We stayed at a very nice hotel called The Brazilian Court. I would show you some photos if I had remembered to take my camera. My husband did snap this photo of the hotel courtyard with his phone:
I found myself looking at our hotel room with analytical eyes, trying to figure out what made it so luxurious, so relaxing, so soothing. I think the most important factor is one that I hate to admit: the absence of clutter. I'm going to be brutally honest here and say that a certain amount of clutter doesn't really bother me. That's probably the #1 thing my husband would change about me if he could. Clutter drives him crazy. Sure, I like things to be clutter-free, but I have a pretty high tolerance for it. After spending several days in such a serene space, I'm thinking that I need to move toward my husband's position on clutter. Sigh.
Another thing I noticed, though, is a bit easier to implement. The linens. Oh, the luxury of beautiful, clean, sweet-smelling sheets and towels. Yummy. Now this is something I can do without much trouble. I can wash my sheets often. Check. I can tuck a bit of lavender or a nice sachet into the linen closet. Check. And I can correct a problem in our bathroom: the towels.
Last summer, I spent some time working in our bathroom, and I succumbed to the siren song of colored towels. I found some pretty towels that were just the right color to complement the new bedding I had just made, and I couldn't resist. They looked so beautiful and lush when I hung them on the racks. Well, look at them now:
See those cream-colored smudges? That's not the light. You'll find that on all my colored towels. What's the deal? Do we exude bleach from our pores? Do I not do a good job of rinsing the shower after cleaning it? I don't know the answer, but I do know that all my towels are irreparably discolored.
So I'm going to take a lesson from our hotel and go back to snow-white linens. For years, all I bought were white towels. The newest and freshest would go in our master bathroom and guest bath. Once they were a little worn they'd go in the kids' bathrooms. When they were more worn they'd become dog towels. And once they were threadbare, I'd cut them up into rags.
Sometimes I added a monogram to the hand towels, like these in my guest bath:
Our hotel experience has prompted me to go back to that system. Big, fluffy white towels are luxurious and simple. And if bleach gets on them, it won't matter at all.