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how to fill a room with sweet memories

The best part about staying in a beautiful hotel is knowing your room will be well looked after. I love a cozy room with Aesop candles burning, like they used to do at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York. Or the aroma of freshly brewed coffee as you head out to explore. What I am most attuned to, though, is the inner rhythms of hotel staff quietly ensuring my visit is a calm and seamless experience. I’m fascinated by the details that a well-run hotel pays attention to from the moment I arrive. There is an invisible theatre that circulates as guests go about their day and evenings.  

Many of the details I have adopted when setting the mood for a bedroom have been inspired by the luxurious hotels I have stayed at since I was a kid. My father worked for the Four Seasons, which gave me and my sister a chance to spend countless hours exploring premium hotels. We got to know staff on a first-name basis and had unfiltered access to the careful orchestration that goes into keeping a hotel running smoothly.

What I learned most is how just a few moments of care and straightening up can fill a room with sweet memories. One of my most cherished experiences, when I was young, was finding the chocolate truffle that was left in each room at The Pierre on East 61st Street. I fell in love with hotels due to that one special treat.

Here are three of my current fave hotels with unbeatable turndowns.

The Gritti Palace


Venice is full of hotels, but none are quite as magnificent as The Gritti Palace, open since 1475 and accessed by water taxi. French doors in each room open onto the Grand Canal and elegant slippers, placed by the bedside, are made from embroidered Venetian fabric salvaged from a major restoration of the hotel in 2013. No detail goes unnoticed. Young children are given a soft toy lion (the symbol of Venice), while pets receive their very own Gritti-branded water bowl and bed.

Harmony Hotel

Costa Rica

By far, a well-made bed is key to an excellent night experience. While at home I prefer loose-fitting linen, there is something deeply satisfying about pressed white sheets tucked tightly around a mattress. At Harmony, a beach resort favoured by movie stars and pop singers (Hello, Shawn Mendes!), the beds are swathed in thick cotton with matching pillowcases – their cool, crisp texture is like a balm after a day of sun and surf. The region’s damp rainforest air also means creases are virtually non-existent. The topper is a complimentary jar of salty chocolate squares with peanut butter stuffed inside.

The Colony

Palm Beach

The Colony isn’t luxurious in scale – it expresses quality through its Floridian charm of an earlier era, and with the incredible, almost magical, turndown services that are beyond. While out for dinner, housekeeping gathers any unpacked clothing and folds them into tidy stacks. In perfect Palm Beach style, white cotton slippers are left by the edge of the bed, and a single Ladurée macaroon, boxed and wrapped in pink tissue, is placed on the nightstand. So chic.

xx ashley

Photography by Lauren Miller