We have asked hospitality aficionado Nadia Gallo to share her thoughts with us about her love for travel and 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?
It all depends if I´m travelling for leisure or work, which makes a very big difference in my needs but not in my preferences. In both cases there is one thing in common; I try to book independent hotels with less than 100 rooms or small hotel chains. There are many reasons why I do this, but mostly it is because I believe in the individuality of each hotel which in a way, represents the city or country which is located and do not like standardized hotels. I need that personalized service that in my opinion is easier to find in these type of properties and some time is taken for granted in bigger ones or massive international chains. Also I must say that I do not “believe” in the actual hospitality star rating system, therefore, the number of stars will not be a conditioning fact for me when choosing a hotel anywhere in the world.
If you had to choose 3, which were the most special (boutique) hotels you have ever stayed at and what made them so special?
Casa do Batán – Viveiro, Lugo – Spain: This is an independently owned very small (3 suites) only adults hotel where you feel that special luxury service I refer to. The ambience, the local products they use, homemade meals, the atmosphere, the sound of the two river nearby, the forest that surrounds this beautiful property. The couple who owns the hotel are there for you 24h taking care of all your needs including (I love this!) preparing breakfast for you at any time of the day!! That is luxury for me.
Danai Beach Resort – Halkidiki – Greece: Less than 80 suites and rooms with a private beach, butler service and all type of commodities without being ostentatious .The owner himself is most of the times on the grounds to speak and entertain the guests.
Finca Cortesin – Casares – Spain: Eye for detail is one of the main mottos for this hotel and they totally exceed it, if they know what you like they will go head over heels to have it ready for you. As an example, they serve personalized buffet breakfast at your own table, yes, you read correctly, your own buffet all set for you on your table. The grounds are also to mention with extensive gardens and beautiful pools where even with a full house you will believe the hotel is not even half booked.
Cap Rocat – Mallorca – Spain: One of those special hotels you could only find in Mallorca, a military fortress with very few suites and stunning location for relaxation. Again service and food is impeccable at this hotel.
If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?
- Staff are the heart & soul of a hotel and their wellbeing gets reflected in the service. This is not an easy task at all but my number one focus will be to ensure their happiness making sure they love their job and what they do.
- Might seem contradictory with my other point, but high-tech should always be a must. Small things such as enough sockets in the rooms, appropriate apps for guests to use and make their life easier as well as updated social media amongst other things that I consider to be essential for hospitality now a days.
- No reception as we all know it, no desk with a “person” behind the counter, the guest will be greeted by the receptionist or the concierge at arrival with a glass of wine, champagne or even if we know they have a preference for a cocktail we will prepare that cocktail to surprise them. Most of the paper work should had been done in advanced (Passport, credit card, etc) and the few things that are missing will be asked while they enjoy their drink and their luggage is taken to the room.
All this keeping in mind that my ideal boutique hotel should not have more than 30-40 Rooms.
Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…
- In my case it is all about small details. I like it when they remember my name if I´m a returned guest and they totally have me if they recall my preferences (food, pillow, wine, room views, etc..)
- Personalized service in general is the key. High quality amenities is a must, tired of all same names and brands, amenities are often taken from granted in hotels.
- Few weeks ago I stayed at a hotel in Budapest that offered 24h whatsapp concierge service and decided to use it (more as an experiment to be honest) they booked me a restaurant for lunch, changed my transfer time for the airport and ordered room service. All of these done within minutes and no mistakes. I must say that this was actually quite a big hotel with more than 200 rooms, impressive.
Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.
- As horrible as it might sound, I despise waiting in line whether it is for food, information or any other thing during my vacation, therefore buffets is something I try to avoid. Unfortunately not an easy task these days.
- First thing I do when I enter my hotel room is opening the curtains and windows, I normally request high floors. Once stayed at a beautiful hotel, forgot to specify this and they gave me an interior room with almost no natural day light.
- Going to a hotel either for work or leisure and being under construction is a nightmare, always ask if there is any of these going on and how this will affect your stay before booking. Same goes for out of order outlets; spa, restaurants, etc…
How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?
Love it! Putting all the travels ideas together and choosing what is best for this stunning project. Hope you have great fun doing so and I’m happy to be a small tiny part of this.
Where are you off to next?
London in a week… work, just for one night, but I’m planning my family Christmas vacation and we are thinking Dubai for the first time, no hotel has been decided yet!
I am Nadia Gallo. Hospitality has been my passion since a very early age when my parents taught me to appreciate every culture together with the hotel business through our numerous travels. I studied Hospitality Management at Les Roche and I´m proud to say that since the day I fished collage I never stopped working and loving this industry. I worked in almost every department there is in a hotel, something everyone should do in order to have an appropriate perspective.