Love boutique Hotels? Become a #boholover

We have created a community of #boholovers – i.e. boutique hotel lovers from around the world. They know their hotels like no one else – and what needs to change. Are you one of us? Or rather, would you like to become part of this movement? If so, we would love to hear from you and feature you on an upcoming blog post.

In order to be featured, just send us your answers to the questions below (but take some time before responding – don’t just say yes or no or a list of bullet points. Let yourself go, be detailed or poetic. All part of the Amberlair spirit. Also please include a short bio and tell us a bit more about yourself. We will respond back as quickly as possible and will ask you for at least three high res photos with you being the star of one of them.





  • Drop files here or

THANK YOU Cheers, Marcus & Kristin

The Amberlair Founder Story: Part 3

Hi there!

It means so much to us to be able to share our story with you! Our last two blogs, Part 1 and Part 2 gave you the general backstory of what inspired our idea of a crowdsourced boutique hotel and how the concept developed. Today, we’re back to give you a download of where we are now!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - The Amberlair Story Part 3

The Amberlair founders and Mrs. O Around the World

 

 

Social Media Presence

After we chose the name Amberlair among an overwhelming 700 crowdsourced submissions, we were on a roll. It became immediately clear that social media was a great tool to connect with global travelers and boutique hotel enthusiasts – our community! So our first step to make the first crowdsourced boutique hotel a reality was to spread the word far and wide on social media and build our online presence as much as possible. We were inspired by Mark Schaefer’s book, The Tao of Twitter, and decided to reach out to him for advice. It was through him that we connected with Mrs. O Around the World, our social media strategist. Mrs. O helped us create #boholover, a hashtag we use to identify all you fantastic boutique hotel fans.

 

 

The Search for a Location

With the launch of our social media and online presence, it was time to get the ball rolling on the next crowdsourced decision: the location. We asked global travellers if they knew of a piece of land or property anywhere in the world that would be suitable for Amberlair. The response was even more widespread and successful than our first crowdfunded decision, and we were ecstatic! We posted the top submissions online – which fascinatingly turned out to be Spain, Italy and South Africa – and sent them back out to the crowd, giving everyone a chance to vote for their favorite.

 

With a huge amount of support and participation, we watched the numbers come in. It was a nailbiter, but in the end, we had a winner. The world’s first crowdsourced boutique hotel would be in Italy! Completely overjoyed, we packed our bags and spent six weeks traveling through Italy, exploring every last inch of the country. The result? We fell in love with Puglia.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - The Amberlair Story Part 3

Kristin & Marcus, founders of Amberlair in Puglia

 

 

The southeastern heel of the Italian boot, Puglia is rich in history, which we noticed right away in its beautiful, ancient architecture and friendly people. We could almost see the Amberlair boutique hotel – your hotel – resting somewhere amidst a sea of olive trees and vineyards. Because Puglia offers world class wine and cuisine, fascinating cultural experiences and gorgeous scenery, we knew we had made the right choice. [A map and image of Puglia would be great here!]

 

Kristin & Marcus, founders of Amberlair

 

This month, we’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign to give you the chance to invest in the first ever crowdsourced boutique hotel. After the campaign’s completion, we’ll be hard at work (with your input!) preparing for a very exciting grand opening sometime in 2020. We’ll need help deciding on style, decor and amenities – you won’t want to miss out!

 

We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves, but the future of Amberlair looks bright! Once we’re on our way to a successful hotel opening in Puglia, we will start preparing to have openings around the world. Of course our main purpose is to listen to you, our trusted travel community, when it comes to choosing new locations and fine tuning the details of the perfect boutique hotel. Our success is riding on your support. These hotels are made for you, by you and because of you.

As always, thank you for your continued support and belief in us!

Cheers,
Marcus & Kristin

The Amberlair Founder Story: Part 2

Welcome back friends!

Our last blog post described our two years of travelling the world – an experience that sparked our inspiration for Amberlair. It may seem like two years of travel is a long time, but we never felt homesick. To us, the joy of travel doesn’t require much, as long as you have a truly enriching experience. In this post, we want to continue our story about what happened when we returned home to Hamburg after two years of travelling and exactly how Amberlair got started.

