it.

Spray Starch

 

The majority of hotel rooms, let’s say, three stars and above, come with an ironing board and iron. That’s just as basic as a phone these days. However, in all my years of traveling I’ve never seen a can of spray starch to accompany. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled a pair of pants from my over-stuffed suitcase only to find them in need of a serious pressing. The only thing that will properly remove the wrinkles is a hot iron and a squirt of starch. Instead, I’m forced to fill the iron with water and hope the steam is powerful enough to make my clothes look presentable again. I ask you, how expensive could a can of starch in each room cost?

Spray Starch

Who Has It: Four Seasons Hampshire

During my short, two-night stay at the Four Seasons Hampshire many things impressed me, but none stood out more than the red and white can of spray starch sitting next to the iron. Oh, there were many stellar things about this property, but that one little touch differentiated itself from all the other five-star properties I’ve stayed in. Although nothing needed ironing on this trip, I was happy knowing that should I need to press a wrinkled shirt, I had the starch to do it with. What can I say? I’m easy to please.

Electrical Adapters

 

Any traveler worth their salt carries a litany of adapters. I’d say that I’m never without universal, UK, and Europe adapters. But sometimes even the most seasoned traveler forgets, loses, or breaks their adapters. I happen to have done all three. When I spent a month in Europe last fall, I was loaded down with European adapters; after all, Prague, Italy, Barcelona, and Paris all use the same plugs. Problem is that I forgot the three-night side trip to London. My two-pronged adapter would do me little good there.

Electrical adapters Four Seasons

Who Has It: Four Seasons London Park Lane

I’ve professed that Park Lane might be my favorite hotel in the world, and the availability of adapters in my gorgeous suite was just one of the reasons. Imagine my relief when I saw the adapters already plugged into various outlets just waiting to re-energize my iPhone. I must say that Park Lane is not the only Four Seasons property that has this amenity. I’ve seen them also at Hampshire, while Canary Wharf and Paris have power strips built into desks that fit various size plugs. It’s the little things that mean the most.

Flight Board and Weighing Station

 

Now, I’m not sure why all luxury hotels don’t have a flight board and a weighing station available to their guests. It’s not only a great concept, but it’s also essential to many travelers. When I was coming home from Rome a few years ago, I found myself with bags open on the airport floor for the entire world to see. I was trying to distribute weight from one suitcase to another in order to avoid overweight baggage fees. I suppose all that olive oil and lemoncello I bought weighed quite a bit more than I anticipated, but if my hotel had a weighing station this scene would have been avoided.

Maui Weighing Station

Who Has It: Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

I never even thought about a hotel having a flight board and weighing station until I was at the Wailea Marriott. Right next to their reception desk is a scale to weigh your bags and a screen with the day’s flights, departures, and gates. I’m pretty sure that you can check into your flight and print your boarding pass as well. It’s such a novel idea and one that I’ve not seen anywhere else. Nobody is manning the station, and it seems to be self-sufficient. I’m sure the people bringing back bags full of Maui Gold pineapples really appreciate that scale.

Welcome Drink

 

OK, so quite a few hotels do a welcome drink, but it’s certainly hit or miss. I’m not saying that it has to be a glass of Champagne {although, I did get that at Four Seasons Canary Wharf}, but why can’t luxury hotels offer guests something wet upon arrival? I’m parched at the very least and dehydrated at the most after a flight. How about cucumber water? It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, but it certainly is a nice touch.

hawaiian cocktail

Who Has It: The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui

As soon as you step foot on Fairmont Kea Lani’s property there is a lei around your neck and a fruity drink in your hand. Smiles and “aloha” accompany the libation. It’s easily one of the warmest welcomes I’ve ever received. So simple, yet so memorable.

Facial Cleanser

 

I am the queen of toiletries when I travel. I have to have certain brands of things like moisturizer and face cleanser. Luxury hotels usually have great shampoo, conditioner, soaps, and body gel, thus there’s no need for me to bring my own. One thing I shake my head at is the bar face soap that I often see at hotels. I haven’t washed my face with a bar of soap since I was probably 13. In fact, I know nobody that does. So then why even bother including it in the roster of toiletries? I’d be willing to wager that the only thing that the bar cleans is a hand or two, if that.

Bliss Spa Facial Cleanser W Hotels

Who Has It: W Hotel, Barcelona

Although I generally like the W Hotel chain, it’s not my favorite, as I can’t really get past all the giant price tags on various things around their rooms and ultra modern decor. However, one thing that the W really has going for it is their inclusion of Bliss toiletries, complete with facial cleanser. Bliss is a product that I’ve used at home, and the facial cleanser is one toiletry that I never leave behind upon checkout. As an added bonus, the W suites usually include full-size toiletries, which is simply extraordinary. A full-size bottle of their Bliss facial cleanser basically makes up for what they charge for one day of WiFi. Thus, it’s a wash…pun intended.

