We have asked London based luxury travel, food and lifestyle blogger Lauren Hudson of The Lifestyle Diaries, 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?
It really depends who I’m traveling with: if I’m going with my mum then we both want a luxury boutique hotel, so it’s all about reading blogs about hotels, checking Trip Advisor and booking.com ratings and finding one which has all the facilities that we want in the best location for us.
If I’m traveling with my boyfriend, well that’s a totally different story! He would much rather spend on an experience than a hotel, so it’s usually about trying to find the best luxury hotel for the best price – which can be a bit of a challenge, though we’ve always manged to succeed so far! Though I think I’m converting him: every time we stay in a luxury hotel he always loves it!
If you had to choose 3, which were the most special (boutique) hotels you have ever stayed at?
My first choice has to be St Joseph’s, Dubrovnik as it was hands down the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever stayed in. It’s actually an old UNESCO building with original features. I also adored that breakfast was served in the room, almost in an afternoon tea fashion – a real treat! As if it could get any better, every single feature of the hotel was entirely luxurious: the bed was like a cloud, the linens were very high quality, the bathroom was divine and finally, was stocked with The White Company toiletries! It really was a slice of heaven.
I’ve just returned from Marrakech, where we were staying in the Sirayane Boutique Hotel and Spa where the service was unparalleled. Nothing was too much of a problem for the staff, the turn down service was beautiful, with a different arrangement of rose petals every day, and the pool boys always knew which bed you wanted! Our suite was the perfect place to relax after a crazy day in the souk, and even had a small private garden to allow us to enjoy the sun in private. If you’re visiting Sirayane don’t leave without experiencing the spa: the Hammam was incredible – I feel so rejuvenated and my skin was silky soft.
Finally, when we stayed in Galle, Sri Lanka we stayed in Deco on 44, a luxurious art deco hotel, nestled away in the historic UNESCO Galle Fort. Frankly, they serve the best G&Ts I’ve ever had (which is almost a reason to stay here in itself!), the suites are really beautiful, and the pool is a haven on a hot summer’s day! The rooms are some of the best I’ve ever seen.
What made them so special?
It was the attention to detail in each of these hotels that made them so special: the beautiful turn down services, the high quality linens and exquisite decor. One of the main reasons I love boutique hotels is that they feel so homely: you’re not going back to a resort where you are one in a thousand – you’re going somewhere where the staff know you, know which table you would like and know which wine you prefer. In all of these hotels we were made to feel special: as if we were the only guests in the hotel.
If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?
- A good restaurant! It’s a pet peeve of mine when a beautiful hotel is let down by a restaurant that doesn’t match up to the rest of the hotel.
- A cosy lounge area, with it’s own cocktail bar as I like to feel at home when I’m in a boutique hotel. Somewhere with a fire to sit beside in the winter, and a terrace to enjoy a cocktail in the summer.
- A really good pool – and jacuzzi. I love swimming, especially when I’m on holiday and I get really annoyed when a pool is either too crowded – or full of children! For me, a beautiful swimming pool is the real mark of luxury.
Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…
- Breakfast served, in the room, with market fresh ingredients from that morning at St Jospeh’s is something I’ll never forget, it truly was spectacular.
- When we stayed in Jetwing Beach, Negombo, Sri Lanka, we stayed in a gorgeous suite with the most attentive butler I’ve ever had. He was so sweet, always helped us with any requests we had, and on the last night decorated our suite with rose petals, animals made from towels and wrote “Goodbye” on the bed in leaves – it was magical.
- Finally, when we stayed in Southernhay House, Exeter, they serve the most delicious breakfast, which is included in the room rate. A sandwich made of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup – need I say more?
Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.
- Bad bathrooms! I really dislike bathrooms that are too small, cramped and that have bad showers. I’m always disappointed when a beautiful room is let down by a distinctly average bathroom.
- Being a room number and not a name frustrates me, especially if you’re staying at a 5* hotel. If you’re staying in a good hotel, I’d expect the staff to at least know my name – and in the really good hotels I’ve stayed in, they’ve known what we’ve been doing that day.
- Finally, if I’ve booked a double room I’m always upset if I get a twin room. It’s just not the same!
How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?
I love the idea of Amberlair – what could be better to actually tailor a hotel? That way, as tastes change, or people want different things from hotels, it’s those who are crowdsourcing it that can change it! I can’t wait to see the first hotel!
Where are you off to next?
I’m off to New Zealand at the end of the year which I’m so excited about! I’ve never been further than Sri Lanka, but I can’t wait to see what this beautiful island has in store. I’ve also got a surprise weekend away booked for November, but that’s got to stay secret for now. Needless to say, watch my blog and you’ll find out where I’m going!
Lauren Hudson is a London based luxury travel, food and lifestyle blogger who blogs at The Lifestyle Diaries. She’s always looking for her next adventure or meal out. She loves traveling, her favourite trip being her holiday to Sri Lanka last year, and has recently returned from Croatia and Marrkech.