It’s sounds weird, but maybe you’ll relate: I’ve always loved hotel stuff. As a little kid, the first thing I would do when staying at a hotel (or even a motel) was to rush into the room, open the desk drawer, and pull out the engraved stationery and hotel postcards. Then I’d grab the hotel logo pen and write a note to my friends. Later, I’d wear the adult-sized bathrobe, enjoying its luxe feel. I’d always be the first person into the bathroom to use the shampoo and conditioner, reveling in the scent, often leaving nothing for the rest of my family to use in the shower. Slippers, towels with hotel monograms, embossed wine glasses, or distinctive tea cups, a hotel’s signature scent, a spa product crafted only for a certain property, a bedtime atomizer of lilac essential oil left at my bedside, a candle infused with bouquets that evoke the locale—all these things still give me pleasure.
I dreamed of beloved places: that beach hotel in Thailand, a rustically opulent lodge in Kenya, a favorite contemporary hotel in Denmark, that castle in Ireland, a parador in Spain, a palace in India, that 5-star grand dame in Vienna, or a sexy stay on Lake Como.
So, it’s no wonder that, during the pandemic, I went a little crazy being stuck at home. I wore long stockpiled hotel slippers (sometimes mismatched) every day. I sipped from airplane or hotel wine glasses (I have no idea how those ended up in my possession—mea culpa), wore hotel robes (these were gifts), and happily wrote in my journal with hotel pens—some of them a decade old. I lit hotel candles, shuffled hotel (or airplane) branded playing cards, and cooked from hotel cookbooks. I also feverishly availed myself of an embarrassingly immense cache of hotel bubble bath, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion, still intoxicated by their scents. Each time I bathed it was a ritual. I dreamed of beloved places: that beach hotel in Thailand, a rustically opulent lodge in Kenya, a favorite contemporary hotel in Denmark, that castle in Ireland, a parador in Spain, a palace in India, that 5-star grand dame in Vienna, or a sexy stay on Lake Como. I’m not a hoarder, but I can’t describe the joy these things brought me during lock-down. They’ve always made me happy, but during the pandemic, hotel amenities, especially the beauty products, saved my (mental) life.
In that spirit, I bring you a list of sensational items from around the world, sure to nudge your nostalgia and certain to remind you how much travel means to us all.
Hygge is the Danish word for that perfectly blissful, cozy, convivial atmosphere we all hold dear. No wonder so many Danish hotels take seriously the opportunity to create hygge for us. One to note, from the sustainably-focused Guldsmeden Group Hotel in Copenhagen, manifests the Danish commitment to luxury living with a conscience. Their eco-conscious I Love Eco Essentials match the hotel’s passions for a better world with sustainable features, such as bottles made from recyclable plastic. Try the hand cream.
Dorchester Collection’s 45 Park Lane in the affluent Mayfair neighborhood of London knows how to draw a bath. Their Wellbeing Bath Menu’s Slow Down Treatment includes a butler-drawn tub filled with feel-good essences, like ylang ylang and lavender, lit by an aromatic candle. Follow that with the turndown service’s gift of lavender spray to achieve peerless slumber. Recreate the 45 Park Lane mood at home with their signature pear and freesia scented candle and scented diffuser set.
Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia incorporates local flora and fauna into every treatment. The team at Salamander Spa worked with the local Virginia company Laboratory of Flowers to create a signature scent using local plants and essential oils, including tobacco, vetiver, sandalwood, Virginia cedar, rosewood, and jasmine. This aroma wafts throughout—even among al fresco yoga classes. For self-care, bring the fragrance home as a candle.
Amid the otherworldly terrain of New Mexico near Albuquerque, Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm creates lavender products reaped from its onsite, organic lavender fields. Renowned for their small-batch culinary and beauty products (sold at such places as goop.com), the inn treats guests to sumptuous in-room products: hand and body wash, lotion, and shampoo.
Since 1940, iconic Rancho La Puerta has taken inspiration from the 4,000-acres of private meadows, mountain trails and gardens that encircle it. Mirroring the landscape, the destination spa’s signature beauty products, La Puerta Core Essentials, offer a range of 37 products drawn from the locale’s healing, holistic history. Beautify with products as diverse as the Lavender & Sage Body Wash, the Herb & Flower Exfoliant or the Pomegranate Enzyme Mask.
Bhutan to Turks & Caicos
One of the many thrills of staying at any of COMO Hotels and Resorts’ 15 elegant hotels worldwide is the knowledge that their distinctive, aromatherapy-focused, essential oil-packed products await you in your suite. Embodying the group’s guiding code of meaningful wellness and its philosophy that proposes tranquility, the mesmerizing products can be found at all locations from Bali to Bangkok. They’re meant to ground, calm, or energize as desired. Scents such as Invigorate (with eucalyptus and peppermint) and Purify (with citrus and fennel) can also be bought online.
In this far-flung archipelagic nation in the Indian Ocean, nearly every tiny island harbors its own resort. At Anantara Dhigu, an effort is made to celebrate the healing resources of sugary beaches, emerald seas, and indigenous plants. In the spa, a coconut spice scrub, which combines kasha (Maldivian coconut), cinnamon, a sprinkle of nutmeg, and a smattering of salt, makes a zesty, invigorating scrub. Take some home to repeat the experience.
Pearl Resorts of Tahiti pays homage to Polynesian traditions in manifold ways at its various hotels in French Polynesia. Guests swoon over the traditional manoi oils the hotel group offers in their various spas. Each location suffuses its oil with a scent representative of its specific island—such as vanilla on Ta’haa, the “vanilla island.” Relive the Tahitian spirit when you hydrate hair and skin at home with manoi.