#BoHoLover: Meet Carolyn of Maiden-Voyage.com @maiden_voyage

This week we have asked Carolyn Pearson of Maiden-Voyage.com, the global network for female business travelers, to share her thoughts with us about her love for hotels, and Amberlair, of course. You probably know already that a #boholover is a Boutique Hotel lover… just like us!

 

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

Safety first, then location location location followed by pamper opportunities which play to my senses. Gorgeous textures, smells, cool vibes, interesting food – the W Istanbul is a prime example of this oh and it goes without saying, a salon standard hairdryer and coat hangars I can actually get out of the wardrobe.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Carolyn of Maiden-Voyage.com @maiden_voyage

W Istanbul. Photo by hotel.

 

 

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 QT hotel Sydney  – for quirkiness
Mt McKinley Wilderness Lodge, Alaska – for breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife (and yes that includes bears!)

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Carolyn of Maiden-Voyage.com @maiden_voyage

QT hotel Sydney. Photo by hotel.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Carolyn of Maiden-Voyage.com @maiden_voyage

QT hotel Sydney. Photo by hotel.

 

The Mondrian LA – It was whilst sitting at the Skybar that I had a lightbulb moment to create a global network for female business travellers.  LA is such an empowering city.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Carolyn of Maiden-Voyage.com @maiden_voyage

The Mondrian in Los Angeles. Photo by hotel.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Carolyn of Maiden-Voyage.com @maiden_voyage

The Mondrian in Los Angeles. Photo by hotel.

 

 

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

  • Unexpected little surprises left in the rooms such as personalised macroons, tasty treats or unusual pamper hampers
  • Diptyque candles
  • Sundays with a  cool DJ and the longest, loungy brunch ever

 

 

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

  1. The Hamam at the St Regis Hotel Istanbul
  2. The signature spa treatment at the Wyndjammer Landing resort in St Lucia. The spa staff had come together to create the most luxurious treatment I’ve ever experienced including bamboo, hot stones and signature blend hot oils
  3. Snorkeling from my own water bungalow steps in Baros in the Maldives

Can you see there’s a theme here?  I’m a serious pamper addict

 

 

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

Zero sensitivity to female travellers at a hotel in Aberdeen.

  1. Being leered at by tens of oil rig workers
  2. Being put in an annex on the ground floor
  3. No help with my bags despite my room being across a car-park (and it was snowing)
    I could go on .. worst stay ever

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

I totally love it. One of my secret ambitions is to have the Maiden-Voyage.com members design their perfect hotel room for women travellers and I’m all for the guest getting the experience they want rather than having cookie cutter designers make assumptions.

 

 

Where are you off to next?

The Kempinksi in St Petersburg – I can’t wait it’s been on the bucket list for far too long!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Carolyn Pearson of Maiden-Voyage.com @maiden_voyage

 

 

Carolyn Pearson is the CEO and Founder of Maiden-Voyage.com, the global network for female business travellers. No more room service or dinner for one, women can connect up when travelling on business and check-out the delights of the city, safely, together.  Meet up with local ambassadors who can advise on safe places to visit, local business etiquette and business dress codes meaning no more cultural faux pas!

Maiden-Voyage.com also recommend carefully vetted female-friendly hotels, run female business traveller safety training courses and webinars and also have a corporate traveller duty of care solution used by some of the world’s largest organisations.

When she’s not out inspecting hotels or flying the flag for women’s travel safety, Carolyn loves to sail, horse ride and hike the Yorkshire Moors.

Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook

#BoHoLover: Meet Anna of Penelope, Parker and Baby @aeparker81

Travel blogger Anna Parker of Penelope, Parker and Baby talks with us about travel, her love of hotels and her view on Amberlair, of course. In case you don’t know already, a #BohoLover is a Boutique Hotel lover – just like us!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Anna Parker of Penelope and Parker’s Travels

Anna Parker of Penelope and Parker’s Travels on an arabian falconry.

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

I have actually relaxed my approach to choosing a hotel. I used to over analyse and plan, but we’ve learnt what we love over the years. I look for a small hotel, somewhere off the beaten track and with something unique to it – be it history, the view, or something else special. I’m a big fan of choosing general location first and then using the trip advisor map to narrow down what is available. Then I scour photographs from all sources to see what a place really looks like. My husband always has the deciding vote. We’ve not really had any trouble with our choices so I think it’s working out ok!

 

 

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

Three really is impossible… I’m accountant and I can’t do the maths!

The Inn at Cuckolds Light, Maine is a boutique inn located on a 5-acre private island a mile off the Maine coast. The Inn can sleep 6 people, including the hosts. It was quite incredible, somewhere to recharge and reconnect. It was possibly the most relaxing and beautiful place I’ve visited. Totally unique and will always hold a special place for us.

Qasr al Sarab, Abu Dhabi is 3 hours into the desert and needs to be seen to be believed. There are plenty of desert hotels in Arabia, but they aren’t deep in the desert. This ‘palace of the mirage’ is remote and, as such, the space, silence and views are unbeatable. Sunset on the dunes is incredible.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Meet Anna Parker of Penelope and Parker’s Travels at Qasr Al Sarab Anantara #boholover

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara. Photo by hotel.

 

The Chewton Glen Treehouses let you live out a childhood dream but in the height of laid back luxury all within walking distance of one of the grand dames of the British hotel industry. A hot tub on the balcony, spacious lounge, treetop views and breakfast delivered in a hamper through a trap door. All the details are thought of!

Special mentions must go to Quinta da Casa Branca in Madeira, Cliveden House near London, The Kinsterna in the Peloponnese, The Oberoi Rajvillas in Jaipur and Vilacampina on the Algarve.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Anna Parker of Penelope and Parker’s Travels in an infinity pool with view to Abu Dhabi Grande Mosque

Oberoi Rajvillas in Jaipur, India.

 

The Kinsterna, Greece is hidden away in the Peloponnese far from the tourist trail. This family-owned hotel defines what boutique and personal service should be. The pool area and views are wonderful. They have an attentive staff that go the extra mile with pleasure and the most gorgeous Byzantine-style rooms. Charm personified.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Meet Anna Parker of Penelope and Parker’s Travels at Hotel Kinsterna in Greece #boholover

Kinsterna in Greece. Photo by hotel.

