We have asked Diana Isac, CEO and Co-Founder of Winerist, to share her thoughts with us about her 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?
To me it is always about the authenticity of the place, its location, attention to detail and of course the people who stand behind the brand. I do not remember when was the last time I stayed at a hotel that had more than 30 rooms because I am so used to book spots which are places that are truly special.
If I book for work, it is mostly about visiting our beautiful locations in wine destinations. My time spent there is so limited, I want to ensure that my stay gives me the opportunity to discover what’s so special about the history and heritage of the area, the food and the wine and of course I try to meet the people. It can be the coffee shop owner or a local manufacturer.
When I go on holidays I tend to stay in places where I can feel a little bit as if I am at home away from home. I look for places that have beautiful interiors, comfortable bedrooms, great views, a swimming pool and good breakfast on site. I find that with smaller hotels, you get more character, a more personalised service and better memories.
If you had to choose 3, which were the most special (boutique) hotels you have ever stayed at and what made them so special?
There are so many beautiful places out there. I will focus on memorable stays on my most recent trips:
Relais Borgo Santo Pietro in Tuscany is one of the most spectacular properties which has a lot of history, mesmerising grounds and some of the most beautiful bedrooms I have ever seen. The suite with terrace in the main building is particularly special as are the suites scattered around the garden. The food on location is superb, made with locally sourced ingredients and every evening hosts a special themed dinner. You can also enjoy a wine tasting in the beautifully designed cellar and wine tasting courses, cooking classes and pairings are all available on location. There are some superb wineries and stunning Tuscan villages in the region so I highly suggest you go out and explore!
La Moresca in Sicily has a special place in my heart for many reasons. The main one however is Carlomaria Grassi, the owner who beyond being an exceptional host knows the history, food and wine of the region like the back of his hand. My favourite thing about La Moresca is that it feels like a home. The high ceilings, the beautiful terraces where you can enjoy an aperitif before dinner, the comfortable, large beds. In addition, the beach is a 2 minute walk away as is the promenade where you can find a multitude of local restaurants which serve the catch of the day, paired with a refreshing wine of Grillo. From here you can explore the sites of Noto, Siracusa and Ragusa Ibla – which is one of the most beautiful cities in Sicily with its baroque architecture and 2 Michelin star restaurants, it’s a must for your next trip!
Villa Mangiacane Winery in Tuscany breathes history. A 15th century home build by the Machiavelli family, today this place is transformed into a luxury Wine Estate with a spectacular hotel and spa as well as a well acclaimed winery. Enjoy one of the two swimming pools, the exquisite cuisine available on site and a glass of wine on the terrace of the top floor which gets a good view of the Tuscan hills and the glimpse of the Florence Duomo.
If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?
High quality food available on site, an enviable concierge service so customers can book activities during their trip and comfortable rooms with spacious beds and beautiful views.
Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…
Spectacular views when you wake up in the morning, the eagerness to accommodate and provide a personalised service, activities on site, i.e. cooking classes or delicious, locally sourced breakfasts and dinners on location.
Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.
Obnoxious customer service, lack of attention to cleanliness, noisy rooms, terrible location and lack of direction prior to our trip.
How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?
A great concept based on customer demand and satisfaction. I am excited to see it grow and thrive.
Where are you off to next?
To Miami & the Florida Keys.
Diana is the CEO and Co-Founder of Winerist, the award winning website for wine and food lovers who like to travel. Born in Moldova, based in London, Diana often calls Italy her spiritual home where she spends every possible holiday.
In love with wine, food and everything that wine travel has to offer, Diana prefers off the beaten path holidays, stays in unique homes and boutique hotels and is often seen on Italy’s historic routes with her husband and close group of 6 friends who tend to join her on every wine, food and culture adventure.