Hotel Room Service: Unconventional Delights of In-Room Dining

Screenshot of the scene from the movie "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York" where Kevin McCallister sits on the table during the room service of delicacies by the butler; credit 20th Century Fox.

If you spent any Christmas at home alone, you should already know the plot of the inescapable family movie. The forgetful McCallisters board the flight for Florida, while young Kevin ends up in New York, and checks into the esteemed Plaza Hotel. The “Home Alone 2” adventure sees our mischievous hero making full use of Dad’s credit cards on the most exorbitant room service imaginable.

Home Alone Sundae with 16 scoops of ice cream and a variety of toppings, served at the filming site of the famous movie, the Plaza Hotel New York, as their special item in room service menu.
For 300 dollars, at Plaza Hotel you can bury yourself in ice cream like young Macaulay Culkin

The movie was shot back in 1992, but not everything changed in the last three decades. As long as your pockets are deep enough to foot the bill, exclusive hotels will rarely question or judge even your quirkiest request.

Indulging in room service is a cherished part of the hotel experience, combining convenience and luxury, without the burden of changing out of your beloved pajama, or the pressure of immediately settling the bill.

Guests have the most peculiar requests, and hotels are responding with unparalleled room service

While basic room service definition covers delivery of food and drinks to guest’s rooms, today this hotel amenity means pampering clients that can have a myriad of wishes.

Thanks to, the online accommodation provider that surveyed 473 hotels across America, Europe, and Asia, we now know that guests have the most peculiar requests. We also know that hotels are eager to please, and respond to these requests with unparalleled extravagant offerings, pushing the boundaries of room service beyond food.

From in-room concerts featuring world-class orchestras to Lego butlers that cater to the imagination of the smallest guests, the bar has been raised high.

Let’s dive deeper into the world of hotel room service, where any desire can be satisfied with a simple phone call!

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Where did room service originate?

Hotel room service was invented a few centuries ago, but its first official record dates back to 1931. The practice of fulfilling guests’ quirkiest desires in privacy and comfort of their rooms took flight in New York, the same city where, decades later, Kevin would make his father’s wallet significantly lighter.

Park Lane Hotel in New York has a dedicated Caviar Hotline where guests can order room service for a decadent treat.
In New York, the birthplace of room service, Park Lane Hotel is going extra mile – putting caviar delivery on quick dial

The visionary hotel that officially kick-started the tradition of room service was The Waldorf Astoria. They moved to a new location, and reinvented the luxury, adding a telephone to every room, electrical wiring throughout, the possibility to reserve a table in the restaurant, a specially curated children’s menu, and to top it all off, decadent in-room dining.

As word of this extraordinary concept spread far and wide, ordering room service ceased to be a privilege reserved solely for the American elite. It quickly became the gold standard for high-end hotels worldwide.

Is room service free?

Whether or not you will be charged for the room service depends on your hotel (or even cruise ship). More often than not, there will be a fee for the service as in-room dining is considered to be an additional amenity. In some cases, breakfast delivery could be complimentary, but that could also depend on the room type that you book. Always double-check if room service will cost extra.

Ice Cream Man offering ice cream to a delighted young guest from his ice cream cart during the room service delivery at Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, USA.
At Four Seasons in Chicago, young guests can have an ice cream cart visiting their room at any season

Indulgence comes at a price, confirms the 2023 Room Service Report. Over a quarter (27%) of hotels surveyed in the United States reported that their guests routinely spend more than $100 on their average room service trolley.

Wondering how much did Kevin spend on room service? His bill at Plaza Hotel came to a whopping $967.43!

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What do guests order from the room service menu?

If we would have to name one room service item that comes with global obsession, it would be – a burger. Surpassing popular choices of pizza, club sandwiches, tacos, and fries, and even the allure of sushi rolls and lobster tails, juicy burgers are food hotel guests prefer to eat behind closed doors. It seems that even with a plethora of gourmet options, there is nothing, at least statistically, that could replace the comfort and familiarity of casual cuisine.

