The world’s ultimate hotel minibars
No longer the preserve of Pringles and overpriced miniatures, a swathe of hotel minibars are going above and beyond to elevate your in-room experience. We peek inside the new guard, one hotel at a time…
Palm Heights, Cayman Islands
The real stars of this 1970s-inspired boutique hotel aren’t the celebrities spread out on its striped sun-loungers, but the 50 individually styled suites a few storeys above. Guests who have rested their heads here will know what we mean by the turn-down treats: a new book on your nightstand (you’d mentioned the author somewhere earlier that day), a silver bowl of salt-fried, vegan kale crisps that appear in your in-room kitchen, a homemade sugar scrub by your bathroom basin. They’ll know that the in-room extras also extend to not one, but two mini-bar-baskets. Creative director Gabriella Khalil keeps personal touches alive in each, abiding by a light ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ theme – in the former, everyone’s favourite Tortuga Caribbean rum cake, in the latter, Medjool dates, almonds and nut butter from artisanal brands. Crystal glasses are on the top shelf, so you can go ahead and decant your canned, non-alcoholic (we’ll let you decide which basket this should go in) aperitif in style.
Equinox Hotel New York
It may be the “city that never sleeps”, but that’s only because everyone’s so busy exercising. NYC is ranked the USA’s third best city for active lifestyles, according to a recent WalletHub report, coming in with the most basketball hoops, dance studios with virtual classes and park playgrounds per capita. Luxury gym brand Equinox capitalised on the city’s fitness-focused travellers when it opened in Manhattan and, in doing so, debuted the RoomBar – the world’s healthiest in-room snack banquet. Here, valerian root sleep drops are aplenty for those who struggle to switch off, while there’s a nitrogen-infused cold brew for anyone in need of a quick pick-me-up. Plus, there are vitamin B1 hangover patches, magnesium muscle cream, adaptogen cookies, vegan probiotics and workout gear for anyone subscribing to the health-is-wealth mantra (you’ll need the latter: rooms start at around $1,000 a night). For free, however, is the ‘Regeneration Tool Kit’, which offers resistance bands, foam rollers, yoga mats and more to be used in conjunction with instructions from your room’s TV.
Fauchon l’Hôtel, Paris
On Place de la Madeleine – the same street on which Auguste Fauchon opened his eponymous fine foods emporium in 1886 – this sugar-sweet hotel from the master delicatessen brand has quite the inventory, much of which has worked its way into the hotel’s headline-grabbing minibar. As tall as an average wardrobe, the ‘Gourmet Bar’ as it’s coined in-house, is a custom-made, Sacha Lakic-designed pink armoire that opens to reveal a Willy Wonka-worthy array of goods: there are truffles, macarons and pink Champagne – everything you’d expect from a Fauchon minibar, and then some savoury delicacies that you might not: tapenade, foie gras and brioche toast. The best thing about Fauchon’s treasure chest isn’t even so much the contents as the generosity – the whole thing is free and restocked daily. Staff will even pack up the bits you haven’t got round to for you to take home come check-out.
Thompson Nashville, USA
Thompson Hotels likes to call itself “deeply rooted in the local scene”, and if you want to see just how proud the brand is of its Nashville address, you need only take a look at the minibar. First you’ll spot the Marshall amp atop the dark chestnut cabinetry – a nice nod to Music City’s live music badge of honour. Then come the seven-inch vinyl records from Jack White’s local label, Third Man, whose releases also stock the vinyl library in the lobby (there’s a vintage turntable down there, too), as well as a pair of custom WithCo bottled cocktails. Founded by Nashville entrepreneurs, WithCo has dreamed up two specially designed flavours for Thompson Nashville: The Rose (lavender, lemon and rose) and The Mule (ginger, bitters and lime), which guests need only pair with their preferred minibar spirit. Other Nashvillian snacks prevail, namely hot chicken crackers and Music City Munchie Mix from local music industry pro-turned-snack-purveyor Tracy Page.
Kimpton Blythswood Square, Glasgow
It’s Glasgow’s only five-star, so you might expect this Kimpton to be a cut above the rest. In the minibar department it’s leading on the global stage with the launch of a new Wellness Mini Bar earlier this year, having zealously leaned into the booming trend of wellness travel. It’s also cottoned on to the recent uplift in psychedelic tourism, with a dedicated Shroom Service – available on request – which might just be the first of its kind. All part of the hotel’s custom Stay Well package, you could be enjoying your morning coffee and evening hot chocolate (forgive us, your Calm Organic Cacao Mix) with an added dose of non-toxic, non-psychoactive functional mushrooms, clinically proven to enhance mood, energy, focus and general healthy cognition. Other stars of the bar include gut-boosting kombucha and iodine-filled seaweed capsules.
The best of the rest
The boutique brand behind several luxury boltholes across NZ and Oz, QT Hotels & Resorts were early pioneers in the ‘shake up the minibar’ game. Expect emergency bow ties, pick-up-sticks, DIY martini kits and intimacy kits. We’ll leave that last one to your imagination.
Nautilus Sonesta Miami Beach
Not content with any old mini bar, this oceanfront resort opted for an outright closet so big you could probably climb in it, were it not for the treats it holds. It’s styled like an antique steamer chest (a nod to the property – and Miami’s – 1950s mid-century heyday) with contents that stick to, but supersize, the regular offerings.
Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills
When rumours began to swirl that Andaz was to scrap its beloved complimentary minibars (the brand trailblazed the concept), Hyatt had to calm the loyalists: the freebies are staying put. It’s particularly helpful in expensive Tokyo, where the Andaz’s minibar features local snacks – such as Kiya rice crackers from Tokyo neighbourhood institution, Toranomon Kiya, plus green teas and yōkan desserts.
If reviews are anything to go by, Joali would be favourite to win the people’s vote for best minibar – so beloved is the marbled number (opening image) at this luxury Maldives pad. It comes complete with designer glass decanters, rose-gold water bottles and blenders so you can whip up your own smoothie using contents from the fruit bowl. And all included in the room rate.
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