Insiders

Dylan Essertier, Travel Writer + Entrepreneur

Dylan has pretty much come full circle. Starting her career in training and development, she got itchy feet and followed an opportunity to pursue travel writing in Dubai. There, Dylan had the enviable job as Culture Editor for lifestyle magazine Savoir Flair, where she traveled the world to report on the latest luxury hospitality and fashion trends. As a writer, she has contributed to the likes of Vogue, WSJ and Conde Nast Traveler, and now runs a travel coaching business dedicated to helping people build better lives through their travels. She’s been almost everywhere, so we’ve swiftly added her epic hotels picks to our ‘must visit’ list.

Follow Dylan at @dylangracetravels

Name 3 favorite hotels, anywhere, off the top of your head?

An image of Alila Jabal Akhadar Oman hotel
  • Alila Jabal Akhdar Oman: Alila Jabal Akhdar sits on the edge of a cliff in Oman’s Al Hajar mountain range (think: The Grand Canyon of the Middle East). The hotel is designed after a traditional Omani fort and has a heated infinity pool that looks over one of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen. Oh, and in the spring months, the entire Al Hajar mountainside blooms with beautiful roses. It’s beyond dreamy.
  • Sujan Rajmahal Palace: This Jaipur hotel feels like a Wes Anderson movie come to life! Communal rooms are painted in bright shades of fuschia, cobalt, gold, and jade. Did I mention there are 43 custom wallpapers throughout the property? Each of which tells a different story about Jaipur’s fascinating and regal history.
  • Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives: Maldives luxury at its finest. Elegance is the name of the game at this gorgeous property, which was designed by renowned architect Jean-Michel Gathy, the man behind many of the Aman resorts around the world. 
Dylan, the travel writer, writing about her experiences in the island of Bora Bora

What is the best hotel amenity you’ve ever encountered?

An on-demand champagne button at The Baccarat Hotel.

Where would you go for a digital detox or just generally to get off the grid?

I really value the power of alone time to regroup and regain perspective.  Some of my favorite off the grid experiences have included spending a month living in a cabin in Temecula, California, writing. A silent meditation retreat in New Hampshire (challenging but valuable!). And 10 days in southern India at an Aruvyedic center.

You travel a lot for work…was this something you were seeking in a career? If so, how did you go about designing your career life to include so much travel, and how do you make it as relaxing and fun as possible?

I started my career working in Human Resources in Training and Development. Just before I turned 25, I was restless. I enjoyed my work and helping employees build confidence, but I had always dreamt of traveling the world and becoming a writer. So, when I got an opportunity to move to the Middle East and write, I took it. I spent six years working as a Culture Editor in Dubai, traveling the world to report on the latest luxury hospitality trends. Today, I’m lucky enough to combine my travel expertise with my background in personal development to run my own Travel Coaching business, which is dedicated to helping people build better lives through their travels. I love to travel knowing that once I get back I can share these amazing experiences both through my travel writing and the trips I plan for my clients.

What do you always bring with you in your carry-on?

Lavender essential oil! It calms me.

Have you or would you travel alone? If Y/N, why?

I travel alone constantly for my travel writing assignments. I love it.

Travel can be about the little luxuries…like a super amazing cup of coffee. Where was the best one you’ve had?

I have celiac so anytime a property goes above and beyond to make sure there is a gluten-free treat in my room…it stands out! The Kimpton Seafire resort in the Cayman Islands had a bowl of warm gluten-free chocolate cookies waiting for me when I arrived that I still remember to this day. Can you tell I have a sweet tooth?

What’s your go-to outfit for getting through security quickly, and still looking good?

My plane uniform includes a pair of silk pants I had made in India, sneakers, a soft top, and a black oversized blazer. 

If you could quit your job and follow the “Mamma Mia” dream (ie open a small hotel in a foreign land or on a remote island), where would you do it?

I love this question! I would absolutely co-run it with my mom, who is also a travel fanatic. I would say either in Sri Lanka or a remote seaside town somewhere in Italy.

Travel writer, Dylan, in Agra

Beach or City or Mountain?

Beach.

In-flight wifi- good idea: yes or no?

No.

Fantasy mini bar/fridge item?

Gluten-free Boston cream pie cake.

Favorite subscription service you’ll never delete?

Spotify

In-flight cocktail – Y/N? What kind?

