Fairmont Hotels
Credit: Fairmont Hotels

Did you know sound travels 4.4 times faster underwater? It explains how whales manage to communicate so effectively across vast subaqueous habitats. It also makes the Park Hyatt New York’s classical-themed underwater playlist that much easier to hear.

Whether it’s napping in zero-gravity “sound chairs,” or luxuriating over the world’s largest Tibetan singing bowl, sonic amenities are primed to become the next big hotel extravagance. It’s a natural progression—more visceral than highfalutin’ lobby art, yet subtler (and some would argue, more useful) than a robot butler.

Here, a collection of hi-fi hotel audio experiences that truly make our ears perk up. Hear, hear!

Underwater Music

Hotel Unique
Credit: Hotel Unique

If you enjoy swimming along to a soundtrack, then these hotel pools will be music to your ears. At places like W Vieques, Hotel Unique São Paulo (above), and London’s One Aldwych, curated playlists chime out through custom-built underwater speaker systems, though each hotel puts its own spin on the submerged amenity—mellow house beats keep the party going at W Vieques, while at Park Hyatt New York, it’s nothing but Debussy, Ravel and Saint-Saens.

Sound rooms

Need a place to doze that’s not your room? The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess (pictured at top) is the latest hotel to offer purpose-built ‘sound rooms.’ That’s right—inside the serene, lavender-scented space, guests can take 60-minute naps inside zero-gravity ergonomic chairs that send acoustic vibrations through the whole body, thus cradling the listener in a “massage of sound.”

Recording studios

El Ganzo
Credit: El Ganzo

When the muse strikes—and you’re on vacation—don’t let that melody go to waste. El Ganzo (above), a stylish 72-room hotel in San Jose del Cabo has a 1,700-square foot recording studio hidden beneath the lobby, allowing musicians to lay down tracks without eating into precious pool time. (In Jamaica, Bjork and Alicia Keys have recorded at the Geejam Hotel’s state-of-the-art facility.) Need a rehearsal space? Frankfurt’s 25hours Hotel is famous for its Gibson Music Room, equipped with a drum kit and other instruments by the Tennessee-based guitar manufacturer.

High-end speaker systems

The Mark
© 2014 Francesco Tonelli - All Rights Reserved
| Credit: Francesco Tonelli/ The Mark

Some hotel guests, upon first entering their room, might inspect the minibar, or peel back the curtains to check out the view. But for audiophiles, it’s all about those speakers. The Dolder Grand in Zurich, and NYC’s The Mark (above) are just a few of the luxury hotels who partner exclusively with Bang & Olufsen on all guest room gadgets. In London, all rooms at The Savoy feature sleek Ruark R2i stereo systems, which feature “3D sound processing” and even connect to your Spotify account.

Sound therapy

Palace Hotel Luzern
Credit: Palace Hotel Luzern

Go beyond the usual hot stone massages and Vichy showers, and opt instead for sound therapy at the Palace Hotel Luzern, a Leading Hotel of the World (above). Equipped with the world’s largest Tibetan singing bowl, guests are strapped into a hammock over the giant vessel, which reverberates with a thousand frequencies. Meanwhile, at places like AKA Beverly Hills, Standard Miami Beach and Johannesburg’s Saxon Hotel, guests can book sound healing sessions that involve crystal bowls, gongs and tiny bells.