Along with Laura last week Char is another blogger I met early on in my blogging career and she’s probably the most dedicated blogger I know. Char blogs pretty much every day and writes about all things travel – food, accommodation, competitions, homeware, destinations, tips, insights, fashion, and so much more. She’s committed and passionate and definitely one to watch out for because this girl has the makings of a full time blogger with plenty of stories to give you major travel envy.
What’s your must have hotel amenity?
A hairdryer. As I only usually travel with a carry-on case I never bother taking my own one. My hair needs to be tamed so a good hairdryer is always appreciated.
What’s the most creative or quirky hotel amenity you’ve come across?
A s’mores station. I can’t begin to tell you how excited this made me! It was at one of my favourite hotels in California, Farmhouse Inn. They have pots with giant marshmallows, deliciously rich chocolate, and Grahams (crackers/biscuits). You simply help yourself to a skewer and goodies, then head to the outside firepit for some s’mores underneath the stars. So, so perfect.
What hotel could you happily return to again and again?
Farmhouse Inn in California – not just for the s’mores though. It’s recently been refurbished and the barn rooms are absolutely amazing. My room had a gigantic steam shower, a Jacuzzi bath for two, a huge balcony, a double facing fireplace, not to mention a Christmas tree and Christmas stockings as it was December. If you ever get the chance to go to Sonoma you need to stay here.
For you, what makes a great hotel?
Somewhere that feels luxurious but homely. It’s a hard combination but when a hotel gets it right it’s amazing and really memorable. I love a modern design – either something contemporary like a design hotel or a rustic-modern theme. I feel it’s an obvious requirement, but just in case it’s not clear, any hotel, but particularly a great hotel, needs to be clean and the staff need to be friendly.
What is your welcome amenity of choice?
I adore complimentary chocolates, especially when they’re the fancier kind. A glass of Prosecco in the evening is always appreciated or if it’s a sunny destination, a cold glass of juice.
Do you interact with hotels on social media before arrival?
If I’m working with the hotel (in terms of my blog) then yes.
What are your basic expectations for every hotel?
To be clean and welcoming.
Which hotel has the wow factor for you?
Besides Farmhouse Inn, Glazebrook House in Devon really surprised me. The decor and furniture are amazing. As soon as you walk into the lobby you’re ooh’ing and ahh’ing over the design. Komaneka at Tanggayuda in Ubud (Bali) also has that wow factor. You’re literally blown away by how stunning the views are and the heavenly rooms.
Hotel wifi – do you ever pay for it?
Only if I’m on a work trip. If I’m on a personal trip I’ll go without and use the wifi at a nearby coffee shop or something if I need it.
What is your hotel pet peeve?
Tucking the duvet or covers underneath the mattress. I hate them being tucked in, so it’s so annoying having to pull them out before I get into bed!
Is there a maximum you’ll spend per night on a hotel?
I don’t think I’d spend more than a £1,000. If I were to win the lottery that would change though. I’d love to see what those sorts of rooms and hotels are really like.
What’s an absolute hotel no no?
Anything dirty, especially in a bathroom.
Do you use hotel minibars or avoid them like the plague?
I love a complimentary minibar like at Glazebrook House but those are rare. I usually check the price list first and then if it’s not too bad I’ll have a water or a chocolate bar.
Luxury to one person may not be luxury to another. How do you define it in relation to hotels?
Everyone has different expectations. For me, a luxury hotel should be nice on the eyes so great design including lighting, furniture, decor etc. Rooms should feel spacious and the bathrooms should have lovely toiletries. I expect staff to be professional and really friendly. It needs to feel nicer than home.
Do you generally stay in budget, design, standard or luxury hotels?
I tend to stay in stylish design boutiques or affordable luxury hotels, though I don’t mind splashing out for a special occasion.
Do you prefer boutique or chain properties?
I prefer boutiques as I like to meet the owners where possible. I love hearing their stories of how they came to run the hotel. I also feel like the quality control and consistency is a bit better. I like to feel like a name rather than a room number.
When staying in a hotel is it important to you that staff use your name or do you prefer a more anonymous stay?
I prefer my name rather than being called madam. However, I don’t think staff should go overboard when using someone’s name as it just gets a bit weird.
Do you ask for an upgrade upon arrival?
I tend to mention at the time of booking if it’s for a special occasion. However, I never ask for an upgrade – if that happens (and it has) then it’s a bonus. Sometimes it’s a bottle of wine and other times nothing. If I want to stay in one of the better rooms then I’d rather just pay when booking to prevent any disappointment.
If/when something goes wrong during your stay, do you complain or grin and bear it?
It depends what it is. I’m not a fickle person so I’d never be petty. However, if something major went wrong then I’d definitely try to get it resolved.
Which hotel is on your wish list?
Ah, there are so many! I’d love to stay at the Boucan Hotel in St Lucia. It’s described as a place where luxury and style come together. It’s part of the Hotel Chocolat brand so there are lux chocolate themed spa treatments, cocoa trail walks on the island and loads more. Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur also looks amazing, as does Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons in Oxford.
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