Yes – champagne

Favorite travel app

Not technically a travel app but Moodpath – it tracks your moods. I’m always curious about how travel impacts my brain and moods.

Naomi Walkland, Associate Director for EMEA Marketing at Bumble

Naomi is someone who really makes us wish we had more hours in the day. As a senior marketer for global dating app Bumble, she’s always on the road, but still finds time for causes close to her heart — namely, female empowerment: she launched her panel and dinner series The Power of Quitting in 2017, which brought together female executives (including Forbes 30 under 30 Insider Babba Rivera and our Co-founder, Maya).

We chat with her about her favorite place to chill, her work travel hacks, and her ultimate airport look. Follow her updates at @naomiwalkland

Name your three favourite hotels?

  • Soho Farmhouse, Oxfordshire: I got married there and it’s my husband and I’s go-to romantic spot.
  • Royal Senchi, Ghana: It’s where my family spends Christmas every other year. It’s so serene and in the midst of nature, overlooking the Volta River. 
  • Chateau Carbonneau: We booked this three years ago for a wedding trip, and fell in love with it. We’ve been back every year since. It’s a chic B&B in a 19th-century castle with charming rooms and it’s own vineyard. They produce amazing wines!
Royal Senchi, Ghana

What are your favorite “offices” while traveling?

Soho House is my go-to “office” while traveling.

Where would you go for a digital detox or just generally to get off the grid?

North Yorkshire. My husband is from North Yorkshire and it’s the place where we both switch off and enjoy the beautiful scenery, long walks, and in the winter evenings by the fire. It also helps that I have limited/no signal at my in-law’s home.

You travel a lot for work…was this something you were seeking in a career? If so, how did you go about designing your career life to include so much travel, and how do you make it as relaxing and fun as possible?

As the Associate Director for EMEA Marketing at Bumble, I travel a lot as I oversee a number of markets. I feel incredibly lucky that my job allows me to visit beautiful cities.  Every time I travel, I always allow myself an hour to walk around the city, grab a coffee, and pop into a few shops first. This ensures that I have some “relaxation” time. 

What 3 songs are on your OOO playlist?

  • The Weekend – Funk Wax Remix by SZA and Calvin Harris 
  • Happens – Sampha 
  • Nights Like This – Kehlani & Ty Dolla Sign

What do you always bring with you in your carry-on?

Bose noise-canceling headphones, whatever book I’m reading (currently My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite), and a portable charger.

Do you have any tips or tricks for beating the dreaded jet lag?

  • Drink lots of water ahead of the flight and during the flight. 
  • Do a workout as soon as you land whether at the hotel, local studio (I always go to Soul Cycle), run around the neighborhood, or an exercise routine in your hotel room. 
  • Aim to go to bed as late as you can when you land so you can adjust to the local time. 
  • Stick to the local time throughout. It is very easy to keep looking at the local time and your time back at home but this makes it harder to adjust.

What’s your go-to outfit for getting through security quickly, and still looking good?

ADAY throw and roll leggings, grey cashmere jumper, and Superga trainers.

Beach or City or Mountain?

Beach

Early check-in/ late check-out?

Early check-in

 Yoga or hotel gym?

Hotel gym 

Serena Hood, Co-Founder of Collagerie + former Executive Fashion Director, British Vogue

As a leading fashion editor, Serena graced the guest lists of every top fashion week around the world on behalf of VOGUE UK. During this time, she became an expert at looking good on the move and spotting emerging talent. Now, Serena has channeled over a decade of fashion experience into her new digital shopping platform Collagerie with fellow co-founder Lucinda Chambers, which launched in November 2019.

We speak to her about travel hacks, pools, and podcasts. Follow her updates at @serena_hood and check out @collagerie and www.collagerie.com 

Name three of your favorite hotels?

  • La Residence in Franschhoek, South Africa – my husband proposed to me over a picnic in the gardens, so it is a very special place to us. Every suite has a different theme and all uniquely decorated.
  • Le Bristol – the perfect home away from home in Paris.
  • Six Senses Zighy Bay – a real hidden gem, the resort sits under the mountains along the most beautiful sandy beach.
Le Bristol Paris

What is the best hotel amenity you’ve ever encountered?

The heated loo seats at the Malibu Beach Inn.

What hotel room design element can you not live without?

