Before the film with Angelina and Brad, there was another Mr & Mrs Smith – a go-getting young British couple who, after a bad hotel experience on a weekend away, started the company that curates design-led boutique and luxury hotels best suited for romantic getaways. And 15 years later, founders Tamara and James Lohan’s enthusiasm for a Do Not Disturb sign has yet to wane.
“I look forward to the minute I walk into the room. I always hope I’ll get that ‘I want to jump on the bed’ feeling, that excitement that this bedroom is mine for the night,” says Tamara, an Oxford graduate with long blonde hair and an infectious smile. “What creates that simple human reaction is infinitely more complex; it’s the lighting, the smell in the room, the sheets, the way it’s been set – there’s an art to setting a room – and, of course, the bed.”
The pair’s new book, The World’s Sexiest Bedrooms – which marks Mr & Mrs Smith’s 15th anniversary – is an homage to the romantic sojourns their company was built on. “I think hotels are sexy, full stop. There’s something charged about them, isn’t there?” says James, a former events and party planner with rosy cheeks and a tousled mop of brown hair. “It’s about checking in and having a wildly hedonistic time together – we did this book to celebrate that.”
Just don’t expect raunchy cliches. “This is not about four-poster beds, mirrored ceilings and crushed velvet,” says James. “It could be a kind of castaway sexy, or an incredibly stylish place like Ett Hem in Stockholm, which feels like your wealthy aunt’s home – someone who has impeccable taste and wonderful staff.” The latter two attributes, arguably, are shared by Mr & Mrs Smith.
The brand that was built on their discerning eye isn’t lying down any time soon. “We have a lovely collection of villas in Mallorca and Ibiza, and we want to curate more villas globally,” says James of their expansion plans. “We’ve also bought a company called Sidestory, which offers cool cultural experiences, little half-day tours of a city by real insiders – like a graffiti artist who takes you around the East End of London.” In other words, laying bare a city’s sexiest side.
ROOM FOR ROMANCE
Tamara and James list their sexiest hotel bedrooms around the world.