#BoHoLover: Meet Jean Carmela of @holysmithereens

We have asked travel blogger Jean Carmela of Holy Smithereens, 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!

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Meet Jean Carmela of Holy Smithereens #boholover



How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

Location is key, and it also depends on what our agenda is in the city. I also am a big lover of hotel bathrooms and have on a few occasions, chosen the hotel based on the bathroom. Yes it sounds “Loo-dicrous”, what can I say, I’m a big fan of hotel bathrooms. But more important than the bathrooms are customer service. When I read reviews of amazing customer service, I’d like to experience that for myself too.


Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Meet travel blogger Jean Carmela of Holy Smithereens at Leobo Private Reserve Sweet Lodge Dook #boholover

Bathrooms are priority! Leobo Private Reserve South Africa. Photo by hotel.



If you had to choose 3, which were the most special hotels you have ever stayed at?

If I had to choose, I would say Portrait Firenze in Florence, Italy, the Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere in Paris and The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong.



What made them so special?

I absolutely am impressed and in love with the service of Portrait Firenze. I lost my camera on the way to Florence, and the way the hotel staff tirelessly helped me in trying to obtain it back (even if I lost it before arriving at the hotel)  and then filing a police report, you’d think it was them who lost a camera!

The location and amenities of Hotel Fouquet’s Barriere in Paris were memorable. It is a minute’s walk from Avenue des Champs-Élysées (not to mention you get a view of the Eiffel from the bathroom) , and they really take great efforts in finding out your preferences prior to arrival – from number of pillows, firmness (or softness), welcome music when you enter the room, down to the colour of flowers on your arrival, so there’s a feeling of “arriving home” the moment you set foot in your room.

The bathroom of Hong Kong’s The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is one of a kind. I’m a sucker for unique hotel bathroom designs, and The Landmark’s bathrooms are the main focal points of their rooms. I felt like I entered a modern, luxurious bathroom that came with a bedroom, (and not the other way around), which is just my order of preference.


Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel Holysmithereens Fouquets Barriere Paris #BoHoLover: Meet Jean of Holy Smithereens @holysmithereens

Fouquet’s Barriere Paris: All the details in this room had touches of my preferences



If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?

I shall abolish time frames for breakfast, and make sure that anyone who wants to have breakfast at anytime during the day will have it. Breakfast for lunch, dinner, or midnight snack!
I’ll also make sure that all hairdryers are industrial sized, and that all staff are happy with what they do – because this is definitely felt by guests.


Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Meet Jean Carmela of Holy Smithereens #boholover



Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…

At the Sofitel Bora Bora Private Island, they provided a his and hers welcome gift. It included a Polynesian sarong / wrap for women. A staff member came in to specifically show me the various ways of wearing the sarong and she was very patient and nice about it too. I appreciated the human touch / element that came with an otherwise beautiful-but-not-exactly-unforgettable gift!

At the Shangri-la Maldives, they gave us a small mobile phone in order to reach our butler / call for a buggy / speak to reception , etc whenever and wherever in the resort we may be. A small gesture but indeed very useful and convenient.
Genuine care and service is always appreciated, especially when staff demonstrate intuitive gestures, such as: A hotel doorman from The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong stopping me on my way out of the hotel (just to stroll around the city) and he ran to the restaurant and brought back with him a bottle of water as he thought the heat might be too much for me to take.


Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Meet Jean Carmela of Holy Smithereens at Shangrila Villingili Resort on the Maldives #boholover

Shangri-la Maldives. Photo by hotel: Ensures service is always within reach.



Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.

– Breakfast times that either end too early or have a very short time frame
– Luxury / Boutique hotels that still charge for WiFi (it still happens, sadly)
– Housekeeping that enters the room by mistake



How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

I feel really excited about Amberlair. It’s a hotel for the people, by the people and it’s going to revolutionise the way hotels are built and conceptualised. In choosing the Amberlair location, the world is indeed your oyster, there’s many, many possibilities!



Where are you off to next?

I’m doing the unusual by embracing the Australian winter (Take me to the beach anytime!) and going on a skiing trip to the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales.


Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Meet travel blogger Jean Carmela of Holy Smithereens #boholover


With a background in the airline industry and government travel, Jean Carmela Lim is currently a full-time creator of travel content online on her luxury and adventure travel blog, Holy Smithereens, and social media channels.

Always in pursuit of the perfect resort, she is based in Australia and loves luxury travel, but will be up at the call of a good adventure as well. Jean Carmela also writes for the World Travel Market blog.

Follow Jean Carmela on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


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  1. […] two years ago involved extreme brainstorming among the global travel community. So when Amberlair asked me what my idea of a perfect boutique luxury hotel is, I didn’t spare any […]

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