What's out: Average Amenities
What's in: Revved-up Rentals
Cars aren't the only thing you can rent while on vacation as hotels and resorts are introducing flashy rentals - from cows to guitars-that will leave guests amazed while away. Cheese enthusiasts at Gstaad Palace in Switzerland have the opportunity to rent their own cow through a partnership with the Perreten family, owners of an organic farm in neighboring Feutersoey. For a donation fee of CHF 200 guests will "rent" their own cow, receive 10 kilograms of custom fine alpine cheese made from their cow's milk and have the opportunity to tour the farm, meet their bovine friend and learn about the art of Swiss cheesemaking. Dare to be dapper? The Darcy, a new boutique hotel in Washington, D.C., has a Men's Haberdashery offered via partnership with local menswear designer READ WALL, with accessories such as cufflinks and neckties available on loan for nights on the town. Get in the rhythm of the California coast with the unique Coastal Chords Program at Montage Laguna Beach, which offers Taylor Koa G5 Mini Guitars for guests to rent and play during their stay.
What's out: Food Carts
What's in: Sweet Treat Bikes
Food carts were all the rage and now hotels and resorts are putting a sweet spin on the dining on-the-go experience with custom sweet treat bikes. This summer, Montage Palmetto Bluff in coastal South Carolina is giving guests a sugar rush with its new S'mores Cart - a modern day bakfiet ("box bike" in Dutch) that features six bins of flavored and classic marshmallows as well as roasting sticks, a tray for graham crackers, and a mini-refrigerator to keep house-made milk chocolate and dark chocolate perfect for lip-smacking summer evening fun. Guests at Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa are invited to cool down with an all-day Ice Cream Bicycle Cart. Cherished by all ages, the bicycle is stationed at the newly renovated pool deck with Häagen-Dazs ice cream and fixin's for do-it-yourself snow cones. In Burlington, Hotel Vermont is taking sweet sips to the streets with the hotel's Icycle Tricycle serving refreshingly sweet cocktails blended with Hotel Vermont branded Gin and Vodka as well as homemade tonics.
What's out: Chefs' Tables
What's in: Insta-Worthy Cooking Classes
Get lost daydreaming about the incredible food you see on Instagram? Hotels and resorts are getting in on the action by introducing Insta-worthy food classes that satisfy cravings in a picture-perfect fashion worth posting about. Guests can satisfy their sweet tooth while making their followers jealous at Gstaad Palace with macaron-making classes created through partnership with Maison Cailler, the oldest chocolate factory in Switzerland. In Peru, guests at Country Club Lima Hotel can learn to master the art of one of Peru's most exquisite dishes: ceviche! Led by the hotel's award-winning Perroquet Restaurant team and solely using fish caught the morning of, guests can learn to create several variations on the classic, refreshing seafood appetizer. For the perfect relaxation tea pic, Sunrise Springs Spa Resort in Santa Fe, New Mexico's herbal tea class allows guests to make custom blends of tea utilizing ingredients harvested from the resort's expansive greenhouse which can be enjoyed on their private patio at sunset. Guests of Hotel Caesar Augustus on the isle of Capri can join Executive Chef Eduardo Vuolo on a tour of the two-acre kitchen garden to pick produce - eggplant, tomatoes, lemon, basil, et cetera - and then help prepare dishes for a multi-course tasting menu. For a foodie adventure, the No Taste Like Home program at The Omni Grove Park Inn takes guests foraging for wild ingredients including flowers, mushrooms and fruits from the Blue Ridge Mountains around Asheville, North Carolina, with guidance on how to safely gather, serve and preserve edibles, which the hotel's culinary team will then whip into something delicious.
What's out: Farm-To-Table
What's in: Farm-To-Massage-Table
For the freshest, most natural spa treatments, the best source may be right on property. Luxury spas are putting a local spin on their spa menu, introducing exclusive treatments and services featuring ingredients sourced onsite. The Springs Eternal Spa at Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, Pennsylvania uses only water from the resort's own natural springs, renowned for their restorative powers since the land was inhabited by Native Americans centuries ago. Enjoy "taking the waters" with the Bedford Bath Ritual, featuring aromatic steam, mineral deluge, whirlpool and cold plunge. More than 100 native olive trees can be found on Isola delle Rose, the private island of JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa which creates its own exclusive olive oil for the Mediterranean Bliss Treatment at GOCO Spa. Tap the healing powers of Pluff Mud from May River at Spa Montage Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina, which heals, detoxifies and rejuvenates the skin in the Signature Carolina Kur Experience. Ikal Spa at InterContinental Presidente Cancun Resort pampers with the Signature Mayan Honey Exfoliation mixed with local indigenous honey and fresh yogurt, while Na Spa, opening in 2018 at Sailrock Resort on South Caicos in Turks and Caicos, will offer a salt scrub that gets its main ingredient from the island's historic salt flats.
What's out: Interacting with the Local Artisans
What's in: Interacting with the Local Animals
Animal loving jet-setters can now enrich the lives of animals on the road with interactive animal volunteer experiences. Guests exploring the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in northern Peru with Delfin Amazon Cruises get to visit the Rescue & Rehabilitation Center of River Mammals (ACOBIA) near Iquitos with opportunity to meet baby manatees, river otters, various monkey species while learning about - and hopefully donating too - efforts being made for their survival. Sunrise Springs Spa Resort in Santa Fe has partnered with Assistance Dogs of the West to launch the Puppy Enrichment Program at the resort's Puppy Studio where guests get to help support the training of service dogs-to-be in the first few months of their journey. In South Caicos, Sailrock Resort not only makes donations to the TCSPCA to support spaying and neutering of the island's local dogs known as "Potcakes" but also invites guests to visit Potcakes Palace to volunteer their time and play with pups up for adoption. In Boston, XV Beacon contributes 100% of its suggested $25 pet fee to MSPCA's nearby Angell Animal Medical Center and invites guests the opportunity to go to the center to volunteer.