Burger with fries on a wooden tray displayed on hotel bed, the most common room service item according to survey; photo by Ryan Neeven.
Burger – the reigning champion of room service worldwide

Now, not all burgers are created equal. If you need proof, scroll down to Post Oak Hotel where your jaw will drop not only because of their extravagant burger but also when you see its price.

As for other luxurious options that tantalize taste buds while emptying guests’ wallets, there comes the experience of a mouthwatering steak and a bottle of chilled champagne. The most costly indulgence on room service menus will surely satisfy your cravings for opulence.

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The curious cravings

After the hotels in the USA, UK, France, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Norway, Sweden and Denmark sent in their data, learned that guest requests can be truly unconventional and eccentric, making even the most seasoned hotel staff scratch their heads.

Raw fish displayed on ice with lemon and rosemary; an example of an unconventional room request by a hotel guest who brought the fish to the hotel; photo by Ryan Neeven,
Raw fish as carry-on baggage

According to the Room Service Report, these are the examples of the most unusual room service requests:

    1. Diet water – because one shouldn’t underestimate the importance of calorie-free hydration
    2. Melted ice cream – because everyone loves their frozen treat in a unique liquid form, the so-called ice cream soup
    3. Blowfish – because eating a fish more poisonous than cyanide is literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience
    4. Boiled bottled water – because safety knows no bounds, and I’m sure this wasn’t ordered by the same person as number 3
    5. A cooked fish that the guest brought with them – because it will stink if it stays in the suitcase
    6. Cockle popcorn – because it’s a shellfish that pops AND is gluten-free
    7. No-egg-white omelet – because some of us are allergic to egg parts that don’t contain cholesterol
    8. Rice bowl for a dog – because… erm, I struggle to explain what’s unusual about that, but maybe it was reported by a hotel that serves raw dogs only
    9. Bison – because sometimes you are just hungry like a beast
    10. Eggless eggs in hell (shakshuka) – because it sounds fancier than ordering just a tomato sauce
Not everything about food delivery in hotels is so eccentric. During the pandemic in Cambodia, hotels joined hands to deliver food for free to those in need. 

The best room service in the world – the unconventional experiences

In-room dining has transcended its traditional boundaries and expanded to offer guests unforgettable experiences. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top properties that go above and beyond the usual room service offerings, innovating and elevating the standard to a whole new level!

Park Lane New York – New York, USA

On Billionaire’s Row, guests can dial ‘5’ to access the hotel’s Caviar Hotline, ensuring a decadent caviar fix is just a phone call away. With rooms starting at $373 per night, have the luxurious treat delivered straight to your doorstep at Park Lane New York.

DogHouse Columbus Hotel – Columbus, USA

Craft beer enthusiasts will revel in this dual-purpose brewery and hotel, offering in-room beer taps and a mini fridge stocked with “shower beer” in the bathroom, because that’s the definition of convenience. Embrace the unique experience at DogHouse Columbus Hotel while staying in rooms starting at $190 per night. Cheers to that!

Post Oak Hotel – Houston, USA

For the ultimate burger connoisseur, the Post Oak Hotel offers “The Black Gold Burger”. This extravagant creation features 450 grams of Wagyu beef, seared foie gras, and black truffle, all encased in a caviar-infused black and 24K gold brioche bun. Your taste buds may sing, but your bank account will weep – prepare to shell out a staggering $1,600! Booking a room here costs at least $540 per night.

Black Gold Burger, the expensive item of room service at Post Oak Hotel in Houston, USA, made of Wagyu beef, foie gras, and black truffle, in a caviar-infused black and 24K gold brioche bun. The burger costs 1,600 dollars.
The Black Gold Burger is three times pricier than the room nightly rate at Post Oak Hotel

Four Seasons – Chicago, USA

Indulge your sweet tooth with in-room ice cream delivery by the Ice Cream Man. Guests of all ages can enjoy this delightful treat while staying in rooms of Four Seasons starting from $570 per night. The memories will be priceless though.