 

 

What made them so special?

Each of these was truly one of a kind which made them so incredibly special. Wherever we travel to, for me, it is so important to have personal service and to stay somewhere unique where memories are made. These offer the full package of luxury and comfort, as well as feeling completely at home and relaxed as valued guests.

 

 

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

Private space. I love a beautiful pool and grounds, but what’s even better is a room and terrace area that is large enough not to need the public space at all times. We go away on holiday to get away from things and it is nice to have that space and privacy in the hotel too.

A snug or lounge. True boutique hotels are very homey and I particularly like it when a little space is set aside for a snug or lounge, perhaps with a fireplace, board games and a trust bar. With only a small number of rooms, a big terrace or bar would often be empty, but a small, homey space is always good.

A top notch restaurant. There is no need for it to be big or have a long menu or a famous chef. A restaurant and chef that know the provenance of raw materials and can make local dishes is the perfect addition to boutique accommodation. If the hotel makes its own wine, even better!

 

 

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

It’s actually the simple things that make the biggest difference!

  1. Welcome champagne is often included by some hotels and so it isn’t necessarily seen as a ‘treat’ by the hotel team. For me, though, as an arriving guest, nothing says “Welcome” quite as well as being shown to our room and finding a bottle on ice awaiting us. A sure fire way to ensure immediate relaxation.
  2. Day to day life has few formalities to it these days, so being called “Mrs. Parker” by the hotel team from arrival to departure is something that always stands out as attentive and personal. It shows the hotel knows their guests and is interested in making sure they have the best stay possible.
  3. I’m always impressed when a hotel knows the details, especially as an allergy sufferer. The Chewton Glen know that I can’t eat dairy on each visit and actually remind me at meals what I can eat. When we stayed at Quinta Jardins do Lago in Madeira, by the time we arrived at sister hotel Quinta da Casa Branca they knew about my allergy and the chef had been busy making me my own Madeira cake!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Anna Parker of Penelope and Parker’s Travels in the desert dunes

 

 

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

  • Lacklustre. When somewhere has so much potential but just ends up being a bit flat, grey and boring. I hate being disappointed by somewhere that could have done so much better. Or somewhere that misrepresents on its website or is an influence hotspot!
  • Bumping into a venomous snake on the porch of a thatched hut. We had this excitement in South Africa on my first (and last) safari holiday. Granted, there is always a risk of this happening in the bush, but it was just a little too close for comfort.
  • Being told, “Mrs Parker, you’ll be pleased to know we have upgraded you”, only to double-check the room type against my booking confirmation, as I was suspicious we’d been lied to. I never expect an upgrade and certainly don’t like being taken for a ride. This 5-star property also gave us welcome prosecco that was undrinkable. Definitely not 5-star.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Meet Anna Parker of Penelope and Parker’s Travels #boholover

Anna and her husband in Greece.

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

It is a really interesting and inspired concept. I can’t believe it hasn’t been thought of before. By identifying the right people, the people that would want to stay at the Amberlair, we’ll find something perfect from all the highlights we’ve seen occasionally elsewhere. Clearly tastes and trends will change so it will be important that it stays up-to-date.

 

 

Where are you off to next?

Life changed a bit this summer with the arrival of a baby adventurer in the family! We’ve got a few trips planned – Vienna to see friends, an AirBnB in the Peak District and then first class out to Dubai. I’m not really sure how any of it will work and certainly the hotel research for Dubai is going to take a different style to previous form! Everything needs to be family friendly now! For now though – I’m just keen to a) get through the first flight unscathed and b) hope the car is big enough for a staycation!

 

 

Anna Parker is always on the lookout for luxury and unique stays. Her preferred way of travel is in style with her husband, always wanting to enjoy the outdoors! Since July this year travel will now include Baby Parker so she’s now on the look out for the same things, but family friendly!

She started her blog, Penelope, Parker and Baby, to keep note of where they went and what they enjoyed. She has also used it to share experiences and tips, and to be able to point others at ideas that will help them on their travels!! If she can build into a holiday some wine-tasting, cycling, sailing or walking, then she’s a happy traveller! On any trip she always wants to see the country for real rather than just the hotel and its tours. With Baby in tow, the blog will become something of a record as he grows up of all the family adventures.

Follow Anna Parker on  TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

 

#BoHoLover: Meet Rachel of Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels @spaniola

We have asked Rachel Webb of Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels, 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!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Rachel Webb of Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels @spaniola

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

Oooh that really depends, if I want to visit a certain town or city and I haven’t a hotel on my long list of ‘Hotels to Visit’ then I’d search and search in Spanish and English to find, then decide on the one I want to stay in. Yes, I really do have a spreadsheet of hotels but Only Spain! Usually I’ve decided on the hotel I want to see and the place isn’t quite so important – and hubby is happy that I’m the planner.

 

 

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

Finca la Fronda in Huelva province, Andalusia is in the heart of a huge expanse of Natural Park – Sierra de Aracena & Picos de Aroche but serves English tea in teapots, cups and saucers and you get a piece of poetry by William Wordsworth on your pillow each night. The hotel is owned by the great, great grandson of the poet.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Rachel of Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels @spaniola

Finca la Fronda in Huelva province, Andalusia.

 

The welcome, patio and array of architectural pieces at the Balcon de Cordoba in Spain.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Rachel of Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels @spaniola

Balcon de Cordoba in Spain. Photo by hotel.

 

I’m a lover of old wood, and ancient ceramic Spanish tiles, the Hotel Palacio Marques de Gomera in Spain was a gorgeous baroque palace, in need of some attention and a little lacking in welcome but I loved it.

 

 

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

  • Friendly, helpful, willing and knowledgeable about the area (but not intrusive) staff.
  • Free bottled water and well stocked room fridge with a choice of wines
  • Excellent WiFi and free use of laptop/computer – I refuse to take more than my phone with me on short trips but just sometimes I’d wished I’d a laptop or iPad to use
  • ALSO that double rooms have double beds and twin rooms have 2 single beds

 

 

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

A swinging sofa/bed on the private terrace and sockets everywhere you could possibly want one.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Rachel Webb of Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels @spaniola

 

 

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

  • Blankets that you know are rarely washed
  • Dirty valances
  • Empty or not properly stocked room bar

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

It’s a brilliant idea. With so much input from so many #boholovers there won’t be anything lacking or any complaints!

