World's Strangest Hotel Amenities

PHOTO Polo players. More hotels than ever are offering unique amenities for guests.

What if during your next hotel stay, you could make your own customized aromatherapy scent, record your own CD in a professional recording studio or even enroll your pup in surfing school?

Dog surfing school? Yeah dude. We're totally stoked.

More hotels than ever are offering unique courses for guests (even the furry ones). Why? Steven Lance, a marketing guru and coauthor of "Breakthrough!: A 7-Step System for Developing Unexpected and Profitable Ideas" explains that hotels need to outdo each other with exceptional (and sometimes wacky) programs to stand out from the pack.

"A bed is a bed, but the amenities and programs make hotels different from each other," notes Lance. "Historically, hotels offered plushy bathrobes, then advanced to health clubs, spas and gyms. These programs are an evolution - the next step from free shampoo in the room."

Yet, despite the marketing incentives, many programs provide respectable merit. And they offer lasting benefits long after guests leave. The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in Ojai, Calif., offers an aromatherapy blending class where students learn to create their own customized scent. The formula for the one- of-a-kind essential oil is carefully preserved on file so guests can forever order it in lotion, oil, bath salt or soap.

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"It's such a powerful experience," said Rentate Collins, who oversees the program. "This scent is so uniquely you -- shared by no one in the entire universe. It speaks to you on a physical, emotional and spiritual level."

Spirit enhancing, indeed! From cigar rolling to truffle hunting -- check out these unique hotel programs:

Who said catching a wave was only for humans? At the Loews Coronado Bay Resort & Spa Su'ruff Camp, water-loving pups get surfing lessons with Coronado Surfing Academy at Coronado's Dog Beach. Dogs learn to hang ten on a mini wave and ride into the shore. Also included is a surf 'n' turf room service meal (a mix of salmon and beef tenderloin) and either doggie board shorts or a surfer bandana from the local Lucky Dog boutique.

How would you like your steak? At the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, that question takes a whole new meaning. Chef Edison Mays of the hotel's restaurant, Sidecut, offers a blending session where guests create their own signature spice rub. Participants are given carte blanche to Chef Mays' elaborate wall of spices - many of which were sourced from the hotel's garden and hand-dried by the chef. The concoction is then labeled, bottled and preserved in a database. Enjoy it at home but be sure to try it with one of the Sidecut steaks, which are aged 40 days and cooked on a 1,800 infrared grill to retain the juices.

Gwen Stefani and Amy Winehouse have all written and recorded at the pull-out-all-the-stops high tech recording studio at the Geejam hotel in Portland, Jamaica. Now is your chance to unleash your inner rock diva. Not only can guests tour the studio, they have an opportunity to sit with an engineer, learn about the recording process and record their own song (either a cappella or with pre-arranged background music). The budding stars even receive a CD of their session.

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