What do you do before you plan your trips? For me, I always look to see what hotels are available first. It’s probably because I generally already know what the must-sees are, but at the end of the day, if I can’t come home to a great room, then it’s not really a vacation. I’m probably crazy to admit this, but once I realized this, everything started falling into place.
So of course there’s a ton of information out there, but the good places generally stand out pretty easily: they’re across parks or near major embassies, and almost always near the major museums and shopping areas. But here’s my twist: while I’m checking out the properties online, I always look closely at pictures of the bathrooms. Why? One, because I don’t unwind in the lobby. And two, because in a bath you can really tell how much attention the designers paid to creating the perfect experience for their guests.
I look at everything — the light fixtures, the tiles, the towels, the bath accessories, and the soaps and lotions — and then I take it all in. Does everything belong there? Are there surprises along the way? Is there enough space for toiletries? I keep asking these questions until I can finally imagine myself there. Then I’m ready to look for flights.
Here’s a list of some of the hotels that have most inspired me, and ten great ideas on how to take a little of these special places home with you.
1. If you have a view, keep things airy and minimal.
2. Highlight handmade details with natural materials.
3. In the countryside, embrace honest creature comforts.
4. Add a touch of bling with warm metal accents.
5. Up the glam factor (and make the room feel larger) by incorporating mirrors everywhere.
6. If you lean toward more urban, contemporary settings, slate, graphite, or black accents are timeless.
7. If you’re near the water, embrace traditional motifs but stay within colors found in nature.
8. Channel old-time Hollywood glamour.
9. Embrace the exotic.
10. Experiment with color.
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