#BoHoLover: Meet Lauren DiMarco of Lola’s Travels @LolaDiMarco

We have asked Lauren DiMarco, founder and content creator of the independent travel blog Lola’s Travels, 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 #BoHoLover: Meet Lauren DiMarco of Lola’s Travels @LolaDiMarco

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

I often go to a website called Jetsetter to see what hotels they work with in that particular city. I have never had an issue with any hotel I’ve either booked or found through this website. This is because they work with higher-end, hip, boutique hotels typically.

 

 

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

Soho Beach House in Miami is a private club but non-members can stay if there’s availability. It is a very cool yet unpretentious place to stay. It feels like a shabby chic old Miami experience. The food was outstanding.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel Soho Beachhouse #BoHoLover: Meet Lauren DiMarco of Lola’s Travels @LolaDiMarco

Soho Beachhouse in Miami. Photo by hotel.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel Soho Beachhouse #BoHoLover: Meet Lauren DiMarco of Lola’s Travels @LolaDiMarco

Soho Beachhouse in Miami. Photo by hotel.

 

Villa Gallici in Aix en Provence had the most amazing staff ever and the food was also amazing. No two rooms were alike. It was the kind of place you never wanted to leave.

Belmond La Residence d’Angkor in Siem Reap felt like an luxurious yet authentic Cambodian experience. Almost other-worldly. The rooms were beautiful as were the grounds.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel Belmond Angkor Bedroom #BoHoLover: Meet Lauren DiMarco of Lola’s Travels @LolaDiMarco

Belmond Hotel in Angkor Wat. Photo by hotel.

 

 

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

  • Free WiFi everywhere.
  • Full sized high quality toiletries that are locally sourced to add to the experience.
  • A full cocktail bar with high-end liquor options and mixers.

 

 

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

  1. Full sized amenities that were unique to the property.
  2. Happy hour in room cocktail service where a bartender with a bar cart makes whatever your heart desires right there in front of you and pours it in the proper glassware.
  3. Unique furnishings and accessories as well as local unique reading material to enrich your travel experience.

 

 

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

  1. The lack of ANY minibar.
  2. Being charged for WiFi.
  3. No late night menu/room service.
  4. Having to remind housekeeping to clean the room. Lack of towels. Lack of toiletries.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique #BoHoLover: Meet Lauren DiMarco of Lola’s Travels @LolaDiMarco

Lauren DiMarco with Ana Silva O’Reilly

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

I love the idea of the consumer being involved with how the hotel is shaped. I’m a fan of hotel brands but with each hotel in different cities having different styles. NO MORE COOKIE CUTTERS! Boutique hotels are so much more able to provide memorable customer satisfaction.

 

 

Where are you off to next?

Iceland – one of my favorite countries. Talk about a unique place that loves to boast local quality goods and unique experiences.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique #BoHoLover: Meet Lauren DiMarco of Lola’s Travels @LolaDiMarco

 

 

Lauren DiMarco is the founder and content creator of Lola’s Travels, an independent travel blog that features original city guides, travel tips, hotel and restaurant reviews and off-the-beaten-path finds delivered with a sense of humor.

You can follow Lauren on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well.

 

#BoHoLover: Meet Nicole Smith of flytographer @flytographer

We have asked Nicole Smith, CEO and founder of flytographer, 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 Nicole Smith of flytographer @flytographer

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

I love to tap my friends and local Flytographer photographers to get the inside scoop on what the best options are, especially if it’s a destination I have not been to before. It also depends if the kids are coming on not. If they are, then I always try to find one with a pool. I also read blogs by travel experts like Wendy Perrin, Mrs. O Around the World and others.

 

 

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 One & Only Palmilla in Los Cabos was a beautiful property and our suite came with a personal butler. The nightly tequila service and towel origami on the bed were memorable as was the bottle of chilled champagne on arrival. A fun perk was the “sunglasses cleaner” who would roam around the pool to make sure everyone’s view was picture perfect.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel One And Only Palmilla Terrace #BoHoLover: Meet Nicole Smith of flytographer @flytographer

One And Only Palmilla in Los Cabos. Photo by Nickolas Sargent.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel One And Only Palmilla Terrace #BoHoLover: Meet Nicole Smith of flytographer @flytographer

One And Only Palmilla in Los Cabos. Photo by Nickolas Sargent.

 

The Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver is a contemporary west coast masterpiece. From their friendly bellhops to the gorgeous scent that subtly wafts through the hip, modern lobby, it’s hard to not get excited just walking into the hotel. What I most loved, was how they really know how to make kids feel special. We had robes, slippers and even a chocolate treat welcoming us. Having an inexpensive but thoughtful welcome kid’s amenity  really creates a magical experience that they don’t soon forget (and keeps them begging to go back). We were lucky enough to get a corner suite with a deep tub that overlooked the ocean and mountains. The views are breathtaking.The kids’ biggest thrill was the candy bar wall in G Cafe in the lobby. Nobody wanted to check out after that stay.

