We have asked luxury travel blogger Ana Silva O’Reilly of Mrs. O Around the World, to share her thoughts with us about her love for hotels, and Amberlair, of course. And before you ask, a #BohoLover is a Boutique Hotel lover… just like us!
How do you choose a hotel when you travel?
It depends on the state of mind I am in – and the destination. I may have heard about it (or read about it), and will of course, investigate further. But more and more, I ask my readers via social media – they travel the same way that I do, so if I am able to suggest places, so are they. It has been the best outcome of this blogging adventure – finding people with a similar taste, who have helped me go to places I would have never have found before.
Location is very important to me, as is design – I am a great believer in what my mother has taught me from a young age ‘If you leave home, it has to be better. And home is pretty nice’. But the killer factor is service – one person (or a group of people) have the power to make any stay truly unique.
If you had to choose 3, which were the most special hotels you have ever stayed at?
This is a difficult question as I am known to be a repeater – i.e. I love going back to hotels which bring back incredible memories. I am a huge fan of Finca Cortesin, in the South of Spain, Rancho Valencia, outside San Diego in California and I absolutely adored Rosewood Cordevalle, an hour’s drive from San Francisco.
What made them so special?
The three hotels could not be more different – in terms of location, number of rooms, management. But they were extremely comfortable, the staff made me feel truly special and I slept very well in either 3 of them. Needless to say, they all had good gin & tonics.
If you had your own boutique hotel, what 3 things would you make sure existed?
There would be no bills to sign throughout the stay (until the very end) – it is something small, but with technology nowadays, there can be a way to make this happen. Before room service breakfast, someone would call my room to let me know they are on their way, so I can wake up/get appropriately dressed. And finally, the best hair products money can buy (in my of course incredible showers) – I would still say that 50% of luxury hotels provide very poor hair products, despite the fancy brand names.
Name 3 things you loved in hotels you stayed in before…
A bottle of champagne on arrival never gets old! But I like useful concierge services – why not get in touch a week before my arrival so you can actually help me with restaurant reservations and trickier things to organise on the actual arrival day? This has only happened a handful of times to me, which is a shame. And I spend over 100 nights a year away from home. Also, recently in India, the Oberoi in Jaipur had signs everywhere asking guests not to tip individual members of staff, but to ensure their names were known to the management team. Guess what? I went out of my way to get their names. I thought it was a nice change from handing out money every 15 minutes (and the stress of it) – at the end of our stay, we left a collective tip for the team.
Name 3 things you wouldn’t want to experience in a hotel ever again.
Loud air conditioning systems – Finca Cortesin is the only hotel I have ever stayed at where you cannot hear the air con, which means you don’t have to be hot at night (I usually have to make that choice). One thing that drives me mad are hotel keys not working – and still happens too often. But what I hate the most is when you are somewhere and you can tell that those who work there don’t really care and would rather be doing something else. A huge challenge for hotels – but one that makes a huge difference. It is very interesting to think back about previous hotel stays… and remember faces and people.
How do you feel about the Amberlair concept?
I loved the audacity of the founders and I am here from the beginning until the end – I really want to be involved in deciding the first Amberlair location (it could really be anywhere in the world), and follow the decision making and design process. It is once in a lifetime experience – and I love the idea. I have lots to say, as you can possibly imagine. I am also looking forward to taking part in the crowdfunding part, as I really want to be one of the first guests staying at the hotel. I have backed other crowdfunding projects and being part of the journey of something great is VERY exciting.
Where are you off to next?
I am off to Halkidiki in Greece’s mainland (a first for me!), and then I am going back to Finca Cortesin. It is my third time in 3 years and just the way I like it. On my summer list is a first visit to the West Coast of Ireland, and a return to the Algarve and California. Creature of habit, what can I say?
About Mrs. O Around the World
Ana Silva O’Reilly is a 30-something globetrotter who finds her peace and quiet on a long-haul business class flight to somewhere warm.
An avid traveller, Ana is also a good daughter, religiously following her mother’s motto: ‘If you leave home, it has to be better’, or ‘I love camping, in 5 star hotels’.
A city girl at heart, she moved to the quiet English countryside for love, and lives her travel dreams through her award-winning alter-ego and travel blog Mrs. O Around the World.