Editor’s Note: Periodically the Travelocity Roaming Gnome will interview a few of his favorite travel friends about all things travel. Please welcome them to The Window Seat.
Kate Auletta is the travel editor at the Huffington Post and the editor of AOL Travel. She covers all things travel-related including airports, destinations and hotels. See more of her work on Huffington Post and follow her on Twitter.
ROAMING GNOME: I am one lucky little pickle to have stayed at so many wonderful hotels. From South Africa to London, so many delightful memories! What hotel experience has been your favorite?
KATE AULETTA: La Mamounia in Marrakesh for its utter opulence and amazing customer service. Or the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana where we sat on the patio drinking mojitos while overlooking the Malecon-priceless.
RG: Everywhere I turn, new hotels are popping up every which way. (I like it; keeps me on my toes!) What is it about a hotel that makes you want to stay there?
KA: Stellar, personal service. If you don’t have that, you have nothing.
RG: One of my favorite things about hotels are the amenities. Bath robes, shampoo, shoe shine! Heavens! It´s all so wonderful. What hotel amenity is your favorite?
KA: I have made it a habit to collect the hand lotion from the bathrooms in higher-end hotels. I use them to carry in my purse the rest of the year. My collection is dwindling, though, so I have to book a few stays soon!
RG: I always say: If I ever stop roaming I´d open a hotel of my own. Smashing hats and dashing suits would be the uniform and it would be all play everyday. If you could open a hotel anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
KA: There is a wonderful small hotel on Flamands beach in St. Barts that has an amazing restaurant called La Langouste. It’s all about simplicity. You can walk off the beach to dine. I would recreate that feel on a beach somewhere: Simple grilled food, great cocktails, simple elegant rooms and wonderful family-run service. It’s my idea of heaven.
RG: Considering I´m worldly and wise (and daringly handsome if I do say so myself) I try to offer travel tips to my fellow roamin´gnomies. What about you, if you could offer travelers one piece of advice when booking a hotel what would it be?
KA: There are two things I look for when booking a hotel: a view and number of rooms. I don’t particularly care about a view (unless it’s in a fabulous place, i.e. Istanbul or Marrakesh or Venice) and they can cost more, so I skip that if it’s for a business trip or just a weekend away. One of the things I’ve found most helpful when booking hotels in places I do not know is comparing the number of rooms in potential hotels. The smaller the better.