Luxury Car Elevator or Private Observatory? A Look at the Top 10 Quirkiest Apartment Amenities in 2024

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Besides worrying about how to take care of laundry, renters today might also find themselves contemplating whether having a recording studio in their apartment community is a sign to pursue a new career. Or how much a cat-shaped building really improves your renting experience. (We assume a lot, if you’re a cat person, that is.)

Finding the right rental apartment with the right amenities is never easy. In fact, reviewing 200,000 apartment amenities on RentCafe.com (along with some extra online research) confirmed that while the basics — such as an in-unit washer or a modern kitchen space — are still in high demand, standard just isn’t cutting it anymore.

A widescreen image featuring a woman in color, in the center, deep in thought. Above her head, display two distinct thought bubbles.

A woman trying to make a choice between two amenities. This image was generated by DALL·E in April 2024 and is for illustrative purposes only.

Although amenities like these aren’t commonplace just yet, on-site recording studios are increasingly popular. In fact, all sorts of similarly quirky amenities are becoming more accessible in apartment communities throughout the U.S. — which is great news for Millennials and Gen Z renters looking for something a bit out of the ordinary for their next home.

These generations really value making their living spaces reflect their lifestyle as much as possible, whether that means adding smart home tech or even an on-site observatory. Thus, it makes sense that developers are determined to keep up with these demands. Maybe a bit too enthusiastic at times as some amenities are really redefining the meaning of “niche”.

But, what are some of the quirkiest amenities available these days? To find out, we did our research; split the apartment amenities we found into basic and unusual; and identified the 10 quirkiest amenities that 2024 has to offer renters, along with several honorable mentions:

1. Private subway entrance

2. Private observatory

3. Luxury car elevator

4. DNA-based pet waste management system

5. Clocktower loft

6. Cat-themed apartment building

7. Rock-climbing walls

8. Podcasting studio

9. Smart fitness mirror

10. Art studio

Honorable mentions

Yes, you read that right. Not only are all of the amenities mentioned here real, but they’re also possibly laying the foundation for even quirkier ones — like a banana-shaped bathtub, or a Shire-themed apartment building where we can finally see if living like a hobbit is as great as people claim it would be. (Three breakfasts is making a solid case so far.)

But, while waiting to see what other quirky amenities developers might come up with, let’s take a look at the quirkiest ones already on the rental market.

Why run to the platform, when you can access it through your own private subway entrance?

We’ve all heard of private elevators, but some apartment buildings — like the Ava DoBro tower in Brooklyn — are taking it to the next level: Imagine not having to trek all the way down to the subway station. What if you could just step out of your apartment door and right onto the platform? Granted, technically, you’d step into your elevator and then onto your private subway entrance, but we’re willing to make the sacrifice of those few extra steps if it means having fewer stairs to climb.

A high-resolution, widescreen image of a private elevator's doors opening at a cozy subway station during peak travel time.

A private elevator opening in a subway station. This image was generated by DALL·E in April 2024 and is for illustrative purposes only.

While a private subway entrance might seem like a bit of an overindulgence, it’s hard not to see the appeal, especially when it means staying dry and warm instead of braving the rain or cold. This quirky amenity certainly adds an attractive edge to urban living.

Figuring out your star chart is a lot easier when you have a private observatory

Astrology-loving renters in New York City, rejoice! If Mercury has a bad habit of going in retrograde right when a promotion or a long-awaited proposal is on the horizon, you can now stay one step ahead by tracking the planet’s movements yourself. How? By finding an apartment building that has its own private observatory. Yes, it’s that simple.

A widescreen image of a private observatory atop an apartment building.

An observatory atop an apartment building. This image was generated by DALL·E in April 2024 and is for illustrative purposes only.

Truth be told, this is one of the most surprisingly quirky amenities out there. Even so, high-rise buildings with observatories like this one in New York are the perfect spot for renters who enjoy a bit of star chart reading along with their morning (or evening) coffee, thereby adding a unique twist to apartment living.

Introducing luxury car elevators for millionaires tired of hauling groceries upstairs

With millionaire renters on the rise, developers are starting to take notice and trying to answer their renting needs accordingly — sometimes in quirkier ways than expected. For instance, grocery shopping, which is often a test of patience, can become even more daunting when you realize that you have to carry all those bags up the stairs when you get home.

A high-resolution, widescreen, realistic image of a car elevator in the process of loading a luxury car.

A luxury car elevator within an apartment building. This image was generated by DALL·E in April 2024 and is for illustrative purposes only.

What’s a more convenient alternative, you wonder? Having your car parked right outside your kitchen door. Luckily, some developers like those at the Bentley Residences tower have come up with an out-of-the-box solution — car elevators, which speed up the unloading process by several minutes. Of course, assuming that the millionaires who can afford such a luxury feature are doing their own grocery shopping.

Objection! A DNA-based waste management system will prove any pet’s innocence

Every responsible pet owner knows that when it comes to picking up after their furry friends, it’s best to do it quickly and efficiently. But, what happens when you’re wrongly accused of poor pet waste management? Unless you have concrete video evidence of your pet’s innocence, it would be pretty hard to beat the allegations — but not if you live in an apartment community that utilizes DNA profiling for pet waste.

A widescreen, high-resolution image of a DNA-based pet waste management profiling kit.

A DNA-based pest waste management kit. This image was generated by DALL·E in April 2024 and is for illustrative purposes only.

Thanks to this quirky amenity, potentially awkward conversations with your landlord could turn into scenes reminiscent of a “Law & Order” episode, where a DNA sample from your pet can help solve the mystery by proving that you’re a responsible pet owner. (Or, perhaps that your pet has a secret relative causing mayhem in your apartment community.)

