Turn Your Home Into A Holiday Haven With Expert Tips From 10 Hoteliers

Words by Eliza Scarborough

8 min read

If travelling abroad wasn’t an option for you this summer, let the world’s top hoteliers explain how to turn your own home into a holiday haven

While we wait for the world of international travel to completely open up, a staycation at your very own home is a great option for taking some time off and unwinding. Now is the time to look to your own four walls, and with a few simple tricks you can create a relaxing escape in the comfort of your own surroundings. Here, hoteliers from dream-worthy destinations share their secrets for bringing the wonder of travel to your home right here in the Middle East.

Virtual Access

How To Turn Your Home Into A Holiday Hotel; Singita Sabora Tented Camp

“While travelling during the pandemic has been curtailed, I try to find other ways that give me a sense of adventure,” says Luke Bailes, founder of Singita Sabora Tented Camp. “I have learned to create ‘new worlds’ through virtual worlds, whether joining yoga classes in India, shopping at the souks in Nairobi, visiting Machu Picchu when it is completely empty, or Indian cooking with a chef in Delhi.” This new world of virtual travel and live cams can provide unique experiences that are nearly impossible in the real world, together with supporting and bringing hope to local guides who have lost their livelihood due to the pandemic. Bailes believes it is also a great way of testing out which hotel is going to be top of your list when you next travel. “It is escapism at its best and has made me realise which are the first places I want to visit when the world opens up again.”

Immerse Yourself In Culture

La Sultana Marrakech

“We believe it is the people and the atmosphere that makes a holiday, all of which can be recreated to bring the essence of our hotel into your own home,” shares La Sultana Marrakech’s Xavier Soundrom. Having recently opened their rooftop bar he recommends heading to your nearest outdoor space and recreating their famous ‘Yves Saint Laurent in Majorelle’ cocktail for relaxing al fresco drinks. “Some other fantastic ways to bring the magic of Morocco home is to try our seven-vegetable couscous recipe and our step-by step guide on how to prepare mint tea, the regions national drink.” To truly embrace the culture, Soundrom suggests, “investing in a pair of traditional Moroccan leather slippers, known as Babouch, to walk around the house—for style and comfort.”

Spa Day

How to Turn Your Home Into A Holiday Hotel; Borgo Santo Pietro Tuscany

The first stop on your staycation should absolutely be a spa day, and it is all about spending more time than usual in your robe. “Too often we rush from the shower to getting dressed and out of the door, and it is usually just on holiday that the pace of life slows down,” says Francesco Capria at Borgo Santo Pietro Tuscany. “Indulge in what you usually skip, as there are real stress-relieving benefits in self-care.” There is no need to turn your bathroom into a wellness retreat, but a stack of fluffy towels, a scented steam diffuser, and some hair and face masks will give the perfect environment to unwind. “Steam your face with a hot flannel and why not fill up a refreshing jug with water and cut fruit, such as watermelon chunks or orange slices.”

Connect With Cuisines

Jnane Tamsna

Meryanne Loum-Martin, owner of boutique hotel, Jnane Tamsna, recommends connecting with different cuisines and perhaps recreating the experience of a favourite holiday meal. Taking inspiration from nights at her hotel in Marrakech, “start by decorating a table with some foliage before laying it with lots of glass candles and bowls of water with floating rose petals.” She recommends choosing your cuisine ensuring that you include all the finishing touches and accompanying dips and sauces. “Because we use organic orchard produce at Jnane Tamsna, I make a citrus chutney made with lemon jam, spices, garlic and fresh ginger. Then, for dessert, I’d prepare oranges and cinnamon, which I would cook very slightly to caramelise the oranges.” To complete the hotel experience, why not choose appropriate music and keep the setting authentic, “with the addition of lots of candles and some comfortable pillows, your Moroccan evening is complete.”