 

 

Where are you off to next?

My next trip is a Press Trip around Andalucia which will be more about great food and wine but they go with boutique hotels don’t they?

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Rachel Webb of Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels @spaniola

 

 

Rachel has lived in Andalucia, Spain since 1996. She enjoys nothing more than exploring her new homeland from rambling on country tracks and discovering wine cellars to luxurious city hotels and fine dining. She writes and blogs about her discoveries.

She reviews hotels  and is a Trip Planner and reviewer for her own handpicked Only Spain ~ Boutique Hotels site born out of a love for Spain and a life-long passion for great hotels. Its sister blog Luxury Spain Travel is a more general blog about Spain. If you’re looking to explore inland Andalucia and its array of charming hotels Rachel is definitely in the know.

Find her on Facebook as  Andalucia Explorer and Luxury Spain and OnlySpain on Twitter as @spaniola and @LuxurySpainTrav on Instagram and Pinterest.

#BoHoLover: Meet Dolores of Travels and Retreats @travelsandretreats

We have asked Dolores Semeraro of Travels and Retreats to share her thoughts with us about her love for travel and 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 Dolores of Travels and Retreats @travelsandretreats

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

I love to stay at places where I feel connected to the local vibe. When I plan a holiday I usually look into boutique hotels, studios or independent mini houses with a host. I recently traveled to New Zealand where I fell in love with the warm hospitality of the local people, I felt truly welcomed.

 

 

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 first place that comes to my mind is Botswana, Africa. A boutique lodge called ‘Oddballs Camp’ where the most magical scenery at the core of the Okavango Delta and the sweetest hosts made my stay truly memorable to the point that I was literally in tears on the day of departure. I travel a lot and never cried when leaving a place. Ever. That says it all.

I also loved Thaulle Boutique Resort in Sri Lanka, quiet and private right next to Yala National Park. I wanted to take some time off and traveled to Sri Lanka while I was working in the Maldives. Thaulle was just perfect. There was a tiny Ayurveda Center and the treatments done by the local therapists were incredible.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Dolores of Travels and Retreats @travelsandretreats

Thaulle Boutique Resort in Sri Lanka. Photo by hotel.

 

 

Not to mention a place I will never forget is Samode Haveli, a traditional Indian mansion in Jaipur, India. The place was converted into a boutique hotel from a former royal residence and kept all the unbelievable decadence of its original style. The dinner was so romantic and the room was postcard-perfect.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Dolores of Travels and Retreats @travelsandretreats

Samode Haveli in Jaipur, India. Photo by hotel.

 

 

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

If I had a boutique hotel, I would make sure that my guests would find a local host to welcome them. I believe it’s important and it builds trust. I would also have books in the room so that guests could catch up on some reading if they wanted to and a fantastic breakfast. Best way to start the day.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Dolores of Travels and Retreats @travelsandretreats

 

 

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

Great service is the most important thing when I stay in a hotel. It takes so little and means so much. However, I was impressed by a few other things over the years:

  1. The gift that are given upon arrival and departure at the LUX* Resorts, so thoughtful and personalized.
  2. The eco-friendly and cruelty-free bathroom amenities that every hotel I stayed in New Zealand had.
  3. A cool bar to hang out in the evening, I love a good vodka tonic and a chat.

 

 

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

In hotels, cleanliness is imperative and my skin gets rashes almost anytime the bedsheets are dusty or not properly cleaned. Unfortunately, I experienced a bad skin rash while staying in a small hotel in Sri Lanka and had to change room twice and leave the day after. It was that bad. Never again.

Getting food poisoned is also not great, especially when you are away from your comfort food and hospitals are not an option. Like in Asia for example, and that happens a lot.

Last but not least, bad service from a staff member that simply doesn’t care. It just kills the whole vibe of your holiday, I believe time is very precious so why waste it?

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

Amberlair is a great concept that finally empowers boutique hotels lovers to express their opinions and create something unique. I think that today’s travelers have fundamentally changed the way hoteliers need to operate their ventures. They want different things, act differently while on holiday, value new aspect of their time off work. Amberlair concept is able to listen to these needs and turn them into reality with their project.

 

 

Where are you off to next?

I am currently based in Mauritius where I work as digital marketing consultant. This summer I am hoping to schedule a little escape to Kenya and immerse myself in nature and wildlife once again. I am still dreaming about Botswana so I can’t wait to go back to Africa. I love it.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Dolores of Travels and Retreats @travelsandretreats

 

Dolores Semeraro is a citizen of the world with more than ten years in PR & Marketing for hospitality across Asia and the Indian Ocean. Passionate about all things social media and creative communications for travel and tourism, she is a positive soul with an undeniable travel bug.

Dolores has just launched her crowdfunding campaign #pugliafeelsgood on Indiegogo.

“I have always had this crazy dream to create the ultimate holiday experience. A place where you could be whoever you want to be, a painter, a rock climber, a yogi, a farmer or the cool kid taking ‘selfies by the pool’. I am originally from Puglia, so I couldn’t think of a better place to look for the perfect place than my homeland! So I went ahead and bought a Trulli property near Martina Franca, right at the core of Puglia. From there it was all about getting the restoration permits, working on the project and the design concept. It has been a long journey but now I am very excited to run my first crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise the necessary funds to restore the property and turn it into a Trulli Retreat. This is why I named this campaign #pugliafeelsgood. Because there is always something about Puglia that feels good, whether is the amazing food, the crisp air, the sense of relaxation overall. If you, like me, also think that Puglia feels good, please contribute to my campaign and get yourself a fantastic week holiday in Puglia heading to the campaign page on 10 MAY 2018, launching on Indiegogo.”

 

Find her on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Ciao!

 

 

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#BoHoLover: Meet Sheena of Citizen Femme @sheenabhattessa

We have asked Sheena of Citizen Femme to share her thoughts with us about her love for travel and 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 Sheena of Citizen Femme @sheenabhattessa

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

Location and distinct style are the basis of any hotel decision. I love boutique hotels, interesting design and excellent service. I love individually run hotels, or hotels where each property is like a brand of its own. You can see heart has gone into it, and comfort and design are key. I confess, I love luxury – beautiful bedrooms with floods of light pouring in through the window, huge luscious beds, pillows and lovely bathrooms.