 

The Hassler Hotel in Rome was in a fantastic location, with old school glamour, just steps from the Spanish Steps. The outdoor courtyard for dining was like something out of a movie and the concierge team was incredible fast and helpful. I was traveling solo and they arranged an amazing private tour guide the night before, which turned out to be the highlight of my trip.

 

 

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

  • Interesting and tasty locally-sourced products in the mini-bar.
  • Strong, free wifi everywhere
  • An incredible bed with incredible sheets and an incredible pillow.
    (I catch up on sleep on vacations, so this is critical)

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Nicole Smith of flytographer @flytographer

 

 

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

When traveling with my young sons, having robes/slippers and a sweet treat waiting for them. I love anything that makes travel feel more magical for kids.

 

 

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

  • Poor wifi
  • Dirty glassware in the bar
  • Noisy neighbours

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Nicole Smith of flytographer @flytographer

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

I think it’s very intriguing. Gathering input from the community you are targeting can really help ensure the things that truly matter are included in the design. I think it’s very original and can’t wait to see the end-result.

 

 

Where are you off to next?

A wedding in Maui, and then I head to Barcelona straight from there for our next Global Flytographer Meetup . My best girlfriends are flying in to meet me after the meetup for three days of fun. In fact, we are researching good boutique hotels there right now!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Nicole Smith of flytographer @flytographer - Photo by Bruce Stotesbury Times Colonist

Nicole Smith of flytographer. Photo by Bruce Stotesbury – Times Colonist

 

 

Nicole Smith is the CEO & Founder of Flytographer. Called the “The Future of Travel Photography” by Conde Nast Traveler and “The #1 Gift for Travellers” by Forbes, Flytographer connects travelers with local photographers around the globe for fun, candid photo shoots. Local photographers are carefully chosen for skill and personality, and share unique insider tips while discreetly capturing beautiful memories of everyone together. Travelers receive their digital photos within five days, often before they’ve even unpacked. Flytographer is available in over 160 cities across six continents. 

You can follow Nicole tweeting and Flytographer on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

The first next steps on the Amberlair adventure – Winter 2016 Update

Dear #boholovers,

Is it too late to say Happy New Year? We are not quite sure where the first 6 weeks of the year went – but that might be because we have been *so busy* with our beloved project.

Our community, made up of boutique hotel lovers from around the world voted for Italy as the destination for the first Amberlair – which will be the first crowdsourced and crowdfunded boutique hotel in the world.

 

We are so excited, we cannot tell you.

Since the vote in the last quarter of 2015, we have been to Italy twice already. The contrasts in the country are quite wide – should we go North or South? East or West?

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - The first next steps on the Amberlair adventure – Winter 2016 Update

 

On our first trip, we have actually driven from North to South, having started our property scouting mission in Bologna-Emilia Romagna, followed by Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzo and ended our journey in Puglia, the heel of Italy.

 

Play Video

 

We have asked some of our favourite bloggers for their opinions – just for fun – and they are also divided. Some chose the Amalfi Coast, others Florence. Some think that Piedmont should be the place – others have their heart set on Puglia. What do you think? Do you have a favourite part of Italy? Our problem is that we love Italy a little bit too much. But is that a bad thing?

 

On our second trip, we have focused on Puglia a bit more – we feel that it is unspoiled, has a good mix of country side and beaches and the pace of life is so bucolic and lovely. Could this be the place? Early days!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - The first next steps on the Amberlair adventure – Winter 2016 Update

 

We are now on the process of appointing lawyers and real estate advisors – Amberlair is a labour of love project, but it is a business venture, and our German selves would never take an unmeasured risk. It has been interesting meeting so many local professionals, who are also passionate about the project and will surely advise us as and when needed.

The road ahead will be long. Our goal, first and foremost is to find the perfect location (and property) for the first Amberlair. It could take weeks, it could take months – but we are confident we will get there. Then, all the fun will begin for sure.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Kristin and Marcus in Matera - Italy

 

As we get closer to the D day, we want to hear your thoughts and opinions about what makes a brilliant hotel – do get in touch with us if you would like to be featured on our #boholover series. We have so far interviewed 50 people from all walks of life who have one thing in common: they love boutique hotels.

 

Thank you once again for the time you have given us over the past year – we cannot tell you how supported we feel.

