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by Allen J. Sheinman | October 01, 2010

Whether in response to customer demand, economic challenges or just their own creative muse, hotels are coming up with all sorts of unusual amenities to take the guest experience into a new dimension. For example, at the Citizen Hotel in Sacramento, Calif., all guest-room TVs are being replaced with Mac Mini computers. Features include a giant LCD screen, wireless keyboard and mouse, and a traditional remote control that lets users toggle between television programs, guest services, video on demand and computer mode. Other creative touches include the following.

• Pith helmets are optional at the 884-room Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio, which this past spring unveiled its Safari Outdoor Adventure Park, adjacent to the property's Animal Park and complete with a zip-line tour, ropes courses and more.  

• Guests at Denver's 241-room Brown Palace Hotel enjoy the freshest honey imaginable with their afternoon tea, thanks to a thriving honey bee colony in two hives kept on the property's roof. Some 140,000 bees are expected to produce up to 200 pounds of the sweet stuff by next spring.

• Wake-up calls at the 910-room Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch include motivational quotes from famous St. Louisans, such as "My future starts when I wake up every morning," as offered by jazz great Miles Davis.

• The 218-room Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, offers an in-house Guacamologist who prepares his signature dish in the lounge as a complement to the hotel's famous late-afternoon margaritas.

• Beginning Oct. 15, dedicated fireplace butlers at the 273-room Taj Boston will keep the wood-burning fireplaces in the guest and meeting rooms going strong, through April 1.