 

Kristin & Marcus in Marrakech

 

 

Readjusting

The intensity of long travel, while incredible, did take its toll. It’s easy to compare your homeland to the other places you’ve seen, since we found that we understood more about our home country after having seen so many places during our travels. Coming home was not only an eye-opening experience, but it was also difficult. We faced the passing of Marcus’ father, and stepped in to help care for his mother. On top of that, Kristin’s mother was suffering from dementia and required our help as well. With all that, it took us over a year to get accustomed to being at home again. Through it all, however, we never lost sight of what traveling the world showed us.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - The Amberlair Story: Part 2

Massai in Zanzibar

 

 

First Attempt at Finding a Location

The boutique hotel experience was something we couldn’t shake. It was so impactful to our travel experience. We were determined to pursue this newfound idea of opening our own boutique hotel. The next step was to decide on the location. We first looked at Myanmar, one of our favorite destinations. It turns out that foreigners can’t own land in Southeast Asia; this only works if you have a local partner who owns 50% of the company. India was also one of our favorite destinations but, after a thorough search, we couldn’t find a property suitable for our needs. We had numerous meetings in an attempt to let some top-level people know about our plans. (A quick aside: To our surprise, we actually met with the German Ambassador! Since we didn’t expect to talk to him in person, we arrived completely unprepared. Flip flops and shorts don’t necessarily scream serious business meeting attire. However, he was more than welcoming and actually seemed relieved to not be meeting with another suited up individual.) Our research and meetings taught us one thing: Opening our first boutique hotel the traditional way in Asia was going to be too difficult.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - The Amberlair Story: Part 2

Kristin in Bagan, Myanmar.

 

Developing the Concept

So, we went back to square one. We always thought it was a great idea to tap into the knowledge of avid travellers. Even during our two-year stint, we came across tourists who shared our love for stylish, authentic boutique hotels. We wondered why we shouldn’t just start with the people who love boutique hotels – begin with the customers first to find out how we should proceed. Going down this path, we discovered that crowdfunding and crowdsourcing are actually great ways to develop a product made for the customer and by the customer. We instantly loved the idea.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - The Amberlair Story: Part 2

Kristin & Marcus in Cappadocia, Turkey.

 

Next on the agenda was to come up with a name. To uphold the idea of a truly crowdsourced company, we created a campaign to help us find a name. We asked everyone and anyone connected to us on social media what the name of the first crowdsourced boutique hotel should be. The response? Over 700 submissions (wowza!). We were totally taken aback by the enthusiasm for the idea, and it confirmed that we were on the right path. We parsed through the names and chose three finalists. Among those three, the ultimate name that spoke to us was Amberlair. Here’s why: each piece of amber, the translucent fossilized resin, is totally unique. And a lair is a secret retreat with a cozy and relaxing atmosphere. Together, they made the perfect combination of what this company aimed to embody.

Amberlair, the world’s first crowdsourced boutique hotel, was born. Stay tuned for our third and final blog post of this series, to learn more about our story and where we are now.

Until next time!

Cheers,
Marcus & Kristin

 

The Amberlair Founder Story: Part 1

Hello all !

It has been quite the journey. When we made the life-changing decision seven years ago to travel the world, we could not even imagine that the impact and inspiration would lead us to create Amberlair. On a Saturday morning in 2010 Marcus decided to quit his senior strategic planning role at the world’s largest plane manufacturer to act on a long-overdue passion. He wanted to travel the world. And because Kristin had made travel part of her life for years, lived in different countries and was working in the tourism industry, she was eager to begin a new adventure as well.

So, we packed up and began our travels for over two years and through more than 40 countries on six continents. Traveling to this extent (we became exposed to so many different cultures and lifestyles!) gave us a new perspective, and exploration fueled our creativity.

 

Kristin & Marcus at Haast River in New Zealand

 

During our trip, we discovered that the most special and unique experiences were brought on by staying in smaller, independent hotels. The hip hideaways we found gave us a taste of the local culture and people. We learned how these small businesses operated, and it was so refreshing to discover that none of these owners came from a hospitality background; these hotels were driven by passion. We soon realized that we were not the only avid travellers who preferred to get a truly authentic experience through boutique hotels.

 

Kristin at Củ Chi tunnels in Vietnam

 

We did encounter some difficulty in our quest to find the best boutique hotels around the world. They were hard to find. In some countries, we couldn’t find a single boutique hotel. The big chain hotels and cookie cutter accommodations simply lacked the same personal and authentic touch that we loved about our favorite boutique accommodations. It was at this point that we felt the urge to do something. How could we make boutique hotels more accessible to travelers, while still tapping into the passion and knowledge that made these spots so special?

