We have asked Charlie Osmond of Triptease, to share his thoughts with us about his love for boutique 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?
I’m bi-modal. On business I keep it simple. I go for price and proximity with a minimum quality standard (e.g. over 8.7 review score on a closed-loop rating system like booking.com). I tend to favour new hotels as their wifi is often better and even budget hotels can be great when they are new.
When it comes to family travel the process is far more arduous. Often we’ll start with an approximate destination and then I’ll spend hours reading CN Traveller, Afar, travel blogs and T&L Magazine. In the past I used to seek extensive hotel input from the family. I’ve found that this risks adding a week or two to the planning, so I now just pick one and then attempt to explain why (and cross my fingers that a divorce papers don’t get issued).
Swimming is really important to me on holiday. It’s a real treat to have a great lap pool. So I never book a family vacation without first checking the pool in detail. Receptionists rarely know the length of a pool so I usually measure it from the satellite photos on Google Maps.
If you had to choose 3, which were the most special (boutique) hotels you have ever stayed at and what made them so special?
Villa D’Este on the bank of Lake Como in Italy. You can cycle into the mountains, swim in the lake (so long as nobody notices you jump in) and enjoy an exquisite view of the sun setting over the lake as you sip a pre-dinner prosecco.
The Chedi in Muskat,Oman. Three fabulous swimming pools. One of them is 105m long. What more can I say!
Four Seasons in Orlando, USA. A fabulous new hotel in the Disney Parks area. This is definitely top of my children’s list for a repeat visit. The service and food are great and it also boasts a private mini-waterpark.
If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?
- Free drinks – wine before dinner, water in the minibar and nespresso all day
- Golf carts for each villa. With the speed limiters taken off
- A room for painting. Blank canvas’, lots of paints, other guests’ work on the walls and a glorious view
Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…
- The restaurant/bar in Hotel Costes, Paris – it’s more of a catwalk than a restaurant. The models yell at each other with no regard for the guests. Fabulous fun
- The shower in my room at The Surrey in New York – I have always regarded showers as a functional experience. The strength of this one was insane. I stood there forever enjoying it.
- The charm of La Bandita Townhouse. I can’t even put my finger on it. Such personal care put into the development and management of that special boutique hotel.
Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.
- I like to put things in my mini-bar. I saw a sign recently that threatened a $25 fee for adding my own kitkat.
- In Vegas they closed the pool because of a little rain. madness.
- Incorrect overcharges at checkout
How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?
I am a big fan of crowdsourcing, so I love the premise. I do think it is hard to create great ‘art’ via committee as consensus can drive middling outcomes. But I think the opportunity to pre-build community is fascinating and can far outweigh any design (in its broadest sense) compromises. After all, people make the place.
Where are you off to next?
Madrid today. Barcelona tomorrow.
Charlie Osmond, Chief Tease at Triptease. Hotels prefer guests who book direct. Charlie launched Triptease to help hotels improve their websites and increase direct bookings. Before Triptease, Charlie launched two other successful companies. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Esquire Magazine and recently moved from London to New York because “it’s a f*cking sexy city. I love it”