Even in the world of luxury travel, some hotels offer pretty average amenities. But then there are others with extravagant extras that amp up the wow factor till it's totally over-the-top (and if you know us at Oyster, you know we love a little over-the-top-ness). So here we've rounded up nine of the most luxurious, over-the-top hotel amenities EVER. Get ready to splurge...
1. Tanning Butler: The Ritz-Carlton South Beach, Miami
The Ritz-Carlton chain is known for luxury, but it's South Beach outpost has upped the ante with the tanning butler.The hotel's signature tanning butler patrols the pool deck to help guests apply sunscreen (even those hard-to-reach areas) and offer a buffet of tanning products, sunglasses and other sun necessities.
2. Pet Psychic: Hotel deLuxe, Portland
Portland's Hotel deLuxe is not just pet-friendly: it's a legitimate pet paradise. The hotels offers welcome amenities for your furry friends -- like plush bedding, food and water bowls, toys, and treats -- as well as access to special services such as pet massage, dog walkers, pet acupuncture, doggie room service, and -- Fido's favorite -- pet psychics and pet psychologists.
3. Gondola Couples Massage: Loews Coronado Bay Resort, San Diego
If you like your romance with a side of indulgence (and a hint of voyeurism), San Diego's Loews Coronado Bay Resort may be just what you're looking for. The hotel's fleet of gondolas is not only available for afternoon rides, but also one-of-a-kind couples massages. As the gondolier drifts you through the private marina, your personal masseuse will round out the relaxing experience by kneading your cares away.
4. Monogrammed Bathrobes: Hotel Ritz Madrid
Sometimes the most simple things can seem the most luxurious -- especially after a grueling transatlantic flight. At Madrid's Hotel Ritz, staff places personalized, monogrammed robes in the room before your arrival. Wrapped in red ribbon with single rosebuds, these are no ordinary bathrobes; they're probably the most luxe and plush you've ever cozied up in.
5. Room Service for Pets: The Lowell, New York City
For luxury travelers who adore their four-legged friends, The Lowelloffers the ultimate in pet pampering -- yes, we have to admit, it even beats out previously-mentioned Hotel deLuxe. The hotel's special pet room service menu features gourmet made-to-order meals, including lamb ragout, organic buffalo marrowbone, and filet mignon tartar, with side orders of potatoes, rice and sardines. Can we get a fork, as well? For dessert: Doggie ice cream, fish skin chews imported from Iceland, and classic treats like Milkbones are available. You can also order specialty pet shampoos, paw butter, aromatherapy sprays, and more.
6. Famous Artists in Residence: Andaz Fifth Avenue, New York City
For art lovers and bibliophiles, there are few destinations better than New York City. And within the city, there are few better hotel options than the Andaz Fifth Avenue. Here, locally-inspired decor, such as graffiti art, and a rotating artists-in-residence program, which showcases -- and allows guests to rub elbows with -- some of the city's best and most famous talent, make it an excellent artsy pick. The Andaz has also partnered with the New York City Public Library (located just across the street) to create a fantastic on-site lending library with 700+ hand-selected books that include the hotel's favorites from the famed library.
7. Fragrance Butler: Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Vancouver
Vancouver's Rosewood Hotel Georgia sets the stage for a luxurious vacation with plush furnishings, gorgeously-maintained historic touches, and sweet-smelling...guests? Indeed, the hotel boasts a dedicated fragrance butler who can assist guests with selecting, sampling and purchasing a signature scent. Upscale colognes like Bulgari Pour Homme and Hermes Terre d’Hermes, as well as perfumes like the classic Chanel No. 5 and the avant garde Bulgari Black, are available, as are many other luxe and exclusive options.
8. Tea Sommelier: The Lanesborough, a St. Regis Hotel; London
The English take tea seriously, but London's posh Lanesborough Hotel has elevated the humble tea leaf to gourmand status. The property's talented tea sommelier works the floor at every afternoon tea service, enlightening guests to the subtleties, preparations, and benefits of each of the available selections.
9. Soap Concierge: Viceroy Riviera Maya
Mexico's turquoise coastline goes "scentsational" at the Viceroy Riveria Maya, where luxe, over-the-top amenities include everything from a chic spa to a -- you guessed it -- soap concierge. (Actually, you probably didn't guess it. But if you did, then kudos to you.) The service is unique to the property, and invites guests to explore a range of Mayan soaps that promise to cleanse, invigorate, moisturize and exfoliate. Scents are both classic and exotic, from peach to lemon, from chocolate to cinnamon. Request a new soap for your room everyday, or stick to your favorite throughout your stay (hello, chocolate?!). All soaps are available to take home as souvenirs.
To learn more about Erin Raub, visit her on Google+