Black out shades.

Where would you go for a digital detox or just generally to get off the grid?

Sha Wellness Clinic is a sanctuary where you can really switch off. I remember leaving after five days feeling completely reset, recharged and “like new.”

You travel a lot for work…was this something you were seeking in a career? How do you make it as relaxing and fun as possible?

As an editor at Vogue I travelled a lot for fashion weeks and felt incredibly lucky to have a job that took me to beautiful cities, incredible hotels, and unforgettable fashion shows. A swimming pool while staying in a city is always a highlight and a great way to wake up and start the day.

What three songs are on your OOO playlist?

I actually listen to a lot of podcasts these days. Working on my own start up I love the stories and advice from entrepreneurs on ‘How I Built This.’

Do you have any favorite travel hacks?

I am too scared to try this myself, but a good friend I know always waits to be the last person to board the plane and sits in the first free seat in Business class. Apparently it works a charm!

What do you always bring with you in your carry-on?

Having recently lost my luggage, I now bring a complete wardrobe for the first 24 hours.

If you could quit your job and follow the “Mamma Mia” dream (ie open a small hotel in a foreign land or on a remote island), where would you do it?

It would have to be a vineyard in Provence. We would make our own rosé and drink it over long lunches with family and friends.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve purchased abroad and brought home (or tried to carry-on) from your travels?

A suitcase filled with my favourite fabric print to make curtains in our new home.

Beach or City or Mountain?

Beach every time.

Lost luggage, or lost phone?

Lost Phone.

Airplane food- Y/N?

Never – bring your own.

Window or Aisle?

Window for long haul, aisle for short trips.

Yoga or hotel gym?

Neither – get out and discover the place you’re visiting!

Ben Saunders, Polar Explorer, Endurance Athlete + TED Speaker

It’s safe to say Ben lives life to the extreme. He led the first return journey to the South Pole on foot via Shackleton and Scott’s route in 2013–14, and skied solo to the North Pole in 2004. In total, he has skied just over 4,500 miles on polar expeditions since 2001 and is still the only Briton to have skied solo to both the North and South Poles. Ben tells stories via his TED talks where he inspires others to take on life’s challenges (which doesn’t necessarily mean braving the Poles). On top of all that, as an ambassador for Canada Goose and Land Rover, he tests the best kit and equipment in the harshest conditions on the planet.

Follow his chilly expeditions and heroic feats on @polarben

Name three favorite hotels?

The Opposite House, Bejing

What is the best hotel amenity you’ve ever encountered?

I had a treadmill in my suite at the Intercontinental in Malta last year. I don’t know if they knew I was coming, or if it was standard issue, but I put it to good use.

What hotel room design element can you not live without?

Complete darkness and silence at night. I often unplug fridges/alarm clocks and cover up glowing LEDs on televisions with a towel.

What are your favorite “offices” while traveling?

I love NeueHouse in NYC, but the reality is that I mostly end up working from airport lounges (Virgin is my favorite). Tinto Coffee on the Fulham Palace Road was a regular haunt when I was in South West London.

Where would you go for a digital detox or just generally to get off the grid?

Nowhere beats Antarctica when it comes to disconnecting. I did a long expedition in 2013-14 (take a look at scottexpedition.com) and setting up my out-of-office in October 2013 was one of the most decadent things I’ve ever done (“I won’t be checking email until late February next year, and if you need to contact me, you can’t…”).

You travel a lot for work, was this something you were seeking in a career? How do you make it as relaxing and fun as possible?

I never even imagined that what I do *could* become a career. I’ve been incredibly lucky. My father was an orphaned and penniless bricklayer who only ever left the UK once on a package holiday to Tenerife. While I feel deeply conflicted about the amount of air miles I continue to rack up, the ability to travel has broadened my own horizons immeasurably. Long-haul flights are a guilty pleasure and I find time in the air a unique opportunity to reflect and think a little more deeply.

What three songs are on your OOO playlist?


Ella by Pete Cannon – I spent a bit of time raving in warehouses as a teenager, and I’ve always had a penchant for this sort of electronic music, and tracks I can leave on repeat for ages and zone out to, whether I’m doing email on a long flight, or skiing through a blizzard.

River by Leon Bridges – the antidote for too much electronic music, and the perfect soundtrack for a heading home on a red-eye.