What's out: Corporate Hotel Art
What's in: Pop-up Art Galleries
For an exclusive art viewing experience, hotels are incorporating pop-up art exhibits where guests have a front row seat to the limited time installations. The Ferragamo family-owned Lungarno Collection kicked off summer at Gallery Hotel Art in Florence with its fifth collaboration with Simone D'Auria, exhibiting the new Freedom installation at Vicolo dell'Oro outside and Andy Warhol's Forever inside on display through the end of the year. Dorchester Collection's contemporary Mayfair hotel, 45 Park Lane holds a constantly changing program of art exhibitions, the latest by royal artist Christian Furr and Godfather of rock photography Gered Mankowitz, lasting through August 5. The limited time exhibitions are on display in The Lounge and in BAR 45, the property's private club bar.
What's out: Parents Night Out
What's in: Family Night In
For a low-key evening, destinations around the world are offering in-room programming and experiences that invite families to have a memorable night in. In Switzerland, The Dolder Grand in Zurich recently began offering the Live Escape Game, an all-ages mystery that gives families 60 minutes to solve a riddle as they try to escape from one of the hotel's guest rooms. After soaking up the sun, families staying in Eden Roc at Cap Cana's new Beachfront Suites can arrange for a private family movie night catered by the hotel's elite culinary team where a private chef will prepare dinner and movie snacks and goodies for dessert. Family movie night has taken on a whole new meaning at Tryall Club in Montego Bay, Jamaica, with a private home movie theater for guests to enjoy at select luxury villas. In Texas, Hotel Granduca Houston is encouraging families to spend sun-drenched summer days on property with poolside cabanas and the Reconnect With Your Family package including a special family night in their private suite with popcorn and candy available upon request.
What's out: Hotels That Feel Like a Destination
What's in: Properties That Feel Like Home
The line between home rentals and hotels continues to blur as hotels begin to incorporate amenities that feel like home. The Loren at Pink Beach, a new 45-key boutique hotel in Bermuda, was designed with the owner's love of reading in mind, with books in every room on bedside tables, as well as The Library meeting room which is outfitted with books. The Darcy in Washington, D.C. has partnered with local businesses to make guests feel at home, including a BYOB (build-your-own-bouquet) bi-monthly pop-up flower shops from flower delivery start-up UrbanStems, which allows guests to create their own in-room flower arrangement. In Switzerland, guests at Gstaad Palace can feel at home ski season after ski season with the hotel's exclusive Winter Closet which stores guests ski gear after the season is over for seamless winter travel. Oasis is a home-meets-hotel concept that provides travelers with comfortable, design-forward apartment rentals with hotel-quality services like concierge access, fresh linens and toiletries.
What's out: Boozy Ice Cream
What's in: Boozy Harvests
Hotels and resorts are saying cheers to their onsite harvests with boozy offerings utilizing ingredients sourced and grown onsite. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts' Bee Sustainable program has introduced 40 Bee Hotels to Fairmont properties around the world along with some buzz-worthy experiences including honey bee infused beer and bee dining menus. Chebeague Island Inn off the coast of Maine has partnered with the local Chebeauge Island Oyster Company to create the Oysters & Rosé Package, offering complimentary L.L. Bean Bicycles to one of many island beaches to enjoy hand-harvested Belon Oysters, a bottle of Rosé, and small bites from a picnic basket. For farm-to-bar, Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Pennsylvania recently launched a custom-blend Wigle Rye made from corn harvested on property which guests can sample through interactive tastings or purchase to sip at home. The rye will join existing custom-blend Wigle Whiskey, an homage to the resort's history as headquarters for President George Washington as he marched with troops in Bedford County during the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794.
What's out: Kids Clubs
What's in: Kids Charities
Going beyond the family-friendly program, hospitality brands are now empowering today's youth by incorporating charitable initiatives that give back to children in their community. Nomadic Expeditions, the pioneer of authentic cultural travel to Mongolia and beyond, supports a wide range of local organizations and communities including Mongolian Young Leaders Program, Lotus Children's Orphanage Center and more. The company also encourages guests to participate in Pack for a Purpose, which benefits children and the nomadic community in the town of Bulgan Sum through provision of supplies for education, healthcare and music. Big Five Tours & Expeditions' partners with the nonprofit, One More Generation (OMG) which aims to educate children and adults about the plight of endangered species. All guests traveling with Big Five receive a complimentary one year membership to OMG which includes an amenity kit and the adoption of an engendered species in one of the areas of special concern, which could be cheetahs in South Africa or sharks worldwide. Children in the Wilderness, a non-profit supported by Wilderness Safaris, is an environmental and life skills educational program focused on the next generation of African rural decision makers, with innovative programs including eco-clubs, conservation camps and scholarship and community empowerment initiative currently operating in six countries. Sailrock Resort on South Caicos has made generous donations to several organizations focused on children while the resort team has donated and installed air-conditioning units at local school. The Bushcamp Company, a small collection of camps in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park, supports local schools, Chiwawatala Primary School in Mfuwe Village and Chilongozi Primary School by sponsoring students, paying teachers' salaries, building classrooms and staff houses and hosting game drives for students. Bushcamp has also raised funds for the Mfuwe Day Secondary School which has allowed the school to build six classrooms and offices, four dormitories, social areas and refurbished the existing girls' dormitory.