We have asked globetrotter Marcus Orbé, co-founder of Amberlair boutique hotels to share his thoughts with us about his love for boutique 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 love to walk in and get a first impression of the hotel. If the boutique hotel doesn’t meet my standards, I will leave and find another one. This is mostly the reason why I don’t like to book more than two nights in advance. Even the best hotels you booked in advance can turn out to be rundown, have bad service or something else is wrong – like they’re in the middle of construction work. Before I start, I do a little research online to get an idea of the local hotels at a destination–with sites like i-escape, Mr and Mrs Smith and Design Hotels. I’m always on the lookout for something genuine and authentic, rich with local influence and plenty of charm. It should meet more or less my definition of a boutique hotel.
If you had to choose 3, which were the most special hotels you have ever stayed at?
Of all the hotels Kristin and I stayed in (and there were so many during the two years we spent travelling the world), it’s hard to say which one was best. They all were so different and unique. There were three, though, that were the opposite of boring and really represented the epitome of a boutique hotel:
What made them so special?
That they are all not alike. All of them had their specialties, each place offered a truly unique experience. One of a kind. It was obvious that they were designed with local influence and authenticity in mind.
The Inle Princess is the best and my favourite luxury boutique hotel in Myanmar, with a beautiful view to the Inle Lake. Everything is eco-friendly and handmade from the local village. The villas are equipped with an outdoor shower and a chimney fired by organic briquets.
Devi Garh is a gorgeously restored old castle close to Udaipur in India. In 10 years they turned a dilapidated castle into a luxury boutique hotel. It has an incredibly serene and relaxing atmosphere.
San Giorgio is a beautifully furnished bohemian style hotel where I could spend the whole summer, located on one of the hip islands in Greece, Mykonos.
If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?
- Personable and happy staff. It’s amazing how much staff who love what they do can elevate the entire guest experience.
- A help-yourself kitchen where guests can hang out and enjoy each other any time of day or night. Just like home.
- Local, authentic design elements by local, authentic designers. Down to the pillow shams.
Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…
- I love personalized service that makes me feel like a special guest right from the word go.
- I feel most comfortable in a hotel with plenty of places to hang out around the hotel so I’m not confined to my room.
- Simple things like a fireplace in my room or a complementary bottle of local red wine upon arrival. Those are the memorable things.
Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.
- A hotel that tries to satisfy any conceivable demand of their guests destroys everything. Be authentic!
- Fresh out-of-the-box design, plastic sun loungers and chairs, hard and stained bed linen.
- Housekeeping staff that knocks on your door early in the morning.
How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?
What can I say? :-) I have a strong conviction that we can call on boutique hotel lovers from around the world to join us and create the perfect boutique hotel together. Our future guests are the most important resource we have, so I prefer to let them bring in their ideas from the beginning and give them a chance to build and identify with our brand.
Where are you off to next?
Kristin and I just returned from a 5-week trip to Italy, so we’re still brainstorming our next trip. In the meantime, though, we’ve received lots of love from travellers around the world to help us find our future boutique hotel location, and we’re planning to launch our crowdfunding campaign this fall.
Marcus Orbé is the the co-founder along with his partner Kristin of Amberlair, the world’s first crowdsourced boutique hotel. He quit his job as a project manger in the aircraft industry to study boutique hotels all over the world. His vision is to set up crowdsourced Amberlair boutique hotels at any great place in the world. Marcus Orbé is based in Hamburg, Germany, when he is not discussing Amberlair with Kristin, he loves reading challenging books and tasting vintage wine.