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.