This week’s Hotel Q&A is with Heather Cowper who runs the Heather on her travels blog and a lady who shares her travel tales in writing, photography, video and podcasts. Heather has travelled extensively and if you’re thinking of going somewhere Heather has most likely been and blogged about it making her site a really great resource and place to start planning your trip. And with all that travel comes plenty of hotel stays and today Heather reveals her hotel loves, needs, peeves and wishes.
What’s your must have hotel amenity?
As a blogger it has to be free (and preferably fast) wifi, closely followed by a comfy bed with cloud soft pillows and duvet.
What’s the most creative or quirky hotel amenity you’ve come across?
When I was in Berlin at Circus Hotel they had a selection of DVDs for guests to borrow with films set in Berlin and we watched one that really took us on a visual tour of the city. I also love to find photo books and novels in a hotel that relate to the city or area to enrich your experience.
What hotel could you happily return to again and again?
I spent a night at Im Weissen Rössl in St Wolfgang – a small luxury hotel based on a traditional inn. It is the setting for The White Horse Inn comic operetta in which the pretty young hotel owner falls in love with her waiter. The views across Lake Wolfgang from our balcony were just beautiful and I’d love to return again to see a bit more of that part of Austria.
For you, what makes a great hotel?
It’s a combination of individual style, attention to detail and personalised service that makes every guest feel special.
What is your welcome amenity of choice?
Chocolates always go down well with me although my husband is more likely to be seduced by a bottle of good local wine.
Do you interact with hotels on social media before arrival?
I will often post a mention or two just before I go but otherwise I normally wait until I arrive. Once I’m there I usually share a lot of photos on all my social media channels so my readers can follow the experience along with me.
In your opinion which hotel is continuously great at social media?
The owner of Andersen Hotel in Copenhagen is very social media savvy and works with a lot of bloggers. She is active on all the different platforms in promoting the hotel and responds quickly to cross-promote any time the hotel is mentioned in the media.
What are your basic expectations for every hotel?
Friendly and efficient service in a hotel that strives for the best customer experience. Also, I love the great breakfast that generally comes included in UK and European hotels although you can’t assume the same of US properties.
Hotel wifi – do you ever pay for it?
I find it rather annoying these days if there’s a charge for wifi so would generally avoid hotels that have such charges. For me it would be like being asked to pay for a hot shower.
What is your hotel pet peeve?
Sloppy or unhelpful service – whatever the level of hotel a smile and can-do attitude doesn’t cost any extra.
Do you use hotel minibars or avoid them like the plague?
I keep them tightly shut as I have a phobia about being overcharged.
Luxury to one person may not be luxury to another. How do you define it in relation to hotels?
When I stayed at the Mandarin Oriental in London I came to understand that true luxury is not just about the surroundings but about the level of service where everything is designed to create a beautiful guest experience and the staff anticipate your needs before you know them yourself.
Do you generally stay in budget, chain, boutique or luxury hotels?
My favourite style of hotel is an individually styled boutique or small luxury hotel that reflects its setting and is one of a kind. However, I do sometimes stay in luxury chain hotels like the InterContinental Budapest which has a fabulous position overlooking the Danube.
When staying in a hotel is it important to you that staff use your name or do you prefer a more anonymous stay?
I have stayed in US hotels where I found the level of interaction a bit over the top but that’s probably my understated British sensibilities. To be addressed by name is always welcome, it shows courtesy and attention to detail. I like service that is friendly and efficient but not to feel my every move is under scrutiny.
Do you ask for an upgrade upon arrival?
I’d feel that was a bit cheeky unless there was something wrong with the room, however as a blogger I’m generally lucky enough to be put in lovely rooms without the need for an upgrade.
If something goes wrong during your stay do you complain or grin and bear it?
I would always bring it to the attention of the appropriate member of staff in a constructive way to give them a chance to put it right. I’m not someone who likes to winge after the event so why grin and bear it if there’s something wrong that can easily be put right?
Which hotel is on your wish list?
I would love to visit the Greek islands with my sister who lives in Greece and stay at one of those fabulous boutique hotels overlooking the sea.
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