Hotel décor varies vastly among properties and it’s really refreshing to check in to a hotel and be faced with something that is the product of good taste and a design focused eye. There’s nothing encouraging or creative about mass produced, mass bought Ikea-esque hotel furniture and it’s just so boring I feel drained whenever I’m around it.
Águamel is a boutique guest house in Sintra where I had the absolute pleasure of staying last month. The guest house has five bedrooms all named after flowers chosen by bees to produce honey and all individually designed. Think Zara Home meets Anthropologie with modern comforts, local antiques and a bit of Portuguese flavour. I stayed in Jasmine which had a slanted ceiling, calming grey wallpaper, plenty of floor space and a great view over the historical town. But what really struck me about the décor of not only my room but the whole guest house were the lights; the fittings, stands, lamps, shades, everything. They were unique and not items you’d see regularly and they fit in with the overall décor without commanding too much attention.
In my room there were two matching glass lamps and a tall standalone light. The pattern on the glass lamps made me think of those old school whiskey-on-the-rocks-type tumblers you see people who mean serious business drinking out of, and the blue/grey colour of the glass went perfectly the wallpaper.
In Rosemary next door were these gold and white hanging lights and a grey glass lamp. I really love the contrast of the gold and white and although white can sometimes look a bit tacky on its own when mixed with the gold light and the grey wallpaper it works really well and ends up being a quite a warm and welcoming feature.
My other room neighbour was Wildflower which came with an orange glass lamp and this crisscross one which for some reason to me gave off nautical/compass vibes.
In the dining area where breakfast is served hang more distinct gold and white lights. They go from one end of the room to the other and are all hung at different heights and the ideal positions for guests not to hit their head off them.
And finally, in the lobby were two lights. One reminded me of a praying mantis with its long angular legs and the other plain gold one I love for its simplicity yet jazzy colour.
This is the beauty of boutique properties; the décor is up to the owner and ends up being a reflection of their taste and vision. It’s not up to a higher power who dictates orders from above and has every room in every hotel a carbon copy of one another. And when the vision and taste are as spot on as Cristina’s, the general manager of Águamel, it ends up being inspiring, memorable and a joy to go home to after a tiring day strolling the streets of Sintra.
(I was a guest of Águamel Sintra Boutique Guest House as part of a press trip to Portugal)