When it comes to hotels I know what I love and what I’ve experienced, but having people take part in my Hotel Q&A with… series has been a real insight into what others want and expect from hotels. Some happily pay for WiFi while others 100% won’t, and many sneak items from the mini bar whereas some avoid it like the plague. I’ve loved reading the preferences of the travel bloggers who have taken part but I thought today maybe it’s my turn, so let me put my hotel degree and years working in the industry to good use and tell you all about a couple of stand out hotels that I want the world to know of.
What’s your must have hotel amenity?
A full length mirror and good lighting. And free WiFi. I also love walking into a room for the first time and being welcomed with a drink or some chocolates.
What’s the most creative or quirky hotel amenity you’ve come across?
Spa @ the Bar at The Swan in Lavenham is a collaboration between departments that I just love. The hotel created a choice of cocktails that are a taster of what’s to come when the hotel spa opens this month and each cocktail comes with the beauty product its inspired by. It is such a smart way of promoting the new spa and its offerings in a place where normally it wouldn’t work. I also love rooftop bars and pools like the one in B Hotel, it would be amazing to hire the whole space and have a party there with friends. A mention also definitely needs to go to Águamel Boutique Guest House in Sintra which has free cake everyday in the lobby for guests. Win.
For you, what makes a great hotel?
The staff make it or break it. They need to be genuine. Creativity is another thing I’m big on so the more creative a hotel the better.
What is your welcome amenity of choice?
Chocolates. And not a measly single one on my pillow, I want a good few. Kimpton are great at welcome amenities – helllllllo chocolate covered crisps and Champagne.
Do you interact with hotels on social media before arrival?
In your opinion which hotel is continuously great at social media?
Kimpton for three reasons. 1 – Their tweets give a great insight into the brand and individual properties. 2 – They retweet a lot of guest content showing their creativity and welcoming hospitality. 3 – Their tweets have made me absolutely need to stay with them.
What are your basic expectations for every hotel?
Happy staff, clean bedrooms and a decent bar.
Which hotel has the wow factor for you?
ICEHOTEL in Sweden. It’s so unique and although it’s freezing, expensive, and the toilets outside it’s still a really successful hotel.
Hotel WiFi – do you ever pay for it?
No. I understand why hotels charge for it but in this day and age it should be free. If hotels make it free and guests document their stay on social media they’re getting free publicity to a potentially huge audience.
What is your hotel pet peeve?
Bathrooms with windows or gaps in the doors. I need privacy in the bathroom! Also when the duvet is tucked underneath the mattress and you have to battle with it to get into bed.
What’s an absolute hotel no no?
Rude staff and see-through bathroom doors.
Do you use hotel minibars or avoid them like the plague?
I tend to avoid them but if I’ve had a few drinks and I’m hungry I’ll take a Kit Kat or something chocolately from it. The Swan in Lavenham has free biscuits and cookies in the rooms which I happily wolfed in to during my stay.
Luxury to one person may not be luxury to another. How do you define it in relation to hotels?
When your needs are anticipated before you even know them yourself, and when you’re made to feel special and welcome.
Do you generally stay in budget, design, standard or luxury hotels?
I stay in all types of hotels. I love them all. They all have something different to offer but my favourite are design and luxury properties.
Do you prefer boutique or chain properties?
There’s something very comforting about chain hotels; you know what your getting and they generally have loyalty schemes. And also working in them has benefits such as discounted staff rates in hotels around the world within the chain. But boutique hotels are more creative and have more freedom to show personality.
When staying in a hotel is it important to you that staff use your name or do you prefer a more anonymous stay?
It’s not important for staff to use my name but if they do I’d rather they call me Sarah than Madam or Miss Connolly. I’m very much neither of those.
Do you ask for an upgrade upon arrival?
I never ask but having worked in hotels I know all the tricks of the trade on how to get one. As a blogger though hotels are very kind and normally put me in a higher category room which I’m always grateful for.
If/when something goes wrong during your stay, do you complain or grin and bear it?
Depends what it is. If it’s something drastic then I’ll mention it but if its only small and doesn’t really impact my stay I won’t say anything.
Which hotel is on your wish list?
Loads but the top four are:
Virgin Hotels Chicago
Blow Up Hall 50/50 in Poznan
Any Kimpton property
Six Senses Zighy Bay – you can paraglide in to check in!
www.letmetellyouaboutahotel.com / @SarahMJConnolly / facebook.com/letmetellyouaboutahotel / instagram.com/sarahmjconnolly / youtube.com/user/aboutahotel / pinterest.com/sarahconno/let-me-tell-you-about-a-hotel