January 2009 – Emporium Hotel, BrisVegas

The first images I think of when someone says Queensland holiday is white pants, hot pink and Kerri-Anne Kennerley. What I don’t think of is plush luxurious hotel rooms, rooftop pools and fabulous shopping. Thankfully, the emporium hotel located in ‘the valley’ in Brisbane manages to combine a little bit of both. You can be forgiven thinking that this is another flashy ‘gold coast stereotype’ hotel as the entrance is a visual overload of bright red, gold and shiny everything. Honestly, arriving at the hotel makes me feel like I am hungover and need to put on sunglasses to check in. However, once we get to our room we are pleasantly surprised with the elegant design and sleek finishes to the room. The giant king sized bed and pillow menu makes for a very comfortable stay, and the large bathrooms are a godsend for this girls trip as there is no need to compete for space.

Things I love about the Emporium hotel

– Rooftop pool – in a city of endless humidity, a pool is an essential hotel feature. When it is on the roof, surrounded by lounge chairs and serviced by the cocktail bar, it is freakin awesome.

– Location – designer shops such as Jean Brown are located next door to the hotel, which is either a fantastic thing, or a very dangerous thing. And it is in walking distance from an array of cheap and cheerful eateries and entertainment venues. We caught a Ryan Adams gig at the Tivoli and enjoyed our stroll home in the balmy weather.

– King sized bed – The bed was so large and roomy I barely knew that my friend and i were sharing the bed, thus we managed to avoid any awkward spooning moments.

– The novelty of pay tv is never wasted on me. We got addicted to ‘Gok’s fashion fix’, and I dare you to switch off once you have watched more than two episodes back to back.

Things I dislike about the Emporium Hotel

– Nothing! perhaps it wouldn’t be so convenient if it was a work trip, but for a girls weekend it is the perfect mix of luxury, fashion and convenience.

Emporium Hotel – 1000 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley, QLD

www.emporiumhotel.com.au/

July 2008 – Hotel Therese, Paris


Hotel Therese was our little splurge in Paris. While it maintained our Paris theme of staying in tiny hotel rooms, this hotel was just delightful. A lovely cozy entrance, wood panneled sitting room with elegant chairs and couches to lure us in, and add to my fantasy that I am actually Parisian and this is simply the way my home looks. The rooms were small (no surprise) but definitely comfortable, and typically chic. We were blessed with a great little balcony to connect you with the outside world and display the wonderful maze of Paris streets.

Located in the left bank, it is in walking distance to the Lourve, and basically next door to the Palais Royal. Shoppers beware – it is also located next to a range of high end boutiques such as Marc Jacobs, so prepare to do some serious damage. Lots of great restaurants and bars, I can’t remember where we went but we were spoiled for choice. A return visit to Hotel Therese is definitely on the cards.

Things I love about Hotel Therese

– location, location, location.

– location next to Marc Jacobs.

Things I dislike about Hotel Therese

– I was perhaps expecting a little more bang for my buck, but then I realised I was in Paris and for what we were getting, it was crazy cheap. Just for fun, look at the prices for the Plaza Athenee and then you will get a taste of what Paris could offer and how I need to continue to be satisfied with cheap boutique hotels!!!! ahhhhh we can all dream right?

Hotel Therese

5 Rue Thérèse
75001 Paris, France

July 2008 – All Seasons Voltaire Republique Paris

Paris. Unless you are a bah-zillionaire, Paris hotel rooms are just like your own personal cube. Which is why I was quite impressed when our chosen cube was so stylish and modern for what was a budget hotel. As the tall man sustained a back injury, we spent a lot more time than anticipated in our cube. However, with its kartell chairs, super comfy bed, and even our own balcony, our recharge time was quite pleasant.

Its location outside the touristy area meant that no one spoke English (fair enough), but the locals were kind enough not to be too pissed off. Consulting our trusty friend google uncovered some great little bistros where we did an awkward point-at-something-at the menu-and-hope-for-the-best and got some great meals. This made up for our dinner on the first night in Paris – here is a hint: great bistros aren’t really open late on Sunday nights. The Mexican restaurant across the road was though. Yes folks, our in the culinary capital of the world, with one of the finest cuisines, we chose dodgy Mexican.