Quart-Sized Plastic Bag

 

By now, everyone knows about that pesky TSA rule about only carrying on liquids less than three ounces and putting them all in a quart-sized plastic bag. It’s not just an American thing and is the standard in international airports. I’m normally well prepared with multiple sizes of these handy bags, but not everyone is as a seasoned traveler as I am. Those are the people I usually get behind in security carrying a giant vat of lotion they bought especially in France. Three ounces, lady… but I digress. How nice would it be if a hotel included a quart-sized plastic bag for their customers to stash all the toiletries they will be taking with them from the hotel?

Four Seasons Bag Budapest

Who Does It: Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest

I had this article ready to publish, but upon seeing that Four Seasons Gresham Palace branded plastic bag I just had to include it. With my last night’s turn down service, the bag {along with a box of cookies} was left in the bathroom right next to the toiletries as if to say, “Take me home with you.” Oh, don’t worry, Four Seasons Budapest, I will.

I don’t think any of these amenities are over-the-top or too demanding. It’s not like I’m suggesting there be heated toilet seats in every room. I may not remember the thread count of the sheets in my last hotel, but I will remember the novel item that, in my mind, should be standard in luxury hotels.

Tell me, have you seen something at a luxury {or otherwise} hotel that made you stop and say, “Wow! Why don’t they all offer this?”

Note: There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I make a small commission if you make a purchase through my links. It costs you nothing more, but helps keep me stocked in French wine {and a roof over my head}.

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38 Comments
  • Mike (Nomadic Texan)
    July 22, 2013

    Leah
    When Kim and I walked into the Oro Verde Hotel in Guayaquil Ecuador, a member of the The Leading Hotels of the World Chain, as we walked up to the desk we were given a warm wet washcloth with a minty aroma and a glass of cold juice. This was a magnificent touch, given we had just been in about 100% humidity and 90 degree weather in Guayaquil. Think Houston in May or June. I love little extras like this and Kim was overjoyed with the “minty” washcloth.
    Mike

    • Leah Walker
      July 26, 2013

      I like the wet towel on business/first class flights and at a hotel. In tropical climates, it’s also a great touch for a hotel. Doesn’t cost much, but makes such great impact.

  • @mrsoaroundworld
    July 22, 2013

    This is a really good list! Fr me, also need shower caps! Plural!

    • Leah Walker
      July 26, 2013

      How could I forget your love of shower caps. I like them, but only use them in hotels. Go figure.

      • Bettina
        September 13, 2013

        I love showercaps, not to use in the hotel, but to take home. They are fantastic to pull over a bowl of bread dough set to rise.

        • Leah Walker
          September 15, 2013

          Haha! Thanks for the tip, Bettina. I tend not to make bread because I just wind up eating it all by myself.

  • Raymond @ Man On The Lam
    July 22, 2013

    I’m prone to wrinkling so I love the spray starch idea. 🙂

    • Leah Walker
      July 26, 2013

      It’s a great one, I KNOW!

  • TheDessertEngineer
    July 22, 2013

    For my husband it will probably have to be a TV in the bathroom (better yet, the one embedded in the mirror), He loves soaking in the tub watching his favorite movie.

    • Leah Walker
      July 26, 2013

      The TV in the bathroom is a nice touch. I rarely watch TV anymore, but always find it nice to turn on the news while I’m getting ready at the hotel. It’s the only way for me to keep up with the world when I’m traveling.

  • D.J. - The World of Deej
    July 22, 2013

    OK seriously, how did we both write a “6 hotel amenities” list on the same day? Couldn’t agree more on the welcome drink. When we checked-in at The Sandpearl a couple weeks ago, they offered MJ and I mimosas (it was 9am). Naturally, there was no way that stay was going off course from there…

    • Leah Walker
      July 26, 2013

      I’m going to need the contact for the Sandpearl. Any place that offers mimosas as a welcome drink is ok in my book.

  • Brilliant! We stayed at The Four Seasons Sydney last month and I was impressed to see plug adapters in the room. Any hotel gets bonus points from me if they do something special for my son. We were given a piggybank full of chocolate coins for him which was a nice surprise.

    • Leah Walker
      July 26, 2013

      Oh, the stuff that Four Seasons does for kids is so wonderful. At the Four Seasons Hampshire they will also include treats for your dog. So very cute!

  • Anita Mac
    July 23, 2013

    Totally agree with the plug adaptors…although I am happy if the front desk has one for me to borrow. Having purchased some of my electronics in Europe, I now have a mix in my bag anyway! Love the TSA approved bags and the scale – that is brilliant! Have come terribly close to the weight limits on my bags, but have not had to redistribute in a while! (Do I dare say that or will Murphy’s Law catch up with me!!!) Great list…and totally agree with the drink on arrival! One of the things I love about arriving in the Caribbean – they have a tray ready for arrivals!

