UK / Europe

Small Luxury Hotels reveals trade secrets

Whether it’s the crisp feel of the sheets on an expertly made bed, the perfect way the Sommelier pairs your wine with dinner or simply the welcoming atmosphere that greets you as soon as you step through the doors, it’s those classic, professional touches that make a hotel experience so enjoyable. The team at Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) has gone behind the scenes at a selection of properties within the portfolio to get insider tips and industry tricks from the resident experts at each hotel to enable guests to recreate those special hotel touches at home.

Follow these steps to bring hotel style to your home…

 1. How to create a stylish vase of flowers

 • Flemings Mayfair, London, UK –

“Our flower displays change in design from week to week, to keep up the wow factor for our regular visitors. So that would be my first tip – keep changing your displays every time you entertain. We take inspiration from new quirky venues in the city, study interior magazines religiously and keep up with current exhibitions in all the London galleries and when abroad. Inspiration can strike anywhere and anytime so keep your eyes peeled. Shop windows can be another great source. Another tip – if you pick from the garden or have a limited budget, a small number of the same blooms have more impact if they are put individually in vases. The vases could be the same or a variety depending on what goes with your theme or decor.”

Yan Skates, Director, Bespoke Flowers – Flemings Mayfair


2. How to draw the ultimate relaxing bath

• Château Mcely, Czech Republic –

“At Château Mcely, we have developed a range of organic products to showcase traditional Bohemian herbal remedies, and Mcely Bouquet elixirs can be added to the baths for guests each night. At home, create a honey bath by dissolving one cup of honey, three spoons of virgin olive oil, two litres of un-skimmed milk and one litre of buttermilk into warm running bath water. Add candles and an aroma burner, then relax in the bath for at least 20 minutes. It will melt away stress and leave your skin beautifully soft.”

Hana Schwanzerbachová., Spa Manager, Châtaeu Mcely

Spa Village Pangkor Laut, Malaysia –

“We offer a bath menu in all the rooms at Pangkor Laut Resort, and the Spa Therapists draw them for our guests. At home, to lift you into the right mood for romance, I recommend a sensuous milk bath scented by fresh rose petals, kaffir lime and stimulating essential oils. Besides delighting the senses, the “Lover’s Dip” will moisturise your skin and leave your body aglow:

Mix fresh pandan leaf juice with kaffir lime juice in the tub and pour in some fresh milk (about 3 litres). Pandan leaves are very beneficial for health, containing essential oils, traces of tannin, glycosides and alkaloids. It’s even used for treating several skin disorders. Kaffir Lime acts as an excellent rejuvenator, alleviates colds, and helps regain energy and dispel tiredness. It is also an excellent astringent and anti-bacterial ingredient. The fresh milk has proteins, calcium, lactose, fat, vitamin A, B12, D and zinc. Milk soothes and nourishes the skin and the natural ingredients from this dairy product help hydrate, alleviate redness, and prevent irritated skin.”

Jennie Teo, Spa Village Manager, Pangkor Laut Resort

3. How to mix a spot-on Martini

• DUKES ST JAMES, Mayfair, London, UK –

“Drinks at DUKES Bar is something of an occasion. Frequented by James Bond author Ian Fleming, the Martinis served here inspired the classic line, “shaken, not stirred”. Mix your own at home by placing the following in a frozen martini glass:

A few drops of Martini DUKES Special blend Dry Vermouth75ml of frozen Gin or Vodka. Squeeze oil from a sliver of organic Amalfi lemon peel into the drink and ream glass with lemon peel oil. Add this lemon peel and serve


Alessandro Palazzi, Head Barman, DUKES ST JAMES, LONDON

4. How to choose art to complement your space

• Pudi Boutique Hotel, Shanghai, China –

“The moment they step into the lobby here at Pudi Boutique Hotel, guests feel as if they are staying in an art gallery. We mix oil paintings and sculpture from young Chinese artists with a modern style. Guests may purchase these art works and take them home to add to their own collection. A few tips I’d offer when choosing art for your own home – choose a painting the width of your mattress to hang over your bed for dramatic effect in the bedroom – pick out colours from the painting in your cushions and bedding too. It is well worth investing in special lighting to highlight your artwork. And I like to choose one colour as a central theme and select pieces incorporating this colour to draw my whole art collection together – at Pudi Boutique Hotel red copper is featured in most of our artwork to add a strong Shanghai feel.”

