Art & Design, Hotels, Vacation Rentals

What Makes a Hotel Special?

April 26, 2013 • By


And then, there is my ongoing love affair with hotels. Classic, vintage, tiny, eclectic, minimalist, baroque, quirky or even bizarre…there is nothing like a hotel with a unique sense of place to take you out of ordinary life and into vacationland fantasy.

My theory is: book on an off day, book off season, book through a discount service if you can, shorten your trip if you have to – but book at least one part of your holiday at a special place, even if you have to book the smallest room. It changes everything.

I don’t need a huge bed or a spectacular view (although of course, i wouldn’t mind either one). Other things are more important to me, though.


Here’s a quick checklist of the things that make a hotel special for me:

1. A sense of style and place. Historic if you’re in the English countryside, funky in NYC, artsy if you’re in downtown Berlin, sleek if you’re in Switzerland – or an old, stone farmhouse bed & breakfast if you’re in Amish country. A place that has some special significance or provenance is always appealing. A place where interesting things have happened – or are about to – that makes me happy.

2. Really nice toiletries. Yes, I’m a sucker for those little bottles and bars. And I always remember the best ones…the Bvlgari bath sets in Florence…L’Occitane candles in Miami. We’ve just checked into a classic country estate-turned-hotel in Virginia, and the toiletries here are all by Molten Brown.

3. A sense of humor or wit that piques your interest. This grand old home turned hotel has classic rubber duckies waiting by the tub!