    • Leah Walker
      July 26, 2013

      I’ve bought a Euro hairdryer and that’s really all I need. I’ve blown too many 110 ones over the years.

  • Becky Padmore
    July 23, 2013

    I agree, little details count for so much sometimes!

    • Leah Walker
      July 26, 2013

      I wonder if others notice like we do? I’d be curious to do a study or something.

  • Hogga
    July 23, 2013

    it’s the best when they have facial cleanser, especially when yours explodes in your suitcase

    • Leah Walker
      July 26, 2013

      Oh, sounds like you’ve had a bit of personal experience with that one.

  • Erin at The World Wanderer
    July 23, 2013

    These are all spot on, Leah! I’ve never seen a flight board or the little baggies at a hotel so far, and they are ingenious!

    • Leah Walker
      July 26, 2013

      I know! I can’t believe that I haven’t seen either of those before. Very cool, I tell you.

  • Dana
    July 23, 2013

    I absolutely love the spray starch idea! I don’t have to many clothes that wrinkle easily but my husband’s dress shirts are always a nightmare to pack. It’s so easy to set them straight again with some starch, but I never would have thought of including it in my hotel room! Great thought, hopefully it will catch on!

    • Leah Walker
      July 26, 2013

      I rarely bring button down shirts for that very reason. It’s a total nightmare. Hopefully other hotels will hear the message. 🙂

  • I think free wi-fi would be my main concern staying at any hotel, but even budget hotels seem to have this now, so I can see why it did not make the list. I love this list though as it made me think of practical items in a hotel room.

    • Leah Walker
      July 26, 2013

      I’ve already had a WiFi rant a few months ago, so I thought I’d sound like a broken record. But, yes, it’s essential and even better if free.

  • Francesca
    July 24, 2013

    I don’t get to stay in many luxury hotels but I can appreciate the small things wherever I stay. I’d be a big fan of any property that provided electrical adapters. And a welcome drink. That’s always a winner in my book.

    • Leah Walker
      July 26, 2013

      It’s such a nice treat no matter how many stars a property has. Even just a container of water with some cups would work at lower-end hotels.

  • Lola DiMarco
    July 26, 2013

    Great list! They’re relatively minor amenities that make the difference! I’d say offering some eye candy might be a nice touch as well! 😉

    • Leah Walker
      July 31, 2013

      Eye candy is always an advantage in my book.

  • thelazytravelers
    July 26, 2013

    LOVE seeing power adapters at a hotel. second only to seeing a welcome drink.

    • Leah Walker
      July 31, 2013

      You’re putting the adapters over the welcome drink? Are you ill? What have you done with the Lazy Travelers?

  • Pola (@jettingaround)
    July 28, 2013

    Oh yes, power adapters and facial cleanser!! I also need an iPod dock… And a pound of bath salts wouldn’t be bad either.

    • Leah Walker
      July 31, 2013

      The iPod dock will make my follow up list. It’s a great way to charge your iPhone as well.

  • Larissa
    July 29, 2013

    So true, and most of those things are inexpensive enough for hotels in all prices ranges. . . a 1 quart plastic bag? Brilliant!

    • Leah Walker
      July 31, 2013

      Totally my point! It’s the little things, and they don’t have to cost a fortune.

  • Jean| Holy Smithereens
    December 13, 2013

    the flight board is amazing! genius concept!! im not sure if it just happened to be the hotels I stayed at, but I noticed that that the more luxe or 5 star category a hotel is, the less likely the rooms will have ironing boards (as they offer ironing service). I do prefer to iron my own things especially if its just a top that I need de-wrinkling.
    Another fab item in luxury hotel rooms i found- umbrellas in the room, and a matching day bag 🙂 ( both items seen at Fitzwilliam in Dublin, The Goring in London and Hyatt Vendome in Paris). I think theyre practical and awesome!
    Oh above all, I treasure complimentary refillable still water 🙂

  • lucie wood
    February 13, 2015

    i love this post really nice ideas. I am a hotelier myself -boutique hotels in Marrakech and I am always thinking up new ways to suprise our guests: latest idea (in a josephine baker themed hotel) is a musical box filled with little holders filled with wise quotes. Other ideas that guests seem to like are: shoe shining kits; umbrellas; cards and games in wardrobes; lavendar bags to help sleeping; psychology self help books in bedroom as well as selection of novels; fan for hot weather; adapter within room; personal weighing scale to ensure bag is correct weight; magnifying mirror 10 x magnification for those of us who are short sighted; glasses for reading menus etc; local mobile phone with credit and useful telephone numbers preprogrammed. We have most of these things in all our rooms and find that there is usually something that a guest finds really helpful or delightful-its really nice to suprise people in a positive way!

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