 

 

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 service at The Mandeville Hotel in London far surpasses many hotels, with the best hotel concierge at any hotel I’ve ever stayed in. The location is my favourite, in Marylebone, and you are walking distance to everything you want to see, do, places to eat and drink and they have the most comfortable beds.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Sheena of Citizen Femme @sheenabhattessa

The Mandeville Hotel in London. Photo by hotel.

 

The Upper House in Hong Kong is like having your head in the clouds. It’s an incredibly tranquil escape from the madness that is Hong Kong. There is no check-in desk, pool, spa etc, but its peaceful and hidden with a beautiful library with fireplace, and on the 49th floor is a single, perfect restaurant called Café Gray Deluxe, a gem set in the clouds.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Sheena of Citizen Femme @sheenabhattessa

The Upper House in Hong Kong. Photo by hotel.

 

Chateau Eza in Eze, South of France is traditional and romantic and utterly enchanting. They have an elegant terrace where you can sit with an Aperol Spritz and look over the Cote d’Azur. You feel like you’re in a classic old movie with the feel of the Hotel, the design, the exceptional service and brilliant food.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Sheena of Citizen Femme @sheenabhattessa

Chateau Eza in oFrance. Photo by hotel.

 

I also love L’Hotel and Le Crillon in Paris, and am constantly exploring.

 

 

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

Other than all the assumed items of comfort, quality, design and service, I would insist on these items, which are often hard to come by:

  • An excellent hairdryer. It is incredibly hard to find, along with enough power outlets.
  • A good room service menu, with lots of options exceeding burgers and chips. And a menu that is easy to navigate. Some hotels are trying to take advantage of a tech revolution, and it is very difficult to pick what you want from a hard-to-navigate iPad or TV menu.
  • Fast Speed Wifi, which should really be a staple in Hotels now.
  • One more! A love a lobby area that is combined with the reception. You’ll find it buzzing with people drinking coffee, hanging out and meeting friends. Immediately you get a great sense of a hotel.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Sheena of Citizen Femme @sheenabhattessa

 

 

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

  1. A juice menu
  2. Although I didn’t like the overuse of tech, I stayed at The Armani Hotel in Milan and you could use the iPad to show you who was at the door and respond, so you didn’t have to get out of the bed, or shout to the door saying ‘come back later!
  3. Mobile phones so you don’t go crazy on phone bills (they have this at The Mandeville)

 

 

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

  1. Rude staff as if they are doing you a favour
  2. Staff walking into your rooms unannounced, despite the ‘do not disturb’ sign
  3. Badly designed bathrooms, confusing showers and water leaking on the floor – drive me nuts and it happens in the best hotels!

I also generally dislike PR spins for the sake of it. Make it a genuine added benefit and service, not adding a service or spin because it is press worthy only.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Sheena of Citizen Femme @sheenabhattessa

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

Its great! As long as you have 2 intelligent people heading it, as you do, and making sure all ideas are properly executed, it’s a real community project and you can absolutely make the most fantastic product!

 

 

Where are you off to next?

Los Angeles, then Chamonix to ski and I’m in London with my family for Christmas.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Sheena of Citizen Femme @sheenabhattessa

 

 

Sheena Bhattessa is the founder of luxury online travel magazine, Citizen Femme. Sheena grew up in the hospitality industry in a family of hoteliers so has always had a love of travel and a keen eye for boutique properties. But her background is as an actress, working in theatre and TV in London and the USA.

Alongside her acting career, Sheena launched Citizen Femme in 2017, a platform that drives the trends and informs the growing next generation of traveller. She has over 35 writers from around the world providing tips and insider guides in the course of less than year, providing daily content. She brings together the opinions of travel writers, opinion formers and tastemakers, making it easy for the generation that looks for everything online.

Sheena continues acting and most recently completed a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Queen Anne at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and CBS series Ransom.

You can follow her on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

 

 

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#BoHoLover: Meet hospitality aficionado Nadia @NadiaGalloPT

We have asked hospitality aficionado Nadia Gallo to share her thoughts with us about her love for travel and 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 and hospitality aficionado Nadia @NadiaGalloPT

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

It all depends if I´m travelling for leisure or work, which makes a very big difference in my needs but not in my preferences. In both cases there is one thing in common; I try to book independent hotels with less than 100 rooms or small hotel chains. There are many reasons why I do this,  but mostly it is because I believe in the individuality of each hotel which in a way, represents the city or country which is located and do not like standardized hotels. I need that personalized service that in my opinion is easier to find in these type of  properties and some time is taken for granted in bigger ones or massive international chains. Also I must say that I do not “believe” in the actual hospitality star rating system, therefore, the number of stars will not be a conditioning fact for me when choosing a hotel anywhere in the world.

 

 

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

Casa do Batán – Viveiro, Lugo – Spain: This is an independently owned very small (3 suites) only adults hotel where you feel that special luxury service I refer to. The ambience, the local products they use, homemade meals,  the atmosphere,  the sound of the two river nearby, the forest that surrounds this beautiful property.  The couple who owns the hotel are there for you 24h taking care of all your needs including (I love this!) preparing breakfast for you at any time of the day!! That is luxury for me.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #boholover and hospitality aficionado Nadia @NadiaGalloPT

Casa do Batán in Viveiro, Spain

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #boholover and hospitality aficionado Nadia @NadiaGalloPT

Casa do Batán in Viveiro, Spain

 

Danai Beach Resort  –  Halkidiki – Greece: Less than 80 suites and rooms with a private beach, butler service and all type of commodities without being ostentatious .The owner himself is most of the times on the grounds to speak and entertain the guests.

Finca Cortesin – Casares – Spain: Eye for detail is one of the main mottos for this hotel and they totally exceed it, if they know what you like they will go head over heels to have it ready for you. As an example, they serve personalized buffet breakfast at your own table, yes, you read correctly, your own buffet all set for you on your table. The grounds are also to mention with extensive gardens and beautiful pools where even with a full house you will believe the hotel is not even half booked.

