April 2016, By Nicole Langelier.
I like to consider myself – and think that people consider me a laid back person – I am certainly no stuck up princess. I walk my dog in my PJ’s (sometimes), I go out without makeup on the weekends (often), and I make the best dinners out of last nights leftovers (always). There are just two things I am a self confessed snob about – coffee and hotels.
On the first point – sorry Melbourne don’t shoot me but you lot are the snobbiest of all when it comes to coffee, and I have to tell you, I’m just not that into you. I find that coffee here in Melbourne is almost always bitter – and expensive too! I lived in Milan for 5 years (hence my snobbery) and I never paid more than euro 1.50 for the best coffee in the world – win win!
Enough about coffee – this is a design blog after all – on to the design-y stuff – Hotels. Hotels are my obsession. I love a nice hotel. I love the little soaps and shampoo’s, the crisp sheets – I love the over priced mini bar, the tubs large enough for 2, and especially the hotel slippers (my favorite – I have quite a collection because I always take them with me). My husband’s hotel requirements are a little more basic – AC and WIFI are on the top of his list – that being said last week was his birthday and I decided to treat him to a ‘staycation’ in one of Melbourne’s top rated boutique hotels on Saturday night.
I have always loved hotels and I have stayed in many all over the world from one star dumps to 5 star marvels. Maybe I love hotels so much because I lived for nearly a decade in one of the worlds most famous –or infamous hotels – New York’s Chelsea Hotel – a haven for rogue artists, hippies, rock stars and thrill seekers the world over. It was mostly residential actually – I lived in big one bedroom apartment with a kitchen, bathroom and big living room (fireplace and balcony). The only hotel service offered was in house (rotary phone) for calling between rooms and the front desk. It was like a crazy hippy commune – we all knew our neighbors and we looked out for each other.
I’m not really sure why, but I now have very high hotel standards (that certainly would not be due to the standard of The Chelsea). I think I am just a romantic – I paint pretty pictures of idyllic situations in my head before I arrive. Even when I think I have lowered my standards I am normally still a bit disappointed. Maybe my hotel standards come from my years in Italy (married to my handsome foreign diplomat), where we were well looked after everywhere we went and often upgraded by the star struck hotel staff. (For some reason Italian’s have a disproportionate respect for diplomats – but hey I wasn’t complaining).
When I first left NY for Italy in 2007 it was only suppose to be a 2 month solo holiday – (until I met Tim at language school in Sorrento and fell in love… the rest is history). I had very little money and was traveling by myself, so my routine wherever I traveled was to dress up in one of my nicest outfits and treat myself to a glass of wine (which came with quite a few tasty snacks) at the best hotel in every town. 15 euro well spent every time. Even though now I have more money to spend, I would still do that in every town across Italy because it’s a great way to soak up the lux life, one glass of wine at a time.
Some of my favorite hotel experiences have been The Hermitage in Monte Carlo (http://www.hotelhermitagemontecarlo.com) where I stayed with Tim when he was there on diplomatic duty for the super yacht show – we were given the room after one of his colleagues didn’t show up – so fun! Hotel Due Torri in Verona (http://hotelduetorri.duetorrihotels.com) where I stayed by myself when I first arrived in Italy (I negotiated a price of euro 100 – a super bargain for an exquisite 5 star hotel – especially with breakfast in bed). Hotel De Monaco in Cap d’Ail in the South of France (www.hoteldemonaco.com) – a little boutique hotel in the town just after Monaco that we stumbled upon on a weekend drive (2.5 hours from Milan). The Crown in Melbourne (http://www.crownhotels.com.au) – a friend of Tim’s got us an amazing suite for the price of a discounted double room. It was awesome. And most recently Drift House in Port Fairy (http://drifthouse.com.au), owned by a friend of mine – it was another surprise for Tim, last anniversary – it was 100% up my alley and actually exceeded my expectations.
The hotel we stayed at on Saturday was The Copper Smith in South Melbourne (www.coppersmithhotel.com.au) – a little boutique-y place that I found on Wallpaper.com. It was well designed and the staff were great, but I though the room would be bigger and there were no slippers….
Above is a photo of my old haunt shot by my old neighbor Tony Notarberardino.