Marcus & Kristin

 

#BoHoLover: Meet Kim-Marie of Luxury Travel Mom @luxurytravelmom

We asked luxury travel expert and journalist, Kim-Marie of Luxury Travel Mom, to share her thoughts on hotels and Amberlair, of course. She is a #BoHoLover, Boutique Hotel Lover – just like us!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Kim-Marie of Luxury Travel Mom

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

I am usually traveling with one or more children so I look for hotels that are family friendly. I don’t mean that they have video games and chicken nuggets, I look for suites with adjoining bedrooms, rooms with bath tubs (very important for small children) and a seating area where we can relax. I follow a few tastemakers on social media whose opinions I trust completely, I also do research online but am very picky about the sources I choose.

 

 

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

The Shangri-La in Paris has the best service, best view and most spectacular suites.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Kim-Marie of Luxury Travel Mom @luxurytravelmom

Shangri-La in Paris. Photo by hotel.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Kim-Marie of Luxury Travel Mom @luxurytravelmom

Shangri-La in Paris. Photo by hotel.

 

The Four Seasons in Dubai is a stunning mix of modern and middle eastern architecture, the pool is gorgeous, the spa sublime and the rooms are large with fabulous walk in closets.

 

The St. Regis in New York will always be a perennial favorite, their butler service is second to none and I am a sucker for old school luxury.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Kim-Marie of Luxury Travel Mom @luxurytravelmom

St. Regis in New York – Dior Suite. Photo by hotel.

 

 

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

  1. Extraordinary service. No hotel can have a lovely enough decor or setting to overcome mediocre service.
  2. Included amenities, I hate being nickeled and dimed-give me bottled water at my bedside, free wi-fi and hot coffee without charging me for goodness sakes.
  3. Fabulous bedding, nothing ruins a good hotel like a nasty bedspread that you know never gets washed or pillows that aren’t plump, spend the money on glorious bedding, it’s worth it.
  4. Oh, and good bathroom products as well.

 

 

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

  • At the Greenwich Hotel in NY they have a basket of treats in every room free of charge, I can’t explain why free Cracker Jacks thrilled me, but they did.
  • The pre-arrival questionnaire at Twin Farms in Vermont meant that I was served all of the food that I loved and everything in my room was exactly to my taste.
  • Little bedtime gifts are so thoughtful, from a book at Blantyre to little flashlights at Caneel Bay, a treat at turndown makes a stay special.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Kim-Marie of Luxury Travel Mom @luxurytravelmom

 

 

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

  • Staff that have no interest in helping you, Bolongo Bay.
  • Housekeeping that does a shoddy job, a Ritz that shall remain nameless.
  • A dirty beach. Same Ritz.

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

It’s beyond brilliant, I always tell my children to ask people what they want, don’t assume that you know.

 

 

Where are you off to next?

My youngest and I are leaving for Costa Rica with Adventures by Disney in a few days, we will be gone for a week, changing hotels every night, zip lining, swimming with turtles and more. I’m excited and a little nervous about how he’ll do with all the non-stop travel.

 

Kim-Marie-dubaiwalking

 

 

Kim-Marie Evans is a luxury travel expert and journalist. She travels the world as Contributing Editor for travel for Greenwich Magazine, and with her children for her award winning blog Luxury Travel Mom. She is well regarded in the travel industry for her insight and unflinchingly honest opinions.

Kim-Marie is also the co-founder of #LuxTravelChat together with Ana aka Mrs. O Around the World. When she is not tweeting, you can find her adventures on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.

#BoHoLover: Meet #winelover André Ribeirinho @andrerib

We have asked Chief Wine Evangelist André Ribeirinho of Food, Wine and Travel, to share his thoughts with us about his love for boutique hotels, and Amberlair, of course. And before you ask, a #BohoLover is a Boutique Hotel lover… just like us!

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - André Ribeirinho #winelover

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

I use 3 main criteria:

  • Aesthetics: I’m into industrial and chic boutique hotels.
  • Location: next to food markets, parks or other nice areas.
  • Reviews: great recommendations from like minded people.

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

Convento de La Parra: No TVs, amazing ambiance, big rooms.

mberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel Convento De La Parra #BoHoLover: Meet André Ribeirinho @andrerib

Convento De La Parra in Spain. Photo by hotel.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel Convento De La Parra #BoHoLover: Meet André Ribeirinho @andrerib

Convento De La Parra in Spain. Photo by hotel.

Kong Arthur: A luxury hotel in the middle of Copenhagen.

Pazo de Altamira: Good value for money hotel next to the food market!

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

  • Lounge bar with great food options.
  •  Local food recommendations list and preferred booking options.
  • Amazingly comfortable beds.

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

  1. Amazingly comfortable beds.
  2. Custom made eggs for breakfast.
  3. Personal recommendation service.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - André Ribeirinho #winelover

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

  1. Bad beds.
  2. Bad attitude.
  3. Bad breakfast.

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

Amberlair is focused on putting the consumer first and taking that concept a step further than anyone has ever did. Great potentially winning idea. Can’t wait to stay for the night in the first one!

