Luxury must be comfortable otherwise it's not luxury

  • Coco Chanel

What is Luxury for you?

This is a question I often think about. More specifically the question of “if I could afford anything what one luxury would I have in my life?” or “What couldn’t I live without”.

Perhaps a chauffeur, a private chef, a massage therapist on call? Maybe my home always filled with fresh flowers? Or finally my own butler ready to do whatever is needed (within reason of course!).

Although each of these would be fantastic the one luxury that I would introduce into my life would be an Evening Turndown Service – like the ones enjoyed in many 5 star hotels across the world. I would have this is my home – without a second’s thought!

I cannot convey how much I love, when I am staying in a hotel of a certain level, that I can use the shower, the bathroom, every towel in existence, sit on the bed for a while and use all the coffee cups before leaving it all behind without further consideration as I head out to dinner.

Then, when I return to the room later on, as if by magic, the room has been transformed and organised for me to sleep. I simply love it – it’s as simple as that!

I was reminded of my love for the turndown because last evening I slept in one of our wonderful fresco’d junior suites here at Hotel Number Nine in Florence -where we have just totally changed the style of our Turndown Service.

As the manager of the hotel I often sleep in the bedrooms as a quality control check. It’s important for me to feel and live as our guests do here in the hotel. Over months of sleeping, checking, thinking, creating and of course annoying my housekeeping team with my observations and my requests we have arrived at what I believe is a wonderful service and experience.

What do we do?

Well, we recently changed all our bedding and towels for a wonderfully superior quality – that’s the first thing. Then we were asked to logo everything – I was horrified. It’s a real annoyance to me to see the name of the hotel or the hotel chain on every pillow, sheet, towel, glass, cup ad infinitum! I had an idea – one which I think is brilliant (even if I say so myself) – instead of a logo we have had a message embroidered on the sheet (revealed a little later on as you read).

Another point of annoyance is the lack of total darkness in a hotel room. I need to sleep in the dark – even the slightest light prevents this (I know, I know the princess and pea story – don’t tell me!). In our rooms, in fact, I kept seeing the tiny green light on the heating/air conditioning panel. And so another (brilliant) idea was hatched.

So (imagine a drum roll please) this is the Hotel Firenze Number Nine Turndown:

You arrive back to your room to find the lights readied and low, the “elves and fairies” have tidied the bathroom and replaced your towels and hung your bathrobes neatly. You’ll  notice that the bed covers are turned down to reveal the words “Buonanotte & Sogni d’oro” embroidered elegantly in grey to wish you a personal “good night with dreams of gold”.

Then you’ll see that this little green light on the heating panel has been completely covered by the wonderfully perfect words of William Shakespeare “Sleep perchance to dream”. Your slippers are placed by the bed awaiting you for the morning. Candies & your room service breakfast request are on your pillow and (on your last night with us) an elegant postcard from us to take away with you. It’s a turndown – one you need to experience.

What’s left to do now?

You just need to enjoy a good night’s sleep and those precious golden dreams. Buona notte e sogni d’oro!