The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - WELCOME - JANA FRAWLEY, NATIONAL TRAVEL EDI­TOR

This week a very charm­ing, pas­sion­ate em­ployee of Penin­sula Ho­tels told me of a se­cret re­search and devel­op­ment fa­cil­ity in Asia where pro­to­types of new room de­signs and com­mu­nal spa­ces are tested. Light­ing, fur­ni­ture con­fig­u­ra­tions, bath­room lay­out, new tech­nol­ogy and so forth, are an­a­lysed to en­sure the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence in one of the world’s most elite ho­tel brands is per­fect.

It got me thinking about the lit­tle fea­tures that turn a ho­tel from be­ing just a bed and shower for the night, to some­thing more spe­cial. Here’s a list of stand­outs from re­cent vis­its:

• The smell of freshly baked bread on ar­rival at The Rees in Queen­stown • The sen­sor light at ME London that turned on dur­ing noc­tur­nal loo vis­its • The mono­grammed pil­low­case at The Penin­sula Bev­erly Hills

• The gym at Kerry Ho­tel, Hong Kong • The toi­letries at COMO Ho­tels

• The sig­na­ture fra­grance that per­me­ates all Lang­ham ho­tels

• The grey marle bathrobe at 1 Ho­tel Cen­tral Park in New York

• The room ser­vice menu at the May­fair Ho­tel in Ade­laide

• The prox­im­ity to the depar­ture area at the Fair­mont Van­cou­ver Air­port

There are also big ticks for the fol­low­ing simple fea­tures: a USB port next to the bed; eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble power point; hair elas­tics in the ameni­ties kits; win­dow cov­er­ing that al­lows for pri­vacy and nat­u­ral light.

My holy grail is a de­cent-sized tea cup, but alas I’ve never hit the jack­pot on that one so I al­ways carry my own.

I’d love to know your pet ho­tel peeves and pluses ... maybe one day I’ll be in­vited to Penin­sula’s re­search cen­tre and I’ll be able to share them with one of the best in the world.

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