Swimming pools and spa services may get most of the air time during amenity discussions, but the truth is there are other unsung heroes that make a huge difference for travelers. From lounges to laundry support, here are some of my favorite hotel perks.
Depending on how tightly you book your schedule, it can take as little as one flight cancellation to derail your ability to stop off at home and switch clothing for a different climate. This recently happened to me while traveling from a snowy destination to a tropical one, quickly shooting in-room washers and dryers to the top of my short list of favorite travel amenities. The biking shorts and exercise shirt I had packed for use in the fitness facility were able to serve as my daily outfit on the second leg of my trip, due to my ability to launder them every night in my suite. (See also: Twelve Things to Look for When Shopping for Travel Clothing)
Additionally, espresso machines are showing up in more and more hotel rooms these days as an alternative to basic drip coffee makers, and provide a stronger morning beverage option typically included with the cost of your nightly stay. Moreover, microwaves have the potential to make a huge difference for those whose travel schedule forces them to dine outside of traditional restaurant hours. Having a microwaveable veggie burrito from the grocery store stashed in your roomís refrigerator can sometimes mean the difference between eating and going hungry. (See also: The Budget Travelerís Guide to Hotel Room Meals)
Luxury chains arenít the only ones leveraging perks to lure travelers. Many mid-range hotels offer extra freebies for guests as well. For example, when my husband and I attended a recent conference, we noticed that not only were stocked fruit bowls available at the lobby desk, they were also available in the venueís workout room, along with bottled water. Similarly, hospitality suites that stay open from morning through evening are a great perk, particularly when they include happy hour snacks, wine tasting and extensive beverage options in addition to morning breakfast selections. (See also: Where to Find Great Grub for Less)
Some hotels even offer departure lounge access to paying guests, making the wait for international departures much more comfortable. For example, the Graycliff hotel in Nassau makes their private airport lounge available for free to guests who participate in certain vacation packages to the Bahamas, and charges only a $15 fee for others, less than half of what airline lounges typically cost for a dayís access. The Sandals resorts also offer complimentary departure lounge access to patrons with afternoon departures and delayed flights, along with complimentary airport transfers.† (See also: The Pleasant Travel Perks of Priority Pass Lounges)
Photo Credit: Pictures of Travel Places