It seems Kiwis have particular tastes when it comes to their preferred hotel comforts when away from home, according to a recent national survey conducted by an award-winning Queenstown 5-star property.

The Rees Hotel, in preparation for launching its new luxury ‘Rees Residences, wanted to gauge what former guests thought and surveyed 5000 previous guests, who didn’t hold back on their feedback.

“So often we think we know what people want, but when you actually go to the market you actually find out – and some of the results were surprising,” says The Rees Hotel General Manager, Mark Rose.

The hotel’s multiple choice snap survey, with one qualitative question, was completed predominantly by employed Gen X women in their forties who shared their favourite and not so favourite top picks.

Gen Y followed by Baby Boomers were the next highest respondents. Guests aged older than 75 or those travellers younger than 21 submitted the least number of responses. Men made up 26% of the replies while women, at 73%, dominated; firmly supporting 2016 academic research by the George Washington University School of Business that nearly two-thirds of travellers today are women.

The majority travel offshore at least annually and were not shy sharing feedback about the strangest, weirdest or funniest amenity that they’ve discovered in their hotel room. Survey respondents also confessed to taking hotel amenities home with them – a 64% majority.

Top hotel and room amenities combined and ranked in order were:

1. Free high speed Wi-Fi
2. Complimentary breakfast
3. Car parking
4. A room with a view
5. Daily housekeeping.

The items and amenities that made the least favourite list were the in-room Bible, turn down service and complimentary magazine selection. The survey identified a parochial preference for ‘Linden Leaves’ when it came to a choice of bathroom amenity brands in order of popularity. The Kiwi brand beat international rivals; L’OCCITANE en Provence, Hermes and Molton Brown.

The list of “funniest, weirdest or strangest hotel amenity” was long, varied and appeared to cover the breadth of the world’s hotel inventories and cultural expectations, given the honest feedback.

Many guests were surprised to sight condoms in the mini bar and thought hotel shower caps were “very 1980’s”. Another recalls a coconut placed in the room that read “Don’t disturb”. Las Vegas amenities were unforgettable. One party received a “gun and gentlemen’s club guide, in a sketchy hotel off the Strip”. The USA definitely lives up to its name being the land of the free – “free ladies under wear” provided by housekeeping apparently.

Musical bathrooms were a common theme in Japan hotels due to memories of toilet rolls that played music “every time you used it” and “singing toilet seats”. Free teddy bears, face cloths folded into animals and “animal PJ’s” made many laugh upon discovery. So did a pair of brand new crocs – ready for the taking.

Mechanical contraptions in-room had some perturbed. One guest upon opening his door was greeted with the sight of a “putter and practice target machine”. Another couple, got the keys to their apartment to find a fully operational “bread maker which contained freshly baked bread” on arrival.

Others spotted paradoxes such as brand spanking new ashtrays in a non-smoking hotel room. The most frightening amenity was “a very scary looking large knife which was apparently a letter opener”. This contrasted with a tale about a cat in the room “to make me feel at home” and a selection of back scratchers and bath salts for comfort.

A practical touch was the “Luggage weigher – a really great addition” said one traveller. Complimentary yoga mats and iPhones “to take with you from the hotel for GPS maps” also struck a popular chord. The most unusual was “fresh rose petals?! What am I supposed to do with those?!”

Taking all these passionate responses into account, The Rees Hotel Queenstown will now have fresh eyes and inspiration when it comes to deciding on which amenities and inhouse comforts to provide guests of the new Rees Residences.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management