Clocktower lofts are a dream come true for your punctual friends

While interior design trends might come and go, some features simply never fade out of style — often because we never pegged them as a style to begin with. While living in a warehouse-turned-clocktower loft like this one in Brooklyn might not be the typical choice for many renters’ first apartment, its allure is undeniable.

A widescreen image of a clocktower loft showing a view of the city during sunrise.

View from a clocktower loft overlooking the city. This image was generated by DALL·E in April 2024 and is for illustrative purposes only.

Besides serving as an excellent timekeeper (who needs an alarm clock when you have a giant one for a window?), the massive clock face offers a gorgeous view of the city. Plus, it makes for a prime spot if you ever decide to start a career as a vigilante crime fighter.

9 out of 10 cats agree that cat-themed apartment buildings are a must 

Ask any cat lover what’s better than a cat, and they’ll tell you it’s a trick question: There’s nothing better than a cat. Not even a cat-themed apartment building, but that would definitely come in a close second.

A high-resolution widescreen image of a whimsical apartment building subtly inspired by cats, with an enhanced background setting.

A cat-themed apartment building. This image was generated by DALL·E in April 2024 and is for illustrative purposes only.

Imagine a building adorned with a feline statue right at the entrance; a rooftop that mimics the shape of a cat’s head; and cat-shaped outlines on various pieces of furniture, such as cabinets and stairway grates (which, incidentally, are perfect spots for a cat to lounge). This apartment amenity is as quirky as it is adorable, making it a delightful haven for cat enthusiasts in Catford.

Climbing the Everest sounds like a lot, so we’re sticking to in-building rock-climbing walls

Living in a rental apartment can be challenging for parents with young children, especially if it lacks amenities such as a swimming pool or a playground — and even those aren’t much help if the weather outside is bad. After all, there’s only so many ways you can entertain kids indoors before turning on “Paw Patrol” for your peace of mind.

A widescreen image of a modern apartment building featuring an integrated rock-climbing wall visible through large glass panels on one side.

An apartment building with a rock-climbing wall and outdoor slide. This image was generated by DALL·E in April 2024 and is for illustrative purposes only.

However, this is not the case if you’re living in what is essentially a giant playground house equipped with a rock-climbing wall and a giant slide, as is the case in the SkyHouse. Yes, you read that right: This unusual amenity is not only a fantastic way for families with kids to keep little ones active even during rainy days, but it also allows adults bring out their inner child without ever leaving home.

Call us crazy but we’ve always loved the idea of an in-building podcasting studio

From Facebook to Spotify to TikTok, the appeal of a social media career is just one click away — and now, thanks to this quirky amenity, just an elevator ride away. What many people probably fail to realize is that, besides having a good sense of humor, great hair and the knack for telling a story in less than two minutes (yes, we’re timing!), aspiring social media stars also need to keep equipment in mind.

A widescreen image of a podcasting studio, complete with equipment.

A podcasting studio within an apartment building. This image was generated by DALL·E in April 2024 and is for illustrative purposes only.

Lights, a green screen and a soundproofed room might not seem like much, but they could make a huge difference in creating the next viral TikTok. So, we can’t help but agree with Los Angeles developers who are keeping influencers in mind when it comes to building new apartments.

Smart fitness mirrors are perfect when the only exercise buddy you need is you

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the lack of a gym is not an obstacle for the average fitness warriors: Nothing can make them skip leg day. While apartment buildings in the U.S. already feature gym rooms, fitness mirrors are becoming increasingly popular among renters who are short on time and space.

A widescreen image of a young woman exercising in her modern apartment, guided by a smart fitness mirror.

Woman exercising in front of a smart fitness mirror. This image was generated by DALL·E in April 2024 and is for illustrative purposes only.

These innovative tools come with nifty features like AI that can recommend exercises, as well as the added perk that they provide introverted fitness enthusiasts the privacy they need to accomplish their workouts. Imagine getting to exercise only to your curated playlist of favorite songs — or perhaps just “Eye of the Tiger” on repeat.

Having an in-building art studio may not turn us into Andy Warhol, but it certainly has its benefits

Have you ever wondered if Andy Warhol’s early career might have been less challenging if he hadn’t struggled to make ends meet? The same hands that crafted vibrant silkscreens also counted pennies at the grocery store. While the idea of the “starving artist” may carry a certain romantic appeal, it’s far from practical. Turns out that artists today still need money to pay for things like food and supplies to create more art. That’s why this particular amenity is ideal for renters with an artistic inclination.

A widescreen image showcasing a lively art studio nestled within an apartment building, with enhanced clarity and detail.

An art studio within an apartment building. This image was generated by DALL·E in April 2024 and is for illustrative purposes only.

Unsurprisingly, buildings like the Meadow that offer art studios as an amenity are pretty rare, but they provide a wonderful outlet for renters with children and anyone looking to spend an evening debating the merits of Cubism.

Honorable mentions

Methodology

RentCafe.com is a nationwide apartment search website that enables renters to easily find apartments and houses for rent throughout the U.S.

To compile this list we analyzed more than 200,000 amenities from rental apartments available on RentCafe.com, as well as various other online sources. 

Fair use and redistribution

We encourage you and freely grant you permission to reuse, host, or repost the research, graphics, and images presented in this article. When doing so, we ask that you credit our research by linking to RentCafe.com or this page, so that your readers can learn more about this project, the research behind it and its methodology. For more in-depth, customized data, please contact us at media@rentcafe.com.

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Adina Dragos is a creative writer at RentCafe, with a passion for reading, research and cats. As a fellow renter, Adina's articles cover various topics such as the state of the real estate market or how creative interior design choices improve the experience of living in a rental. She also enjoys exploring subjects like urbanization, green living and historical buildings. Adina has a BA in English and Norwegian Language and Literature.

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