(Photo source: Shawnee Inn)
Forget mints and tiny chocolates on the pillow. There are a number of US hotels taking turndown service beyond the norm, introducing guests to local culture and a touch of decadence. For those who like a little before-bed surprise, the following properties deliver just that.
For a cultural twist on turndown, this luxury New Orleans property focuses on pralines, a signature NOLA treat brought over by the French in the early 18th century. The dessert features fresh milk, cream, sugar, butter, and local pecans, with the texture of a rich fudge. Crafted by Pastry Chef Shun Li, guests are welcomed on the first night by two sets of pralines at turndown, with the option to switch out chocolates for them the other nights as well.
Enjoy the free nightly wine and cheese reception before ambling back to your room to take in front-row views of Esopus Falls from the balcony while munching on beautifully plated berries, truffles, and a dessert made in-house by a Master Baker. The vistas are just as sweet as the snacks.
Old Town Alexandria, where this property resides, is rich with legend and history, leading visitors to pause and ponder the significance of each site, from the historic row houses to the beautiful Georgian architecture. Literature also leads us to reflect on stories. As a nod to this, Morrison House, a Kimpton Hotel features a library and book exchange, as well as an inspiring turndown service with fresh baked cookies and literary quotes, like "A well-written life is almost as rare as a well-spent one," by Thomas Carlyle, and "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them," by Mark Twain.
Guests will have no trouble sleeping at The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort. Along with fresh baked cookies and milk, turndown service includes a menu of slumber-inducing options. First, pick from a complimentary pillow menu, with choices like medium-soft contoured memory foam, 300-thread count cotton allergen reduction, and 100% handcrafted and organic buckwheat, to name a few. Once your headrest is sorted, add on a complimentary Homedics Spa Sound System, with tunes like waterfall and rain forest, or soothing bedtime story. Moreover, bedtime snacks like Lipton tea and granola with vanilla yogurt are offered for $4 each, as are bottles of aromatherapy room sprays infused with essences like jasmine, neroli, and orange ($4 per bottle).
All of the 65 casitas at The Four Seasons Rancho Encantado feature an interior and exterior fireplace. With the touch of a button, a Fireplace Butler will arrive and set aflame locally sourced and scented pinon logs. Let the warmth of the fire slow down your heart rate while you sip complimentary hot chocolate or apple cider, also part of the turndown experience.
Forget chocolate on the pillow - how about a pie? And not just any pie, a homemade farm-to-pie pastry made with locally sourced ingredients that change with the seasons, with a new pie option each week. Have a true taste of the country before bed through blueberry peach, pecan, pear, apple crumble and more.
At select JW Marriott properties around the US and abroad they skip the pillow mints and instead offer a carefully curated list of complimentary turndown through their Nightly Refresh Program. Picture aromatherapy blends of pink grapefruit, rosemary and juniper berry, lavish Astor Chocolates, and wine samples from Treasury Wine Estates. Yum!
A 90-minute flight from Seattle, the Fishing Club features a lodge and a residence that, before bed, has a staff member light the in-room burning stove and deliver house-made chocolates or caramels to savor with a nightcap like Bailey's Irish Cream or Chambord.
Picture dozing off to a bedtime story in the form of illustrated cards focused on Hawaiian culture and Pele, the goddess of volcanoes and the creator of the Hawaiian Islands. This is paired with a Pebble Greet (upon request), where local pebbles are placed upon the bed pillows in various shapes, names and messages - a great and atypical way to tell someone you love them.
For some DIY action, the Viceroy Snowmass serves up "Hot Chocolate Truffle on a Stick." Simply dip the treat into the warm glass of milk provided and, presto!, gourmet hot chocolate.
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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