Where are you off to next?

Rhone in France, Berlin in Germany and and then back to Rio de Janeiro in Brasil!

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - André Ribeirinho #winelover

André Ribeirinho is described in the wine business with many different titles and labels: Ambassador, Evangelist, Knight, Traveler, Founder and Strategist. Specifically, André runs Adegga, a Direct to Consumer Wine Marketplace that also organizes the Adegga WineMarkets, a series of consumer wine events in Europe. André’s company is responsible for such innovations in the wine industry as the AVIN and the SmartWineGlass. André is also a co-founder of the #winelover community and an unofficial ambassador for Port wine.

Keep up with André Ribeirinho on TwitterFacebook and Iconosquare.

#BoHoLover: Meet Gemma & Craig of Two Scots Abroad @TwoScotsAbroad

We asked Gemma and Craig, Two Scots Abroad on a 18  months trip around the world,  to share their ideas on hotels and Amberlair. They are #BohoLovers, Boutique Hotel Lovers – just like us!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel Gemma Craig Two Scots Abroad Couple

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

We usually go for accommodation with a bit of edge, one that screams unique! The location is not necessarily a number one priority as we often try to seek out alternative areas away from the centre. Naturally being a blogger, accommodation with strong Wi-Fi is a given!

 

 

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

La Calzada del Santo in Santa Marta, Colombia, was an absolute dream!
The owner and staff were so warm and welcoming, it really felt like you were staying at an aunt’s really plush hotel! There was a rooftop pool overlooking the city, hammocks, a colourful breakfast fit for a king, and the rooms had exposed brick. I just adored everything about the place.

 

In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, we ended up extended our stay to five nights because of the Frangipani Living Arts Hotel & Spa. The Frangipani Living Arts Hotel & Spa had two swimming pools, two bars and a comfy bed. The hotel was calm, just what we needed after a manic eight days in Vietnam.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Saint Cecilia - #BoHoLover: Meet Gemma & Craig of @TwoScotsAbroad

Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin, Texas is on Gemma’s and Craig’s bucket list!

 

Although not a boutique hotel, one of the more killer kitsch stays was in an Airstream in Austin!
The airstream was just really cool. The big silver ex-food truck was kitted out in vintage décor and was really cute. I felt like we were in keeping with the Keep Austin Weird vibes staying there!

 

 

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

Stand out décor; if I were running a boutique hotel I would want it to feel different. The staff would have to be friendly and helpful, this is what makes customers return. Good music! Music is such a large part of our life, whether that’s a fun playlist or live bands for entertainment, music would be integral.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Gemma & Craig of @TwoScotsAbroad

 

 

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

Swimming pools, especially in hot climates! Local artwork, La Calzada del Santo had this nailed down; they even had crafty hotel room key chains! Cleanliness, you just can’t skimp on clean accommodation.

 

 

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

Noisy hotels, work being carried out or noisy neighbours. Dirtiness, rooms not being cleaned after a couple of days of staying in them (beach = sand, treks = dirt!) Disappointing breakfasts.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Gemma & Craig of @TwoScotsAbroad

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

I love it! I actually discovered Amberlair on Twitter and jumped on the website straight away to contact Kristin and Marcus. I wanted to give them an e-high five and ask to promote the cause. I enjoy the community feel to Amberlair and how everyone can be a stakeholder!

 

 

Where are you off to next?

I’m typing from a rainy Vancouver at present. We’ll be here until January then we head to the States and Central America before we hit the European leg (in March) of our 18-month career break. In B.C, snow is now lying on the mountains, it’s very exciting!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Gemma & Craig of @TwoScotsAbroad

 

 

Gemma and Craig have packed up their past lives as teacher and tradesman to travel the world for 18 months. You can follow their adventure on their Two Scots Abroad blog, as well as on InstagramTwitterFacebook and Pinterest.

 

#BoHoLover: Meet Olivia Byrne of Eccleston Square Hotel @ESquareHotel

We have asked the co-owner and director, Olivia Byrne, of what is now one of Europe’s most technologically advanced boutique hotel, Eccleston Square Hotel, to share her thoughts with us about her love for boutique 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 Olivia Byrne of Eccleston Square Hotel @ESquareHotel

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

Well, I travel both for business and for pleasure. I like to make both experiences as pleasurable as possible. Especially with business travel, I tend to be settled in one place for at least a few days at a time, so I prefer to stay in boutique hotels – similar to ourselves. I enjoy the personal touches in a boutique property, and it’s inspiring to see what these unique hotels are doing to impress their guests.

Location is a key factor in my decision making process – so I try to find somewhere personable and conveniently located for driving or transport links. But it is essential that I can get a good night’s sleep, so I want quieter locations where possible.

