Many hotels are looking beyond the traditional bottled water, peanuts and candy in the guestroom minibar. More hotels are looking to convenience and geographical factors to influence their offerings.
In the Epiphany hotel in Palo Alto, guests can choose from yellowfin tuna tartine, made with locally baked brioche, black olive tapenade and quail eggs, said Michele Crociani, business development manager for Indel B. At the Pittsburg Ace hotel, the minibar leans heavily towards the local offerings, such as Wigle whiskey, Pittsburg Winery malbec, Twirly Girl pretzels and Clark bars.
Charging kits for multiple electronic devices are appearing more often in minibars nationwide to help those guests who forget their cables. At Chicago’s Virgin Hotel, all minibar items, from wine to M&Ms to packets of EmergenC, are offered at street prices.
Pierre Agrario, VP of account management and major accounts for Bartech, has recently seen couture lollipops with rhinestone-studded sticks as a luxury item in minibars.
Hotels are innovating on the original minibar concept in order to transform the minibar into a convenience travelers are still willing to pay for. Many hotels now leave the fridge empty and encourage guests to stock it with items purchased at vending machines down the hall or grab-and-go mini-markets in the lobby. Some offer upgraded contents like organic gummy bears or local wines, like at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Ariz., Crociani said.
At Aloft Hotels, each property has a fully stocked food-and-beverage area called re:fuel that is located in every hotel lobby. Each property oversees re:fuel and is encouraged to offer different or unique items based on their location. “So a visitor to Aloft Harlem can bite into a fresh N.Y.-style bagel while a guest at Aloft Asheville, N.C., can peruse local farmers market goods,” said Paige Francis, VP of global brand management for Aloft Hotels.