10 examples of exceptional hotel features

Hotels continue to define novel approaches to further differentiate themselves from competitors and other properties. The concept behind this is to deliver one truly unique facet to the travel experience, thereby giving guests a common affirmation to draw upon for word-of-mouth, online reviews and return visits. Here are 10 highly memorable and personal examples of properties that are accomplishing this objective. (I am sure you can add more to the list, and please do!)

1. The guest robes at Kimpton properties

If you’ve seen one bathrobe, you’ve seen them all. Except for Kimpton Hotels. Imagine opening the closet to a zebra print and a tiger stripe gown. Whether you’re inclined to use it or not, it’s nevertheless an eye-opener. Fun and uniquely Kimpton.

2. Free pizza at Avari Towers in Karachi

Here is a pizza delivery idea that’s dangerously good and coming out of Pakistan, no less. At the Avari, in-room pizza is always free. Just call down and make your selection, give them the time on your digital clock and they guarantee it in 30 minutes. Oh yes, the mineral water in the room is free, too. They also have a thorough fitness room, which you’ll need after indulging in too much dough.

3. San Ysidro Ranch’s pet program

Not only is this luxurious Santa Barbara property known for its flawless service, rooms and F&B, but the property goes out of its way to welcome guests’ furry friends. Upon arrival, a complete welcome kit is provided including a special gourmet menu (you can order a raw porterhouse steak!). Moreover, dogs-in-house are signified by special signage posted to the exterior of each of the suites.

4. Wickaninnish Inn’s weather watch

Located on the remote western coast of Vancouver Island, the Wick delights with the thrilling experience of watching ocean waves crash onto the surrounding cliff and beach. The property even provides complete rain gear in each room (boots are picked up at the front desk, arranged according to size). This program is instrumental in driving revenue during the off-peak season.

5. Hotel Berlin, Berlin’s convention central

Talk about immersing a property in a conference — this property rivals any in the world. Using video projectors, the entire hotel lobby can be transformed into a visual display to welcome a group. Plus, through a creative approach to F&B space, dining areas can be configured in proportion to the group’s size. I rarely see this flexibility and efficiency in a facility.

6. The Hazelton Hotel’s private screening room

Want to be a movie mogul for the night? Or, want a party that makes your guests feel like one? This Toronto property has a private screening room with seating for up to 25 in decadent comfort. Yes, in-house guests can book it to watch their favorite football game, too. And having one of the finest restaurants in the city cater your food certainly helps.

7. Library Collection’s in-house club room

Guests at these boutique hotels are treated to complimentary breakfast, mid-afternoon tea, newspapers, Wi-Fi and a range of amenities for which typical hotels would levy surcharges. And all of this is available in Midtown Manhattan, which makes it even more incredible. The results are clear: happy guests and terrific TripAdvisor ratings.

8. Chateau Frontenac’s canine ambassador

It is hard for most guests to resist engaging in conversation about Santol, a Labrador/Bernese cross merrily stationed in this Quebec City landmark property every afternoon. The success of this program ensures a high volume of social media traffic as well as bestowing a positive memory to the hotel.

9. Butler service

I have experienced this in several hotels in Asia and Europe. While not something that would be consistent with most properties’ target audience, positioning or cost structure, the service is an automatic differentiator insofar as it is the ultimate in client service. Building hotel-guest rapport is always a challenge, and face-to-face conversations are one of the best means to this end. In this regard, a butler is like having a hotel manager at your disposal 24/7.

10. Hotel Monaco’s goldfish

It is fitting to begin and end this article with Kimpton properties. When a goldfish (in a bowl, of course) arrives in the room of a solo guest, the idea is to make them feel less lonely. The reality is that this diversion is fun, cost effective and has lucrative social media opportunities.

YOUR PROPERTY HERE! Challenge your team to come up with one exceptional differentiator and execute it throughout your property. It doesn’t have to be big, but it most certainly has to be unique.