Free wi-fi, a couple bottles of water, coffee, and gym access were once considered hotel luxuries, but they’re now just the baseline when it comes to travel perks. Hotel chains are packaging up unforgettable experiences for visitors, featuring some truly out-of-the-box amenities, activities, company, and memories.

While some can get pretty pricey, these amazing experiences are more often than not worth it. Take a look at some of the sweetest hotel perks travelers can get right now.

Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria in NYC

A Personal Concierge

Folks who stay at any of Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria properties — such as its flagship location in New York City, located just blocks from Rockefeller Center and Broadway — can have their trip planning taken care of. Waldorf offers a personal concierge to “guarantee your every request is met” before, during, and after each visitor’s stay. The concierge waits for arriving visitors in the lobby to show them straight to their rooms. They’re also available throughout the stay to answer questions and suggest enjoyable (and sometimes discounted) events in the area. And when it’s time to go, they will neatly pack the visitors’ suitcase and send them on their way.

Close-up of guitar strings at Hard Rock Cafe

Fender Guitars

The Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago offers is fair share of standard perks, as rooms include flat screen TVs, mini-bars, and coffee-makers. But this property also cranks things up a notch, in true Hard Rock fashion. Visitors get Coronado Guitar to a Baja 60s Telecaster. The chosen guitar is delivered right to the visitor’s room, along with a headphone amplifier and Nixon headphones.

Photograph taking a photo of you -- perfect lens view

Your Very Own Photographer

When it comes to exciting vacations, the generally accepted mantra these days seems to be “Pics or it didn’t happen.” This next hotel perk, offered at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, is a few steps above an artsy, filtered Instagram posts of the property’s luxurious outdoor pool or stunning city views. Visitors who choose the “California Getaway” package get to enjoy an hour-long photoshoot with a professional photographer in iconic locations like the Santa Monica Pier, Griffith Observatory or Rodeo Drive. Other perks in the package include laundry service, valet parking and unlimited in-room entertainment  but those won’t last a lifetime like photographs.

Best hotel perk ever? This Ferrari 458 Italia!

Super Cars

To call a Ferrari 458 Italia a hotel perk might just be the understatement of the year, but that’s what it is for visitors of the Arizona Bitmore in Pheonix. This Waldorf hotel used to be an invitation-only resort, but now anyone can book a room and enjoy the 39-acre property, plus its gardens, golf courses, pools and supercars. Select Waldorf locations offer “driving experiences” that let visitors drive Ferraris, Lamborghinis and other fancy sports cars around the stunning property.

This dalmation could be yours....but are you okay with renting a pet?

A Part-Time Pet

Pet-friendly accommodations are becoming increasingly common and luxurious at hotels across the country, but what about vacationers who don’t have a pet? Well, folks who stay at the Red Mountain Resort in Ivins, Utah can borrow a puppy in what’s perhaps the most adorable hotel perk ever. The adventure spa provides access to unlimited exercise and wellness classes, including a “Pound Puppy Walk” during which visitors travel to the local shelter and enjoy a morning walk with a dog in need of a home. Other more standard perks at this remote haven include an extensive spa menu and flat-screen televisions, but a part-time puppy has to be the cherry on top.

  This article was posted on Hipmunk's Tailwind blog by The Hipmuk on February 12th.

Published in Travel Tips

Street art (sometimes called graffiti art) is a very unique and interesting form of modern artistic expression. The vivid colors and neverending creativity of their artists have a tendency to impress both locals and tourists alike.

Like most major metropolises Toronto boasts its own collection of street art, including the aptly named "Graffiti Alley," which runs parallel to Queen street on the southern side.

  To check out the wall art for yourself, start at Queen and Spadina and head west, walking down every alley you pass. There is also a healthy amount of street art scattered a few blocks north of there, throughout the Kensington Market.

Which one is your favorite? Share your comments below!

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti artist hard at work in Kensington Market, Toronto, Canada
Graffiti artist hard at work in Kensington Market, Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada
Street art found in Graffiti Alley in Toronto, Canada

Wow. That was definitely the most photos I have ever posted in one article. Hope y'all enjoyed them!