And then I’m influenced, like everyone else by word of mouth and reviews I’ve read.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Olivia Byrne of Eccleston Square Hotel @ESquareHotel

Eccleston Square Hotel in London

 

 

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

I have stayed in some amazing places but the three hotels really stand out in my mind as extra special are The Armani Hotel in Milan, the Ritz Carlton Almaty and the Dunmore Hotel on Harbor Island in the Bahamas.

 

 

What made them so special?

Each of these hotels are perfectly located. I did much of my growing up in the Swiss mountains, so I’m slightly biased towards the mountainous scenery of the Ritz Carlton Almaty! What is really special about this hotel is it does so much to bring the Kazakh culture inside, it creates an authentic sense of occasion and location and of course, as you’d expect, the staff have been trained to offer a really exceptional level of service.

The Armani Hotel in Milan is so exciting, it’s in the most fabulous, central location, I love its nod to technology, the décor is simple yet sublime and the food was too good! The attention from the staff is possibly some of the best I’ve seen in the world.

And as for the Dunmore Hotel on Harbor Island in the Bahamas – it is faultless. Its unique location is breathtaking, but it doesn’t just rely on its geography, its offers excellent service to match. I’d go back there in a heartbeat.

 

 

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

LOL I do! (editor’s note: Laugh Out Loud)

Essentially, we’re selling sleep, so the most important thing we offer is an incredible bed, ours are handmade Swedish Hästens massage beds. We constantly hear our guests tell us that our beds are the best they have ever slept in; they’ve even been known to cure bad backs. We’re selling sleep – so we’re driven to offer the very best.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Olivia Byrne of Eccleston Square Hotel @ESquareHotel

Eccleston Square Hotel room

 

A second thing I think is essential is a tailored service. We have developed a very sleek hotel App which is available to download onto a smart phone and it is ready loaded on to the in-room iPad. Clients can do everything through the app, from ordering a 3D Movie from the comfort of their own bed to requesting a cocktail to be delivered at precisely 21:05, from the back seat of a taxi. And then equally, some clients prefer to pick up the phone or pop down to reception to chat, some like lots of conversation. We’re a small boutique so we very quickly get to know all of our guests and we pride ourselves on being able to personally tailor ourselves to the kind of service they prefer.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Olivia Byrne of Eccleston Square Hotel @ESquareHotel

Eccleston Square Hotel lobby

 

And lastly, technology. Some might think it’s ironic that I mentioned this last, as Eccleston Square Hotel is known for being one of the most technologically advanced hotels in Europe. But the thing is, we were driven to offer our guests the best in everything, and technology naturally fell into that remit. The air in our rooms is filtered fresh air, not recycled from other rooms, so it’s actually fresher indoors than it is outdoors and yet we’re in a central London setting. This is the sort of technology our guests can’t see. But then it’s lovely to be able to offer our huge 103” 3D movie screen to guests for watching films or sport. And guests love the iPads and vibrating beds in the rooms, we get hundreds of comments about the bathroom’s SmartGlass walls, which click from opaque to transparent at the flick of a switch. It’s a joy to offer great products and services.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Olivia Byrne of Eccleston Square Hotel @ESquareHotel

Eccleston Square Hotel restaurant

 

 

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

The first thing I tend to notice about a hotel when I first walk in (besides its smell) is whether or not there is a friendly team waiting to help me. Like with the Armani Hotel I mentioned before, I loved the friendly service their staff gave me. It has stayed with me years after the visit.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Olivia Byrne of Eccleston Square Hotel @ESquareHotel

 

I also love to see great modern amenities in the room. At Eccleston Square Hotel, we think everything should be at the very least better than what guests have at home, so we ensure that our shower products (L’Occitane) are really beautiful, and that guests have great coffee, literally on tap for example. The third thing I’ve loved in hotels I’ve stayed in before is the food. From the Italian food in the Armani Hotel to the Kazakh cuisine in the Almity, it’s the food that has given me a real sense of location and helped to cement a unique experience.

 

 

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

Ok, I don’t think it’s fair to say which hotels these were, but I can categorically say that staff that don’t care, a really noisy bedroom and bed bugs are three of the worst things I have personally experienced in other hotels. I’ll keep quiet on which brands J

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

This is the first time I have heard of such a concept but sounds like an innovative way of creating a boutique hotel! And innovation in the hotel industry is definitely a good thing!

 

 

Where are you off to next?

I’ve just come back from a work trip to Dubai and Mauritius, next I’m off to Paris and Zurich!

 

eccleston-team-x

Olivia Byrne (on the right) with her team at the Eccleston Square Hotel

 

 

Aged just 23, Olivia was one of the UK’s youngest ever directors to open and run a London hotel and to this day, she directs all of the hotel’s Human Resources, Sales and Marketing operations. 

