A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Interesting Characters Stay in Unique Places- Boutique Hotels

by Sandy Parks

Characters move around, to other cities, other states, and other countries. Sure rich billionaires can afford the Ritz. But if they are truly interesting guys or gals, they might desire privacy, adventure, or simply the unusual, and still be treated like kings or queens. If you don’t have it on your research radar, add the term “boutique hotel.”

Such a hotel is often similar to what we might call a B&B, but much more upscale. Their location is usually unique, isolated, and can often be difficult to reach. Many cater to people from all over the world, on all different travel schedules, and coming from different time zones and languages. If your characters arrive at two in the morning, the hotel staff will be waiting. Pictures tell a thousand words (as a recent posted stated) so let me present a few examples.

Hotel B in Lima Peru. A guard stood by the hotel entrance and
personally unlocked it when guests entered or left. 
This first boutique hotel is in an arts district called Barranca that is undergoing revitalization to its grand days when the rich built summer homes near the water. These early 1900s mansions, attacked by weather and earthquakes over the years, are slowly being refurbished. Champagne and cookies might well be waiting upon arrival.

Door tie signaling privacy.
On the bed, a long black tie will be draped with a note pinned to it. If you wished to be left undisturbed, hang it on the doorknob.

Hotel B eclectic room
The rooms are modern, eclectic, with old world trimmings, and original art.

The upstairs lounge outside this room has showy furniture, modern framed paintings and photos, metal sculptures, and a black chair with a feather-draped footstool. Eclectic, bohemian, and South American all wrapped into one.

Dining and gathering courtyard.

In Ecuador, a boutique hotel in the middle of the historic district is a centuries old home with inner courtyards. One courtyard was once used as a staging area/corral for horses where the family carriages were hitched or riders entered. Today that part is transformed into the hotel’s open-air bar.

Down the same street is the historic government square and the president’s residence. There a former Archbishop’s palace has been transformed into a boutique hotel and upscale restaurant. Your characters would find wood beams, thick walls, and tall shuttered window. Their bed will be turned down with a poem and a chocolate on the pillows, and slippers on a cloth mat by each side of the bed. A blooming plant and candles are snuggled around a large tub and rose pedals sprinkled across the white porcelain. The antagonist in my upcoming science fiction novel watched for his contact out a window from this palace.
Rose, welcome chocolate, and the daily poem.
What about the more casual or hard to access boutique hotels? Imagine a small French run hotel in the middle of an oasis that is accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicles. Or how about the acclaimed Kasbah du Toubkal nestled in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco?
Kasbah du Toubkal
The trip to the Kasbah starts in a small village at the base of a mountain. There a village storefront welcomes visitors for the Kasbah. Luggage is left on the front sidewalk and soon a bellhop with his donkey stops out front on the dusty street. He loads up the suitcases and starts a long climb up the mountainside to the hotel. Hope your characters are wearing hiking boots. They can either follow the bellhop or take another trail up the mountain. While a bit more casual, the hotel has stunning sights and the feel of exploring hidden lands. Think Shangri-La. Expect a room well stocked with dates, olives, and nuts. Drinking water is distilled from the hotels purification filters and sits in an earthen pitcher in the room. A rustic, steamy private hammam is nestled in a corner of the hotel and awaits tired muscles after your characters' adventures. A great place for a little romance.
Riad in Marrakech
My newly released book OUTFOXED, an action-adventure suspense with romantic elements, uses a few boutique hotels in Morocco. Including one like the photo above, which came from Marrakech. This is the courtyard of an old house (riad) that has been converted into a hotel. It is entered from a dusty walking lane lined by long plaster walls with wooden doors cut into them. It's rather like stepping into another world. 

OUTFOXED: A plane gone. A pilot dead. Hawker Dunlop's repossession team demoralized and in jail.
Ex-military pilot Jet Walczynski and her crew are back in a mission to repossess an airliner in Ecuador. The mission falls apart when they are betrayed and the team disintegrates. Dunlop’s lawyer, Gregori Demos, sees justice as the best recourse for bringing them back together...if the new mission doesn't kill them first. Their task—locate the missing aircraft, nab the betrayer, and uncover the people who financed the deadly con.
Hedge fund billionaire Frederic Zinsli has no intention of being stopped in his life-long drive to avenge his grandfather. He has teamed with the dark side of technology, brought in investors, and obtained the perfect instrument to win his fight. When he discovers Dunlop’s repo team on his tail again, he intends to shut them down for good.
Adding to the difficulty, the CIA has taken an interest in this repossession gone wrong and will gladly sacrifice Dunlop’s people to order to uncover Zinsli’s intentions. While Jet’s team fight personal demons and battles to stay ahead of the opposition, time is counting down. As the truth is revealed and Jet’s team is forced to make precipitous decisions, will they succeed or be outfoxed once again?


Maureen A. Miller said...

OUTFOXED sounds great! I love reading books in exotic destinations. It's a lot cheaper than a plane ticket! :) These pictures and places are so steeped in history. I would love to visit them all. Congratulations on the new release, Sandy.

Sandy Parks said...

Thanks, Maureen. A lot of the places I visit end up in a novel. Makes me look forward to the next trip wondering what I will find and in what story it might fit.

Julie Moffett said...

Great pictures and wonderful post! Outfoxed is wonderful! Hope you have oodles of sales!!

Anne Marie Becker said...

Wow, those pictures look so enticing! I think it's time for a vacation. :)

Marcelle Dubé said...

::sigh:: thanks for the virtual visit to the exotic lands, Sandy. And Outfoxed sounds like a grand romp! Congratulations!

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