The Times last Saturday rather beat me to this, publishing their 50 sexiest hotel rooms in Britain. But I had been mulling it over for a few weeks now – which hotel rooms had that little extra something to turn an ordinary stay into a sizzling one.
Dougie and I have been in some flea-pits during our 26 years together. Our first romantic trip abroad was to Tunisia and we spent most of the week flicking flies off the walls. Things have thankfully improved since then so please indulge me as I plunder the memory bank to remind myself of all the bedrooms in the world where the instinctive reaction was to leap onto the bed shouting ‘whey-hey’.
I haven’t included apartments so those belonging to Martinhal in Portugal, Parc Germano on Lake Garda and Staying Cool in Birmingham have had to be filed under ‘rather sexy rooms with a kitchen’.
Without further ado, I give you, in reverse order, my favourite love nests from my travels.
10. Kesgrave Hall, Suffolk.
The room was large, the colours warm, I loved the sofa at the bottom of the bed and there was a rather nice etching of a ram looking down at me. However, the best bit about it was the bathroom which had the warmest, toastiest underfloor heating imaginable. I loved it so much that, when we re-did our own bathroom earlier this year, I borrowed the colours and the heating arrangements.
The rest of the hotel was just as stylish but with a relaxed atmosphere: the squashy sofas in the drawing room were designed for cuddling up with the Sunday papers.
9. Palais de la Mediterranee, Nice
Like Kesgrave Hall, above, the room here was interconnecting so our son was ensconced next door. Family rooms may sound like a good idea but they are no good if you want to get amorous. And, to be honest, if you are paying as much as we did for this swish hotel in a prime location on the sea-front, you at least want to get your money’s worth. The memorable aspect of our stay here in 2009 was the fact that the dining room was being refurbished so room service breakfast was available at no extra cost. Dressed in fluffy bathrobes, eating scrambled eggs and sausages, served in a mini-tagine, was a wonderfully lazy way to start the day.
8. Aphrodite Hills, Paphos, Cyprus
Named after the goddess of love so it was bound to have a head-start on the lurrve front. Beautiful room with classic furniture, benefiting from a fabulous bathroom. Not sure who the bloke is in the picture but I couldn’t see him from the bed so he didn’t put me off. We paid extra for a private pool which added to the fun.
7. Nobis Hotel, Stockholm
There’s nothing like a bit of history to add a sense of intrigue to a hotel. Previously a bank where a robbery and hostage-taking took place in 1973, leading to the phrase ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, this smart, chic hotel had rooms which were cool, minimalistic yet very sexy.
The lounge, with its phallic chandelier, and the adjoining provocative Gold Bar, served sensational cocktails. How about a Mexican Mailman or a 50 Shades of Summer?
6. Hotel Klitterhus, Ängelholm, Sweden
Another stop on our Swedish fly-drive last year, the Klitterhus had the rudest name yet the prettiest bedroom. Huge entertainment value could be gained from making jibes about husband not being able to find the Klitterhus and whether he needed directions. The location was perfect, on a vast sandy beach. Picture windows, beautiful sunsets, the sounds of Abba thumping upwards from the bar below. Gimme, gimme, gimme…
5. Ca’Pisani Hotel, Venice
A truly beautiful hotel, 14th century Venetian palace combined with Art Deco interior design. We stayed here in 2006, our first real taste of a boutique hotel before every hotel owner took possession of the term.
The room was quite masculine with rich, polished furnishings, subdued lighting and two striking orange leather chairs in the lounge area which were exceedingly desirable. We returned home and bought an orange leather chair of our own.
4. Prestonfield House, Edinburgh
This one had the potential to be the stand-out blow-your-socks-off passion parlour of the lot. A lavish room brimming over with velvet cushions, heavy brocade curtains, textured wallpaper and a massive wrought-iron bed. Unfortunately, as we threw ourselves back onto the bed, a puff of dust and feathers went straight up Dougie’s nose, setting off a massive allergic reaction: cue sneezing and subsequent nose-bleed. Passion killer.
3. Barnsley House, Cotswolds
Whilst our son was on a school skiing trip, we splurged on a short break to the Cotswolds staying in a stableyard suite in one of England’s most beautiful hotels. The room was huge and on two floors: a seating area on the mezzanine above the main bedroom. Felt inclined to stand on the balcony and sing to my husband as he wallowed in the bath below me. Full of technical wizardry, a hand-held console controlled the TV and music which was piped through to the loo and shower-room. Unable to figure out how to change from the default station of Classic FM, Dougie took pleasure in performing his morning ablutions to the March of the Toreadors.
2. Hotel Urban, Madrid
This really was a sensual, hedonistic place: a room full of satin and animal print, taffeta bedcover, peacock feathers, wood, slate, leather. Even the complimentary slippers were black. It had a fully glazed bathroom within the bedroom area (blinds available for modesty) and the bath itself sat in a window overlooking the street below for any potential exhibitionists. Everything about the room oozed style and sex-appeal. It was, frankly, exhausting.
1. Hotel Paggeria Medicea, Tuscany
18 years ago we stayed in this picture-perfect spot in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, overlooking our very own Medici villa next door. White linen, dark wood floors, simple furnishings. There was an atmosphere of romance and love. Nine months later our longed-for child, Rory, came into this world. The Paggeria Medicea takes the prize in my list. No other hotel will ever come close.
All photographs my own apart from the last one which I have borrowed from Hotels.com.