Four Thoughtful Things all Luxury Hotels Should Offer


As my roster of five-star hotels grows, I find myself increasingly more persnickety. I think this is perfectly normal considering the more we experience, whether it be food, fashion, wine, airlines, or something as simple as cable service, the more selective we become. Though, I do feel like I’ve been ruined a bit.

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Now, a perfectly lovely hotel gets picked apart. However, it wasn’t too long ago that I would have to actively search in order to find fault. Now that I’ve been exposed to multiple luxury brands across four continents, my eyes immediately go to two things: What sets this luxury hotel apart from the rest? What is this luxury hotel missing? I sometimes find this disconcerting. For instance, I’ll catch myself griping about how my slippers weren’t laid out during turndown service. Really? Like I’m incapable of walking over to the closet and pulling out the slippers myself?

After slapping my face for sounding like a spoiled brat, I then rationalize that it’s part of my job to notice and report these sorts of things. This critical eye has become innate and thus difficult to turn off. It’s like my inability to read anything, even menus, without editing, which I attribute to ten years of teaching English. My pickiness has taken a bit of enjoyment out of experiencing luxury hotels. I know that’s difficult to believe and realize that it’s a first-world problem, so to speak.

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On the other side of the coin is the excitement I feel from finding an amenity or service that I’ve never experienced. Given my most recent stays in Asian and Paris hotels, this has happened quite often. It may sound silly, but I just love discovering little nuances that I’d not seen previously.

This past summer I wrote the article, “Six Simple Amenities that All Luxury Hotels Should offer,” where I applauded everything from adapters in the room to a hotel branded quart-sized Ziploc bag, perfect for carrying the unused toiletries in your carry on. I suppose you could say that this list is a more sophisticated follow up. So, without further ado, here are four thoughtful things that have utterly spoiled me.

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I adore beautiful scents, whether that be in the form of perfume, candles, lotions, or soaps. Fragrances trigger memories. One sniff of Bath and Body Works plumeria lotion and I’m back in college. On my first trip to Paris, I made sure to pick a unique perfume that with one spray would take me back to the City of Light.

I don’t believe I’m alone in regard to scents evoking memories, which is why I think it’s a brilliant marketing move for hotels to include a special scent for guests to take home. For instance, Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere in Paris offers a branded fragrance line. There are a couple of different scents, which are prominently displayed at the front desk.

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That alone is interesting, but what makes this more memorable is the travel size of fragrant oil I found in my bathroom amenities. Now, I carry the bottle in my toiletries bag, and every time I spray it, I think of Foquet’s, which is probably one of the objectives of including the scent in the first place. In addition, Mandarin Oriental in Munich places a beautiful smelling bath oil on guests’ pillow for turn down service. Don’t think that didn’t make its way in to my bag. Genius, I say.


Stay with me here. I know that most hotels, even three-star, offer in-room safes. However, what sends tingles up and down my spine are the safes that are large enough for a laptop. My computer is probably the most important thing I have in regard to my business, so why would I just leave it sitting out in the open or tuck it under the mattress {which is useless}? Given the high volume of business travelers staying in luxury hotels, why isn’t a safe capable of holding a laptop not a standard amenity? I certainly don’t know.

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Now what really gets me excited is a safe that also includes an electrical plug. I first encountered this last month while staying at Paris’ Hotel Napoleon. I never even considered this as an option, but now it’s something that I look for in my luxury hotel stays. Think about it. Having a plug in the safe allows you to charge any of your electronics, while still keeping them protected. Well played, Hotel Napoleon.

Motorized Curtains

Wanting to close the curtains at the push of a button may sound incredibly spoiled and lazy, but hear me out. Most luxury hotels feature thick curtains, many of which are floor-to-ceiling. These enable guests to black out the room and sleep comfortably without the sun burning holes through their eyelids. Since these drapes are heavy, it takes a Herculean effort in order to close them.

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Now, imagine guests jerking on these curtains like an Olympic weight lifter throws a barbell above his head. If every guest does this multiple times per stay, how long do you think these curtains will actually remain attached to their track? Not long at all, I’m afraid. I’ve actually torn drapes down on a few occasions. Though, when I was at the Shangri-La Kowloon in November, I simply pressed a button to reveal the gorgeous Victoria Harbor and once more to block the bright lights of the Hong Kong skyline. And most recently at Carlton Hotel in St. Moritz, buttons to open and close the sunshades were on either side of the king-sized bed and in the hallway. Simple and no call to maintenance is required.

Hair Dryer

Do not underestimate the importance of the hair dryer in a hotel room. It’s one of the very first things I notice. Sub-par equipment will totally make me re-evaluate my entire hair-washing schedule, and I know I’m not alone on this one. I’m stricken with horror when I see a hair dryer mounted to the wall, no matter how many stars a hotel has. Obviously men, probably with no hair, think this style of blow dryer is a good idea. It’s not.

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I’m here to tell you that these things should be banned like lead paint and asbestos. I recently stayed at a European five-star hotel that had a wall-mounted hair dryer, and the cord was so short that I had to enter into three different yoga positions just to do my hair. Folks, this was no small feat considering I can’t even touch my toes.

What tickles me to no end is finding a monster of a hair dryer lovingly placed in its own bag. I’m talking about a machine with a motor that could have been built by Boeing. In my room at the Mandarin Oriental in Paris, I encountered one such machine, and it was a thing of beauty. And if you’re lucky enough to find a Black Mambo dryer like at Paris’ Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere then you’re lucky enough. It’s the Holy Grail of blow dryers, and I am Galahad.

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I suppose I’ve become a bit of a hotel collector, though not for some sort of bragging rights. I genuinely love the experience of staying in a hotel. All the extras in regard to service and amenities are what separate a good hotel from a great one. It’s the little things that make a place special, and I’m constantly on the hunt for something different. A hotel’s effort is definitely not lost on me.

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