What is your favorite street art city?

Published in Canada

Most of the residents of New Zealand live in Auckland and not without reason. Auckland is amazing! You never get bored. Not even when you're on a budget and staying in Auckland. So here the five things you should do for free in Auckland:

The Gallery of Modern Art / Auckland Museum

For culture you have to be in Auckland. Enough museums to visit and the Auckland Museum and The Gallery of Modern Art are even for free. The Auckland Musuem teaches you about the Maoris and the history of New Zealand, plus even has a section about the amazing flora and fauna and information about volcanoes with a real simulation room; how would it feel to experience a real earthquake. Pretty cool!

Auckland Museum

The Gallery of Modern Art is the opposite of the Auckland Museum and focuses more on experimental art. So if you like art with a sharp edge? Than you should certaintly go to the Gallery of Modern Art.

Visit one of the many volcanoes that Auckland has to offer

Yes, Auckland has enough volcanoes to satisfy everyone -- approximately 50! So search for a volcano near you and enjoy the view. Some top volcanoes in Auckland are Mount Eden and One Tree Hill (U2 even wrote a song about this one). You have a beautiful view over the city and even at night it's a nice sight to see with all the lights. And who doesn't like lights, right!

Dive in the nature

Also the big city Auckland has a lot to offer when it comes to nature. Nature here in New Zealand is never far away. Go to Mission Bay to enjoy the sun and the ocean off to Waikere Ranges where you can enjoy a nice walk or a nice "barbie" (barbecue) with your friends. Lot of hiking trails to keep you busy all year long

Discover the harbour

The harbor has a lot to offer and there's a lot to see. Enjoy the beautful blue waters or visit the information center of head for the Wynyard Quarter where you can see amazing, big, luxurious yachts.

Auckland Harbor

There is always something going on over there, or just enjoy the New Zealand cafe culture. Or just relax in the grass. Everything is possible in the harbor.

Visit one of the different markets that Auckland has to offer

The French Market, the Fish Market, Victoria Market... Auckland has a lot of markets and all are within easy reach. What better way to spend a saturday? Especially the French Market in Parnell is worth to pay a visit. Try all the different free french foods. What more do you want?

Have any additional suggestions?

Which is your favorite?

Published in New Zealand

One of the reasons I love visiting Colorado is that I am always stumbling upon new things to do and sights to see. Known as the Garden Of The Gods, this tranquil park got it's namesake in 1859 from two surveyors from nearby Colorado City who happened to stumble upon the rock formations while exploring the area. As is too often the case, namesake goes to the first white guy to brag about something he discovered, instead of the locals who all too often have known of the existence of that place/species for 1,000+ years. Anyway, I digress...

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

The beauty of this place -- well, besides the obvious natural beauty -- is the this park is 100% free to the public. The park itself consists of a few main roads looping around the red rocks with numerous scenic overlooks and photo spots, as well as trails for hiking, biking, and even horseback riding. There are even Segway tours run by the nearby visitor center located just a few hundred yards down the road from the entrance to the park. (Those, however, are not free.)

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

Once you have had your fix of the free views and explored all you can around the park, I recommend following it up with a brief visit by the Garden Of The Gods Visitor & Nature Center. Just like any other national park souvenir shop, this place has it all. From historical items, local gems, books, artwork, clothes, postcards, native species of flowers, and anything and everything else you would expect to find, this place has it.

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

Not only that, but they offer also provide a wealth of information about Colorado, the Garden Of The Gods history, and of course the nearby Pike's Peak. Additional knowledge can be gained by watching (and that means paying) for the visitor center's information movies, which run on a loop every 15 minutes in the miniature movie theater.

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

Been here before? Have a favorite FREE park? Share your comments!

Published in United States

While looking at the best Android apps for travel purposes there are so many to chose from. I decided to eliminate from the list city guides, hotel specific guides, airline guides and the major reservation sites. I also eliminated all specific discount apps like AAA because not everyone is a member of such organizations. I instead focused on Travel Apps that everyone could use and for the most part can use worldwide. And they are all FREE.