 

Marcus in Goa, India

 

This period of travel, inspiration and discovery sparked something in us that would ultimately become the motivating factor for launching Amberlair…

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our story!

Cheers,
Marcus & Kristin

#BoHoLover: Meet Nancy of Luxe Travel Family @luxetravelfam

Nancy of Luxe Travel Family is a passionate traveler and luxury travel blogger. Like us, she’s a boutique hotel lover, #BoHoLover. She weighs in on hotels, travel, and her thoughts on Amberlair.

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

Lots of research! Conde Nast Traveler, Travel and Leisure, AFAR, and Town and Country are excellent sources for selecting destinations and luxury hotels. Also, I rely on social media contacts, favorite blogs and recommendations from friends and family.

If you had to choose 3, which were the most special hotels you have ever stayed at?

Is six ok? – I can’t possibly pick three.

The Hotel George V in Paris holds a special place in my heart because I have celebrated a milestone birthday and a few anniversaries there. The attentive service, view of the Eiffel Tower from our suite, fabulous interior courtyard, and Jeff Leatham’s flowers make every stay at the Four Seasons George V unforgettable.

The entire family loves Four Seasons Hualalai. This award-winning resort on Hawaii’s Big Island has multiple pools, championship golf, incredible beach-side dining, and an awesome kid’s program. We’ve celebrated Christmas and vacationed throughout the year at this five-star resort.

Hotel Castello del Sole on Lake Maggiore in Ascona, Switzerland is described as a 100 acres of pure happiness. It really is. The lakefront location, outdoor swimming pool, delicious food, children’s program, and thoughtful staff make this an exceptional property.

We stay at Four Seasons Hong Kong every time we travel to Asia. After a 14-hour flight from Vancouver, B.C. checking into the luxurious Four Seasons Hong Kong is a treat. The outdoor pools, superb spa, and Michelin-star dining melt away the jetlag.

The Lodge by Virgin Limited Edition is a fully staffed private chalet in Verbier. A stay at The Lodge includes gourmet food, delicious drinks, indoor pool, outdoor hot tub, spa, a bunk room for the children, gym and much more. Everything about The Lodge is fabulous.

For an authentic, adventure-filled vacation in Hawaii, we travel to Lanai. At the beachfront Four Seasons Resort glorious gardens surround koi-filled ponds, instructors inspire you to reach new heights at anti-gravity yoga, and rainbow-hued sea life in Hulopo’e Bay dazzle swimmers and snorkelers. For thrills outside of the resort, rent a 4×4 Jeep and explore Shipwreck Beach, explore the otherworldly Garden of the Gods, or race along island trails in an all-terrain vehicle.

The Greenwich Hotel is a haven in New York City, with a the lovely inner courtyard, complimentary mini-bar, spectacular indoor pool, and unique rooms. It feels like a private home.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel -Greenwich Hotel New York #BoHoLover: Meet Nancy of Luxe Travel Family @luxetravelfam

The Greenwich Hotel in New York City. Photo by hotel.

If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?

I would ensure caring and authentic staff, fabulous linens, and numerous common areas e.g. library, pool, lounge, etc.

Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…

Apart from attentive service, I enjoy a generous espresso and tea service, complimentary mini-bar, and thoughtful touches like candles, flowers & books.

Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.

Arrogant and uncaring staff, sloppy housekeeping, and poor quality linens.

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

I love the innovative Amberlair concept, and I’m excited to visit the first property, wherever it may be!

Where are you off to next?

My husband and I are taking our children to Bangkok, Koh Samui, Luang Prabang, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Nancy of Luxe Travel Family @luxetravelfam

Travel isn’t an option for Nancy; it is a necessity. Having two children has only increased Nancy’s desire to see the world because she wants her children to learn about other countries and cultures firsthand.

Nancy’s passion for travel and desire to inspire others resulted in the creation of Luxe Travel Family, a luxury family travel blog. Follow the blog for inspiring travel stories, luxury travel reviews and information on unique experiences.

Nancy loves to be social – connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

#BoHoLover: Meet Keith Jenkins of Velvet Escape @velvetescape

We have asked Amsterdam-based luxury travel blogger Keith Jenkins of Velvet Escape, to share his thoughts with us about his love for hotels, and Amberlair, of course. And before you ask, a #BohoLover is a Boutique Hotel lover… just like us!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Keith of Velvet Escape @velvetescape Keith Jenkins, Whitehorse

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

I ask around on social media for suggestions and I search on booking engines. The most important factors I take into account when choosing a hotel are: location, comfort/hygiene of and amenities in the room, and service levels. I have a preference for hotels with a unique character in terms of history, design, location or cuisine. In this sense, the hotel becomes a destination in itself and not simply a place to sleep at night.

