DRIVING GUESTS WILD

In the ongoing amenity wars, creative hoteliers are loading their arsenals with ever more indulgent perks. The latest? Cars available for guests to use while staying on property. And we're not talking your dad's staid Buick or Town Car, either.

For example, guests at the five-diamond Las Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos, Mexico can tool around the scenic Baja Peninsula in sporty Mini Coopers.

The colorful Mini Cooper S convertibles are available on property for day rental at the high-end Rosewood Resort. They join an ever-expanding list of cutting-edge amenities and services Las Ventanas offers, including pre-loaded iPods and Sony LocationFree TVs at poolside. Other forward-thinking goodies include in-room telescopes for star gazing and whale watching, poolside sunglass-cleaning service and the Hot Type program, which allows guests to read a favorite author's next novel before it even hits the bookstores.

“The car program is very popular among guests,” relates Andres Araya, resort manager at Las Ventanas. “We're constantly looking for new ways to surprise our guests, to create that wow factor, and this is one of them.”

The Four Seasons Hotel New York makes available two ultra-luxury house cars to guests on a first come/first serve, complimentary basis. Guests have the option of riding in a Maybach 62 or Rolls Royce Phantom. “Today's luxury business traveler has a very definite opinion about what their hotel experience should offer in the way of services and conveniences,” says Four Seasons GM Christoph Schmidinger. “A hotel house car or courtesy car is an absolute necessity at our level of the market. It's not enough just to offer transportation. We are in the business of creating experiences and when it comes to providing guests with a courtesy car, this is no exception.”

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