Personalized Hotel Perks

by Danielle Contray Subscribe to Danielle Contray's posts Posted Jan 17th 2010 12:04 PM

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Over the last few years hotels have been upping their game and adding personal touches that make all guests feel like VIPS. Services that were previously just for high rollers are now open to all, like concierges that make sure your room is stocked up with your snack essentials, bartenders that will mix up your customary cocktail, and chefs ready to whip up your favorite meal upon request. And now that WiFi and iPod docks are becoming standard–and expected–amenities hotels are concentrating on the next step in technology. As the guests themselves become more tech savvy, hotels are branching out into online systems for setting preferences ahead of time so you know you will have the right pillow and newspaper when you arrive. There are also amazing new systems that control everything from the lights to the TV and that will remember your preferred temperature and music channel for the next time you check in. There may be no place like home, but these hotels do everything they can to be the next best thing.

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It doesn't get much more personalized than having your name printed on hotel stationery. At celeb-friendly Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, all guests receive paper and envelopes embossed with their name. At Boston's posh XV Beacon you will be presented with In Residence cards with a direct-dial phone number to use during your stay. These touches are also common practice at high-end hotels in Asia, where presenting business cards is an art form. Our favorite version comes from the Conrad Bangkok, which engraves your information on business cards made of white, dark, or milk chocolate.

Chateau Marmont: 323-656-1010; www.chateaumarmont.com
XV Beacon: 617-670-1500; www.xvbeacon.com
Conrad Bangkok: 800-266-7237; www.conradhotels.com

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Hard Rock Hotels know the power of a good tune. When you check in at the their San Diego hotel, located in the city's hip Gaslamp Quarter, the front desk will ask what your ideal genre of music is (think rock, hip hop). By the time you reach your room the sound system will be pumping your favorite beat using the hotel's streaming music channels. And when you want to change things up, you can easily turn the channel to suit your mood.

Hard Rock Hotel San Diego: 866-751-7625; www.hardrockhotelsd.com

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Your favorite drink is always on the menu at Conrad Hotels. Guests call the shots with the bespoke bar menu and can imbibe exactly how they want to–from the spirit used right down to the glass it's served in–at the group's hotels in cities like Dublin, Chicago, and Miami. Or maybe you would like to work with the bartender to create a signature drink just for you. Pick from the local ingredients on hand and get the recipe to impress everyone back home.

Conrad Hotels: 800-266-7237; www.conradhotels.com

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Chicago's Wit Hotel definitely lives up to its name in many ways (check out the wacky décor). And they let you choose who gives you a wake-up call in the morning as well. Instead of hearing a grating alarm buzz to jolt you out of sleep, actors from the famed Second City improv group (alums include Tina Fey and Steve Carell) mimic the voices of notable locals Ann Landers, Harry Caray, and mayor Richard Daley to let you know it's time to start the day. Or you can request the voice of President Obama, who will tell you to stop filibustering and get out of bed already!

The Wit Hotel: 312-467-0200; www.thewithotel.com

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Forget all-inclusive resorts that are a nightmare of lunch buffets and choice-less dinners. At these luxe properties you get to call the shots. Before you arrive at Belize's Cayo Espanto they inquire about your preferences for all meals, from how you take your coffee in the morning to your ideal dessert, and then set the daily menu to your specifications. At the Winvian resort in Litchfield Hills, Connecticut, the executive chef, who has worked under Alain Ducasse and Daniel Boulud, will cater meals to your palate and mood, taking into account not only dietary restrictions but also flights of fancy.

Cayo Espanto: 888-666-4282; www.aprivateisland.com
Winvian: 860-567-9600; www.winvian.com

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It used to be that if you were picky about the type of pillow you slept on you had waste valuable real estate in your luggage and bring your own. Not anymore. At Affinia boutique hotels, which has locations in Chicago, New York, and Washington, DC, you'll certainly find the ideal place to rest your head. Their Dream Pillow Menu has six different options, including down, buckwheat, and Swedish memory foam.

Affinia Hotels: 866-246-2203; www.affinia.com

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You are also guaranteed a good night sleep at the Heathman Hotel in Kirkland, Washington. This boutique hotel just outside of Seattle lets you choose from three different mattresses from the Art of Sleep menu. Opt for the featherbed if you are looking for something soft, the pillow-top for firm support, or the Tempur-Pedic for body conforming technology. The Simmons mattress company has also developed a zip-on, zip-off mattress cover that will allow hotels with smaller budgets to still offer guests a choice in mattresses. The covers (currently used at Harrah's hotels) can be swapped out and go from firm to soft in a zip.

The Heathman Hotel: 866-997-5475; www.heathmankirkland.com

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The concierges at Desires Hotels go way beyond the call of duty to make you feel at home. In fact, don't think of them as just concierges. They are actually Managers of Desires (get it?). At their hotels in Times Square and South Beach as well as Milwaukee and St. Louis you will be assigned a personal contact that will not only secure reservations at any restaurant or hot spot you want, but will also make sure your mini bar is stocked with your favorite snacks. We'll take an ample supply of Kit Kats and Perrier, thank you.

Desires Hotels: 866-593-4330; www.desireshotels.com

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Lots of hotels have loyalty programs to earn free nights, but join Kimpton's In Touch program and you'll get a lot more than just points. Through an online preference-setting form you can let them know what kind of pillow you like and other personal touches like which newspaper you would like delivered to your door every morning. Then any time you check into one of their more than 50 properties across the U.S. your room will be just the way you like it. And you can log in any time to change preferences. Kimpton also takes the homey touches one step further when you are missing your trusty pet. At many of their properties, including the Hotel Monaco in Seattle, you can ask for a loaner goldfish to keep you company in your room.

Kimpton Hotels: 800-546-7866; www.kimptonhotels.com

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