How do you choose a hotel when you travel?
I am usually traveling with one or more children so I look for hotels that are family friendly. I don’t mean that they have video games and chicken nuggets, I look for suites with adjoining bedrooms, rooms with bath tubs (very important for small children) and a seating area where we can relax. I follow a few tastemakers on social media whose opinions I trust completely, I also do research online but am very picky about the sources I choose.
If you had to choose 3, which were the most special hotels you have ever stayed at and what made it so special?
The Shangri-La in Paris has the best service, best view and most spectacular suites.
The Four Seasons in Dubai is a stunning mix of modern and middle eastern architecture, the pool is gorgeous, the spa sublime and the rooms are large with fabulous walk in closets.
The St. Regis in New York will always be a perennial favorite, their butler service is second to none and I am a sucker for old school luxury.
If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?
- Extraordinary service. No hotel can have a lovely enough decor or setting to overcome mediocre service.
- Included amenities, I hate being nickeled and dimed-give me bottled water at my bedside, free wi-fi and hot coffee without charging me for goodness sakes.
- Fabulous bedding, nothing ruins a good hotel like a nasty bedspread that you know never gets washed or pillows that aren’t plump, spend the money on glorious bedding, it’s worth it.
- Oh, and good bathroom products as well.
Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…
- At the Greenwich Hotel in NY they have a basket of treats in every room free of charge, I can’t explain why free Cracker Jacks thrilled me, but they did.
- The pre-arrival questionnaire at Twin Farms in Vermont meant that I was served all of the food that I loved and everything in my room was exactly to my taste.
- Little bedtime gifts are so thoughtful, from a book at Blantyre to little flashlights at Caneel Bay, a treat at turndown makes a stay special.
Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.
- Staff that have no interest in helping you, Bolongo Bay.
- Housekeeping that does a shoddy job, a Ritz that shall remain nameless.
- A dirty beach. Same Ritz.
How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?
It’s beyond brilliant, I always tell my children to ask people what they want, don’t assume that you know.
Where are you off to next?
My youngest and I are leaving for Costa Rica with Adventures by Disney in a few days, we will be gone for a week, changing hotels every night, zip lining, swimming with turtles and more. I’m excited and a little nervous about how he’ll do with all the non-stop travel.
Kim-Marie Evans is a luxury travel expert and journalist. She travels the world as Contributing Editor for travel for Greenwich Magazine, and with her children for her award winning blog Luxury Travel Mom. She is well regarded in the travel industry for her insight and unflinchingly honest opinions.