Hotel perks for winter warriors

A woman drinks hot chocolate at the Affinia Chicago hotel.

When the temperatures drop, it’s tempting to stay home tucked under a Snuggie or Slanket. But these unusual winter weather hotel perks are designed to lure you out of your den.

Through March 2012, the Affinia Chicago’s Winter Warrior Challenge rewards extra amenities and an entry in a contest for a summertime weekend stay to guests who complete chilly tasks such as riding the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier, dipping their toes in Lake Michigan or making a snowman or a snow angel.  

Kimpton’s Palomar Chicago is using its Winter Perk-ometer to determine which winter treats to bestow on guests. Through March 2012, the colder it gets, the hotter the perks: For every five degrees the thermometer drops below freezing or for every five inches of snowfall, guests receive bonuses ranging from complimentary cocktails, cocoa and hot chocolate to late checkout and bottles of wine.

In Boston, the Colonnade Hotel’s “Frosty Fridays” is a tradition now in its 15th year. The rate for the first night of the two-night package is set by the temperature at 5 p.m. on Friday as measured by the National Weather Service.

If it’s 20 degrees outside, guests pay $20 for their Friday night stay. Saturday’s rate is $295 (vs. the standard $209), but the package includes parking, hot chocolate and tickets for a trolley tour or skate rentals at the Boston Common Frog Pond skating rink. Value: about $130.

“While it’s been a fairly mild winter so far, over the years guests have been able to pay rates in the teens,” said Christopher Lynn, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing.

Tip: Check the Farmers’ Almanac when choosing your weekend getaway.

At the Loews Hotel Vogue in Montreal, guests unprepared for the Canadian cold may borrow coats, hats, gloves, scarves and booties to cover their shoes from a lending library of accessories. And at Loews Hotel Le Concorde, Quebec, the valet parking attendants provide complimentary washer fluid for cars.  

Even hotels in Florida and Kenya are prepared to help guests deal with bouts of cold weather.   

Continuing a tradition that dates back to the Prohibition era, whenever the weather drops below 32 degrees, guests of the Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach, Fla., receive complimentary miniature bottles of bourbon.

And at The Ark hotel, built to resemble Noah’s Ark and overlooking a watering hole and a saltlick in Kenya’s Aberdare National Park, when nighttime temperatures dip, hot water bottles are placed in guests’ beds to ward off the chill.

Did you encounter an unusual perk last time you checked into a hotel? Tell us on Facebook.

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Find more by Harriet Baskas on StuckatTheAirport.com and follow her on Twitter.

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