Parisian born Olivia Byrne grew up in Switzerland and was educated at Institut Le Rosey before going on to study at L’Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, one of the best hospitality management schools in the world. The daughter of a hotel owner in Paris, Olivia always knew that she wanted to work in hotels and went on to enjoy internships at some of the most fabulous establishments in the world, including Hotel Hermitage Monaco and Joël Robuchon, Monaco, a two-star Michelin restaurant.

After graduating, Olivia took an active part of the re-construction, refurbishment and redesign of the stunning Grade ll listed building and opened the technologically advanced luxury boutique hotel in July 2011.

Since opening, Olivia and Eccleston Square Hotel has won multiple awards for its advanced technology and it has received constant high praise in the national and international trade, lifestyle and travel press. Olivia runs Eccleston Square Hotel with her younger brother James, they are both bilingual in French and English and live in London’s SW1.

 

You can follow Eccleston Square Hotel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

#BoHoLover: Meet Jasmin Swansen of Hospitality Jas

We have asked Jasmin Swansen, an aspiring hotelier of Hospitality Jas, 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 Jasmin Swan of @Hospitality_Jas

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

I love design hotels, so I will look a lot at modern hotels with an inspiring and cutting edge interior. If I find a good deal, I will book it to not miss out on the rate, as long as it’s not a non-refundable rate and will check a few days later if I still like the choice of my hotel. Additionally I look at reviews, not just at good reviews but also how did the hotel react to the bad reviews in their replies. I like hotels that are inspired by their surroundings and nature, therefore it is also very important to me that the hotel is run as sustainable as possible.

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

I love how much community spirit is in Fogo Island Inn. It’s such a luxurious little gem at what feels like most peaceful place in the whole entire world. It’s interior is modern, sleek and very clean cut, however also really inspired by the Island and everything is crafted by the locals. You get epic views on the ocean and the rooms don’t come with TVs! You can request one, but I’d rather have an adventure outside and a good story to tell when I come back from my travels.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Fogo Island Inn #BoHoLover: Meet Jasmin Swan of @Hospitality_Jas

Fogo Island Inn. Photo by hotel.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Fogo Island Inn #BoHoLover: Meet Jasmin Swan of @Hospitality_Jas

Fogo Island Inn. Photo by hotel.

Alda Hotel in Reykjavik is a 4 star hotel that opened in 2014. When I arrived on check in I was given a mobile phone with free local phone calls, as well as unlimited data and all tourist friendly apps like google maps and tripadvisor. I’m a huge fan of Scandinavian design and interior and Alda really fits the bill. Beautiful wooden floors, minimalistic furniture but high in quality. The service was also amazing, the team organised all my tours and were very knowledgable of the area and recommended me some awesome places in Reykjavik.

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Alda Hotel in Reykjavik #BoHoLover: Meet Jasmin Swan of @Hospitality_Jas

Alda Hotel in Reykjavik. Photo by hotel.

Well, you know how they say be proud of where you work? Well I am, that’s why I put as the 3rd hotel my work place, the G&V Royal Mile Hotel in Edinburgh. When I travel I can never help to compare the hotels with my work. So I set my standard that’s the one I expect when I travel. We go above and beyond for our guests! The hotel is going through a very exciting redesign and we are very inspired by our location in the middle of the old town of Edinburgh. Luxury design meets history at the G&V.

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

  • Not a “thing” as such but I’d try to make my hotel as sustainable as possible
  • Big variety of toiletries
  • Electric plugs next to mirrors

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Jasmin Swan of @Hospitality_Jas

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

  • Breakfast! Breakfast is the part I most look forward to in a hotel stay and a neatly set-up breakfast buffet makes me very happy. Especially if they have options like salmon and a big cheese variety and fresh artisan bread. Also fresh orange juice is a must!
  • Alda Hotel had cotton bathrobes, which I loved. I was first a bit surprised but I really prefer them to the usual
  •  When I stayed in Copenhagen all the hotels had bicycles available to hire, which is to be honest the one and only way to experience the city.

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

  • I always dislike it when there is no electricity plug close to a mirror – I can’t see what I’m doing to my hair!
  • A room without a coffee machine. I don’t always want to phone reception to order a proper brew, just provide it in the room please.
  • Bad service. Don’t make me feel like such a burden! Be happy, be proactive and go the extra mile for your guests. Help them make the utter best out of their experience!

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - #BoHoLover: Meet Jasmin Swan of @Hospitality_Jas

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

I absolutely love it and find it very inspiring as I would also like to open my own hotel one day. It’s such a great way to promote your concept, as well as get people involved and really connected to this future hotel. “I helped opening this” – That would mean so much to me!

Where are you off to next?

