Why stay away?
Choosing where to stay the night when travelling can be quite an ordeal, particularly if you are fussy or have quite particular tastes about hotel design and style. We often spend hours trawling through hotel booking sites looking for 5-star luxury for the same price as a discount stay at an airport Travelodge. So, does this incessant searching provide a bounty of exiting hotel options or do we feel often feel dejected by the lack of luxury for a more modest price? I am one of those people who can often be sat in front of my laptop, trying to keep one eye on a film of a Saturday evening, searching for that elusive hotel stay. I am normally looking very carefully at the design of a hotel and if it will add to my experience. At the same time as doing this, I am bombarding my partner with a barrage of ‘what if’ and ‘how about’-style questions that are less than fruitful to the search. So, what do I look for?
Is the hotel design an important factor?
In a nutshell, yes, well for me anyway. As I search hotels in which I want to stay, I spend a great deal of time looking through the galleries to see if I can get a sense of what to expect. I believe that good hotel design can affect how I will feel in the surroundings, will I feel comfortable and relaxed or will I want to run for the hills? Whilst I appreciate the need for form and function, when planning some time away I like to be in an environment that puts me at ease and allows the purpose of the trip to be fruitful and focused. Whether this is a weekend city break or whether I have booked the hotels for my partner’s business trips, I take hotel design into account and it is my belief that careful and considerate design allows this to happen. The truly excellent interior designers and architects working in the hospitality sector have a superlative ability to create spaces that allow us to feel at home away from home.
The hotel group that has been the focus for this post is the superb Eurostars group. I have stayed with them twice, in the same city, Porto. The first time was in such a breath-taking location outside of the city overlooking the majesty of the Douro River valley and the second was in an up-and-coming part of the city centre. Both hotels were very well-conceived from a design point of view, with the Douro River location acting as a quasi-gallery for eclectic design with a high prominence of mid-century modern furniture. As I meandered through the architecturally interesting corridors, I was struck by both their impact and how they could act as a gallery space. This did not stop here, the hotel rooms were large, well designed and again with a mid-century flair and bathrooms providing a well-balanced mix of materials, including concrete, tile and stone. These thoughtful touches in the hotel’s design provided a relaxing space for the night that we spent their whilst wine tasting in the north of Portugal.
Will hotel design make me enjoy my stay?
The design aspect and sense of effortless luxury often keeps my interest in the hotel and makes me want to spend time in the space, relaxing and enjoying what it has to offer. What’s more, the hotels were not lacking in facilities, in the Douro River location there were two pools, including a pool overlooking the river, a spa and a superb restaurant with a great wine selection and one of the best prawn dishes that I had ever eaten!
Next, the hotel in the centre of Porto, was well designed and had a very open bar and lobby area that was a fantastic location to stop for a drink after having spent the day exploring the city and dining in the many excellent restaurants. It is the location of this hotel that is key, it is in quite a cool location in the city centre and provides good links for the main sights of the city. Having friendly, confident, relaxed and helpful staff is fantastic for any hotel stay and these hotels are no exception. It helps you to enjoy staying in a new location, certainly when there is a good deal of local expertise to help you make the most of your time there, which for me can often my just a night or two.
So what does it take to make a hotel great?
This post is not sponsored by the Eurostars hotel chain, but having stayed at two of their hotels, I was more than impressed with what they had to offer. I can be fussy about the design, the feel of the place, as well as the facilities. So, to my delight, both of my stays with the hotel group have ticked a plethora of boxes from the jaw-dropping view of the Douro river just outside of Porto, Portugal, to the quirky and museum-like design with well-judged nods to mid-century modern furniture design. It was this initial stay that made me return directly to them to book another hotel in the centre of Porto, still with excellent design, but with a different atmosphere. Both of the hotels have a unique design and match their surroundings. So, as I venture towards the end of 2018 and the start of 2019, I want to visit their other hotels and enjoy how they put forward their vision and sense of style for their consumers. My verdict and advice? Visit the website and book a stay, now!