They want you to sleep with them. And they'll do almost anything to make sure that you do. They are...hoteliers trying to win your business.
It used to be that a hotel could secure travelers' loyalty by providing the cornerstones of comfortable lodging: a great location, well-appointed rooms, dining and entertainment options and doting service.
But those days are long gone. Today's savvy 21st-century travelers routinely check out beach conditions via webcam, are accustomed to interiors decorated by celebrity designers and expect concierges to be quicker than Google and more discerning than Yelp.
Nabbing their allegiance is no easy feat.
As a result, hotels have been steadily upping the ante in trying to entice guests. Some pile on extra high-tech gadgetry to lure the geek-minded to their properties.
Others rely on showy design elements (peekaboo bathrooms), luxury amenities (1,500-thread-count linens), retro appliances (record players with a selection of vinyl), customized services (on-call butlers) and personal touches (nightly poems left on your pillow) to woo you.
Oh -- and your little dog too: some hotels have started to offer weekends of "pet pampering."
Now, we love imaginative indulgences as much as the next traveler, but some of these offerings are more head-scratchers than head-turners. We've scoured hotel offerings and discovered some hip trends you might like and some that are pure hype.
Check them out before your next check-in.
At beach clubs throughout the world, cabanas provided a place to stay by the water but get out of the sun. You could relax in the shade, have a drink and maybe play a game of gin rummy.
Now these little canvas enclosures have been upgraded to mini nightclub VIP rooms that offer full bar and restaurant service day and night. Renting for premium prices, they even boast Wi-Fi and widescreen TVs - because really, why should you have to watch a $12 in-room movie in your room?
Call us purists, but here's how we see it: pools are for swimming. Nightclubs are for dancing. Isn't it bad enough that most hotels have piped-in music that can't quite drown out the sound of kids splashing and screaming? Is anyone other than a synchronized swim team going to choose a hotel because it offers underwater surround-sound?
Thread count, the biggest hype in the bedding industry, is like SPF: when you reach a certain number, you should be covered. In terms of weaving, the best bedsheets are made from single-ply yarns and max out at a count of 400 threads per square inch.
Anything over that is probably made from two-ply yarns and is no more comfortable or luxurious -- in fact, these high-thread-count sheets are likely made from inferior fibers that feel heavier. If you want real luxury, choose a hotel that makes its beds with freshly ironed linens that are actually made from linen.
Good hotels have always provided high-quality down pillows for guests and alternatives for those who are allergic. It's a simple choice, really: feathers or foam. Unless, that is, you're staying at a hotel with a pillow menu. Because for some, sweet dreams are made only from a customized selection of Tempur-Pedic pillows, neck rolls, body huggers and buckwheat-and-lavender-filled cushions.
A chocolate on the pillow is a lovely gesture. A card with tomorrow's weather forecast and an in-room breakfast menu is thoughtful. But finding a poem on the bed is one step beyond. It makes us want to grab a pen and write a response: "Thanks for the candy, thanks for the card, please skip the poems, you're trying too hard."