The Best Free Hotel Amenities and Experiences

Hannah Cheney

Free Wi-Fi access and complimentary coffee have become standard in most hotels throughout the country, but some properties go above and beyond when it comes to wooing their guests with complimentary amenities. Read on to find out which hotels let visitors test-drive a luxury car, play a Fender guitar or pamper their pet, all available to guests at no extra cost.

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Your Own Set of Wheels

If you've ever wanted to know what it would be like to own a Porsche, you're in luck if you're staying at Rancho Valencia in Rancho Sante Fe, California. The property teamed up with Porsche of San Diego to offer its test-drive program, where guests (with a valid U.S. driver's license and proof of insurance) are able to take out a Cayenne GTS or a Panamera S Hybrid for the day. If you're in love with the wheels, you can also talk to a member of the on-site Porsche team, who can sell you a car of your own.

Ocean House in Rhode Island also offers a luxury car partnership with Mercedes-Benz. Guests have the option to borrow one of four cars for a day excursion (from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or an evening outing (from 6 p.m. to midnight). If you need advice on where to go, the staff can suggest nearby attractions, such as wineries, museums and seafood restaurants.

If you prefer two wheels to four, check into the Bowery Hotel, The Jane or The James New York in New York City, all of which offer free use of PUBLIC bikes to explore the surrounding city streets. In addition to offering free bike rentals, the Hyatt Union Square New York, which has a bike lane in front of the hotel, will also set you up with free bike lane maps and directions to cycle-friendly neighborhoods and parks.

A Running Concierge

Westin's well-known RunWESTIN program offers guests local running maps designed by New Balance, along with a bottle of cold water and a towel upon their return. There are several participating properties that go all-out for their cardio-loving visitors, including The Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta. This Westin outpost employs 10 Run Concierges, who lead 3- and 5-mile runs around Georgia's capital every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 a.m.

But Westin isn't the only brand helping travelers maintain their fitness regimen on the road. The Hyatt Regency Boston's complimentary running program, Hyatt Runs, also takes lodgers on guided jogs around the city on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. What's more, this Hyatt also offers free yoga classes every Wednesday morning.

Pet Amenities

Free amenities aren't just for human guests anymore. At the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland (a member of the pet-friendly Kimpton family), not only do pets of all sizes stay for free thanks to the brand's VIP (Very Important Pet) program, but those without an animal pal can request a goldfish companion for the duration of their stay. The hotel staff will take care of cleaning the tank and feeding the fish, leaving you with all of the fun and none of the fuss.

At The Citizen Hotel, Autograph Collection in downtown Sacramento, California, pets are welcome to stay with their owners at no extra fee. Plus, there's a dog park across the street from the property, meaning your furry friend will have an excellent vacation, too.

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Pillow Menus

Most hotel pillow menus provide down alternatives for travelers in need of hypoallergenic options, such as memory foam or buckwheat hull. But some properties take it a step further, offering pillows that promise to alleviate sleep-disrupting issues like snoring. For example, The Benjamin hotel in New York City provides guests with a 10-choice pillow menu, along with bedtime snacks from the on-site restaurant. The pillow menu includes choices such as "Cloud 10," which is recommended for back sleepers, the "Sleep for Success" pillow, which helps with proper neck alignment and the "Anti-Snore," which promotes quieter sleep by keeping the chin elevated from the chest.

The Conrad Chicago hotel also offers a pillow menu to its guests, including options like the "Cold and Flu Pillow," which is infused with eucalyptus, tea tree, bergamot and sandalwood to help soothe headaches and other cold-related symptoms. Traveling with your significant other? You may want to select the "Romance Pillow," which contains vetiver, patchouli and other essential oils to create a romantic ambiance.

Guitars

The Hard Rock Hotel Chicago participates in the brand's Sound of Your Stay music program, which allows you to choose a guitar (from a list of 20 options) to play in your room for the duration of your stay, along with a headphone amplifier and a pair of Nixon headphones. You can also request a Traktor Kontrol Z1 controller if you want to mix your own tunes, and if you're a beginner, video lessons are available on the iPad that is included with the program. Get inspired by streaming or downloading playlists from the hotel's curated selection, available through the website.

Food and Wine

The Kimpton brand hosts complimentary wine receptions every evening at all of its properties, including the Hotel Palomar Chicago. Stop by the living room-styled lobby between 5 and 6 p.m. for a free glass of vino with your fellow guests and the staff.

Kimpton isn't the only brand that offers free food and drinks. The Library Hotel in New York City offers a free wine and cheese reception every evening from 5 to 8 p.m., where prosecco, imported and domestic cheeses, wine and other snacks are served. If you miss it, the hotel's Reading Room is open around-the-clock and stocked with fresh coffee drinks, fruit, cookies and books to read at your leisure.

Prefer to drink in the comfort of your own room? If you're staying at The Surrey hotel in New York City, when you purchase a signature cocktail from the in-room menu, a resident mixologist will arrive at your door to prepare the drink to your liking.

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Museum Access

Through the Unlock Art program, available at 15 participating Le Méridien hotels across North America, your room key card grants you access to more than just your digs. Take it with you to the affiliated museum, and you'll enjoy free admission for the day. For example, guests of Le Méridien San Francisco receive complimentary entry to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, while those staying at Le Méridien Dallas, The Stoneleigh can explore the Dallas Contemporary free of charge.

Don't want to stray too far from your lodgings to see contemporary art? Book a room at the 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, or at one of the brand's other locations around the U.S., where rotating art exhibits are always on display, and even the guest rooms and hallways boast contemporary art pieces.


Hannah Cheney is an Assistant Editor for the Travel section at U.S. News, where she oversees the Best Hotels in Europe annual ranking list. She also frequently writes travel articles, slideshows and destination guides. Prior to joining U.S. News in 2015, Hannah worked for the travel books department of National Geographic, and had articles published in Men's Health, Boston Magazine and Washingtonian magazine. Hannah is originally from Boston, where she earned her master's degree in writing and publishing from Emerson College, but has happily called Washington, D.C. home since 2012. Follow Hannah on Twitter or email her at hcheney@usnews.com.