Cap Rocat –  Mallorca – Spain: One of those special hotels you could only find in Mallorca, a military fortress with very few suites and stunning location for relaxation. Again service and food is impeccable at this hotel.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #boholover and hospitality aficionado Nadia @NadiaGalloPT

Cap Rocat in Mallorca, Spain. Photo by hotel.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #boholover and hospitality aficionado Nadia @NadiaGalloPT

Cap Rocat in Mallorca, Spain. Photo by hotel.

 

 

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

  • Staff are the heart & soul of a hotel and their wellbeing gets reflected in the service. This is not an easy task at all but my number one focus will be to ensure their happiness making sure they love their job and what they do.
  • Might seem contradictory with my other point,  but  high-tech should always be a must.  Small things such as enough sockets in the rooms, appropriate apps for guests to use and make their life easier as well as updated social media amongst other things that I consider to be essential for hospitality now a days.
  • No reception as we all know it, no desk with a “person” behind the counter, the guest will be greeted by the receptionist or the concierge at arrival with a glass of wine, champagne or even if we know they have a preference for a cocktail we will prepare that cocktail to surprise them. Most of the paper work should had been done in advanced (Passport, credit card, etc) and the few things that are missing will be asked while they enjoy their drink and their luggage is taken to the room.

All this keeping in mind that my ideal boutique hotel should not have more than 30-40 Rooms.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #boholover and hospitality aficionado Nadia @NadiaGalloPT

 

 

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

  1. In my case it is all about small details. I like it when they remember my name if I´m a returned guest and they totally have me if they recall my preferences (food, pillow, wine, room views, etc..)
  2. Personalized service in general is the key. High quality amenities is a must, tired of all same names and brands, amenities are often taken from granted in hotels.
  3. Few weeks ago I stayed at a hotel in Budapest that offered 24h whatsapp concierge service and decided to use it (more as an experiment to be honest) they booked me a restaurant for lunch, changed my transfer time for the airport and ordered room service. All of these done within minutes and no mistakes.  I must say that this was actually quite a big hotel with more than 200 rooms, impressive.

 

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

  1. As horrible as it might sound, I despise waiting in line whether it is for food, information or any other thing during my vacation, therefore buffets is something I try to avoid. Unfortunately not an easy task these days.
  2. First thing I do when I enter my hotel room is opening the curtains and windows, I normally request high floors. Once stayed at a beautiful hotel, forgot to specify this and they gave me an interior room with almost no natural day light.
  3. Going to a hotel either for work or leisure and being under construction is a nightmare, always ask if there is any of these going on and how this will affect your stay before booking. Same goes for out of order outlets; spa, restaurants, etc…

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

Love it! Putting all the travels ideas together and choosing what is best for this stunning project. Hope you have great fun doing so and I’m happy to be a small tiny part of this.

 

 

Where are you off to next?

London in a week… work, just for one night, but I’m planning my family Christmas vacation and we are thinking Dubai for the first time, no hotel has been decided yet!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #boholover and hospitality aficionado Nadia @NadiaGalloPT

 

I am Nadia Gallo. Hospitality has been my passion since a very early age when my parents taught me to appreciate every culture together with the hotel business through our numerous travels. I studied Hospitality Management at Les Roche and I´m proud to say that since the day I fished collage I never stopped working and loving this industry. I worked in almost every department there is in a hotel, something everyone should do in order to have an appropriate perspective.

 

Follow Nadia on Twitter and Instagram.

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#BoHoLover: Meet Carmen Caballero of Exotic Traveler @Exotiktraveler

We have asked Carmen Caballero of Exotik Traveler to share her thoughts with us about her love for travel and 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 Carmen Caballero of Exotic Traveler @Exotiktraveler

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

It depends a lot where I travel, but personally I look for location (not necessarily centric but a location that offers and experience to the guest too, such as a historic spot or a calm park), efficient service, originality and authenticity. Bathrooms are also very important for me, I like them big and clean looking! I will also check out online reviews to see what visitors have commented.

 

 

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

Hotel del Parque in Guayaquil, before cruising the Galapagos Islands, this hotel is number 1 option in the city. This is a one of a kind boutique hotel in Ecuador, located in Parque Historico of Guayaquil, and has been fully renovated. The hotel used to be shelter to the homeless and elderly, now it is a luxury boutique hotel where you can experience the peace of the park where its located and also experience Guayaquil’s culture. Eclectic modern and antique furniture contrasts are present all around the hotel and rooms… Even the most basic room category is quite big with 7 metres high ceilings and the bathrooms are nearly as big as the room!

Another great hotel I have stayed at is Aman Sveti Stefan in the coast of Montenegro.The resort used to be an old fishermans village dating back to the 15th century, and is now a luxury resort. Rooms are equiped with 21st century commodities but also keep the authencity of the old village combining modernity with old historic features. The location, the pink sand private beach, and the hotel features and unique setting make it a very special experience.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Carmen Caballero of Exotic Traveler @Exotiktraveler

Aman Sveti Stefan in Montenegro. Photo by hotel.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Carmen Caballero of Exotic Traveler @Exotiktraveler

Aman Sveti Stefan in Montenegro. Photo by hotel.

 

The third most special hotel I have ever stayed at is La Mamounia in Marrakech. Located in the heart of the city, it has one of the most unique gardens of Marrakech and also 3 signature restaurants.The decoration is moorish and the colour contrasts are lovely all around the property. The hotel offers to guests a riad experience with a private entrance and also, hotel rooms that do not loose morrocan authencity and where attention to detail is present in every corner of the hotel and room.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Carmen Caballero of Exotic Traveler @Exotiktraveler

Carmen Caballero at Mamounia in Marrakech

 

 

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

I’d have a small number of rooms, no a big hotel… Also, try to give the clients a very personalized service and a feeling of “home away from home”, and, I’d place it in an old building / house / palace and remodel it combining old / authentic features with modern ones and id also create a brand for room ammenities with a characteristic smell to associate to the property.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Carmen Caballero of Exotic Traveler @Exotiktraveler

 

 

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

I have loved when the service is positive, educated and efficient, original details in decoration or hotel features/rooms, and, also love to know about the history of the properties.

