We have asked Alex Pollock, the Group Managing Director of SocMedSup.com & GOATx.co with a huge love for travel, to share his thoughts with us about his love for hotels, and Amberlair, of course. And before you ask, a #BohoLover is a Boutique Hotel lover… just like us!
How do you choose a hotel when you travel?
For me, it’s all dependent on the objective of my trip. There are occasions where I want to be in the heart of the action; others where I much prefer to be tucked away in the middle of nowhere.
And sometimes I’m traveling for business.
Social media really helps when looking for places to stay, once a destination is confirmed. There’s a lot to be said for recommendations from trusted and respected sources.
Once I have a few hotels in mind, I’ll always give TripAdvisor, Facebook Reviews and Google a quick check to help me confirm my choice.
If you had to choose 3, which were the most special (boutique) hotels you have ever stayed at and what made them so special?
The Z Hotel & Kidoti Villas in Zanzibar are top of my list at the moment, with Tanzania a destination I visit a couple of times a year now – both for business and leisure. The property’s a classy boutique located right on the beach of Nungwi, which was recently voted in the top 25 world beaches. Pure bliss, and sunset-central.
Any property in the portfolio of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. They’re all in fantastic locations, ooze luxury, and I’ve found them hard to beat for the all-round customer experience.
The College Hotel in Amsterdam: the mix of classic and contemporary style throughout the property made it so easy on the eye. The team there is built on a hybrid of experience hospitality staff and students from various schools/colleges around the city. And because of that, everyone staff member you encounter has real passion and enthusiasm!
If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?
- You could be sure there’d always be super-fast, free WIFI throughout the property and grounds – and by free, I mean a single-click connection. No email input required.
- I’d like staff to get to know the guests before they arrived, to try and personalise their stay a little more – a short survey a week before they check-in would land in their inbox, and it would be their choice whether to complete it or not. Knowing things like dietary, drink and pillow preferences is a win-win for all involved.
- Final one is simple: USB and power outlets within arms-reach of each side of the bed!
Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…
- A lot can be said for a strong amenity pack in the bathroom. And to name a few that stick in my mind; The Painswick in The Cotswolds, the Wynn Las Vegas, and Dream Downtown in New York City.
- I’m also a big fan of hotels which provide guests with water in their rooms. Properties within the JA Hotel & Resorts portfolio provide complimentary bottles of water on a daily basis, and The Painswick places a jug of fresh water and a couple of glasses on the bed-side table.
I stayed at The Angler’s in Miami’s South Beach, and was paying $3 for a small bottle of water in the room, $6 for a large. The bill after 5 night’s was large.
- Finally, I always make contact with my hotel before I travel – whether that’s front-of-house or the concierge. If I have any special requests, I can give the hotel notice rather than requesting on arrival. And it sometimes helps to have some local knowledge regarding restaurants, bars and things-to-do. So I like which hotels which give me access to concierge support beforehand.
Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.
- Food poisoning
- Rude staff or
- Dirty sheets. I don’t think there’s much more really to be said on those!
How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?
Gutted that Spain didn’t win! That was my first choice. My one and only experience of Italy as a destination wasn’t that great, so I’ve never been back. Perhaps Amberlair will give me a reason to now…
Amberlair’s is a great way of building a community around a common interest, and I wish the team behind it all the success. I can’t wait to see the final product!
Where are you off to next?
I’ve a short-haul trip coming up to Gibraltar, for a few night’s stay on the Sunborn – the world’s only 5 star “super-yacht” hotel.
And I’ve a long-haul trip coming up too, heading to Zanzibar for a week to stay at a fabulous boutique property; The Z Hotel, before flying home via Dubai for a week or so, where I’m yet to choose a hotel!
Alex Pollock (socialPolly) is a businessman with a huge love of travel. He founded Social Media Support in 2015, offering strategic online marketing advice and content development to large corporates and start-ups across the globe. Brands that he’s worked with over the years include; BP, Facebook and Hilton.
More recently, he co-founded the online service BePro, which takes raw format footage from amateur GoPro users and edits them into professional-looking highlight videos, helping them to “Relive The Adventure”.