It takes more than grand gestures to impress hotel dweller Paul Carr.

Hotels Get Personal

© Klas Fahlén

A knock on one’s hotel-room door at 10 p.m. rarely bodes well. Unless, that is, one is staying at a particular five-star hotel in Las Vegas, in which case it heralds a man struggling under the weight of a gigantic chocolate garden, with flowers, trees and shrubs—an over-the-top take on the pillow mint. As a person who lives in hotels, I’ve watched the arms race of room service with interest. The latest trend is über-personalization, in which hotels provide extras tailored to each guest. As an example: I recently spent a night at The Lanesborough in London, failing to stump my butler with a spiraling list of requests. Could the chef prepare a deep-fried quail? Of course. How about a partridge wrap with a diamond cocktail stick? For a price. I opted for a chicken sandwich. It arrived alongside a small chocolate cake, the words Happy 30th Birthday iced on the top with a single lit candle. I hadn’t told anyone it was my birthday. Creating a chocolate garden is no doubt impressive, but far harder is delivering a personal touch without fanfare. No diamond cocktail stick required.

Paul Carr chronicles his hotel adventures in his book The Upgrade.

Read more travel stories from our May issue.

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