We have asked Susan Schwartz of Best Bits Worldwide, 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?
As a luxury travel journalist & blogger, I am usually the guest of some pretty gorgeous luxury properties, so the work is done for me.
Still, I love being surprised by the ones I discover myself. When I am planning my own holidays, I do a lot of research, both online and off.
I check Tripadvisor, but only the terrible reviews. If the clients complain about booking issues, I disregard them as that could happen anywhere; if they complain about dirt and bedbugs, then I know to avoid!
Most importantly in my decision making is getting opinions from those I respect. I turn to social media and ask my followers and other bloggers, I speak to friends who are magazines editors and in public relations. I think the best suggestions are from those I know and who know me!
If you had to choose 3, which were the most special (boutique) hotels you have ever stayed at and what made them so special?
So hard to pin it down to just three, so I put my top four, in no particular order as they are all divine!
True Blue Bay, Grenada
Mala Mala in South Africa
Villa Des Orangers in Marrakech, Morocco
Inle Princess – Inle Lake in Myanmar / Burma
Although each of my choices is in a different part of the world, they are all perfect examples of their specific destination. What I mean by that is, they all perfectly reflect their own city or country – the design & style, the food, everything.
In my opinion, the definition of luxury is experiencing something somewhere that you can only truly experience in the place you are visiting. This is true of all of the four. It goes without saying that the only thing similar to all is their first-class service.
If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?
- In the room: down pillows, extra-large towels, strong hairdryers
- Free and strong WIFI
- A gorgeous breakfast – very few hotels do it right, here are some that do: La Bouitte, France; Capri Palace Hotel, Italy; Il Pellicano, Italy
Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…
- The best ever! Soho House New York – in-room cocktail making service while you getting ready to go out for the evening.
- Palazzo Margherita, Bernalda – pasta making class included & full size Santa Maria Novella products for us to take home.
- The spa at the Hotel Klösterbräu, Seefeld – never been anywhere like it, about 10 choices of saunas alone!
Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.
- Paying for WIFI
- No one at reception to answer my call – there should be someone there at all time
- A hair dryer attached to a wall in a five star Stockholm hotel! Some of us have long hair that needs to be dried and it’s cold out there!
How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?
I love the ambition and drive to get it right from the beginning. By asking guests what they want first, you are already guaranteeing success. Every success is founded on great relationships and that’s what you’re focusing in from the beginning, it makes fantastic business sense. I cannot wait to be a guest in your first venture in Italy.
Where are you off to next?
The rest of the summer in one of my fav places in the world: Bucks County, PA, USA; then off to Middle East for the first time Doha, Qatar; the Verdi Festival in Parma; and Paphos, Cyprus for a wedding celebration. A busy Autumn!
An American living in London, Susan L. Schwartz writes the award-winning luxury travel blog, Best Bits Worldwide, her luxury travel blog for those who savor the authentic but love the luxurious.
Her work has been seen in the Mail on Sunday, Condé Nast Traveler, Grazia, Vanity Fair Italia and other publications online and off, as well as being a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.
When she saw Venice for the first time, she knew right then that her stay-at-home days were over. With a well-worn copy of Freya Stark’s autobiography in her back pocket, she has set out to explore the world around her one luxurious bit at a time
This year, she launched the podcast, Best Sips Worldwide, interviewing those working in the spirits industry – bartenders, distillers, brand ambassadors and anyone who makes anything you put in a drinking glass.