 

 

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

I think the worst is rude, unpolite/aggressive hotel staff, bathroom showers working properly is also very important for me and brand new hotel soaps…. nothing worst than the appearance of a shower gel or body lotion refilled…

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Carmen Caballero of Exotic Traveler @Exotiktraveler

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

I really like the project. I think that it is very important that guests have a positive relationship with the brand, this is essential. I am loving the idea to get “boholovers” involved in this project… I think this will help have different points of view for the boutique hotel concept, and also, its starting with a warm touch to this business idea. Id love to stay at the Puglia property before it opens, been to the area before and it is absolutely stunning, but a “boholovers” hotel is still missing :) Cant wait!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Carmen Caballero of Exotic Traveler @Exotiktraveler

 

 

Where are you off to next?

My next trip is going to be a road trip along the French Coast, We are flying to Nice, France and we will be visiting unique hotels such as Cap D’Antibes, Chevre D’Or, Cap Estel, Eden Roc, FS Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat and Five Seas in Cannes…

 

I am Carmen Caballero, owner and founder of Exotik Traveler: luxury travel blog and also, luxury travel consultant. I studied BS Economics and International Business in St Louis University (Missouri), and then, I decided to follow my dreams and create my own travel company where I design luxury travel journeys all around the world; this was 7 years ago and until today I can say I am proud of what I have achieved, and I happy to have turned my passion into my profession. Most of my life, before deiciding this was going to be my job, I used travel a lot myself, and even my friends and family always reached out to me to help them organize their trips. This was the perfect boost when I started my own business, and word-of-mouth and satisfied clients have taken me to where I stand today. I have to admit I have become social media addicted, I like to share my journeys and also travel inspiration in my social media channels specially in my Instagram account, be sure to follow me also in: TwitterFacebook and Youtube.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Carmen Caballero of Exotic Traveler @Exotiktraveler

 

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#BoHoLover: Meet Michele of Turning Left for Less @turningleftfor

We have asked Michele Robson of Turning Left for Less to share her thoughts with us about her love for travel and 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 Michele of Turning Left for Less @turningleftfor

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

I am pretty detailed in my hotel research before making a decision. As I usually spend quite a lot of money on a hotel, I like to make sure I am getting my money’s worth. When I am looking for a hotel, I usually start by narrowing down a pretty specific area that I want to stay in based on nearby restaurants, attractions and nightlife. My next step involves looking at reviews by the specific destination. I look at photos a lot as a picture often tells a lot when taken by an actual guest. I always look for a bath as well as a shower and a pool or spa is usually a must too. Once I have narrowed it down to 3 or so hotels, I will then look at how to get the best deal on price before making my final decision.

 

 

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

It is a tough question as I have been lucky enough to stay in lots of fabulous hotels, but if pushed I would chose The Sanchaya in Bintan, Indonesia,  Lympstone Manor in Devon, UK and the Four Seasons in Oahu, Hawaii.

The overriding factor in all of them was service and personalisation. The Sanchaya is in a fairly isolated beach location in a magnificent colonial style house where you feel like you could have stepped back in time. Everything is personalised and you can even chose not to sign for anything in the hotel and just get a bill at the end. At the pool, hampers are presented with chilled towels, still and sparking water and a water spray to cool down.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Michele of Turning Left for Less @turningleftfor

The Sanchaya in Bintan, Indonesia.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Michele of Turning Left for Less @turningleftfor

The Sanchaya in Bintan, Indonesia. Photo by hotel.

 

Lympstone Manor is a newly opened hotel from Michael Caines, the Michelin starred chef. Again it is a beautiful Manor house building but the attention to detail and reflections of the estuary surroundings were what made it special and of course the wonderful food from Michael. Each room was named after a estuary bird and decorated in the birds colours. There were lots of little extras such as gin tray, homemade biscuits and fresh milk to go with your tea or coffee and 2 different sets of toiletries in case you didn’t like one fragrance.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Michele of Turning Left for Less @turningleftfor

Lympstone Manor in United Kingdom. Photo by hotel.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Michele of Turning Left for Less @turningleftfor

Lympstone Manor in United Kingdom.

 

The Four Seasons is situated on a lovely lagoon away from the strong waves and currents on Oahu. The rooms are newly decorated and the pool side service is second to none. There is an adult only pool where staff will come round with sunscreen, water and frozen treats on a regular basis. Service is superb in all areas of the hotel from the beachside fish restaurant to the Hawaiian influenced spa. Your name is used at all times by the staff and service feels very personal.

 

 

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

  • Service and service recovery is very important, guests can overlook short comings if you have great service!
  • I think making sure the guests have everything they need in the room such as high quality toiletries, a great coffee machine, a comfortable bed with high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets and a pillow top mattress are important.
  • Finally I love a good soak in the bath, so I would have large free standing soaking tubs big enough for two in my bathrooms.

 

 

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

  1. I recently stayed in the Aria Sky suites in Las Vegas and when you walked into the room the curtains drew back automatically to show you the view whilst music played. That was a pretty special entrance.
  2. I also loved at the Sanchaya that all your preferences were noted so that if you ordered sparkling water or coffee for example, they would bring you that next time you were in the restaurant.
  3. Another favourite is little gifts or extras such as the Gin tray at Lympstone Manor complete with lime and tonics or a nice pillow spray at turndown service.

 

 

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

  1. Being locked out of our hotel for the night during the Vegas shootings was something I hope to never repeat. At the less extreme end I really hate the trend of  open plan bathrooms with glass walls and doors, if any at all. No matter how much I love my partner I really do not need to be that intimate with them and it is definitely a no-no with friends!
  2. Noise is a big factor for me, as I recently had a room in a very well-known hotel that appeared to be above a nightclub that went on into the early hours.
  3. In Asia I have had a cockroach in the room of luxury hotels a couple of times. Just thinking about that makes me shudder!

I think in a lot of cases it is often not just the fact that something is wrong, it is also very important how the hotel deals with your complaint. I always mention if something wasn’t right so the hotel can correct it for the next guest but often all I get is a thank you letting us know, not even an apology!

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

I really like the Amberlair concept. It is certainly a very unique way to develop a hotel by involving guests from the very beginning. All too often hotels are built solely on designers concepts of what looks good rather than what a guest actually wants.