 

Keith Jenkins

Keith Jenkins in Malaysia

 

 

If you had to choose 3, which were the most special hotels you have ever stayed at?

Mashpi Lodge – an amazing lodge in the cloud forests of Ecuador.
Sofitel Motu Bora Bora – a resort on a private island in the Bora Bora lagoon.
Phinda Private Game Reserve – a stunning safari lodge in South Africa.

If I could add a fourth, I recently stayed at Hotel Pacai in Vilnius, Lithuania.

 

 

What made them so special?

They’re special for different reasons. Mashpi Lodge combines cutting-edge architecture with stunning views, top notch service and excellent food. I loved Sofitel Motu primarily because of its incredible location on an island in the breathtaking Bora Bora lagoon with jaw-dropping views of the lagoon and the mountains. I will never forget sitting on the deck of my overwater bungalow just before sunset with a cocktail in hand and watching colourful fish, baby sharks and rays swim right under me! The Phinda Private Game Reserve is perhaps the best safari lodge I’ve ever stayed at due to its amazing suites, fabulous service and ditto food. As for Hotel Pacai, it’s housed in a historic palace (Napoleon once addressed the townsfolk from the balcony) that has been impeccably restored, blending historic elements with stunning contemporary design.

 

Phinda Private Game Reserve - Keith Jenkins

Not your average swim, at Phinda Private Game Reserve. Photo by hotel.

 

 

If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?

  1. A top-notch coffee-maker and well-stocked open mini-bar in each room.
  2. A plunge pool and outdoor shower with a view!
  3. I’ll make sure my staff call my guests by their names.

 

Sofitel Bora Bora - Keith Jenkins

Sofitel Bora Bora. Photo by hotel.

 

 

Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…

It’s always the small touches that make the difference wherever I stay. Here are 3 things I’ll never forget:

  • A surprise gift when I checked out of the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong. It was a small bottle of perfume, exactly the same scent they use in the hallways. A great memento of my stay there.
  • At the Four Seasons Hotel in Amman, Jordan, I was impressed when I returned to my room after a day of touring to find my clothes neatly folded/hung in the closet, my shoes were polished, and my sunglasses were cleaned and neatly placed atop a fresh cloth.
  • At the Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur, I loved the personalised pillow cases with my initials embroidered on them.

 

 

Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.

  • Housekeeping that knocks on your door at 8am.
  • A butler who tries too hard to impress.
  • A dirty room and/or bathroom.

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

I think it’s a brilliant concept and I hope Ambelair will produce the world’s best boutique hotel based on travellers’ tastes. Key to me will be the location, ambiance, design and level of service (warm and attentive but not overbearing).

 

Keith Jenkins

 

 

Where are you off to next?

My next trip takes me to Bologna in Italy.

 

Keith Jenkins is the Founder and Publisher of the Velvet Escape luxury travel blog. Based in Amsterdam, Keith left his ten-year investment banking career to travel the world and carve out a new career as a travel blogger and social media advocate.

Keith has visited more than 80 countries across six continents. In addition to being a travel blogger, he is the CEO of iambassador – the world’s leading international travel blogger network – a company he founded in 2011. He also speaks often at travel and social media conferences about online marketing and blogger collaboration.

Keith Jenkins is also the co-founder of the Global Bloggers Network, a community of more than 3,000 travel bloggers. Keith has been featured in The New York Times, BBC Travel, Lonely Planet, National Geographic Traveler, and has spoken at TEDxTalk.

Follow Keith on: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

#BoHoLover: Meet Gina Power Food & Travel @GinaPowerWorld

We have asked Gina Power, the name behind Gina Power Food & Travel with a Dash of Art & Consciousness, 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 […]

#BoHoLover: Meet Molly of The Sought After @mollyschoneveld

We have asked Los Angeles-based food, travel and lifestyle blogger Molly Schoneveld of The Sought After to share her thoughts with us about hotels and Amberlair. Just like us, a #BohoLover is a Boutique Hotel lover!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Meet food, travel and lifestyle blogger Molly Schoneveld of This Yuppie Life #boholover

Photo by Ashley Burns Photography

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

I first visit the Mr. & Mrs. Smith website, as their taste is so similar to mine and they have yet to let me down. I also ask for recommendations from trusted friends and bloggers like Mrs. O Around the World. Aside from that, I typically look for a location in a great, non-touristy area, yet close to where I want to go, and a hotel with chic design. Great design usually means great attention to detail. Once I’ve made my selection, I double-check that the online reviews are positive.