Tourist Language Learn

TripJournal

A useful translation device that offers tourist phrases for situations such as transportation, dealing with airports, buses and taxis. It also has phrases for food and accommodations, emergency situations, greetings and small talk. The APP currently translates into Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Korean, Japanese and Chinese.

  App Page

After traveling all day and seeing wonderful sights, taking photos and being awed how do you keep track of it all so you can get it all organized? This App is pretty handy it will let you record your trip and GPS geotag photos and videos. Write notes in the journal to describe experiences, share with YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and more or upload to your blog.

  App Page

SuperShuttle

AccuWeather

Leaving work for the airport or don't want to leave your car parked there for weeks? What about when you arrive back at your destination? If you don't want to worry about a taxi or arrange to have someone pick you up this might be a good alternative They will provide door to door ground transportation in over 50 cities in the US and have now expanded to Paris. They offer email reservations and confirmations along with the ability to earn airline miles.

  App Page

Your on vacation and and you want to make sure the weather is decent when you go to that outdoor festival or reserve that spot on the fishing boat. A good weather app is essential and this is one of the better ones. It has all of the accurate and localized weather information and interactive features that you need. This full-featured app offers forecasts updated every hour, interactive Google Maps™, and severe weather notices. It also offers weather in 23 languages and social media sharing.

  App Page

SpotOn

Budget Places

You got checked in to a hotel and decided to hit the streets. I don't know about you but I like to walk around, explore the area and see what I can find. After a few hours I have to stop and kind of get my bearings, figure out where I am and where I need to be going. This little App does the trick. It is a navigation App that does not require any data traffic. When you leave the hotel you just store the location and when your ready to return pick up your phone and SpotOn will point you in the right direction. That way you can hit the Pub and have fun trying to read the little red dot after a few drinks.

  App Page

I know I said no reservation sites but I had to add this one. Here you will find some places not listed on the big boys. You can find and book budget places all over the world. Choose from over 5,550 establishments and book up to 12 months in advance. Show the confirmation on your phone when you check in. It's great for when you are traveling to multiple locations and want to find something at the last minute.

  App Page

Skype

ConvertPad

Who doesn't use Skype these days? Probably one of the most essential apps you can have to stay in touch with everyone while on the road. Call computers, call others that have Skype, video chat and more. If you don't want to run up those roaming charges while out of the country this is the answer.

  App Page

ConvertPad Plus is a unit converter, currency converter, measures, temperature, length, volume and more. Difference between US and UK gallon? Got it. Kilometers to miles? Got it. Dollars to yen? Got it. It will give you real time currency conversion and comes in handy anytime you need to convert anything.

  App Page

Gas Buddy

Frugal Flyer

This App only works in the US and Canada. I use it and it comes in handy with gas prices being what they are. All you do is hit the "Find Gas near Me" function and a screen comes up with the name, location and price. It will allow you to screen the results from lowest price to highest. You can also convert that to a GPS navigation to guide you to the location. The App can be refined to show prices of different grades of gas and diesel. It will also allow the user to report and update the system so when you are filling up you can input the most current prices. Every time you report prices you become eligible for giveaways.

  App Page

I saved the best for last. Voted “Best Travel App” by TabletPCReview.com October 25, 2011 this App gives you the best offers direct from the vendors website. Along with the best offers direct from the vendors it has phone numbers for all the major airlines, hotels, car rentals and travel agencies. You can find out flight statuses, store frequent flier, hotel and rental car program info. It consists of over 700 airlines worldwide, searches rental car and hotel info in over 40,000 cities and also stores boarding pass and passport photos. This is an all in one travel app for reservations and deals direct from the vendors.

  App Page

There are lots more that are city specific or brand specific but these are the best all around Travel Apps for Android that I have found. Do you have some others?

Published in Travel Technology

Login to The HoliDaze to submit articles and comments or register your blog.