Oct 10, 2011

A little bit of luxury...

by Michelle Douglas

Reading: Girl in a Bedouin Tent by Annie West

Watching: Dirty Dancing

Listening to: Dido

Making me smile: Patch Blackshanks

I’ve just returned from five days in our nation’s capital Canberra and it got me thinking…

Not about the tax forum that was taking place. Not about the state of the nation or democracy. Not even about spring and the glory that is Floriade.

It got me thinking about hotels and how much I love them.

As a child my family NEVER stayed in hotels. I’m afraid our budget didn't stretch to that kind of indulgence. We stayed in caravan parks. We camped. And I’m not complaining. We had a ball on our annual two-week holiday to Happy Hallidays Caravan Park. But it did give hotels an allure and a mystique that remains in my mind today

As an adult, however, I have sampled the delights of hotels…and I’m addicted. Oh yes, they are far more expensive than caravan parks, but there are no late night dashes for the amenities block (or, worse still, a convenient tree). They have staff whose sole purpose is to ensure you have an enjoyable hassle-free stay. There are complimentary lotions and potions and big fluffy robes. There are gyms and pools (mind you, I never use the first but have been known to take advantage of the second). There is room service. There are concierges. And in my opinion one of the biggest benefits—you are not responsible for cleaning anything! It is all so delightfully extravagant and self-indulgent.

So, what have been the highlights of hotels past?

The beds. This was my favourite thing about the Canberra hotel.The bed was HUGE! See…

It has to be said, however, that the bed in the Melbourne Langham has yet to be surpassed.

The views. This was the view from my room at the Langham. I could’ve watched it for hours.

And this was the view from the Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach. I had a cup of tea out here every morning. It was a wonderfully relaxing way to start the day.

The Foyers. I wish I had a picture of the foyer of the Hilton on the Park in Melbourne. It's divine. So to is the foyer in the Menzies in Sydney. I think, however, the Langham again takes the prize.

Quirkiness. Several years ago when I was in Geneva, I stayed in a hotel that had all this wonderful space. The foyer could’ve comfortably housed four camp beds. There was a huge living area with wicker lounges, a huge working area with big desk, not to mention a lovely big bed. Modern hotels would have utilised this space to create two rooms. What most endeared me to this particular hotel, however, were the tiles in the bathroom.

Aren't they a hoot!

However, my favourite hotel of all time has to be the Dorchester in London. I spent my honeymoon night there. It is the ultimate in luxury. Just check it out – isn’t it gorgeous.

So what about you? Do you love staying in hotels? And if so, do you have a particular favourite?


  1. Michelle, we were a camping and caravaning family when I was a kid too. Loved those holidays! But yes, now I'm an adult, I love hotels. I have to consciously not write as many hotel scenes in books - but it's just such a fabulously luxurious thing!

  2. I had to laugh at your comment about consciously not writing too many hotels scenes in your books, Rachel. I have to admit that I did have more than a passing thought about your gorgeous "Million-dollar Amnesia Scandal" as I was writing this post.

    You know, I don't think I would've appreciated the luxury of hotels as a child. I craved the community of caravan parks and the freedom of camping. But, oh, these days... :-)

  3. Hi Michelle --
    First off, Patch Blackshanks is very cool! And could Annie West have a cooler title for her book!!

    I LOVE hotels and admit to splurging way too often when we're on holidays. I love the Park Hyatt Sydney -- tucked under the Harbour Bridge and overlooking the Opera House. I have fond memories of the Ritz Carleton Maui. And we spent our wedding night at Tower Lodge on a vineyard in the Hunter Valley -- beautiful and it had a Picasso on the wall!!!

  4. Hi Anna --
    Oh isn't Annie's title just fabulous (very jealous of it in fact)!

    I grew up not too far from the vineyards in the Hunter Valley so I never think of them as particularly glamorous. LOL. But Maui -- oh yes, major glamour. And I'm writing down the name of the Park Hyatt Sydney. I want to spend 2 or 3 nights in Sydney over the summer and I'm thinking the Park Hyatt will fit the bill nicely. Thanks for the heads up!

  5. Hi Michelle,

    Love the post - LOVE fantastic hotels. Like you I grew up holidaying in a caravan. Occasionally there'd be a motel on a long trip but never a hotel. Also like you I love hte Langham in Melbourne. And the Coogee one you mention is great - perfect place to sit and write while staring out over the sea... I can now add some others. Just back from an o's trip. How about high tea at Claridges in London? Faantastic. And as for accommodation and ambience, I haven't seen anything to beat the Adlon Kempinski in Berlin. I didn't want to come home...!

  6. PS, I forgot to say how lovely it is you're reading my Girl in the Bedouin Tent! Nice to think of it finding a home with you, Michelle.

  7. I hope you had a lovely time O/S, Annie!

    Ooh, Claridges -- divine! And I have heard the most amazing things about the Kempinski. Okay, am green with envy.

    P.S. Girl in a Bedouin Tent is fabulous. :-)

  8. It is gorgeous. I love hotels, but don't have a favorite.

  9. I love hotels too - generally whichever one I happen to be staying in at the time.


  10. Hi, Marybelle, I'm glad to discover another hotel lover! :-)

  11. I like you attitude, Zana. ;-) I think loving one's current hotel is a very good plan.

  12. Michelle, I can't remember that we ever stayed in a hotel when I was growing up either. And not much camping either - but then we moved quite a bit. I was an Air Force brat!

    So there is something extra decadent about staying in a hotel, isn't there! I feel like I should spend less time sleeping when I'm staying in one so I can appreciate the luxury of it as much as possible. We've had some gorgeous hotels for the RWAustralia conferences, haven't we?!
    Very happy sigh!
    Only ten months until the next one!

  13. Oh, Sharon, we've had some wonderful hotels for the RWAust conferences. I've only been to four conferences, and I've felt deliciously spoilt by the hotel at each one.

    Ten months and counting down! :-)