A woman after my own heart, Emily at The Cosy Traveller likes her comfort. And just because she loves travelling and discovering new places, it doesn’t mean she can’t bring her three main comforts with her. At home Emily can be found wrapped up in bed with a cup of tea and her cats curled up next to her, and on her travels these are the things she seeks out to make for a truly memorable trip. Here’s The Cosy Traveller’s cosy Hotel Q&A.
What’s your must have hotel amenity?
A spacious and comfortable bed is always a good place to start! But in all seriousness, it’s the little things that make me happy when I’m away. I love having a TV in my room so I can flick through different channels while I’m falling asleep, and I’m always a bit excited when hotel bathrooms feature a bath!
What’s the most creative or quirky hotel amenity you’ve come across?
I was blown away by Ham Yard Hotel’s rooftop garden which is used to grow ingredients for meals served in the restaurant. It’s not incredibly out-of-the-ordinary, but the fact the hotel is located in the heart of London’s West End made this outside terrace seem like a peaceful, hidden gem.
What hotel could you happily return to again and again?
It’s a tricky one, but I’d probably go 3 Glens located just outside Dumfries in Scotland. It blends together rural charm with 5* luxuries including all the kitchen mod cons, a sound system for your iPod and floor-to-ceiling windows that open up so you can access the patio and the sweeping countryside views. The accommodation is in the middle of nowhere which makes it ideal for when you’re looking for a retreat away from work, social media and people!
For you, what makes a great hotel?
Alongside fantastic customer service and spacious rooms that you can actually walk around in, I do like a high-finish in rooms as that’s primarily where you’re going to be spending most of the time in the evenings. Cleanliness is of course up there in the importance levels and I am very partial to a good-sized window peering out across the area. Bonus points if there’s also an on-site swimming pool – I definitely don’t stay in enough hotels that have one of those!
What is your welcome amenity of choice?
I’m hungry 90% of the time, so I’ll go with chocolates. And if we’re going to get even fussier than that, some praline chocolates would be even better! I recently stayed in the beautiful Park Plaza on Westminster Bridge and they left us a little plate of chocolates to try.
Do you interact with hotels on social media before arrival?
Sometimes, although usually afterwards if I’ve written a review on them.
In your opinion which hotel is continuously great at social media?
In my experience, Yotel has been particularly good at interacting with guests on social media. Ox Pasture Hall Hotel just outside Scarborough is also pretty good – as a small hotel they’re able to interact with as many people as possible and really take the time to get to know their guests before their stay.
What are your basic expectations for every hotel?
A bed, air-conditioning/heating, a TV, WiFi and an en-suite with toilet and a shower. Give me all that and I’ll be pretty happy.
Which hotel has the wow factor for you?
Although it doesn’t win out on location, the Semiramis Hotel in Athens had me ‘wowing’ all throughout my stay. Making use of a bright colour palette, the hotel also features loads of swanky mod cons that I had to dig out an instruction manual for! There was a little keypad which you could use to select a message to display on a screen outside your door (i.e. ‘Do Not Disturb’ or ‘Please Make Up My Room’), while the room also had a huge TV, DVD player and movie library. When I woke up on my first morning I was also completely taken aback by the views across the city. I didn’t want to check out!
Hotel WiFi – do you ever pay for it?
Only if I really have to, and that’s only usually if I’m staying in a chain such as the Premier Inn. I’ve found more often than not that WiFi is included in the rooms, or at least in the public foyer area.
What is your hotel pet peeve?
En suite bathrooms with see-through walls. This is NEVER OK, guys. You’ve got to retain an air of mystery no matter who you’re travelling with!
Is there a maximum you’ll spend per night on a hotel?
If I’m staying for several nights, I try and cap my spending at around £70 a night – but this all depends on what the location is like and whether I’m staying with a travel companion. If I’m staying somewhere special for one night only I don’t mind doubling that, but I’m always on the lookout for the best possible hotel for the cheapest price!
What’s an absolute hotel no no?
En suite bathrooms with see-through walls – see above 🙂
Do you use hotel minibars or avoid them like the plague?
I avoid them completely. I always stock up on cheap drinks and nibbles in a local supermarket and then just keep them somewhere cool in the room. Works out a lot cheaper and you get a lot more choice!
Luxury to one person may not be luxury to another. How do you define it in relation to hotels?
Good question! Primarily, I would define a luxury hotel as one that has personable service and a fantastic finish in the rooms. It’s got to have all the home comforts, including a good quality bed, TV and en suite facilities, and be clean, spacious and welcoming. You know you’ve got a slice of luxury on your hands when you can tell the owners have put a lot of effort into decorating the rooms, and little luxuries like chocolates, candles and complimentary water go a long way.
Do you generally stay in budget, design, standard or luxury hotels?
It depends where I am and why I’m there. I would usually go for design hotels as they’re often super quirky, luxurious and a fun place to rest your head. However, I went to Cologne the other week and opted for a standard, budget hotel as I was only there for one night. Its location was also insanely central (right in the heart of the Old Town), so it won me over for all the right reasons. Ultimately, I tend to always set a budget and then look around to see what that would get me – then I just pick the best one!
Do you prefer boutique or chain properties?
Boutique all the way, as each and every one will offer you something completely different, whether that’s a different design theme or certain luxuries. It makes a change to try a place that’s completely quirky.
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 no real preference, although it’s a welcoming touch when the reception staff greet you by name.
Do you ask for an upgrade upon arrival?
I never do – perhaps I should be? Does this work?! The only time I was ever offered an upgrade (for a fee) was when I stayed in Barcelona.
If/when something goes wrong during your stay, do you complain or grin and bear it?
As I’m getting older I’m finding that I’m a lot more likely to complain about things during my stay. I recently turned up at a hotel to find that it had been completely rebranded and no one had bothered to let me know! To make matters even worse, the receptionist then tried to charge me even more for my stay (even though I had pre-paid). As soon as I got into the room I wrote an email to head office and they replied a few days later giving me a complete refund.
Which hotel is on your wish list?
Oh gosh, so many! I would LOVE to try the Four Seasons water bungalows in the Maldives, Iconic Santorini, a boutique cave hotel on the Greek island, and the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe. However, I try to avoid looking at them if I can, purely because it depresses me at how expensive they are!