Photographer: Ben Sklar for Bloomberg Businessweek

Hotel Minibars Are Undergoing a Major Upgrade

Hotels across the country are starting to offer much more than the tired Toblerone bar.

Epiphany

Stocked with pickled cauliflower, fruit-infused water, and house-made Greek yogurt and granola.
Stocked with pickled cauliflower, fruit-infused water, and house-made Greek yogurt and granola.
Photographer: Winni Wintermeyer for Bloomberg Businessweek

Palo Alto
$299/night; jdvhotel.com/epiphany

When was the last time you found a yellowfin tuna tartine in your minibar, made with locally baked brioche, black olive tapenade, and hard-boiled quail eggs? Never sounds about right. But this is just one of the surprises awaiting guests in the Fresh Fridge ($95), which is offered upon request. “What’s inside is dictated by what’s available at the farmers market,” says chef Patrick Kelly, who oversees the program and runs the Epiphany’s downstairs restaurant, Lure + Till.

Nautilus

Stocked with assorted gummy bears, cashews, smoked almonds, and jelly beans, as well as a Nespresso machine.
Stocked with assorted gummy bears, cashews, smoked almonds, and jelly beans, as well as a Nespresso machine.
Photographer: Philip Montgomery for Bloomberg Businessweek

Miami Beach
$295/night; sixtyhotels.com/nautilus-south-beach

Titanic-era steamer trunks inspired designer Caroline Giraud-Sukornyk’s creation, which is studded with brass clasps and leather straps. “We wanted to make the minibar look like a piece of residential furniture, since our room concept is a home away from home,” says general manager Steven Hiblum. Inside the trunk, guests will find a Nespresso machine and a full bar, complete with proper glassware, whether you’re mixing mojitos or making martinis with a bottle of Grey Goose vodka ($55).

Ace Hotel

Guests at the Ace Hotel in Pittsburgh will find bottle-aged cocktails and a turntable in their room.
Guests at the Ace Hotel in Pittsburgh will find bottle-aged cocktails and a turntable in their room.
Photographer: Ross Mantle for Bloomberg Businessweek

Pittsburgh
$159/night; acehotel.com/pittsburgh

A custom-made, Scandinavian-style console from Brooklyn design firm Uhuru, this minibar has a selection that leans heavily local: Wigle whiskey ($39), Pittsburgh Winery Malbec ($45), Twirly Girl pretzels ($8), and Clark Bars ($3)—the candy’s original formula came from an immigrant to the city. “The minibar helps us further the conversation about the cities we’re in and what makes them special,” says Kelly Sawdon, Ace’s chief brand officer. Bottled Fords gin negronis and Aylesbury Duck vodka martinis are stashed in a concealed drawer.

Hotel Emma

Stocked with local cheese and locally brewed Devil’s Backbone beer.
Stocked with local cheese and locally brewed Devil’s Backbone beer.
Photographer: Ben Sklar for Bloomberg Businessweek

San Antonio
$275/night; thehotelemma.com

Every Saturday and Sunday, the Emma hosts more than 40 farmers market vendors, some of whom supply the hotel’s dining outlets. Housed in the chateau-like ruins of the old Pearl Brewery, the Emma calls its minibar an “icebox,” a nod to pre-refrigeration days. It comes packed with could-have-only-been-made-in-Texas treats such as Ms. Chocolatier smoking jalapeño peanut brittle ($5), cheeses from Edeal and River Whey dairies ($7), and Al’s Gourmet spiced pecans ($5).

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