Boutique hotel lover and French mum, Stéphanie Bonnet of From the Poolside blog, tells us about hotels, travel, and her thoughts on Amberlair. Just like us, she’s a #BohoLover, a Boutique Hotel lover.
How do you choose a hotel when you travel?
We have a list of requirements as long as our arms!!! The first and foremost is that there is a true sense of intimacy and being “special”, as in “you’re the only one who ever found this place and you’re so lucky”. That means that location is a key criteria: isolated but beautiful scenery, close to villages with local culture and with lots of peace and quiet. Intimacy is all about being a true independent or boutique hotel. I run away as soon as I read 65 rooms in a hotel description. Family-friendliness is crucial, as well, as we travel 90% of the time with our 8-year-old daughter.
If you had to choose 3, which were the most special hotels you have ever stayed at?
Domaine de Murtoli in Corsica, Hotel Endsleigh in Devon, and Perivolas in Santorini.
What made them so special?
Murtoli is truly paradise on earth. The greatest luxury of all here is nature in all its glory and silence. Rolling hills and mountains, poppies, buttercups and all kind of purple flowers dotting the green lush grass, soft white sand and the turquoise water of the beach.There is no noise apart from the birds songs, the wind in the trees or the lizards running fast across the rocks. It is truly a place to see all your worries fly away and relax completely.
Hotel Endsleigh is the quintessential English country hotel. It’s a beautiful manor surrounded by gardens designed by Repton where the interior decoration is just right. The service is what makes it truly amazing. You feel like you are in your own private house. We have been there many times and love it so much that this is where we got married last October. Couldn’t have thought of a better place.
Perivolas – the view, the pool, the white, the blue! Enough said. All the magic of Santorini but without the crowds and the hassle. Also, I had the best massage I have ever received in my life.
If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?
- A pool lunch restaurant menu with nothing complicated, just simple local produce cooked or prepared very well.
- Delivery of fresh tea in the morning without having to ask for it. (i.e based on preferred times indicated at check-in)
- Friendly conversations with the staff, enough to make you feel welcome, like a friend, but not too much that it would be spooky.
Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…
- The no limit on kids’ time in the pool at Lucknam Park and the pony hacks. Kids love it there.
- The apéritif at Domaine de la Baume and Bastide de Marie (both are part of the Sibuet family of hotels). A table is set with various delicacies that are different each night. You help yourself to them and the staff comes to ask you which drinks you would like with them.
- The turn-up service at La Coquillade, which always left a little something different for our daughter on her bed.
Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.
Overpriced food. An impersonal welcome. Not respecting the client’s requests or booking confirmation without helping to find a better accommodation, (yup, that happened to us during our mini-honeymoon!)
How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?
I love it! When I first learned about it, I thought, “that’s exactly what I would have liked to do”. The concept of creating the perfect boutique hotel that represents the total sum of stylish travellers’ desires is just spot on. I can’t wait to see where it’s going to be and to start voting on the other items.
Where are you off to next?
We are spending the last months of autumn in the UK, with a great trip to Scotland, discovering Killyhuntie and then Gleneagles, and we’ll finish the year in style at the newly opened Heckfield Place. I can’t wait!
Stéphanie Bonnet is a boutique hotel lover and a French mum living in London. On her blog, From the Poolside, she helps style-loving women (that’s you!) find gorgeous holiday places combining French chic + interior design flair + family friendly service.
She strives to locate boutique hotels, pretty B&Bs but also stylish villa rentals that will guarantee the kind of holidays memories are made of.
A bit of a geek, Stéphanie Bonnet loves trying all the new digital platforms, So whether you are an Instagram addict, a Twitter lurker, a Facebook devotee or on Pinterest, she’ll be delighted to connect with you and share her tips.