What does Michael Chiarello look for in a hotel?
There are a couple things. My partners have a pair of small hotels — 14 rooms — off the Spanish Steps in Rome. They pre-concierge you. If you’re seeing the concierge the day you get there, you’re too late. Trying to walk your way through what you really want to see in advance is time consuming. My wife spends hours scouring what are we going to do, what are we going to see, where are we going to go. At these hotels, they just worked it out in advance. By the time you walked in there, everything was all buttoned up. You come in here, it’s going to be a 15-hour flight, you’ve got a four-year-old, and they have you set up, organized, done. I think of the concierges as an offense not a defense, where they really work for you. You can always edit out and edit things down.
The other thing when it comes to hotels is I don’t like to get nickeled and dimed. I want to pay another 50 bucks and not tip anybody. I want water that I can drink. I want the perfect pillow — I don’t need the pillow menu that I have to pay a premium for. I want wireless. They’re subtle, but there’s something about the travel exhaustion of reaching for your wallet. I don’t like to have to search for coffee in the morning.