 

 

If you had to choose 3, which were the most special hotels you have ever stayed at?

This is an impossible task! So. Many. Hotels! Ok ok…The Bellevue Syrene in Sorrento, Italy, the Plaza Hotel in New York in its heyday, and Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas.

I’d like to add a bonus of The Kensington Hotel in London because I stay there so frequently, it’s come to feel like my home-away-from-home in my favorite city. I love to try new hotels, but there is also such a comfort in staying the same place too.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BohoLover: Meet Molly Schoneveld of This Yuppie Life @mollyschoneveld

Photo by Ashley Burns Photography

 

 

What made them so special?

Bellevue Syrene has incredible sweeping views of the Sea of Naples and Mt. Vesuvius, the romantic, whimsical decor, and the complementary wine (all day!), cocktails, coffee and afternoon hors d’oeuvres.

The Plaza. Come on, it’s The Plaza! It’s iconic! I was in high school and my parents allowed me to order an ice cream sunday in bed, just like Kevin in ‘Home Alone 2’. Heaven!

At Esperanza, we had a 3-bedroom villa that was insane. Even a private plunge pool on our patio. It also had one of the most spectacular infinity pools ever, complete with a pool butler (cucumber/mint popsicles, anyone?)! It took luxury beach resort to another level.

 

 

If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?

  • Décor by Kit Kemp (I dare to dream!) and exclusive bath goodies by Jo Malone. Is anyone using these? If not, you’re welcome!
  • A mattress that doesn’t make you miss home. As my mom always says, ”If my house is better than the hotel, I’d rather stay at home!” I concur.
  • A rockstar concierge. There is nothing more annoying than an uninformed concierge who sends you to tourist traps.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BohoLover: Meet Molly Schoneveld of This Yuppie Life @mollyschoneveld

 

 

Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…

A clawfoot tub with views of the Empire State Building at Nomad, New York City. A sensational spa at Corinthia, London. A cottage room in a secret garden at The Pig near Bath.

 

Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.

A completely disinterested and unhelpful concierge. I won’t name names! A terrible mattress and thin walls. And then there was that time in New York with the huge cockroach in my bathroom, but I suppose that can be fixed faster than a bad mattress!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Meet #boholover Molly Schoneveld This Yuppie Life

Photo by Ashley Burns Photography

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

It’s a fascinating concept. I’ll be curious to see how so many opinions from so many people can come together to create a cohesive project. If they pull it off, it could very well change the hospitality industry.

 

 

Where are you off to next?

I leave for Austin, TX tomorrow for the very first time and I’m so excited! It’s a short trip, but I’m staying at the Hotel Saint Cecilia, which I hear has the best beds ever. I’m also excited to have dinner at the newly opened The Line hotel.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BohoLover: Meet Molly Schoneveld of This Yuppie Life @mollyschoneveld

 

 

Molly Schoneveld resides in Los Angeles, but will always call North Carolina home. She has worked in the entertainment industry for over 15 years and owns a boutique public relations firm representing celebrities, interior designers, lifestyle experts and hotels.

She writes about her adventures in food, travel and life in LA over at The Sought After. Follow along via Instagram and Twitter.

 

#BoHoLover: Meet Alex of Social Polly @socialpolly

We have asked Alex Pollock, the Group Managing Director of SocMedSup.com & GOATx.co with a huge love for travel, to share his thoughts with us about his love for hotels, and Amberlair, of course. And before you ask, a #BohoLover is a Boutique Hotel lover… just like us!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Alex of Social Polly @socialpolly

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

For me, it’s all dependent on the objective of my trip. There are occasions where I want to be in the heart of the action; others where I much prefer to be tucked away in the middle of nowhere.
And sometimes I’m traveling for business.

Social media really helps when looking for places to stay, once a destination is confirmed. There’s a lot to be said for recommendations from trusted and respected sources.

Once I have a few hotels in mind, I’ll always give TripAdvisor, Facebook Reviews and Google a quick check to help me confirm my choice.