 

 

Where are you off to next?

My next 6 weeks are a repeat visit to a fantastic hotel in the Algarve, the Conrad, Abu Dhabi to try Etihad Airways First Class apartment and my first trip to Mauritius.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Michele of Turning Left for Less @turningleftfor

 

Michele Robson is the Founder and Editor of Turning Left for Less and has spent the last 23 years working in the travel industry.  Her passion for travelling has now turned into something of an obsession! This along with a taste for the finer things in life has necessitated finding the cheapest way to indulge her habit which she now shares with readers of her blog. Last year alone she flew over 85,000 miles on 37 flights but used miles, discounts and sales to never pay the full price.

Follow Michele on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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#BoHoLover: Meet Pamela Chieffallo @LikeaChieff

We have asked Pamela Chieffallo of  Travel Like a Chieff to share her thoughts with us about her love for travel and 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 Pamela Chieffallo @LikeaChieff

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

When choosing a hotel my husband and I look for the following:

  • Five Star accommodations
  • Well located; proximity to shops, restaurants and city attractions when it is a city escape or if it is a beach vacation the pool is very important as well as the proximity of the beach.
  • Great reviews
  • I cross reference several lists like: Travel and Leisure World’s Best Hotels, Conde Nast The Gold List, Telegraph 50 Greatest Hotels In The World and Trip Advisor’s Top 25 Luxury Hotels
  • Look at traveler photos on TripAdvisor
  • Restaurant options in resorts is also a deciding factor
  • Modern minimalist décor is our preference but not a deal breaker if the hotel doesn’t fit that design style

 

 

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

Four Seasons Bora Bora: The over water bungalow overlooking the turquoise lagoon and mount Otemanu are what dreams are made of. The staff were friendly and the service was excellent. This little paradise was the perfect setting for our honeymoon and we enjoyed the serenity and beauty of the resort. We experienced the most romantic private island dinning experience on a white sand motu lit by tiki torches which began with a short canoe ride from the shore. It was followed by a spectacular Polynesian fire dance performance. Our one-bedroom mountain view overwater bungalow suite was luxurious and spacious with a deck overlooking mount Otemanu where you can relax while sipping champagne on the chaise longues.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Pamela Chieffallo @LikeaChieff

 

Amanzoe Greece: This luxury five-star resort is perfection! The Pavilions are positioned to ensure maximum privacy and are a little over 2200sf. We had the Pool Pavilion with Premium Views of the Aegean Sea and olive groves with a private 6m pool. The décor is modern, with pale walls, natural stone features and a touch of pine, exactly how we like it. The service was impeccable, the hotel amenities were the best we’ve had and the attention to detail was second to none. The restaurant options on the resort were excellent even for foodies like us. Amanzoe also offers a variety of activities like personal training, Pilates, a fabulous spa and many other excursions. For more on this hotel you can check out my hotel review on the blog.

Hoshinoya Tokyo: This is our most unique hotel experience to date. The Hoshinoya Tokyo is a five-star ryokan hotel located in the city’s financial district. A ryokan is a traditional Japanese hotel that originated in the Edo period. Guests are required to remove their shoes upon entering the hotel, are provided with a kimono and encouraged to wear it throughout the hotel. Every floor is covered by a seamless mosaic of tatami mats making it enjoyable to walk around barefoot. The rooms offer a minimalist traditional design with bamboo closets, and shoji paper sliding doors. Every floor has an ochanoma—a lounge that serves as an exclusive living and dining room for guests. There is a hot spring (onsen) located on the top floor of the hotel. The service was exceptional and the hotel staff went out of their way to accommodate restaurant reservations and bookings before our stay and during.

 

 

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

  • A unique welcome gift that is specific to the region.
  • A pillow menu, sleep is incredibly important to us and we’ve had sleepless nights due to terrible pillows.
  • A spa is always welcome and particularly ones that offer great facial treatments. I also prefer when they are open late since I like to experience the spa before bed.
  • Late check-out and early check-in options even if it is at an extra fee.

 

 

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

  1. Amanzoe offers personal training services and a state of the art Pilates studio where you can participate in group classes or take a private lesson. We loved this!
  2. We don’t book full board (breakfast included) in hotels anymore unless it is room service breakfast since we never make it on time. I like to eat my breakfast in my pyjamas.
  3. Free laundry service is always nice to have! More room in the suitcase for shopping!
  4. I must add one more! Separate bathrooms, one ensuite with a separate powder room is one of our favorite things in hotels.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Pamela Chieffallo @LikeaChieff

 

 

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

  1. Loud air conditioners drive me nuts! I’ve stayed in hotels where it sounds like you’re sleeping by the highway with your windows open. And yes, these were 5-star hotels.
  2. No hand-held shower head, this is my biggest pet peeve! Can we please have a rain shower AND hand-held in ALL hotels.
  3. Poor WIFI connection.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Pamela Chieffallo @LikeaChieff

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

This is a wonderful concept! I love the idea of having a hotel designed by the customer for the customer. This is the future of travel and it is so exciting to be part of such and innovative project. Avid travelers will have the opportunity to contribute to the design which can only make the Ambelair a one of a kind hotel. Think about it! You’re gathering ideas from an experienced travel community from all over the world and combining those ideas to create something magical! And it’s in Italy, it doesn’t get better than that! I can’t wait to see the final project!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Pamela Chieffallo @LikeaChieff

 

Where are you off to next?

Our next big adventure is a safari in the Masai Mara game reserve and Serengeti National Park in Kenya; we’ll be staying at the Cottar’s 1920s Camp. We will also be visiting Zanzibar, Tanzania and staying at the Park Hyatt and the Residence. We are staying at two different hotels because I don’t want to miss out on Stone Town and the hubby wants pure relaxation; marriage is all about compromise! I’ll probably sneak another weekend trip in before then so if you have any suggestions on where we should go in Europe in November and/or December please send me a message

 

This is Pamela Chieffallo, also known as the Chieff in Travel Like A Chieff. I left my career behind after moving to Dublin, Ireland from Toronto, Canada, became a housewife, nearly lost my mind and then started a blog. And that’s how Travel Like a Chieff was born! My mission is to discover the highest quality experiences, services and brands, share them with people all over the world and inspire them to do the same. Follow my adventures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or if you want to connect professionally check out my LinkedIn profile.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Pamela Chieffallo @LikeaChieff

 

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#BoHoLover: Meet Katie Dillon of La Jolla Mom @lajollamom

We have asked Katie Dillon of  La Jolla Mom to share her thoughts with us about her love for travel and 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 Katie Dillon of La Jolla Mom @lajollamom

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

I adore luxury hotels and choose destinations based on whether they have a hotel or two that really piques my interest. I have a handful of trusted luxury large and boutique hotel groups that I turn to first because they’ve earned my loyalty and I don’t need to worry about whether or not I’m going to have a good stay, I know I will.

