10 Unique Amenities at Boutique Hotels and B&Bs

    By Ranee Ruble-Dotts

    Evening wine receptions, gourmet breakfasts, cozy robes, loaner bicycles, and free WiFi are just some of the creature comforts that have become standard fare at many California boutique hotels and bed and breakfast inns. A handful of inns go one step beyond: They offer guests truly unique and whimsical amenities. We’ve compiled a list of California inns with amenities you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

    1. Oysters Upon Arrival
    Nestled along the water’s edge in a sheltered cove of Tomales Bay, Nick’s Cove is a collection of elegantly restored 1930s cottages imbued with nostalgic charm. The legendary property also features a restaurant and oyster bar serving fresh local seafood plucked straight from the bay. After you’ve checked into one of the cottages, a server will deliver a tray of fresh oysters right to your door. Pair the oysters with a mixed cocktail from the well-stocked honor bar and you’ve got the perfect start to a vacation on the bay.

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    2. Cannabis Pre-Roll
    While most B&Bs in Sonoma County will pour you a glass of wine, Mine + Farm Inn will also offer a “share” of a cannabis pre-roll. Organically grown onsite (in compliance with California law), the inn shares different strains of pre-rolled cannabis to guests during breakfast service. Treating it as an amenity akin to wine, owners Bryce Skolfield and Suzanne Szostak seek to elevate guests’ perceptions about cannabis. Driven by social justice, they also hope to educate guests on the history, cultivation, and politics of cannabis.

    3. High Tech Toilets
    Once you’ve experienced the luxury of heated toilet seats and remote-controlled bidets, you’ll never want to go back to using a standard-variety flush toilet. Both R INN NAPA and The Francis House in Napa Valley feature high-tech toilets in each of their guest rooms. When you stumble to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you’ll be welcomed with the soft blue glow of the toilet’s nightlight, a motion activated seat that raises the lid as you approach, a warm seat, countless bidet and air dryer settings, and no-touch flush features.

    4. Record Players and Vintage Vinyl
    On the Sonoma coast, the iconic Timber Cove Resort was renovated in 2016 to retain the architecture and authenticity of the original 1960’s oceanfront resort while bestowing the comforts of a modern boutique hotel. A strong midcentury vibe runs not only through the hotel’s warm-hued timbers but also the hotel’s amenities. In every room, you’ll find vintage-style Crosley LP record players for spinning tunes from the hotel’s enviable collection of vinyl records while gazing out to sea.

    5. Vintage MG Showroom
    Overlooking the Monterey Bay, the Martine Inn is a classic Victorian inn with museum-quality antiques, plein-air paintings, and a carefully curated library. But for car enthusiasts, the coolest amenity is owner Don Martine’s collection of rare and vintage MGs. Currently on display in the inn’s showroom is a 1948 MGTC DOHC race car, a 1951 Emil Deidt MG Indy-style racer, a 1953 MGTD with Ford running gear and full race V8 60, a 1955 MGTF 1500 pick-up truck conversion, and a 1952 MGTD MK 11.

    6. Fresh Eggs Delivered to Your Door
    Mar Vista Farm + Cottages is a small, working farm along the “secret coast” of Mendocino County. Ten bright and airy vintage cottages are scattered around the property, all featuring cozy furnishings, fireplaces, and well-stocked kitchens. Among the most charming amenities are the fresh eggs collected from the farm’s very own flock of hens, delivered to your door each morning. You’re also encouraged to harvest veggies, herbs, and fruit from the farm’s edible gardens for preparing meals in the cottages.

    7. The Fixings for a Barbecue
    On a stretch of highway just outside of Solvang, a classic California motor lodge has been reimagined as a rustic-chic wine country escape. At the new Hotel Ynez, each of the rooms open to a central courtyard with private patios strung with hammocks. As a unique perk, you can also host a cookout on your patio. The hotel will roll out a Weber barbeque grill complete with pre-seasoned Santa Maria ribs and veggies. Just light the grill, kick back, and soak up the taste of summer.

    8. Secret Subterranean Speakeasy
    Newly rebuilt with massive stones and rough-hewn timbers, the redesigned Inn at Zaca Creek feels like an old-world estate transported to the rolling hills of the Santa Ynez Valley. One of the most distinctive features of the new property is its “secret” wine cellar. With a speakeasy vibe, the intimate space features hand-troweled brick walls and offers vertical tastings from a carefully curated collection of wine. Secret speakeasies are also under construction at The George and The McClelland House in downtown Napa.

    9. Soothing Welcome Amenities
    A luxe wellness retreat in Encinitas, the Inn at Moonlight Beach provides a soothing welcome. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted with a warm pot of the inn’s signature organic wellness tea, house-crafted organic dark chocolate mandalas, and healthy treats from the inn’s own biodynamic garden. You’ll also receive a flower herbal tea bath kit for enjoying a restorative, relaxing bath in the in-room soaking tub. The tea bath kits feature medicinal herbs and flowers grown and harvested from the inn’s garden and hand-assembled by the innkeepers into pouches with Epsom salt and essential oils.

    10. Complimentary Chauffeur Service and More
    In San Francisco’s prestigious Pacific Heights neighborhood, the long list of complimentary amenities at the Hotel Drisco dazzles even the most discerning guests. The hotel’s complimentary chauffeur service can whisk you anywhere in the city. International guests are greeted by the flags of their home countries flying above the entrance. Other thoughtful amenities include reusable glass bottles with filtered water pitchers, pillow menus, adaptive sound machines, and dimming alarm clocks. Guests will also find amusing touches like “Poo-Pourri” which provides a pleasant olfactory experience in the lavatory.

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