The Commons Hotel pays homage to the University of Minneapolis through a playful learning environment that speaks to lovers of art and literature. (Sammy Todd Dyess / The Commons Hotel)

The Commons Hotel pays homage to the University of Minneapolis through a playful learning environment that speaks to lovers of art and literature. (Sammy Todd Dyess / The Commons Hotel)

Vacation spots pamper your mind and body

By Kathy Witt

Tribune News Service

Need a favorite literary tome fetched? A cooling cloth spritzed with a custom fragrance for your sun-warmed brow? The in-room bar restocked with your preferred wines? This is your vacation ­— and it’s only fitting that you have what you want, when you want to have it.

Your butler is here and reporting for duty.

Bed, bath and beyond

No need to get up. Each morning, the butler at tony 42-room Falling Rock arrives at your guestroom with the requested coffee, juices and/or teas — all prepared to preference — draws the blinds, then pours the wake-up beverages and serves them while you lounge atop luxe sheets and hand-sewn chenille bedding.

A five-star boutique hotel at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania,, Falling Rock, an homage to the organic architectural style of Frank Lloyd Wright, has just about everything you could conjure up for the perfect getaway, including fine farm-to-table and casual dining, golf, spa, casino, heated outdoor infinity pool and a full roster of year-round activities, arrayed on 2,000 acres in the Laurel Highlands of the Allegheny Mountains.

But back to the butler. While you sip coffee or tea, the butler will assess the daily weather forecast. He’ll review your itinerary, perhaps lay out your attire for the day.

In the evening, you’ll have the Bath and Pillow Menu and Cookie and Milk Turndown to look forward to, the latter of which includes warm homemade Belgium chocolate chip cookies and a chilled pint of local milk from Turner’s Dairy Farm, served at the requested hour.

All of this is part of the resort’s 24-hour butler service that includes everything from unpacking and packing of luggage, ironing and steaming of garments, shoe shining and drawing a decadent bath in a 200-gallon soaking tub to 24-hour in-room dining service, check-in and check-out assistance, arranging of airport transfers.

One for the books

At the 304-room The Commons Hotel,, on the campus of the University of Minnesota, lovers of literature can get lost in a beloved classic or a bestseller. The hotel’s resident Book Butler delivers the desired reading material right to your room. Not only that, he also leaves literary quotes on guests’ pillows at turndown and delivers Sudoku puzzles with each in-room breakfast order.

Taking its design cues from a geek-chic aesthetic — think smart, sophisticated step apart and plenty of art — the hotel’s public spaces feel more living room than lobby. Everywhere there is chalk art, paintings and books. Lighting is via molecular-designed chandeliers beneath tin-press ceilings and against a brick wall backdrop. Seating vignettes anchored by a statement fireplace invite cozy conversation. Guestrooms coddle with a homey atmosphere, 500-thread count linens and a rain shower accented with brown leather, blue velvet and argyle.

The hotel also offers a state-of-the-art fitness center, complimentary access to the university’s Recreation and Wellness Center and playful experiences centered on literature, art and science — including flights of local brew and alchemist mixology lessons at The Beacon Public House.

Poolside pampering

How can a five-star Hawaiian beach resort experience improve on its laurels? The brand new Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina,, has figured it out — and it’s called the Tanning Butler.

The Tanning Butler visits each of the resort’s three pools and private lagoon on a regular basis, offering 30 SPF and 50 SPF hair conditioning spray and sunscreen, tanning oil and zinc for guests. In addition, the Tanning Butler calls on the adult pool each afternoon with custom-scented cool towels and Mai Tais — and it’s all complimentary.

Presenting a beautiful balance of classic Hawaiian style and one-of-a-kind luxury, this 371-room sanctuary is located on the island’s lush and wild western coast.

Guests find their serenity in the ocean views, the ancient Hawaiian healing therapies of the Naupaka Spa and relaxation experiences that include sunrise yoga overlooking the beach. Indoor/outdoor dining venues specialize in sustainable, local foods and take their culinary inspiration from the islands and its people. And then there’s the Tanning Butler and those deliciously cooling towels.

Diamond-level living

With the Caribbean Sea before you and mangrove forests behind, it can feel delightfully remote at Mexico’s Royalton Riviera Cancun, Removing you even further from the hassles of life is Hideaway, the super-indulgent resort-within-the-resort that grants guests even more privacy.

Yet another coddling step away from it all are exclusive Diamond Club services, including a personal butler — and one who knows what you need: Packing and unpacking of your luggage; ironing a set of clothing; stocking (and restocking daily) the mini-bar with your favorite wine and spirits; a beach area reserved just for you; a pillow menu and more.

Onsite amusements are water sports, fitness programs and poolside mixology classes; three adults-only swimming pools; a private lounge with breakfast, hors d’oeuvres and desserts; plus a variety of shops, spa, night club and casino. Dining choices include Mexican, Mediterranean, American steakhouse, Italian, Tex-Mex, seafood and more. Your butler will make reservations and escort you, bouncing you to the front of the queue to be seated immediately.

Upgraded accommodations include luxury suites with a massive Jacuzzi-for-two, rain shower and swim-out pool. (The butler will prepare the Jacuzzi for you.) Also, your room will be perfumed with the aroma therapy scent you selected at check-in. There really is no reason to leave the resort — ever.

Kathy Witt believes you should reach the end of your bucket list. Contact her at

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