 

 

If you had to choose 3, which were the most special (boutique) hotels you have ever stayed at and what made them so special?

The Z Hotel & Kidoti Villas in Zanzibar are top of my list at the moment, with Tanzania a destination I visit a couple of times a year now – both for business and leisure. The property’s a classy boutique located right on the beach of Nungwi, which was recently voted in the top 25 world beaches. Pure bliss, and sunset-central.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Alex of Social Polly @socialpolly

The Z Hotel & Kidoti Villas in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Alex of Social Polly @socialpolly

The Z Hotel & Kidoti Villas in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

 

Any property in the portfolio of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. They’re all in fantastic locations, ooze luxury, and I’ve found them hard to beat for the all-round customer experience.

The College Hotel in Amsterdam: the mix of classic and contemporary style throughout the property made it so easy on the eye. The team there is built on a hybrid of experience hospitality staff and students from various schools/colleges around the city. And because of that, everyone staff member you encounter has real passion and enthusiasm!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Alex of Social Polly @socialpolly

The College Hotel in Amsterdam. Photo by hotel.

 

 

If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?

  • You could be sure there’d always be super-fast, free WIFI throughout the property and grounds – and by free, I mean a single-click connection. No email input required.
  • I’d like staff to get to know the guests before they arrived, to try and personalise their stay a little more – a short survey a week before they check-in would land in their inbox, and it would be their choice whether to complete it or not. Knowing things like dietary, drink and pillow preferences is a win-win for all involved.
  • Final one is simple: USB and power outlets within arms-reach of each side of the bed!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Alex of Social Polly @socialpolly

 

 

Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…

  1. A lot can be said for a strong amenity pack in the bathroom. And to name a few that stick in my mind; The Painswick in The Cotswolds, the Wynn Las Vegas, and Dream Downtown in New York City.
  2. I’m also a big fan of hotels which provide guests with water in their rooms. Properties within the JA Hotel & Resorts portfolio provide complimentary bottles of water on a daily basis, and The Painswick places a jug of fresh water and a couple of glasses on the bed-side table.
    I stayed at The Angler’s in Miami’s South Beach, and was paying $3 for a small bottle of water in the room, $6 for a large. The bill after 5 night’s was large.
  3. Finally, I always make contact with my hotel before I travel – whether that’s front-of-house or the concierge. If I have any special requests, I can give the hotel notice rather than requesting on arrival. And it sometimes helps to have some local knowledge regarding restaurants, bars and things-to-do. So I like which hotels which give me access to concierge support beforehand.

 

 

Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.

  1. Food poisoning
  2. Rude staff or
  3. Dirty sheets. I don’t think there’s much more really to be said on those!

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

Gutted that Spain didn’t win! That was my first choice. My one and only experience of Italy as a destination wasn’t that great, so I’ve never been back. Perhaps Amberlair will give me a reason to now…

Amberlair’s is a great way of building a community around a common interest, and I wish the team behind it all the success. I can’t wait to see the final product!

 

 

Where are you off to next?

I’ve a short-haul trip coming up to Gibraltar, for a few night’s stay on the Sunborn – the world’s only 5 star “super-yacht” hotel.

And I’ve a long-haul trip coming up too, heading to Zanzibar for a week to stay at a fabulous boutique property; The Z Hotel, before flying home via Dubai for a week or so, where I’m yet to choose a hotel!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Alex of Social Polly @socialpolly

 

Alex Pollock (socialPolly) is a businessman with a huge love of travel. He founded Social Media Support in 2015, offering strategic online marketing advice and content development to large corporates and start-ups across the globe. Brands that he’s worked with over the years include; BP, Facebook and Hilton.

More recently, he co-founded the online service BePro, which takes raw format footage from amateur GoPro users and edits them into professional-looking highlight videos, helping them to “Relive The Adventure”.

A social media strategist by-profession and avid user of all the main networks, you can keep up with his travels and work by following him on Twitter and Instagram or contact him via his website.

#BoHoLover: Meet Mela of Individualicious @allaboutmela

Boutique hotel lover, travel and lifestyle blogger, Mela Mörtenbäck of Individualicious, 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?

Phew, that’s just the right question for me, as this is the one thing I spend most of the time when planning my travels. I spend hours on the web searching for a hotel that matches my ideas. The most important thing is that the accommodation has to be unique in its very own way. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a hotel or a bed and breakfast – the accommodation just has to be special when it comes to concept, style and details.

