Welcome to a new series of posts called Hotel Q&A with… where I ask fellow travel bloggers about their hotel preferences and experiences. I know what I love and what I don’t but everyone is different and it’s always interesting to find out the opinions of others and what works for them as well as hear about hotels I’ve not yet been to. Each week a new blogger will feature and first up is Elle Croft from A Bird in the Hand Travel who blogs about stylish travel. I’ve been following Elle’s blog for a while now and we finally met in November at the World Travel Market blogger speed networking event. So Elle, take it away.
What’s your must have hotel amenity?
Free wifi. I won’t stay anywhere that doesn’t have it – one of the quirks of being a blogger I guess!
What’s the most creative or quirky hotel amenity you’ve come across? And did you like it?
When I stayed at the Four Seasons in St. Petersburg their bar did a vodka tasting, which was amazing – one of the highlights of my time in the city. I love amenities like that, which give you a taste of the local culture but in a way that’s unique and memorable.
Which hotel could you happily return to again and again?
Welgelegen in Cape Town. It’s a beautiful boutique hotel in an incredible location and it has everything – friendly staff, ideal location, delicious food and drink, port on arrival, cute rooms, a plunge pool… I could live there, it’s heavenly.
For you, what makes a great hotel?
Somewhere that feels like home away from home. I like the little touches: fresh flowers, a good dinner recommendation…and, of course, a convenient location.
What is your welcome amenity of choice?
I’m pretty easy to please – any welcome amenity is bound to put a smile on my face!
Do you interact with hotels on social media before arrival?
Sometimes – I’ll usually say I’m looking forward to visiting but I don’t interact much until I arrive.
In your opinion which hotel is continuously great at social media?
Four Seasons – their social media is incredible. They are quick to respond, lighthearted and they try new things like their Pin. Pack. Go service on Pinterest, which was pretty revolutionary for a hotel.
What are your basic expectations for every hotel?
Cleanliness and friendliness. These things should be standard everywhere.
Which hotel has the wow factor for you?
I just returned from a trip to Quebec where I stayed in the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, which was an incredible experience. Definitely a hotel with a wow factor, it’s like sleeping in a castle, and the smallest details are tended to. Staying there is a wonderful experience.
Hotel wifi – do you ever pay for it?
Nope. I won’t stay somewhere that doesn’t offer me free wifi.
What is your hotel pet peeve?
Is there a maximum you’ll spend per night on a hotel?
It really depends on the type of trip I’m taking. I’ll splash out for a special occasion but I’ll usually look for deals if I’m taking a weekend break.
What’s an absolute hotel no no?
Bad customer service – when you’re made to feel like an intruder or an inconvenience, that is not OK.
Do you use hotel minibars or avoid them like the plague?
Avoid! They are so over-priced, I just can’t bear to do it.
Luxury to one person may not be luxury to another. How do you define it in relation to hotels?
Luxury to me is being made to feel special – whether that’s something simple or extravagant. I find fresh flowers luxurious, or books in my room. Other people might think those things are pointless… it’s different for everyone which is why, when I find a hotel that really gets me, I shout about it!
Do you generally stay in budget, design, standard or luxury hotels?
A mix, really. I love quirky, boutique hotels but I also love some of the larger chain properties because you know what to expect when you’re there.
Do you prefer boutique or chain properties?
I really do love both. A good boutique hotel feels like a hidden gem, and a good chain property feels comfortable and familiar. They can both be great options (but they can also both be bad options… do your research!)
When staying in a hotel is it important to you that staff use your name or do you prefer a more anonymous stay?
I used to hate it, but I’m starting to be OK with staff using my name these days.
Do you ask for an upgrade upon arrival? Do you get it?
I’ve never asked! Is this something I’ve been missing all my life?
If/when something goes wrong during your stay, do you complain or grin and bear it?
Thankfully I haven’t experienced any real disasters when I travel so I have never had to make a fuss. I really am quite low maintenance so unless it was something awful I wouldn’t mention it.
Which hotel is on your wish list?
Atlantis, The Palm and The Standard High Line New York – they both look totally unique!