Things I like about the hotel

– Kartell chairs

– great toiletries – I suspect the hotel was made for a gay man, which suited me fine as all the products were great.

– location outside the tourist zone means no socialising with annoying tourists.

Things I dislike about the hotel

– limited tv channels and only one news channel in english. Obama was on the campaign trail at the time, and apparently that was the ONLY thing happening in the English speaking world.  I was right into it, and then after the 3rd day I kind of didn’t give a sh** at all.

note -i believe this hotel was part of the LE Quartier group when we stayed there, but since then it has been known as the All Seasons.

All Seasons Voltaire Republique Paris

39 Rue Jean Pierre Timbaud

Republique, Paris.

November 2007 – Claska Hotel, Tokyo

Ah the Claska hotel….

Possibly the best thing that has happened to hotel world. Brave claim, I know. But once you have experienced the Claska hotel, you will do everything to justify moving to J-town.

Located in the much-cooler-than-you district of Meguro, it is about as far removed from a tacky English tourist experience of Tokyo as you can get. It is pretty much a locals area only, which makes for a great area to explore and (try) to fit in to the neighbourhood.

With only 12 rooms means you feel like you are the only one staying there. We stayed in room 501 which is one of the modern Japanese rooms ( they also have traditional Japanese tatami mat rooms) and the décor and design immediately gave the feeling that someone had taken the time to decorate the room like a home….a really cool home…..that I wanted.

Things I love about the Claska Hotel

–        It is so boutique that they know who you are when you walk in. Unfortunately we entered the hotel hungover and coming off a sake-fuelled karaoke high, so I probably would have preferred to NOT be known or addressed by name. But a lovely personal touch nonetheless.

–        A dog-grooming parlour in the foyer. Seriously.

–        Free bikes for hotel guests. Finally I could join the cool Japanese hipsters and cycle around town.

–        Every time we left the room in a cyclonic fashion, we would return to discover all our items perfectly arranged in their spot throughout the room. My inner perfectionist was over the moon.

–        A mini guide to all the local delights forms party of the room reading material – better than some crappy generic tourist guide. Very handy in a neighbourhood that is not exactly English tourist friendly. Which is completely fine as it is JAPAN and they speak JAPANESE there. (note – I hate travellers that expect everything to be tailored to their mother tongue).

Things I dislike about the Claska hotel.

–        Nothing, nista, zip.

Claska Hotel

1-3-18 Chuo-cho, Meguro-Ku, Tokyo, Japan

www.claska.com/

March 2007 – Vista Sol Hotel, Buenos Aires

The hotel that never was.

Devastating heartbreak & a lesson learnt in dodgy holiday bookings.

Our stop in Buenos Aires was to be celebrated with a treat: a 2-night stay in what we had dubbed “the wood hotel”. The rooms looked to be made from 20 different types of trees, covering every square inch of the room. Obediently following our budget, we stayed at a modest apartment in downtown BA for a few nights, and had set aside some $$ and time to indulge in a stay at Vista Sol Hotel. With its achingly hip modern design, the ‘wood’ hotel was set to be the apple of our hotel eye.

Like excited schoolgirls we arrived at the lobby, and were impressed by the glass panelled staircase and the incredibly good-looking people dining in the restaurant. Then we had our heart broken as we were told there was no record of our booking. That would be our pre-paid booking, mind you. So not only had we lost out on paying for 2 rooms for 2 nights, there were no vacancies. HEART……BROKEN.

Lesson learnt. If you suspect the GREEK travel website offering hotel bookings in South America may be dodgy, GO WITH YOUR GUT.

So I never made it inside the hotel room, but it will forever remain in my heart as the hotel that got away.

If you have stayed there, please let me know and tell me how awesome it was. Or better yet, lie to me a tell me it is crap in the hope that one day i will get over missing out on the wood hotel.

Vista Sol Hotel

451, Tucumán 1001, Buenos Aires, Argentina

www.vistasolhotels.com/

About me

I like hotels.

No, I REALLY like hotels.

This blog is a collection of experiences, recommendations and a general proclamation of my love for king sized beds, tightly tucked in sheets, travel sized beauty products, weird room service menu options, rooftop pools and overpriced alcohol.