As the Hotel-Tell All, Oyster is very well-traveled when it comes to hotels. We’ve seen it all — the good, the bad, and the ugly. So around this time last year, we came up with a list of 11 things we hate about hotels. And trust us, we really hate them (don't even get us started on daily resort fees...). But tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we realized that, sure, hotels can do some annoying things, but hotels give us plenty to be thankful for, too. So this time, we decided to come up with a list of 11 things we love about hotels.
11. 24-hour room service
Even Mom won't whip up an omelet for us when we just gotta have one at 4 a.m. But at hotels with 24-hour room service, guests can have their pick of tasty treats no matter the time of day or night. And even better than 24-hour room service is 24-hour room service with a menu dreamed up by a celebrity chef. Hotels such as The Surrey and Mercer Hotel, both in New York City, are known for their celebrity chef restaurants and room service menus.
10. Designer toiletries
When you're on vacation you want to feel like you're being pampered, and it's nice to enjoy things you wouldn't normally splurge on at home. So forget the L'Oreal! Some of our favorite hotels feature designer toiletries in their bathrooms, making even your shower experience feel extra special. While the Betsy in Miami stocks rooms with (MALIN + GOETZ) shampoos and conditioners, the luxe InterContinental Paris offers Hermes toiletries and the Tribeca Grand in New York City has Kiehl's products.
9. Minibars with local treats
Sure, minibar snacks are expensive, but they can be pretty hard to resist. So we love when we can justify $14 cookies with the fact that they're a local treat and so eating them is really just us properly immersing ourselves in the culture (trust us, we've thought about this a lot). After all, it is nice to do as the locals do. That's why we think it's great that Gild Hall fills its minibars with snacks from NYC staple Dean & Deluca, and the Eden Roc in the Dominican Republic has minibars stocked with treats such as plantain chips and coconut cookies.
8. High-tech rooms
Even though the point of a vacation is often to get away from it all, it's still nice to feel like you can get in touch with the office/home/etc if need be. That's why we love hotel rooms that are up-to-date with high-tech amenities so that nothing is more than a click away. More and more hotels have begun to include tech-savvy amenities such as free Wi-Fi, iPads, and flat-screen TVs. The aforementioned Eden Roc features some of the most high-tech rooms in the Caribbean, with free Wi-Fi, massive flat-screen TVs with multiple channels, and iPads that control the lighting, sound system, and TVs. Hotel Beaux Arts Miami's rooms also come with iPads with digital concierge services, large, rotating flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, iPod docks, and bathrooms with TVs embedded in the mirrors.
7. His-and-hers vanities
It can be kinda nice to share close quarters with your honey when you're on a romantic getaway, but things can get unromantic fast if quarters are too tight. Fortunately, numerous luxury (and some mid-range) hotels offer even standard rooms that come with bathrooms with his-and-hers vanities. You have your space, he has his: We like that. Mr. C Beverly Hills features elegant marble bathrooms, each of which has a his-and-hers vanity, a rain shower, and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries. The five-pearl Melia Madrid Princessa also has spacious marble bathrooms with his-and-hers vanities in every room, and so does Casa de Campo in the D.R. Now if he would only stay on his side of the bed...
6. Cozy robes
We love snuggling up in a cozy robe. And when it's leopard-print, well, that's just the cherry on top. Kimpton hotels, such as Hotel Rouge in Washington, D.C., offer guests playful, animal-print robes to use during their stay. And they're so popular, guests can even purchase them if they can't imagine giving them up at the end of their trip. Although they may not be as cute, top-of-the-line Frette robes are also comfy luxuries at hotels such as The Blakely in NYC and Zoetry Agua Punta Cana.
5. Free cocktail hours
We love freebies, especially of the boozy variety. So it's a great perk when the hotel we're staying in offers a free wine hour. Most Kimpton hotels, such as Hotel Monaco in Portland, Oregon and the Argonaut Hotel in San Francisco, host free nightly receptions. Hotel Elysee in Midtown Manhattan goes above and beyond with a free three-hour appetizer and wine reception, free afternoon tea, and free breakfast.
4. No lines at check-in
No lines at check-in often comes at a high price, but it can be so worth it to avoid starting your vacation on a bad note. So where can you be guaranteed no wait? Well, if you're willing to pay a little extra, many hotels offer Club Level and VIP rooms which come with plenty of extra perks -- including separate check-in. Hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton Denver, the InterContinental Costa Rica, and the D.R.'s Barcelo Bavaro Palace all offer the option of upgrading. And if you really want to splurge and have a VIP experience no matter which room you book, pick a luxe hotel with a low staff-to-guest ratio. One of New York City's most iconic hotels, The Pierre supposedly maintains a three-to-one ratio, and a two-to-one ratio at the Four Seasons Maui means over-the-top pampering and no lines.
3. Quiet rooms
It's important for us to get a good night's sleep and sometimes that means finding a hotel on a quiet side street or in a secluded (bordering on desolate) part of town. But when we want to be in the center of the action and have a quiet room, it just means we need to do a little extra research to find hotels with soundproofed rooms. Ahh, we're dozing off just thinking about it! Spots like The Hotel of South Beach and Kitano New York may be in neighborhoods that are bustling 'round the clock, but soundproofed windows keep them nice and quiet. Doubt you can get some shut-eye at an airport hotel? Think again! Right next to the airport, the Scottsdale Thunderbird Suites are nonetheless peaceful and quiet, thanks to a soundproofing method known as the “Outinord System” which eliminates noise not only from the jets and planes, but also between rooms.
2. Free access to the spa facilities
Spa treatments are always nice, but they can be downright expensive. So when hotels forgo the whole snobby "you have to purchase a treatment in order to enjoy the spa facilities" and instead open them up to all guests, well, we really appreciate that. After all, we are paying for a room at the hotel and that should include the use of all amenities, at least in our opinion. Though treatments are pricey, the Montage Deer Valley's spa facilities are free and include steam rooms, whirlpools, saunas, and a pool. If you prefer Jackson Hole's slopes, the Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa also allows free access to the spa.
1. Comfortable beds
Gone are the days of rock-solid, bed bug-filled (too soon?) hotel beds. Nowadays, more and more hotels are making sure that all of their guests have a great night's sleep, with bedtime-friendly accoutrements such as pillow menus and fancy linens with high thread counts. But we'd argue that the mattress is most important component in guaranteeing some serious shut-eye. That's why we love that hotels such as the Domain Hotel in Silicon Valley and many hotels of the Radisson chain now feature rooms with Sleep Number beds. These fabulous mattresses have 100 different levels that range between incredibly firm and featherbed soft. Sleeping with someone else? No problem — each side of the bed can be adjusted to a different number. Sweet dreams!