The Plaza Hotel – New York, USA

Home to one of the most legendary room service orders, The Plaza Hotel offers the Home Alone Sundae. This extravagant dessert consists of 16 scoops of ice cream with layers of divine toppings such as whipped cream and brownie bits, all for the price of $300. Experience the indulgence while staying in rooms starting at $761 per night. Still less than Kevin’s bill.

Ashford Castle – County Mayo, Ireland

Not forgetting the little ones, Ashford Castle introduces a delightful twist with its Lego butler service. Kids can select their preferred Lego set, delivered to their room on a silver tray by a butler wearing white gloves. Rooms start at $856 per night, with an additional 40 euros fee for the Lego butler.

Lego butler at Ashford Castle hotel in Ireland, holding a silver tray with displayed Lego set, a special amenity of room service at their property.
Ashford Castle, where child’s play is taken very seriously

The Milestone Hotel Kensington – London, UK

In the land of afternoon tea and royal pageantry, The Milestone Hotel reigns supreme when it comes to the best room service in London hotels. This esteemed hotel takes in-room entertainment to new heights with private concerts by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Suites start at $1,500 per night, with the orchestra’s performance tailored to your preferences.

Kylin Villa Resort – Jeju, South Korea

On Jeju Island in South Korea, a visual feast awaits at Kylin Villa Resort. Here, room service orders are served on a picturesque floating display in villas featuring private pools. Capture unforgettable moments while enjoying rooms starting at $170 per night.

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa – Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Experience the epitome of luxury by having an exquisite meal for two delivered to the deck of your overwater villa in a traditional outrigger canoe. At the stunning InterContinental Bora Bora Resort, the room service delivery itself becomes part of the experience. Villas start at $1,424 per night.

Woman playing a guitar while sitting in a canoe with breakfast; a special room service delivery from the sea at Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort, French Polynesia.
Gentle wake-up in Bora Bora, with music and floating breakfast

Conclusion: Is room service worth it?

Is room service worth it? The answer to this lingering question lies in the realm of your own desires and bank account balance.

Whether you find yourself ordering diet water or savoring a gourmet burger that you’ll need to take a loan for, room service offers a personalized experience that caters to your every whim.

Modern hotels that accept room service challenges are those that redefine luxury today, just like The Waldorf Astoria did back in 1931 Room Service Report has pulled back the curtain of the world of in-room dining, revealing popular food choices, but also a myriad of peculiar requests.

From decadent ice cream sundaes that could send your wallet into cardiac arrest, to lavish private concerts that turn your suite into a symphony hall, room service porn has taken on a whole new level of extravagance and creativity.

Modern properties that accept the room service challenges presented by guests are the ones that redefine luxury today, just like The Waldorf Astoria did back in 1931.

One can hardly put a price on extravagance, but if you can afford it, just dive in! The next time you’re contemplating calling a room service attendant, dare to be adventurous and unleash your imagination. The hotel staff is ready to dance to the tune of your desires. Who knows, your peculiar request might not be the most bizarre thing they’ve encountered.

And after all, they do need something juicy to report for next year’s room service scan.

What are your experiences at hotels with room service? Let us know in the comments!
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At Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort breakfast is being delivered to your overwater villa via a canoe. All around the world, room service has become an epitome of luxury, with hotels competing in delivering unique and extraordinary experiences to their guests. These are the hotels with the best room service out there!

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Ivan Kralj


Award-winning journalist and editor from Croatia

  1. I love room service. At least the idea of room service. On long trips, there is bound to be a night I just don’t want to get ready and sit in a restaurant. And now, I know that Cockle popcorn is gluten-free, it might be ordered more than once a trip (ha ha).

    1. Hey Alexa!
      I totally feel you on the love for room service. It’s like having a personal genie granting your food wishes without having to leave the cozy confines of your room. Who wants to put on real pants and sit in a restaurant when you can indulge in the comfort of your pajamas, am I right?
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and happy room service feasting!

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