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The Simple Sophisticate, episode #45
The gifts of travel are plenty as we are experiencing new food, customs, knowledge and everything in between. Our minds are unable to relax and settle into comfortable habits of who we will meet and how events will unfold, so our energy sources are depleted more frequently and in ways we may not expect. However, for much of the time, adrenaline kicks in as typically we are excited and curious to take as much as possible in on a trip we most likely have been eagerly anticipating.
As I mentioned on last Monday’s podcast, part of the reason I select comfortable, spacious and welcoming accommodations when I travel is due in large part to the restoration I need after having been outside of the hotel or vacation rental which has been exhilarating but often exhausting.
During my last trip to New York City and Seattle, I had the opportunity to stay in two entirely different set-ups, but both offered exactly what I was seeking: comfort and a sense of coming home, security and an opportunity to be restored. But then I began to realize that the details that complete the preferred luxurious living experience while traveling are quite simple, and could easily transfer to our everyday living environment. Why not?
Today I’ll explore 10 ways each of us can set up our homes, our everyday sanctuaries, to offer the splendor of luxurious travel accommodations.
1. Drinking Water Readily Available
Upon walking into my room at the Hotel Ballard in Seattle, rather than have plastic bottles of water available, they set up a simple, chic tray with a glass bottle with stopper filled with crisp water and two stemless wine glasses. Such a simple touch that, as it was refilled each day, allowed for no excuse not to drink water prior to going to bed and upon waking as to keep the body hydrated.
2. Lay out reading material for the next morning
One of my more common Instagram pics is of my reading material that I am either reading or looking forward to reading during the upcoming weekend. Akin to a child on Christmas morning, I genuinely become giddy about the newspapers and magazines that I will be able to pursue through the next morning. Why not treat yourself each morning, or at least on the mornings of the weekend, and have your reading material ready and waiting to be enjoyed?
3. Make the bed like a pro
A few years ago, as well as in TSLL book (Choosing The Simply Luxurious Life: A Modern Woman’s Guide), I demonstrated step-by-step how to make the hotel foot-fold with the flat sheet when making the bed, and now I would like to add one more simple touch that will elevate the appearance of your bed, making it all the more enticing at the end of a long day. Place the European square pillows front and center. Below are a few examples, but rather than putting the European pillows behind the stacked standard pillows, prop them up in front of it. Feel free to put accent pillows or a round 36″ bolster pillow in the front, or not.
4. Stock with plush, soft robes
The Hotel Ballard offered Boca Terry white bathrobes, and I will admit right now, one night I slept in mine as it was so comfortable. Often times hotels will allow you top purchase their robes or at least let you know where you can buy them. I recently spoke to someone who vacationed in NYC and stayed a night at the Plaza Hotel, and they were told by the cleaning staff that they donate the robes after each stay, so feel free to take theirs home. (Always ask first, but who knows, you may just be able to do the same.)
5. Stock luxurious lotions, soaps and hair products
Molton Brown has lately been the brand of choice at the last few places I have stayed, and I can understand why. However, there are many quality products that offer rich lotions and help your skin and hair look their best. Place lotion next to your bed to use on your hands and feet just before bedtime. Place in the shower and next to the sink all the necessary, but just enough of what you need.
6. Have trays available for eating in bed, outside or anywhere else besides the table
A luxury to enjoy when staying in a hotel, especially if it is a business trip and you return exhausted not wanting to step back out into the fray, is to enjoy room service. Always a treat to eat dinner in bed as we don’t do such a thing at home, there is something to be said for having a beautiful tray to serve yourself breakfast or use while you are hosting. Look for unique trays at yard sales and consignment shops as to find the exact size and style you are looking for.
7. Coffee and tea service prepped and ready to enjoy
One of my everyday rituals is tea (in the morning and evening), so if I am staying in a vacation rental I always am hoping for a teapot and if I am staying in a hotel, I am at least looking for tea bags and access to boiling water. At our homes, why not set up a sipping shelf as I talked about a few years ago, stocked and ready with your favorite teas (or coffee), tea strainers, cups and saucers, and whatever else you might need. All ready to go, no matter how little time you have, you will be able to enjoy and relax.
8. Have patience with the details
One of the things I noticed and fell in love with immediately at the apartment I stayed in while visiting New York City was that the resident had styled it precisely to her tastes while still being very welcoming for guests. This takes time. Whether it is a lamp that is chosen to sit atop your side table next to your favorite reading chair or an ottoman sized and situated in the precise location to rest one’s feet after a weary day, even the books on the shelves and the art hanging on the wall, it takes time. Gradually, your home, even if you have to move will have just enough of “you” to feel like a most beckoning sanctuary to return to at the end of the day.
9. A cook’s kitchen
One thing I have realized due to my impending move is that not many of the items in my kitchen shelves go unused. After having edited out the space-fillers that weren’t paying their rent a few years ago, I appreciate how I can step into my kitchen and cook, chop or bake just about anything because I have the tools to do so. Much like decorating a home, this too will take time, but when you are someone like me who likes to cook when you stay in a vacation rental, stepping into a cook’s kitchen is very much appreciated as you feel as though you are somewhat at home.
10. A place to set your keys and purse
A must-have when it comes to buying a home is a foyer that is large enough for at least a console table so that keys can be placed, hooks made available for coats, handbags and leashes and space for quick removal of shoes. For functionality purposes, having such a space relieves the mind of having to remember the necessary accoutrements we need each time we step out the door, but a foyer that is adequately decorated also welcomes us home like an eager puppy – ready to greet us and take the burdens of the day off of our shoulders.
We will always have the opportunity to learn and improve, refine and polish the lives we live, and while decor, such simple ways of doing and decorating may seem trivial, they actually set a very powerful tone. Hotels and vacation rentals make a living by creating spaces that feel like home, and as we know, our homes are much more than a bed and a roof. It truly is all in the details. Details that aren’t all that expensive when we take a closer look.
I hope today you’ve discovered a few tweaks and additions you can make to your own sanctuary to make it all the more inviting when you wake up in the morning or return home each day. And perhaps you’ve experienced additional ideas from your travels that you might want to add, I would love to hear and I know other TSLL readers would as well. Please do share in the comment section. Wishing you a wonderful week.
~If you are traveling to Seattle, I highly recommend the Ballard District’s Hotel Ballard. A beautiful luxury hotel nestled into a quaint, quiet neighborhood full of restaurants, a weekly farmers market, boutiques and a state of the art gym. View the photos below:
~Stoneburner’s for room service will not disappoint as they use organic and local produce. From pizzas to salads to desserts and wine, treat yourself.~
~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~6 Ways to Create a Chic Sanctuary (podcast, episode #7)
~The Woman in Gold film starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds
~View Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (The Woman in Gold) painting by Gustav Klimt (1907) at the Neue Galerie in New York City. The entire exhibit runs through September 7th, but the painting is on permanent display.
~The documentary mentioned which includes this painting as a prominent part of its focus – The Rape of Europa