Peter Greenberg knows hotels. The travel editor of NBC's "Today" show (and a former NEWSWEEK correspondent), Greenberg logs 400,000 air miles a year and spends many months--up to eight a year--living away from home. Maybe too many. He's developed such a hotel habit that, when he began planning his house in Sherman Oaks, Calif., he realized that what he really wanted in a home was all the comforts of a great hotel. Greenberg checked into his new house last month; he calls it "home suite hotel."
The house is a collection of five-star touches. In the bathroom, the waterfall showerhead is from the Savoy Hotel in London, the high-tech remote-control ToTo toilet is from the Tokyo Park Hyatt and the whirlpool bathtub is from the Peninsula in Hong Kong. The floor matches the limestone tiles in the Four Seasons Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii. The custom cabinetry throughout the house comes from the folks who made the furniture for the Regent Hotel in Bangkok. The kitchen is equipped with the Sub Zero and Viking appliances Greenberg admired at New York's Mark Hotel (appliances, yes; room service, no).
How did he get his hands on these furnishings? He bought them. Lots of high-end hotels sell "ours-alone" items. At Four Seasons' hotels, guests--including Julia Roberts and Oprah Winfrey--have bought the custom-made, $999 Sealy mattress; it's on sale in the gift shop. The New York Four Seasons alone sells an average of eight beds a week. The W hotel chain sells its wares through a catalog. At the exclusive Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur, Calif., virtually everything's for sale. Ditto at the superchic Mondrian in Los Angeles--items in rooms carry discreet price tags; lift up a lamp, and you'll likely find the price under the base. Prices for most hotel furnishings are about what you would pay in a retail store.
The upside of furnishing your home like a hotel: you know what you're buying. "You can test drive your hotel room," Greenberg says. "And if there's something you like, ask if you can buy it. Chances are you can." The downside: Greenberg's friends are always asking him, "Where's the gift shop?"