An all-you-can eat chocolate bar on Friday and Saturday nights at the Peninsula Chicago. Chair massages and guided meditation at the Affinia Gardens in New York. Watercolors, etchings and ink drawings on display at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington.

Even as hotels post record occupancies, some are looking for other ways to make money. In many cases, they have turned to their public spaces, seeing them as more than simply passageways to somewhere else. Instead, the hotels have come up with ways to entice their guests to linger in those spaces, and perhaps, spend more money.

"If you add a chocolate bar, that's a space that was not revenue-producing, and now it creates revenue," said Reneta McCarthy, lecturer at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

Even supposedly free amenities in the public spaces generate indirect earnings, she said. "Don't kid yourself — these things are all about getting a higher room rate," Ms. McCarthy said. "An art collection helps the customers feel like they're getting more value."

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