The escalation in hotel services and amenities is industrywide, bringing fancy bedding and designer toiletries to even modest places, said Robert Mandelbaum, Atlanta-based director of research information services for PKF Consulting, an international firm of hotel and tourism industry consultants.

"In good times the whole threshold of service rises, even in economy and midscale properties," he said. "It raises the bar for luxury properties."

U.S. hotels have plenty to spend because the economic recovery that began in 2004 has increased profits, room rates and occupancies. Top-tier chains have fared best, Mandelbaum said, last year logging the biggest percentage growth in occupancy and rates of any hotel type.

After investing millions in spas and other upgrades in the last several years, these hotels now look to cutting-edge services to rise above the crowd.

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