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14 Weirdest Things You Can Actually Borrow From Hotels

Most hotels will float you a toothbrush or razor—but some offer stranger delights, like a coat for your dog, knitting needles, and more.

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Goldfish in aquarium with green plants, and stonesdien/Shutterstock


Lots of things can make a hotel room feel like home, from a vase of fresh flowers or a fluffy bathrobe to wear when streaming Netflix. But how about a fishbowl on the nightstand? When you check into The Roxy Hotel in New York City’s hip Tribeca neighborhood, you can request a goldfish—inside a fishbowl, of course—for your room. If it’s been years since you had a fish, they’re not high-maintenance pets.

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beer growlerCourtesy Kimpton RiverPlace

Beer growler

Portland, OR, is known for its craft-beer scene. So the Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel happily lends guests a beer growler (they come in two sizes: 32- and 64-ounce) to tote along with you when you hit the local brewery tours. Take yours back with you to your room for evening sipping or take it on hikes or picnics. Here are 6 surprising reasons beer is good for you.

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wellington coat Courtesy Crowne Plaza HY36

A coat for your dog

Is your fur baby getting chilly in the Manhattan wind? No worries if you’re staying at the Crowne Plaza HY36  in Midtown, where the Coats for Canines lending program will lend you a padded, very stylish vest with a plaid collar. Available in a range of sizes to fit all dogs, from Pomeranians to Golden Retrievers, coats can be borrowed by hotel guests at no extra cost. Check out the 10 health benefits of owning a pet.

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Courtesy Allison V. Smith


You’re probably thinking “what would I need a typewriter for?” The whimsical Hotel San Jose, a renovated 1930s motor lodge in Austin, TX, believes that’s exactly what their retro ambiance demands—and think how fun it will be to send a typewritten letter or postcard to friends and family. Also, the hotel lends out Polaroid cameras. Find out why the letters on a keyboard are not in alphabetical order.

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canine companionCourtesy Fairmont Banff Springs

Canine companionship

If you’re a dog person, traveling without your four-legged friend can get lonely. Some hotels are anticipating your needs in unique ways. If you’re staying at Fairmont Banff Springs, in Banff, Canada, a super-sweet resident black Labrador named Bear will let you take him on a walk (book it through the VIP concierge). Another property with a resident dog is Ashford Castle in County Mayo, Ireland. Between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., the proprietors’ Irish wolfhounds are available for walks, photos, and treats. The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, CA, invites a local animal shelter to bring in one adoptable dog at a time and guests can sign up to walk or play with him or her.

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Courtesy The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter

Workout gear

Quite a few Westin Hotels & Resorts properties, including The Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego, CA, will loan out exercise gear—available in all sizes—through its New Balance Gear Lending program. Similarly, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts delivers Reebok fitness apparel (plus running maps) to your room. Here are 17 gym hacks that will keep fitness fun.

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Courtesy The Jefferson

Dressy clothing

Forget to pack evening wear? The Jefferson in Washington, DC, has you covered thanks to a partnership with actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s (“Mitchell” on “Modern Family”) Tie the Knot line. You can borrow certain dressier items like trendy bow ties. Also in the nation’s capital: Cufflinks and ties for guests at The Darcy. If you’re a lady with an unfortunate run in your stocking, The Ned in London has a Forgotten Something program that offers sunglasses, Spanx, and hosiery.

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PS controllerGeorge Dolgikh/Shutterstock

PlayStation and XBox

If you’re traveling with kids—or if you’re just a kid at heart—Loews Chicago Hotel near the Navy Pier has loaner Xboxes and PlayStations. Don’t miss the 8 reasons why video games might be good for you.

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Courtesy Kimpton Taconic

Hiking survival kit

You should always be prepared before traipsing backcountry trails, and the Kimpton Taconic in Manchester, VT, is ready to help. They off a bundle containing hand wipes, ponchos, and a first-aid kit that you can toss into your backpack before you hit the path. You’ll be happy to know that even a short 15-minute walk counts as a healthy form of exercise.

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Courtesy Stanford Court Hotel

Record players

Listening to music is conducive to relaxation; that’s why hotels such as the Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco put record players in the room—along with a small collection of vinyl. If you don’t like the selection in the room, you can shop the lobby’s larger collection. You’ll also find LP players at The Dean Dublin in Ireland’s largest city. Don’t miss the 21 incredible health benefits of listening to music.

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guitarSpencer Lowell/Courtesy Ace Hotel

Musical instruments

At the Sarasota, FL, Art Ovation Hotel, the “Check-in and Jam Out” program allows you to tinker with a cello, keyboard, guitar, or drum set—among other options—in the privacy of your room. Other hotels with in-room guitars include the Ace Hotel Chicago and Ace Hotel New Orleans (Martin guitars), the Camby Hotel in Phoenix (Fender guitars), Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin, TX, (Gibson guitars) and Bend, OR’s Tetherow Resort (Breedlove and Bedell guitars).

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Courtesy Pechanga Resort & Casino

Rubber duckies

For some people, taking a bath without a rubber duckie just feels… wrong. Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, CA, features duckies in all its newer suites—or they’ll bring one to any room upon request. And that’s a good thing, because a bath is a perfect way to unwind.

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Courtesy Chicago Athletic Association


Because the Chicago Athletic Association originated as a men’s club (beginning in 1893), it seems fitting that you can still visit the original gymnasium, with a full basketball court. Guest can ask for a basketball at the front desk, then start their own pick-up game and make new friends on the court. If you love hoops, you’ll appreciate this conversion of an old barn into a basketball gym.

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Courtesy Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel

Knitting supplies

Knitting can be a form of meditation—contributing to overall wellness and health, as it refocuses the mind and quiets the inner voice. As this New York Times article reveals, the hobby can induce a blissful state of mind, similar to that from yoga or meditation. Kimpton RiverPlace in Portland, OR, lends “knit kits” to guests. If you’re new to knitting or have only a few minutes to commit, there’s a communal scarf at the lobby fireplace where you can practice.

Kristine Hansen
Based in Milwaukee, and a former Californian, Kristine Hansen is the author of Wisconsin Cheese Cookbook: Creamy, Cheesy, Sweet, and Savory Recipes from the State's Best Creameries (Globe Pequot Press) and writes about food/drink, travel and art/design for outlets that include--in addition to,, and She earned a bachelor's degree in English, with a focus on writing, from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and enjoys yoga, reading, knitting and hiking.