Of all the freedom solo travel affords, spending time alone in the grand hotels of the world might just be the most luxurious—and therapeutic. By Jancee Dunn

After a long first day of a work trip to London, I’m lounging in my king-size bed at 11 Cadogan Gardens, eating a club sandwich made with peppery roast chicken and crisp bacon. Making my meal all the more delicious: its dignified arrival (on a wheeled cart, under a silver dome) and the fact that the only dress code I have to adhere to is self imposed (fluffy oversize robe, ill-fitting padded slippers).

Other road warriors—those relegated to generic business hotels—might feel forlorn at the prospect of yet another solo hotel stay. But since I rarely travel by myself and am generally lucky enough to stay at beautiful properties, it’s the most hedonistic treat imaginable.

 

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Over the years, I’ve developed a few rituals. After dropping my bags, I embark on a thorough room inspection. I slide open the desk drawer, in hopes of discovering a trove of thick hotel stationery with fancy letterhead—a vanishing pleasure in our digital era. Humming absently, I inventory every item in the minibar and examine the toiletries in the bathroom.

I try to schedule all of my appointments early in the day, so I can race back to my hotel room and bolt the door with a cackle, opening it only for room service, or to hand over my Jimmys for a complimentary shoeshine.

Then the self-care party begins. First things first: I run a glorious, frothy bubble bath (the cavernous tubs at Hotel del Coronado near San Diego are my favourite) . I always bring a selection of hair, face, and lip masks that I can slather on with abandon after all, my daughter isn’t around to tell me I look scary. As I soak, I can play my favourite songs on a Bluetooth speaker, without my husband rolling his eyes. (What’s wrong with Cyndi Lauper?)

 

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One of the most blissful things about being in a hotel room alone is that you’re not surrounded by anyone’s clutter, so there’s nothing compelling you to jump up and clean. I suppose I could work, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, I slip on the comically large robe and slippers , and lounge on the bed, idly flicking through gossip magazines purchased at the airport newsstand.

How I love hotel beds, with their snowy coverlets and lavish surplus of pillows both functional and decorative! Sprawling in your bed at home is vaguely unseemly; in a hotel, it’s de rigueur. Who needs six pillows? I do, apparently. Sometimes I build them around me into a kind of decadent lounge chair.

Usually I’ll make some time to do a little dancing in my robe. Pro tip: Ensure that the Do Not Disturb sign hangs outside the door, and close the curtains— unless you want to give the office workers across the street a giggle.

 

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Then it’s time to contemplate the room-service menu. Sometimes, I don’t want anything fancy, craving instead the simpler options on the kids’ menu. During one of my solo stays at the Four Seasons Hotel Boston, I ordered mac and cheese and a brownie sundae for my pretend offspring. Then I quickly shut the bathroom door. When room service arrived, I shouted, “Your food is here, honey!” as though my kid were hiding. Did I really need the elaborate ruse? No, but it added to the sense of goofy, illicit fun.

I also say yes to everything: the guilty-pleasure romantic comedies playing on the enormous television with names like The Perfect Date and Plus One, the complimentary newspaper hanging cheerfully on the doorknob. My husband considers turndown service a useless invasion of privacy—I live for it. I’m in heaven when they put a fresh carafe of water on the side table with a little treat, like chocolate-chip cookies. Sure, the linen cloth placed on the floor by my bed for extra softness is ridiculous, but it makes me feel like Louis XIV.

When you think about it, the deliciousness of a solo stay is not necessarily about the five star amenities or what’s on the room-service menu. It’s about the restorative experience of spending some free time with yourself—and discovering that you’re actually pretty good company.

Related: Solo Travel Destinations In India For First Timers