Canada, Toronto! Very excited to see this city for the first time and I already have booked myself in for a stay at the Drake Hotel.

Jasmin is an aspiring hotelier, currently working in a 5 star hotel and studying hospitality management. Originally from Germany, calling Edinburgh home, a city with such a vibrant hospitality scene. Jasmin loves to travel North. That’s pretty much what she writes about – the service given in the hospitality industry of Scotland, as well as her journeys (mostly) to Scandinavia and beyond!

You can follow Jasmin on Twitter and Instagram.

Meet #Italyboholover Maria Pasquale @heartrome

In this series, we wanted to do something different: we wanted to find out what drove global citizens to leave their lives behind and move to Italy (we shall call them #italyboholover. First up, is the lovely Maria Pasquale who went from Down Under, to the Eternal City.

 

 

 

Where are you from and what made you fall in love with Italy?

I’m from Melbourne, Australia and the Italian way of life and psyche made me fall in love. It’s where an appreciation for the good things in life, like food, wine, art, culture, and history, are truly embraced and appreciated. It ain’t all pretty, but nothing in life is perfect. I’d say, Italy comes quite close!

 

 

When did you move and where? What do you love the most in your life in Italy now? 

I moved to Rome in September 2011 on a whim. I’d only be dreaming about living here for about 15 years prior. I love that I can go for a walk in a modern day metropolis and stumble upon, and literally, walk past or walk on, ancient ruins and signs of the past. It makes me feel connected to history. I love the Roman food scene and the fact that I can get a real carbonara any day of the week. I love having an aperitivo with friends and the fact that just two hours on the train gets me to Florence or Naples!

 

maria pascuale torino piemonte amberlair

 

 

Would you share with us your 3 favourite places in Italy to visit?

Rome – A visit to Italy is just not complete without a visit to caput mundi, as it was know in Roman times (“capital of the world”). The imposing monuments, the cobblestoned streets, resplendent piazzas, and the colors. Oh I love the colours of Rome! The vibe changes from district to district but a little of the ol’ dolce vita can be felt throughout and you will eat and drink like you haven’t before!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Meet Maria Pasquale: our #ItalyBoholover @heartrome

 

Sicily – From Palermo to Catania, Etna to the temples of Agrigento, to the shimmering blue waters of the Aeolian islands, Sicily has something for everyone. Stunning as it is dark and mysterious, it’s a real mish-mash of Greek, Middle Eastern, and African influence which can be felt throughout and tasted in its unique and eclectic cuisine. Sweets (namely freshly piped ricotta cannoli) are just standout in Sicily!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Meet Maria Pasquale: our #ItalyBoholover @heartrome

 

Piemonte – I dare someone to travel to Italy’s northwest Piemonte region and eat poorly. It’s not part of the DNA around here! Home to Turin, where dessert and coffee culture are a part of daily life; Alba, where the prized white truffle hails from; and towns in the Langhe area, like Barolo and Asti, where award-winning wines of the same name are produced; this region wears quality like a badge of honour. And Bra is where Italy’s Slow Food Movement began. It’s a true food and wine lovers paradise.

 

 

We are looking to develop the world’s first crowdsourced hotel in Italy – our community chose the country. Where do you think we should do it?

This is tough! I’ll say Rome. Yes, there are so many hotels in the eternal city but I would love to see a new funky boutique property around here!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Meet Maria Pasquale: our #ItalyBoholover @heartrome

 

 

What do you think about the Amberlair concept?

I think it’s cutting-edge and is really setting the bar for the future of the hotel industry. Clients seeking luxury travel products are willing to pay top dollar and are looking for perfection and quality. This usually means boutique and ordering really bespoke services. I like that Amberlair is working with travel industry professionals and consulting with real people.

 

 

If you had your own hotel, what 3 things would you make sure it would have?

  1. Free wifi throughout – not just in the lobby, or in some rooms, but a strong and fast connection property wide!
  2. iPod / iPhone docs in the room so I can plug in my music, with whichever handset I have!
  3. A fully-stocked bathroom with luxurious cosmetics and a vanity pack!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Meet Maria Pasquale: our #ItalyBoholover @heartrome

Maria Pasquale in Florence

 

Born to Italian parents, Maria always knew Rome was her destiny, although she was raised in Melbourne. With a formal background in political science and history, she is now a food and travel writer and contributes regularly to USA Today, The Telegraph, Condé Nast digital, CNN and Fodors.

Her popular and award-winning lifestyle blog, HeartRome is read in over 100 countries, has been featured in BBC and Vogue among others and boasts a 35,000 strong social media following. Her first book, I Heart Rome (Smith Street Books) is a collection of recipes and stories and was published around the world in November 2017.

Her web radio program, HeartRome launched on the Italian Radio Food Live in 2018 and is the first English language program of its kind to come out of Italy. In Rome you’ll find her walking the streets of Trastevere, checking out the latest bar for an aperitivo or dining with friends.