 

 

If you had to choose 3, which were the most special hotels you have ever stayed at?

Casa Cook, Rhodes – I love the boho-style, the laid-back atmosphere and the fact that every room has access to the pool.
Casa Mãe, Lagos – the staff makes you feel home from the very first minute, the food and interior is simply wonderful.
Masseria Agnello, Sicily – a very special hideaway with great service in the southern part of the island, close to the sea.

 

Casa Cook in Rhodes, Greece. Photo by hotel.

 

 

What made them so special?

In a nutshell, it was the individual concept and style. All of them are quite different, but also very unique with love for detail, a very friendly service and marvelous hosts. I immediately felt comfortable and the interior design makes these hotels the perfect (summer) hideaway.

 

Casa Mae in Lagos, Portugal. Photo by hotel.

 

 

If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?

  1. First of all, I’d make sure to have a strong and consistent brand, from product and website design to interior concept to hospitality. The website is often the first touch point with the hotel and it’s the decisive factor whether a hotel addresses me or not.
  2. Secondly, I’d focus on a hearty welcome. At the very moment when a guest enters the hotel he/she has to feel at home. That said, I’d make the check-in process as smooth and relaxing as can be and welcome my guests with little treats. I’d probably also provide a small neighborhood guide with tips on cool locations.
  3. If I had a boutique hotel, my house wouldn’t have too many rooms, I’d prefer a smaller house with a personal note and very personal service.

 

 

Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…

Casa Mãe in the Algarve had a great and welcoming staff. After the check-in process I was offered a glass of wine at the bar before a staff member showed me some personal recommendations on a map and brought me to my room. I love such little things, it makes you feel slowed down after traveling to the destination before even entering your hotel room.

At the San Giorgio in Mykonos, I loved the interior and bohemian style of the rooms as well as the concept of the hotel itself. The hotel owners want it to be a communication space, that’s why you’ll find big wooden tables at the poolside to connect with other guests.

Apart from that, the food concept of both Casa Mãe and San Giorgio Mykonos is great. They only offer regional products and you won’t get the standard breakfast you’ll find everywhere else. Also, it’s a served breakfast, which makes the atmosphere more relaxed as well. I never had such a delicious breakfast in any other hotel than in these two.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - 6 terrific summer retreats in Europe you will never forget

San Giorgio in Mykonos, Greece. Photo by hotel.

 

 

Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.

My worst hotel experience ever was a self-called bed and breakfast in London that turned out to be a grubby home for workmen. In Dublin I stayed at a really nice and small hotel in the city center that turned out to be extremely loud at night because of the bar at the ground-floor. I couldn’t sleep all night long. Horrible! Um, can’t think of a number 3, so I guess dirt and noise sums it up best.

 

 

How do you feel about the first Amberlair boutique hotel being located in Puglia?

As I fell in love with Italy, especially Tuscany, during my stay abroad, I’m more than happy that the first Amberlair hotel will be in Italy! Puglia is one of the most beautiful regions of Italy and I can’t wait to see how the Amberlair concept will fit into this stunning landscape.

 

 

 

Which trends in traveling are currently important to you?

Currently, I pay a lot of attention to the issue of overtourism and think a lot about my role as a traveler and what I personally can do. Traveling off-season as well as traveling to lesser known/touristic places and to second cities instead of crowded capitals makes me feel more comfortable and satisfied at the moment.

Also, I care a lot about hotels and restaurants with a local and sustainable approach when it comes to food and interior. There are a lot of great examples out there and I’d love to explore as many of them as possible.

 

 

Where are you off to next?

Surprisingly I don’t have any upcoming travels booked by now, something that hardly ever happens. However, I’m currently looking for ideas and inspiration for a long weekend at the end of the year – and it’s quite likely that I will travel to Puglia!

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel Mela Mörtenbäck of her blog Individualicious

 

Austrian-born and Tirol-based, Mela Mörtenbäck spends almost a third of the year traveling. She grew up in Upper Austria, studied and worked in Vienna with a one-year break in beautiful Tuscany before moving to the Alps already seven years ago.

Mela is not only PR-Manager for one of the biggest tourism destinations in Europe, but also editor at the travel and lifestyle blog individualicious. Full of snippets and snapshots, her blog showcases unique hotels and places and features road trips and weekend getaways mostly in Europe.

Follow her blog to discover hidden treasures and lovely places or follow her travels on InstagramTwitter or Pinterest.