Via magazine
Via magazine - Your AAA Magazine

The Via Blog travel news + notes + tasty tidbits

Tom Selleck pillow at the Kimpton Palladian Hotel in Seattle, picture
Photo credit
Photo Courtesy of Chris Molina/Kimpton Palladian Hotel
Photo caption
At the Kimpton Palladian Hotel in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, pillows get the celebrity treatment with regal—and delightfully kitschy—renderings of favorite stars, like Tom Selleck.

In a world of in-room iPads and nightly turndown service, it often takes a little something extra to make a hotel stand out. It's the properties that go the extra mile—whether a one-of-a-kind souvenir or a weekly workshop—that I find particularly alluring. The more creative, the better.

Here are several lodgings across the West offering the kind of perks that raise them a head above the rest.

Kimpton Palladian Hotel, Seattle

Kimpton is especially known for offering “non-standard” amenities that change with each property, and the company's Palladian Hotel in Seattle is no exception. Each room in this Belltown stay comes decorated with fun throw pillows featuring regally adorned celebrity portraits—ideal for snuggling at night. Let the hotel surprise you with a rendering of Brad Pitt or Bill Murray, or before arriving, choose from myriad famous faces, including Elvis, David Bowie, and Tom Selleck. Find yourself getting attached? Purchase one as a souvenir for $65.

guest enjoy the dinner series at the Suttle Lodge in Sisters, Oregon, picture
Photo credit
Photo Courtesy of AJ Meeker/Suttle Lodge
Photo caption
The Suttle Lodge in Sisters, Oregon, offers a unique dinner series hosted by Central Oregon's hottest chefs.

The Suttle Lodge, Sisters, Oregon

In addition to its boathouse, rustic cabins, and lakeside setting, Oregon's newly renovated Suttle Lodge offers another perk to draw visitors: a series of dinners featuring some of Portland's and Central Oregon's hottest chefs, each preparing the type of cuisine for which they're best known. Upcoming dinners include a Middle Eastern–inspired meal incorporating ingredients from the Pacific Northwest (April 22) and a Romanesque feast featuring sustainable seafood and pasta made from local grains (April 29). All dinners are served fireside and family style, and while you don't have to be a guest to partake, an overnight stay helps turn a delicious dinner into an overall experience. Call 541-638-7001 for dinner/lodging specials.

Resort at Squaw Creek, Lake Tahoe, California

The Resort at Squaw Creek in North Lake Tahoe believes that for kids, “time outs” don't always have to mean sitting in a corner. To help ease the tensions of those aged 6–12 (not to mention their parents), the resort offers its own Kids Chillax Spa. Each 24-minute “chillax session” starts with a trio of rules: to have fun, giggle, and simply relax. Each kid is then treated to aromatherapy washcloths, cooling cucumbers for the eyes, and hand and foot treatments, as well as a series of stretching and deep-breathing exercises that will have them snoozing in no time. A 25-minute session is $35. Call the Spa at Squaw Creek to book.

a two-story Plinko game in the lobby of the Hotel Zetta in San Francisco, picture
Photo credit
Photo Courtesy of Hotel Zetta
Photo caption
A two-story Plinko game is just one of the playful touches at the Hotel Zetta in San Francisco.

Hotel Zetta, San Francisco

This tech-savvy SoMa space is known for its fun artwork displays, including a seven-story stairwell piece that features the work of nine U.S. muralists. Anyone can stop by to see it and get a little exercise in while they view. The hotel also offers a ton of interactive features, including an entirely playable two-story Plinko game in the lobby and a playroom where ping pong, giant Jenga, and shuffleboard rule.

Deer Valley Ski Resort, Park City, Utah

Utah's long-running ski resort is known for its downhill runs and array of accommodations, but did you know that Deer Valley also makes its own cheese? Belgium-born Corinne Cornet-Conical has been Deer Valley's resident cheese-maker since September 2013, handcrafting an assortment of signature cow and goat varietals from within the resort's mid-mountain Silver Lake Lodge. Cheeses range from an ash-ripened goat cheese to a creamy Camembert-style brie infused with Italian black truffles. They’re served in each of the resort's restaurants and also available for purchase at the Deer Valley Grocery Café.  

on the kids' tents at the Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel in Portland, Oregon, picture
Photo credit
Photo Courtesy of Jackie Seus/Kimpton RiverPlace
Photo caption
At the Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel in Portland, kids can camp indoors with complimentary tents that include a campfire night light and a teddy bear sleeping bag.

Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel, Portland

Portland's Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel knows exactly how to lure in guests. Each week, the property hosts Fly Fishing Friday, in which lodgers receive a free lesson on how to cast, drift, and tie flies. The sport is known for its stress-reducing qualities. The hotel also has on hand a number of kids' tents—perfect for 3- to 8-year-olds—for a spur-of-the-moment indoor camp out. The front desk will deliver the small shelter to your room along with a floor cushion, teddy bear sleeping bag, and campfire night light, all for free. One last perk is Kimpton's Bedtime Butler, a roaming steward that makes the rounds 6–9 p.m. multiple times a week, pushing a cart of complimentary products such as local whiskey, calming spray, and books for kids—available to anyone who answers their door.

AAA Travel can help you plan your next vacation.