My safeguard when travelling is a room spray to transform unknown hotel rooms into something fresh and familiar. My all-time favourite combines “white tea with citrus accords of bergamot and lemon”; apparently it’s the aroma of “a spring morning in Amsterdam” – which is clearly delightful. It’s the No 92 travel room spray (€15) from a brilliant Dutch brand called Marie-Stella-Maris; it comes in a handy hand-luggage 50ml bottle, which I stock up on at its Amsterdam flagship in the picturesque 9 Streets neighbourhood, romantically overlooking the Keizersgracht canal.
This is a feelgood shop in every way. The white and airy space sells a purposefully small and thoughtful range of delightfully scented skincare products as well as its signature mineral water – to hydrate, neatly, inside and out. The brand was founded in 2011 by Patrick Munsters, owner of menswear label Salle Privée and his business partner Carel Neuberg with “conscious consuming” at its heart. Inspired to support the 2010 UN resolution that it is a human right to have access to clean drinking water and sanitation, they produced a mineral water – sourced and bottled in Germany near the border of the Netherlands – from which five cents from each litre sold is donated to global clean-drinking water projects.
Next came skincare products and home fragrance – all beautifully packaged, made with as many natural ingredients as possible, and free from parabens and silicone. Its facial cream (€39 for 50ml) is another favourite – rich enough to make a difference, with a cooling lavender-geranium smell – and I also love the No 94 Cinéma Bleu candle (€39), with its delicious earthy fig scent. A further five per cent of turnover from these products goes to the Marie-Stella-Maris Foundation, which has raised over €800,000 to date, so I feel like I’m playing a part in a noble mission every time I pop by – or indeed, shop online.