Surprising hotel services

Dolphin Yoga at the Mirage in Las Vegas. (Photo: Courtesy of MGM Resorts International)

Some hotels offer fitness services, including personal trainers; some hotels in wine country offer wine-making classes and grape-stomping events; and some even offer cooking classes. And of course, there are all of those services and tours a concierge can arrange.

But as hotels compete for your business, some are offering other unique and surprising services:

Yoga with the dolphins: Some hotels offer yoga classes and some offer the chance to swim with dolphins, but The Mirage in Las Vegas have combined the two. For one hour on weekend mornings, guests can fall into a deep state of relaxation and peace as they flow from pose to pose in a serene, underwater viewing area within Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. With the Yoga Among the Dolphins class, the hotel provides your mat, towel, water and a smoothie. Cost: $50.

(Photo: Courtesy of the Benjamin Hotel)Sleep concierge: It might be common sense that most hotels want their guests to get a restful and renewing night's sleep during their stay, but The Benjamin Hotel in New York City takes an extra step by providing each guest with a sleep concierge.

The sleep concierge will assess the guest's sleep habits to recommend the perfect pillow from the 12-choice pillow menu and can even arrange a bedtime snack of the hotel's signature peanut butter and jelly sandwich on banana bread or sleep-inducing massage. The hotel is so sure you will sleep as well in their hotel as you do at home that you get a free night's stay if you don't. You can even buy your pillow if you love it.

(Photo: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Sante Fe)Fireplace butler: How many times have you stayed in an older luxury hotel with a fireplace that is now only there for aesthetics? That won't happen for your winter stay at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in Santa Fe, N.M. There you can call the fireplace butler, who arrives in rugged flannel attire, carrying a burlap log holder equipped with fresh-cut local pinon wood and lighting supplies; after lighting a fire, he will offer you a choice of complimentary hot spiced cider or hot chocolate. You also have the option to select from a menu of specialty items such as cheese, chocolate and after-dinner drinks at an additional cost.

Fairy godmother: If you've ever wished for a fairy godmother, you can get (almost) any wish your heart desires through the one employed by the Barnsley Gardens Resort outside Atlanta, Ga. The hotel's fairy godmother is not a concierge. She does not make reservations. She caters to dreams and wishes by casting "Love Spells," or customizes romantic experiences with your significant other. The fairy is well-known for enhancing stays by arranging amazing, over-the-top proposals and generally making guests' desires come to fruition. Prices vary.

(Photo: Courtesy of Primland Resort)Tree climbing: If you never learned to climb a tree as a child and it's on your bucket list, you're in luck if you visit the Primland Resort, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. For two hours, a professional tree climber will teach you how to climb 70 feet up a tree -- just one of the unique services the resort offers. Those interested in astronomy can check out the Tour of the Universe package, which includes a two-hour video and live observatory experience. Cost for tree climbing: $120. The astronomy experience: $75.


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