When the luxury Capella Georgetown boutique hotel opens in January, it will offer its guests an unusual perk: exclusive access to prime space where they can relax without worrying about who might walk in the door.
The hotel - with just 49 rooms - is reserving its spacious rooftop deck for guests only, as well as a main floor living room near the elevators that's centered around a fireplace, says famed hotelier Horst Schulze, CEO of Capella Hotels and Resorts.
It's the latest example of how some hotels - mainly higher-end properties in cities such as Washington, New York and London - are reserving space for their premium paying guests.
Hotels have long had club-floor rooms and lounges filled with complimentary snacks and beverages, but access to these spaces are restricted to guests who pay premium rates or are upgraded. There's no need to pay extra to access these new spaces, although you'll pay for any food or beverages that you order.
London's One Aldwych, part of Leading Hotels of the World, this fall opened a guest-only lounge. (Photo: One Aldwych)
* London. In September, London's luxurious One Aldwych hotel opened a private guest lounge that features cozy sofas and armchairs, free Wi-Fi, plus a selection of iPads, magazines and newspapers, says hotel publicist Howard Rombough.
Guests can also receive complimentary neck, back and shoulder massages, canapés in the afternoon and the services of a lounge host throughout the day who can book restaurants or check people into their flights. Guests can order food and cocktails throughout the day and evening.
The lounge also highlights two of the hotel's famous neighbors in chic Covent Garden: London designer Paul Smith chose 50 cocktail table books published by Rizzoli. The books cover art, fashion and photography, with titles such as "Cecil Beaton: The New York Years" and "The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles."
The guest only lounge at One Aldwych, part of the Leading Hotels of the World luxury hotel network. (Photo: One Aldwych)
The space previously housed a small café and the hotel's florist, Rombough says. The hotel created the lounge to gain an edge over rivals.
"Guests have hundreds of very good luxury hotels to choose from in London," Rombough says. "It was apparent - because our guests told us so - that a private lounge would be a big reason to keep them coming back."
* New York. At The Benjamin in Midtown Manhattan, guests find a quiet, couch-filled lounge on the second floor near the hotel's meeting rooms.
Expect free Wi-Fi, two computers on oversize travel trunks and large, sound-proof windows that overlook Lexington Avenue and 50th Street, general manager Andrew Labetti says. Guests can order food or drinks 24 hours per day.
"It is a very popular place to relax, get a little work done or partake in one of the best of all NYC activities - people watching," Labetti tells USA TODAY's Hotel Check-In.
The AKA Sutton Place in Manhattan, one of nine AKA extended-stay properties, opened its high-design, guest-only lounge last year. Its Central Park location also has a guest-only lounge. Next year, the chain plans to open a guest-only penthouse bi-level Sky Lounge at its AKA Times Square created by international architect and designers, Piero Lissoni and Nicoletta Canesi.
"We decided to develop an exclusive, residents-only lobby-level lounge area as a sanctuary for our long-term residents," said Elana Friedman, AKA's marketing vice president. "We could have explored opening these lounges up to the public, but felt it was more important to ensure (guests) have a tranquil place to unwind as well as experience a sense of community."