By Amanda Pressner
(I just love the creativity of some of these..!)
Now that ultra-plush bathrobes, high-thread-count linens and designer toiletries are de rigueur at upscale hotels, top properties are offering innovative and extravagant perks to ensure a distinctive experience.
Some, like the Ritz Carlton South Beach's tanning butler and Hotel Monaco's pet psychic, trend toward the whimsical.
Others are designed to enrich guests' connection to the locale, like the in-house art concierge at Le Royal Monceau, who will design a trip through the Parisian museums and galleries, or the genealogists on hand at Ireland's Lodge at Doonbeg to track visitors' family ancestry.
While some hotels charge a fee for these over-the-top services, many do not, adding it to the lavish perks and anticipated benefit of any stay at an extraordinary hotel, says Jonathan Frolich, general manager of Andaz 5th Avenue in Manhattan.
As part of his own property's commitment to connecting guests with New York culture, Frolich and his team commissioned street artists to graffiti the walls of the hotel and offered guests an opportunity to jump a multi-month wait list to get a tattoo created by world-famous artist Mister Cartoon, whose client list includes Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake.
"Years ago, the grandest hotels were bastions of culture, representing whatever was happening artistically in that city," says Frolich. "That commitment and connection has disappeared for a very long time -- we're trying to bring it back."
For those eager to experience this renaissance in luxe hotel services -- or simply get pampered in a creative, new way -- here's a menu of perks and amenities available around the world.
Fragrance Butler, Rosewood Hotels, North America and Saudi Arabia
For some adventurers, a new city is an occasion to try a new scent. Rosewood Hotels recently announced it would provide a dedicated fragrance butler in each of its North American and Saudi Arabian properties.
The butler arrives to guests' suites with a fragrance menu tailored to the hotel, with offerings like Chanel No. 5, Bulgari Black, Daisy Marc Jacobs and Chanel CoCo Mademoiselle for women and, for the gents, Tom Ford for Men, Bulgari Pour Homme and Hermes Terre d'Hermes. rosewoodhotels.com
Artist in Residence, Andaz 5th Avenue, New York City
While many hotels commission work inspired by their home city, the Andaz literally went to the streets to find the cult-status graffiti gurus and tattoo artists headlining its rotating artists-in-residence program.
This winter, guests sidestepped a multi-month wait list to get tattoos by Mister Cartoon, a world-renowned ink specialist, whose clients include Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Eminem, Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé.
This month, the Andaz welcomes Claudia "Claw Money" Gold, a graffiti artist and fashion designer, whose designs have been worn by stars like Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.
Gold will create a new graffiti tag for the doors to the hotel bar, as well as a limited-edition T-shirt, which will be available during her residency.newyork.5thavenue.andaz.hyatt.com
Tea Sommelier, The Lanesborough London
Apsleys at The Lanesborough takes its tea as seriously as most fine restaurants take their wine -- which is why the hotel decided to create the world's first tea sommelier.
Guests enjoying the property's award-winning afternoon tea service can confab with expert Karl Kessab (who has led the hotel to win the United Kingdom Tea Council's Award of Excellence three years running) on the characteristics and benefits of their selections, as well as various preparation techniques.
One not-to-be-missed brew he recommends is Rose of the Orient, an exotic antioxidant-rich green-tea blend flavored with jasmine, cornflower blossoms and rosebuds. lanesborough.com
Source to read the complete "World's Most Outrageous Hotel Amenities" article from CNN.