No Phones Allowed

Palazzo Versace Dubai

Holidays are about pure relaxation, and for Mansour Memarian of Palazzo Versace Dubai, tranquillity and simplicity are two key ingredients. “One habit that has helped me achieve this is practicing a digital detox, where I use my phone or laptop for only 60 minutes throughout the day to check and respond to important messages.” Alongside putting your phone away, avoiding social media and setting up an out of office response. Memarian helps fuel energy levels with scented candles and relaxing music playing around the house throughout the day, together with a 45 minute siesta, “this short nap really helps me restore my energy levels and I believe it is more rejuvenating than an eight-hour sleep at night. With our fast-paced lifestyle, taking time out to nourish the soul and appreciate the smaller pleasures of life is incredibly restorative.”

Effortless Elegance

How to Turn Your Home Into A Holiday Hotel; Palm Heights

“The spirit of enjoying the everyday and being present in the moment can be shared wherever you are, and I can recommend a few small ideas to help bring the calmness of the Caribbean to your home,” says Palm Heights’ founder and creative director Gabriella Khalil. “Think of beautifully curated art pieces which complement a simple yet chic look, together with a touch of indoor greenery. Your home doesn’t need to be full of wow factor pieces, instead you can instil a feeling of calmness with an airy and elegant, yet effortlessly cosy interior.” It is in this space that Khalil would then take some ‘me time’ with a calming yoga or meditation session, followed by a long and luxurious bath, “the type you would usually only reward yourself with on vacation.”

Escape The Everyday


“Staycations are a getaway from the current reality. They provide the opportunity to fully unwind and mindfully embrace a carefree state of mind, which is what we aspire to give our guests,” says Paul Linder of Greek sanctuary Amanzoe. “What I mostly look for in a staycation is to achieve the same mindset as when I travel, to cut off from reality, explore new places and experience a sense of profound relaxation. I try to wholly immerse myself in my surroundings and enjoy moments of peace with myself.” At Amanzoe the Restore & Rebalance Retreat sees the focus placed on achieving a deep sense of inner balance, peace and relaxation while developing the skills for managing a stressful lifestyle, something Linder believes is possible to recreate at home by, “using your outdoor surroundings to rebalance and recentre your energy.”

Set Your Soundtrack

Nobu Warsaw

For Anthony Campaniaris at Nobu Warsaw, it is all about using your senses to explore and switch off. “I find that music is a great way of reminiscing and bringing back memories, and making playlists is a lot like journaling.” What kind of music reminds you of your favourite trips away? Something Parisian? Maybe some ’60s pop or classic jazz? Whatever it is, head to Spotify and curate a collection of songs that will transport you away from home. “Listening to music evokes stronger memories than looking at photos,” explains Campaniaris, “and its ability to take me away to a different place has always made music a great prompt when I want to escape from the moment.”

Turndown Service

Soho House Barcelona

There are few pleasures quite as satisfying as the fresh bedding you sink into at the end of the day, so why not give your sheets at home an upgrade, says Soho House Barcelona’s Richard Van Batenburg. “A hotel bed is great when the mattress and linens are so comfortable you wake up forgetting where you are, so pick a thread count of 300 which gives a smooth, soft texture and a crisp, cool feel next to the skin.” To complete the hotel experience Van Batenburg suggests preparing the room before bedtime as a turndown service would. “Draw the curtains, dim the lights and fold back the sheets earlier in the evening, at bedtime it will all seem far more inviting and certainly gives your evening a hotel upgrade.”

Rest and Relaxation

Caldera House, Wyoming

“Many of the restful and restorative effects of a trip abroad can be put in place at home. Stopping work at a certain time, creating a comfortable space to relax in and enjoying the company of others. Space, time and simplicity,” says Pamela Lenci of Caldera House, Wyoming. “Simplicity is the luxury I crave. And simplicity is one of the elements that makes a holiday feel so special. There’s less stuff around you, so I would start by creating a space that is free of clutter. In the bathroom, I would get a set of super-soft, deep-pile towels, a fresh bathrobe and a candle to have by the bathtub, and I would line up the products I love. For me, this always includes a large glass jar of sea salts for the bath, for the feeling of wellbeing they give. But, most of all, I would make sure I allow myself plenty of time to spend soaking in that bathtub, and I’d prepare a pile of books I want to read, as if I were packing for a trip. We can give ourselves a little bit of that holiday feeling each and every day at home.”

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