We have asked Amsterdam-based luxury travel blogger Keith Jenkins of Velvet Escape, 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?
I ask around on social media for suggestions and I search on booking engines. The most important factors I take into account when choosing a hotel are: location, comfort/hygiene of and amenities in the room, and service levels. I have a preference for hotels with a unique character in terms of history, design, location or cuisine. In this sense, the hotel becomes a destination in itself and not simply a place to sleep at night.
If you had to choose 3, which were the most special hotels you have ever stayed at?
Mashpi Lodge – an amazing lodge in the cloud forests of Ecuador.
Sofitel Motu Bora Bora – a resort on a private island in the Bora Bora lagoon.
Phinda Private Game Reserve – a stunning safari lodge in South Africa.
If I could add a fourth, I recently stayed at Hotel Pacai in Vilnius, Lithuania.
What made them so special?
They’re special for different reasons. Mashpi Lodge combines cutting-edge architecture with stunning views, top notch service and excellent food. I loved Sofitel Motu primarily because of its incredible location on an island in the breathtaking Bora Bora lagoon with jaw-dropping views of the lagoon and the mountains. I will never forget sitting on the deck of my overwater bungalow just before sunset with a cocktail in hand and watching colourful fish, baby sharks and rays swim right under me! The Phinda Private Game Reserve is perhaps the best safari lodge I’ve ever stayed at due to its amazing suites, fabulous service and ditto food. As for Hotel Pacai, it’s housed in a historic palace (Napoleon once addressed the townsfolk from the balcony) that has been impeccably restored, blending historic elements with stunning contemporary design.
If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?
- A top-notch coffee-maker and well-stocked open mini-bar in each room.
- A plunge pool and outdoor shower with a view!
- I’ll make sure my staff call my guests by their names.
Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…
It’s always the small touches that make the difference wherever I stay. Here are 3 things I’ll never forget:
- A surprise gift when I checked out of the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong. It was a small bottle of perfume, exactly the same scent they use in the hallways. A great memento of my stay there.
- At the Four Seasons Hotel in Amman, Jordan, I was impressed when I returned to my room after a day of touring to find my clothes neatly folded/hung in the closet, my shoes were polished, and my sunglasses were cleaned and neatly placed atop a fresh cloth.
- At the Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur, I loved the personalised pillow cases with my initials embroidered on them.
Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.
- Housekeeping that knocks on your door at 8am.
- A butler who tries too hard to impress.
- A dirty room and/or bathroom.
How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?
I think it’s a brilliant concept and I hope Ambelair will produce the world’s best boutique hotel based on travellers’ tastes. Key to me will be the location, ambiance, design and level of service (warm and attentive but not overbearing).
Where are you off to next?
My next trip takes me to Bologna in Italy.
Keith Jenkins is the Founder and Publisher of the Velvet Escape luxury travel blog. Based in Amsterdam, Keith left his ten-year investment banking career to travel the world and carve out a new career as a travel blogger and social media advocate.
Keith has visited more than 80 countries across six continents. In addition to being a travel blogger, he is the CEO of iambassador – the world’s leading international travel blogger network – a company he founded in 2011. He also speaks often at travel and social media conferences about online marketing and blogger collaboration.
Keith Jenkins is also the co-founder of the Global Bloggers Network, a community of more than 3,000 travel bloggers. Keith has been featured in The New York Times, BBC Travel, Lonely Planet, National Geographic Traveler, and has spoken at TEDxTalk.