Boutique hotels and B&B inns are known for providing an escape from the cookie-cutter hotel chain experience with one-of-a-kind properties and personalized guest services. But some inns in California go a step further, offering unique amenities and perks travelers won’t find anywhere else.
In the heart of San Francisco’s bustling Union Square, the Inn at Union Square offers guests one-of-a-kind room service delivery from Morton’s Steakhouse. Inn at Union Square is only hotel in the country to boast this partnership with the award-winning steakhouse. In addition to the unique room service, the hotel hosts complimentary wine and cheese receptions each evening and serves of a complimentary continental breakfast each morning. The hotel’s 30 luxurious rooms feature pillow-top beds, soothing Lather bath products, plush robes, and more.
One of the more unique features at El Morocco Inn & Spa in Desert Hot Springs is the nightly happy hour that begins with a traditional Moroccan hand-washing ceremony. The host pours warm rosewater from an ornate Moroccan tass to allow guests to wash their hands and then presents them with towels for drying off. The traditional hand-washing ceremony is followed by rounds of the inn’s signature drink, the sugar-rimmed “Morocco-tini,” at the poolside bar. The bar overlooks an enchanting, Moroccan-inspired oasis with a flickering fire pit and the warm, silky waters of a mineral spring-fed pool surrounded by glowing lanterns, lounge chairs and Moroccan poufs.
Play tennis or take a private lesson from a pro on the new private tennis courts at Courtwood Inn in Murphys. The 8,000-square-foot, custom-designed cedar log lodge sits on a five-acre hilltop overlooking the Sierra Foothills and is owned and run by USPTA tennis pros Chris and Larry Parker. Each of the inn’s luxuriously-appointed guest rooms pay homage to the world’s major professional tennis tournaments and its players. Construction on the tennis courts is due to be completed soon and the inn plans to begin offering private lessons in September.
Tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood of Palm Springs, the suite at Las Fuentes Inn & Gardens in has a long list of unique amenities. A harpsichord allows guests to opportunity to play their own private concerto. Art lovers will appreciate the owner’s extensive collection of modern Native American art. Outside, a heated, 60-foot saltwater lap pool beckons guest for a swim surrounded by desert gardens, trickling water fountains and spectacular night lighting. The suite also features vaulted ceilings, recessed, dimmer-controlled lighting, a gas fireplace, an etched-glass enclosed steam shower, a tiled soaking tub, an extensive library of books and DVDs, and much more.
Auto enthusiasts will appreciate the vintage MG sports car collection on display at the historic Martine Inn in Pacific Grove. Owner Don Martine restores and races MGs and displays them at the inn. His collection ranges from a 1932 MG D to a 1967 MG B Roadster and includes the MGTD Von Neumann Special Race Car that won the first Pebble Beach Road Race in 1950. In addition to the MGs, the gallery also features vintage automotive art and equipment, racing trophies, and nearly 100 model cars. The inn itself is furnished with museum-quality American antiques. Many of the rooms have fireplaces, claw foot tubs, or views of the waves crashing against the rocky coastline.
On the Mendocino coast, a popular guest perk at the Elk Cove Inn and Spa is the “Happy Two Hours.” Every afternoon between 4:00 and 6:00, the inn sets out an assortment of spirits, mixers, and garnishes for guests to make their own cocktails. Cocktail recipe books are provided, along with wine and snacks. Guests enjoy coming up with fun martinis as well as making classic cocktails. The inn offers spectacular ocean views, private steps to the beach, and a tranquil day spa. All rooms feature fireplaces, private baths, cozy bathrobes, and luxurious linens.
Nestled in the hillsides of the Livermore Valley east of the Bay Area, The Purple Orchid Wine Country Resort & Spa produces its very own olive oil from their own orchards surrounding the resort. Purple Orchid’s Handprints Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil is of the highest quality: 100% first-pressed and unfiltered. The olive oil is available for tastings, purchase and is even used in the resort’s spa treatments. The spa’s Handprints Signature Massage, for example, uses the estate olive oil infused with rosemary. The 10-suite resort also offers wine tasting and an outdoor concert series.
Benbow Historic Inn in Garberville has two popular, long-standing guest perks: complimentary tea and scones served each afternoon in the lobby and the complimentary cream sherry that awaits each guest in their rooms. Since it first opened in 1926, the inn has served complimentary tea and scones daily in the English tradition. Guests have strongly resisted changes to the original scone recipe, so the recipe has remained unchanged for over 80 years. The complimentary in-room cream sherry is another long-standing tradition at the inn. The sweet, dark after-dinner spirit can be served over ice or on the side with a cup of the inn’s special blended coffee or tea. The inn features an award-winning restaurant and wine cellar, outdoor summer music series, golf, driving range, pool, Jacuzzi, sport court and more.