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How to turn your home into a luxurious hotel

Lockdown means you'll be spending the bank holiday in familiar surroundings rather than taking a break to some luxury destination. But you can certainly revamp your living space to create your own trip, writes Sarah Marshall

Bank holidays are usually cause for celebration in the calendar; a reason to get excited about some bonus time off. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has hit at a time when several of our national holidays are on the horizon, with everyone set to spend the Easter 'break' in lockdown.

It would be easy to let weeks wearily segue from one to another, like a loose, amorphous splodge of wasted time. But there are ways to make days distinct and give them definition - even if 23 hours are spent within the same walls.

A good luxury hotel break should really be about the property rather than the destination, anyway. Why pay all that money to stay somewhere and spend most of the time outdoors?

It's the decadent atmosphere, the change of (interior) scenery, the attentive service, and the sense of feeling at home away from home. All these things are - with some effort and imagination - possible to recreate in your own house. Best of all, doubles start from £0.00, inclusive of breakfast and free wi-fi (of course).

De-stress the bedroom

It's the most important room in the house, the place where we spend (well, at least for the next few weeks) a third of our day. Yet bedrooms seem to end up becoming a dumping ground for discarded clothing, dog-eared magazines and half-empty jars of make-up.

One of the greatest joys of walking into a clean, tidy hotel room is the sense of space and the mental freedom that affords. Getting out of context really helps to re-calibrate your thoughts, and even though stepping out of the front door is hard right now, it is still possible to rethink the space we use.

Start by removing all unnecessary clutter from the room: hang clothes in the wardrobe, put cosmetics in the cupboard and remove any traces of work. It's called a bedroom for a reason, after all; this is a place dedicated to the great glory of sleep.

Worship your bed

It's true, hotels do seem to use an extraordinary number of sheets, blankets and cushions. Who actually owns a valance? And do you know the difference between a standard and Oxford pillow?

But there's a lot to be said for making a fuss of your bed; it should be the focal point of the room. Find clean bed sheets, iron them, and throw a blanket on top for decoration. Finish the look by gathering cushions from the living room.

In the evening, do your own turn-down service. Fold away a corner of the bed, switch on a bedside lamp and consider leaving a chocolate on the pillow.

Dine out around the globe

Eating - or rather having excellent food cooked and served to you - is one of the great pleasures of a hotel stay. A simple way to spoil yourself would be to order an Uber Eats or Deliveroo take-out; look up nearby hotels and restaurants in your area too, as many kitchens are still preparing food.

Alternatively, recreate dishes from iconic properties around the world. Safari company andBeyond, who manage luxury lodges across Africa, have published a collection of favourite recipes online (andbeyond.com/bringing-africa-home/taste-africa). Learn to make Maasai Chicken, Zanzibar Coconut Curry or Malva Pudding - all to a curated Spotify collection of tunes from the wild continent. (The Lion King soundtrack and Paul Simon's Graceland will give you a flavour of what to expect.)

Make bathing a ritual

Elevate the bathroom beyond a functional wash-place by transforming it into a DIY spa. Whether you opt for ethereal, chanting monks, or soothing, sultry jazz, relaxing music is essential.

Alternatively, open the window and listen to nature's orchestra of birdsong; without traffic on our roads and planes in the air, it's becoming much easier to tune in.

Smell is equally important: if you don't have any oil or salts available, cut up some fresh ginger and apple to add to the bath. Lie back with a couple of cucumber slices on your eyes and have a good soak.

Treatments will depend on the products you have to hand, but the most important thing is to savour time - one bonus of the lockdown is that you can wash whenever you want.

Explore the surrounding (virtual) area

Should you feel the need to venture outside, don't let lockdown restrictions become a hindrance; while physical travel is off the cards, minds can wander as freely as they like.

Take a virtual tour through Ecuador's Galapagos Islands using a Google Earth map (google.com/maps/about/behind-the-scenes/streetview/treks/galapagos-islands), scaling volcanoes, swimming with sealions and hanging out with giant tortoises. Or explore some of America's top national parks, such as Kenai Fjords in Alaska or Bryce Canyon in Utah (artsandculture.withgoogle.com/en-us/national-parks-service/parks).

Book an extra night glamping

Wondering what to do with the kids? There's always the option of glamping in the garden (or front room if it rains).

On Saturday, April 11, Cotswold Outdoor will be hosting a virtual camp-in with tutorials on night sky viewing, guided back yard safaris and camping tips.

Everyone is encouraged to share pictures of their canvas homes and camp food at #campingathome - making it a bit like fancy dress for tents (cotswoldoutdoor.com/outdoors-on-your-doorstep.html).

Belfast Telegraph