Follow Maria Pasquale on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

 

#BoHoLover: Meet Sarah & Lindsay of Compass + Twine @CompassandTwine

We have asked New York based Sarah and Lindsay of  boutique travel company Compass + Twine, to share their thoughts with us about their love for boutique hotels, and Amberlair, of course. And before you ask, a #BohoLover is a Boutique Hotel lover… just like us!

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Sarah Lindsay CompassTwine

Sarah and Lindsay of Compass + Twine

 

 

How do you choose a hotel when you travel?

Local character. We love to find a well-managed hotel that gives you a true sense of the place you’re visiting. Also, good location and quality bed linens may seem like obvious answers, but they can make or break an experience. In general, you can tell a lot about a place based off the initial reservation experience, so we like to book over the phone with boutiques. The call tends to route directly to the hotel instead of a central booking line, enabling you to ask questions, get a sense of the hospitality, and request insight on recommended local spots to check out.

 

 

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

Casa San Agustin in Cartagena, Colombia
The breath-taking courtyard pool and charming colonial character of Casa San Agustin.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Casa San Agustin. Compass + Twine

 

 

Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport, Maine
The basket of hot coffee and pastries delivered to your cottage each morning at Hidden Pond.

 

Amberlair crowdsourced boutique hotel - Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport, Maine #boholover Compass + Twine

Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport, Maine. Photo by hotel.

 

 

The Inn at Windmill Lane in the Hamptons, NY
The luxurious, well-appointed rooms at the Inn at Windmill lane; with a private fireplace, Duxiana bed, Matouk linens, and spacious marble bathroom with steam and rain showers, you won’t want to leave.

 

 Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel - Inn Windmill Lane - Compass + Twine

Inn Windmill Lane. Photo by hotel.

 

 

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

  • We tend to fall in love with properties that have an open-air design element to them or seamless indoor/outdoor flow. In particular to the outside area, you can never go wrong with a picturesque setting for sunset cocktails.
  • Top-notch service is instrumental to a good experience. When employees are professional, welcoming and invested in their establishment, it shows.
  • A statement tub or rain shower is always a fun amenity. Upon walking into a room, one of the first things we do is peak into the bathroom, as if expecting some sort of surprise. It never fails to excite when there is one.

 

 

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

  1. Boutiques like the Modern Honolulu in Hawaii or Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego have embraced the two-pool concept. We appreciate the option to either play with our nieces and nephews in the family pool or spend a relaxing afternoon lounging by the adults-only pool.
  2. To be out in nature in a beautiful location is unbeatable. We love that hotels like the Spruceton Inn in the Catskills and Hidden Pond in Maine have outfitted their properties with fire pits for guests to soak in the stars, roast s’mores and swap stories with fellow travelers.
  3. A good turndown service is a nice and appreciated extra touch. The Lodge at Torrey Pines and the Banyan Tree Mayakoba leave behind different items on your pillow each night, from lavender face spray to locally made goodies and note with tomorrow’s forecast.

 

 

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

Dirty rooms or bathrooms take the cake. Otherwise, it can be disappointing when housekeeping hasn’t come after a long day out or room-service dining options are lacking. There also seems to be a new trend of having duvets, only, as a bed cover. Yikes. Duvets can get warm, but we mainly want a top sheet as an extra layer of clean linen.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel SarahLindsay Yay

 

 

How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?

Brilliantly interactive, the Amberlair concept feels like the next step in the evolution of boutique hotels. It’s like sourcing all the best practices and take-aways from avid travellers and then making them come to life in one idyllic property.

 

 

Where are you off to next?

We can’t wait to visit the Carneros Inn in Napa Valley next month. After that we hope to check out Mukul in Nicaragua, Cuixmala in Mexico and Cuba sometime soon.

 

Amberlair Crowdsourced Crowdfunded Boutique Hotel #BoHoLover: Meet Sarah & Lindsay of Compass + Twine @CompassandTwine

 

Sarah and Lindsay are the owners of the boutique travel company, Compass + Twine. While their respective backgrounds are in the financial industry and media, it was their shared love for travel that prompted them to create their own business, driven by their passion. After dozens of inquires from family and friends to assist with trip planning, the pair merged their skills and C+T was born.

Compass + Twine, based in New York City, plans tailored trips for their clients all across the globe. They use their website as a place to share a curated list of their favorite finds, hoping to inspire others along the way. The pair is always looking to experience the true character of a place, from finding a charming boutique hotel run by a local family, to the hole in the wall wine bar where all the neighborhood chefs go on their night off. They design trips for clients which are inspired by local insight and experiences.

Keep up with Sarah & Lindsay on TwitterFacebookInstagram .