Sure, it's a clean fight, but who knew hotels (and consumers) cared so much about bathroom amenities?
How you bathe is important to upscale properties. They care not only that you're clean and dry, but that you enjoyed the process more at their property than at a competitor's. The staff of the Maison Orléans, The Ritz-Carlton's first boutique hotel, worked itself into a lather trying some of the world's most exclusive bath products in search of amenities that would evoke the loyalty of the Ritz's discriminating clientele and the ambience of New Orleans' French Quarter.

Bourbon French Parfums, a New Orleans perfumery established in 1843, had a special formula that offered just the right amount of cachet. It had been originally developed in anticipation of Napoleon Bonaparte's planned visit to New Orleans in the 18th century. That visit never happened, but the bath formula endured and passed through generations of New Orleans perfumers.

Maison Orléans' special lemon-verbena product line is based on that centuries-old formula, and the staff is quick to tout its attributes: rich; neither feminine nor masculine; and in sync with the tradition, culture, and history of the city. Not bad for soap.

"Where the rate justifies it, [stocking unique bath amenities] is worth it to the property as guests perceive greater value and their stay seems more worthwhile," says George Beier, president of Lodging Concepts, which manufactures and distributes personal-care products to the hospitality industry. "You wouldn't expect cotton balls, slippers, robes, and minibars at a hotel for $49.95 a night, but you would, and should, expect those things at a hotel where you're spending $350-plus a night."