Janet Bao, General Manager, Pudi Boutique Hotel

• The George, Christchurch, New Zealand –

“In the bedroom you can use symmetry for maximum impact with matching lamps and cushions and a bigger bed head or panel with a horizontal frame to create a dramatic and stylish effect. Use neutral colours throughout with a pop of colour in each piece of artwork to make it stand out. It’s also effective to use one theme (like a region, or era – here at The George our themes include iconic images of our city in the guest rooms and NZ artists throughout the hotel) and then have different types of artwork based on the same theme including photography and pieces from different artists throughout your home. Choose matching frames in a row to pull your artwork together and use spotlighting to highlight each piece.”

Bruce Garrett, General Manager, The George


5. How to create your own home spa

• Les Sources de Caudalie, Bordeaux, France –

“Relaxation is a question of atmosphere – even in the most ordinary bathroom, you can recreate the atmosphere of a luxury spa, thanks to some accessories and products. Here are my 4 tips to spa bliss in your own home – firstly put some scented candles around your bath. A soft light and fragrance will fill your bathroom, for an immediate sensation of well-being.

“Secondly, put on some soothing music. Classical, background music or natural sounds, choose what has the most relaxing effect on you. Then – take your time. Be sure that you won’t be interrupted during this “spa session”, give yourself some time to focus on your well being. Prepare yourself a cup of green tea and a plate of fresh fruits high in potassium, like banana, kiwi, or avocado, to help relieve stress and anxiety.

“Finally, choose new beauty products, with soft textures and delicate fragrances. Take care of your body with a scrub, take time for a facial mask, massage and moisturize your body and your face.”

Delphine Duffours, Spa Manager, Les Sources de Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa

• Huvafen Fushi, NIYAMA and Desert Palm, Per AQUUM Retreats, Maldives –  www.slh/.com/huvafen & &

“Home scrub for skin like velvet, it works! Mix up some medium coarse salt or sugar (sugar is milder in texture and better for sensitive skin), cover the sugar/salt in grape-seed oil and some lavender essential oil. After being in the warm to hot bath for five minutes the skin has softened enough for you to scrub your legs arms and body as you bathe, the scrubbing circular action will remove dead skin and the oils will nourish, soothe and heal. Use with a loofah or exfoliating gloves if you wish. After the bath, shower with warm water to remove excess oils and pat dry, moisturise if necessary.

“For a very gentle effective face peel; wash your face with a mild PH balanced cleanser. Mix fresh lemon juice with live natural unsweetened yoghurt leave on your face for 15 minutes (avoid eye area) and gently wash your face. Use a gentle toner and apply moisturiser. Very deep cleansing – try this regime 3 times a week and see the difference.

“Bring your spa to your bed – try adding lavender/rosewood to the final rinse in your wash cycle for your sheets!”

Jason Sloan, Group Director of Spa, Per AQUUM Retreats

6. How to serve wine like a Sommelier

• Wentworth Mansion, Charleston, USA –

“I have many guests order a bottle of wine that they are familiar with and have enjoyed at home.  It is amazing how many times the guest will comment how much more pleasing the wine was here at the restaurant.  There is infinitely more that goes into the tasting of wine than just the actual flavour – it’s the temperature, the stemware that it is served in and the feel it has on your hand, the visual presentation of the wine, the food you are enjoying with the wine, the surroundings in which the wine is being consumed, and the company that you are sharing.

“The first step in wine presentation is making sure your bottle of wine is at the correct temperature.  The temperature will be different for whites and reds, as well as for wines with different weights. Once the bottle is selected and you have the correct temperature, I like to present the bottle of wine.  Tell your guest which wine you are serving, including the year. When pouring, twist the bottle about 180 degrees and wipe against a napkin so that no wine is spilled.  For white wines I will typically ask whether they would like the bottle kept on ice or on the table.  Some of your heavier whites (chardonnay) will benefit from a little warmer temperature. Make sure you top up your guests’ glasses throughout the evening.”

Mark Severs, Restaurant Manager, Wentworth Mansion

7. How to serve a romantic meal for two

• The Arch, London, UK

“It’s all about first impressions, get your table set correctly and have a wow factor element – whether it be a pot of fresh herbs on the table, a personal name card with secret message or a special bottle of well selected wine ready. Match it with soft background music and candlelight and you’re on to a winner!”

Gemma Dean, F&B Manager, The Arch London

Reservations for any Small Luxury Hotels of the World property can be made by calling +65 6232 5060, online at or via the new iPhone app.

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