 

 

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

I’ve been a guest of Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong consistently since it opened in 2005. It remains my favorite hotel in the world for sentimental reasons because we spent almost five years living in the hotel apartments. The staff is largely why its special to me and some of the same people have worked there since the beginning (while other have been promoted to other FS hotels). I think it’s also a testament to the hotel and brand as a great place to work. I like seeing familiar faces every time we walk in. My daughter is 10 now but I still remember the day we brought her home to the hotel at 5 days old and how excited they were to finally meet her (not to mention our hotel driver, a father himself, had to install our car seat because my husband forgot to read the manual).

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Katie Dillon of La Jolla Mom @lajollamom

 

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is also sentimental to me as that is it was a social hub for us when we lived in Hong Kong. I’ve been checking in as a guest annually for about six years. The top two things that I love about this hotel are the rooms and how they’ve managed to win the hearts of locals with their spa, dining outlets and other services.

In regard to the rooms, I do not think that I have stayed in room that is better equipped than theirs as they are fully-stocked with amenities and user-friendly technology. They have Hermes bath amenities and drawers full of other bath necessities you may have forgotten to pack. While there is an ample mini bar with premium spirits and snacks, they also put in a hot water kettle, Nespresso bar, gorgeous tea pots and ornate ice buckets (if the ice bucket wasn’t heavy, I would have bought it already), dishware, flatware, cloth napkins, full-sized wine glasses, and more.

I also love that they have a valet cabinet to minimize disturbance. In lieu of ringing the doorbell to deliver laundry, for example, they simply slip it into the valet cabinet. A notification light illuminates in your room so that you know to grab it. They really want you to feel at home here and I do. Beautiful decor and a stellar breakfast buffet helps, too.

 

Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire offers activities that are simply different than any other luxury hotel we’ve been in. My daughter learned how to care for a pony, we took a private falconry walk around the estate, you can explore its 500 acres by bike, and they set up an incredible sunset picnic for us near the lake with fishing poles, etc. It’s the type of place you would come for a weekend getaway and never leave because you really don’t have to.

 

 

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

  • As you might be able to tell already, amenities inside the room are incredibly important to me. I need to feel like the hotel has thought about who might be staying there and that they have taken care of the little things. Are there enough coffee cups and glasses? Is there an office kit in the desk? What about plugs and voltage converters? Extra toothbrushes? Kids robes? Nice towels? I think the reason why I care is that I want to feel that there is value in paying more to stay in a luxury property.
  • Speaking of kids, amenities for them are also important. A welcome gift resets moods after a long flight. I love it when a hotel picks up on queues and does something to blow their minds. I happened to mention in conversation to Brown’s Hotel in London that we were going to do some Harry Potter tours and the pastry chef really knocked my daughter’s socks off with a gorgeous Harry Potter amenity. Later I heard that this was the first amenity that he had created like this. He really stepped up to the challenge! It is always nice when restaurants are flexible enough to alter menu items to suit a child’s taste or honor little requests without hesitation (like banana smoothies in our case) that might be off-the-menu. Traveling can be tough on kids and they, too, need a little familiar comfort food sometimes.
  • I also feel that online photos of the hotel should showcase what the property is really like without glamming it up too much. There’s nothing worse than booking into a hotel thinking it has a nice big pool based on the photos when in fact it’s tiny and was just photographed well. This recently happened to us and it was a huge let down for my daughter, too. The pool was awful.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Katie Dillon of La Jolla Mom @lajollamom

 

 

 

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

  1. Cool kids amenities such as in-room pop-up tents. Yes, even a cheap pop-up tent can give a child hours of enjoyment while creating a positive and memorable stay. My daughter celebrates a birthday near or during our spring break trips. Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong filled our room with balloons.
  2. A complimentary glass of champagne at check-in is a nice touch, especially, if you have to wait for any reason.
  3. I am of the opinion that you can gauge what your stay is going to be like based on the thought that goes into a hotel’s flower arrangements. I look for and love extraordinary flower arrangements that are well-maintained.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Katie Dillon of La Jolla Mom @lajollamom

 

 

 

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

  1. We once had construction debris and cords in the hallway near our room in a five-star hotel that cost and arm and a leg. And, the construction noise was terrible.
  2. Ill-designed bathrooms are not my favorite. I was recently in a hotel where the shower flooded the bathroom floor every time.
  3. In-room coffee is a must. I am not a fan of it absent from my room.

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

I think it could be really amazing and they sure picked a gorgeous location. I also suspect its challenging to decide which traveler suggestions to really implement so I’m curious to see the balance that they strike. Through watching this process unfold, I’ve also found it really interesting to read what’s important to other savvy travelers. I do believe that if they really can build a hotel based on needs and wants of travelers, it should be a hit. I really look forward to checking in!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Katie Dillon of La Jolla Mom @lajollamom

 

 

 

Where are you off to next?

Argentina for the Adventure Travel World Summit. It will be my first trip to South America.

 

Katie writes a luxury family travel and lifestyle site called La Jolla Mom that is named after her seaside community in San Diego. Before settling in La Jolla, she and her husband spent seven years as expats in London and then Hong Kong where her daughter was born. Her knowledge of luxury travel stems from plenty of first-hand experience as most of the Dillon family’s time overseas was spent living in a Four Seasons hotel apartment. Luxe Getaways Magazine, Luxury Retreats Magazine and Four Seasons Magazine are a few of the publications that Katie contributes to. She is also the San Diego editor for USA TODAY/10Best and never fully unpacked.

 

Connect with Katie on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

 

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