Violet (The Upper Room) by Cunninglynguists (!) – I’ve loved hip-hop since my teens, and while it can have its misogynistic and thuggish sides, it can also be poetic and moving, and it so often tells a story of striving and aspiration and struggle against the odds that has always inspired me to work a little harder.

Do you have any favorite travel hacks?

Never check-in luggage (unless you’re flying with skis and a sledge) and sign up for Global Entry if your travels take you to the US more than once or twice per year. It’s been a game-changer for me.

What do you always bring with you in your carry-on?

Running shoes. Everything else is negotiable.

If you could swap suitcases with anyone in the world (alive or dead) at baggage claim, who would you swap with?

Ernest Hemingway.

Have you or would you travel alone?

I’ve spent many weeks alone on solo expeditions to both the North and South poles, so I’m pretty happy with my own company, but I love going to new places with my wife. I took her to NYC for her first time last year, and I hope to take to her Antarctica one of these days. Re-experiencing through her eyes the magical places that I’ve perhaps started to take for granted is a joy.

If you’re going to a new place, and your friends have not been there, what do you consult for advice?

I often look at Strava to find running routes that the locals use.

What was your favorite room service experience ever?

Not exactly room service, but we had a ski butler at l’Apogee in Courcheval! After coffee we went back outside to find our skis and poles were ready for us, and pointing in the right direction, with a little name flag next to them.

Best travel advice you’ve ever received and from whom?

I have a “Work Hard and be Nice to People” print by Anthony Burrill on my office wall. It’s a maxim that has served me well so far.

Who is your dream “co-pilot” and why? 

I’d love to do a trip with Werner Herzog or Ed Burtynsky. The ability to tell genuinely moving stories through film and photographs is something I covet.

Anxiety and burn-out are big topics these days. How do you combat them, and how do you use travel to do so?

I’ve tried meditation, but have so far never managed to fit a regular practice into my life. My body gets seized up when I’m training hard and traveling lots (especially now that I’m in my forties!) so I use an app (see below!) that guides you through a daily flexibility routine. I try to eat well. I’ve been interested in nutrition for years and I’m going against the plant-fuelled trend by eating fresh, locally sourced and ethically reared meat whenever I can find it. I avoid sugar and anything processed with rapeseed or palm oil. I eat low-carb/high-fat unless I’m doing a lot of endurance exercise, when I use an energy drink by Maurten. Other than that, the best remedy I’ve found to feeling overwhelmed is leaving my phone at home, taking my dog for a walk in the woods near our home and reminding myself that we’ve identified 55 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way alone, and that what I’m worrying about invariably doesn’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.

Do you have any tips or tricks for beating the dreaded jet lag?

I do a lot of short trips to the US for speaking engagements and try to stay on UK time. I go to bed in the afternoon when I arrive, wake up at 4am local time, get loads of work done, run/go to the gym, have a giant American breakfast, speak, eat at the airport, skip the in-flight meal and sleep on the entire flight home. I find that regular exercise helps a lot, and I’m pretty good at sleeping on planes. I’m usually lucky enough to have a flat-bed seat and I use melatonin on longer trips (especially to China/the far east – I find flying east harder than going west). I also take zinc and magnesium before I want to go to sleep. On planes I use a combination of an eye mask, Flare’s brilliant xxx ear plugs, Bose noise-cancelling headphones over the top, and a white noise app on my iPhone to make sure that I’m not woken up!

Travel can be about the little luxuries, like a super amazing cup of coffee. Where was the best one you’ve had?

The first that springs to mind was from Gimme! Coffee on Mott St. in NYC.

What is your favorite travel book or magazine – for at home, or abroad – and why? 

Travels with Charley in Search of America‘ by John Steinbeck. I read it on an expedition Antarctica and it was perfect escapism.

What’s your go-to outfit for getting through security quickly, and still looking good?

Right now I’m wearing navy Bam sweat pants (made of bamboo!), a white t-shirt and grey cashmere crew-neck sweater from Sunspel, ON running shoes and CEP compression socks (essential for long-haul). My Bremont Endurance watch makes sure I don’t look like too much of a slob, and I hide behind a Golden State Warriors baseball cap and a pair of Oliver Peoples aviators for a bit of airport privacy.

Rank the following from most to least important to you in a hotel?

Comfortable
Close to things
Unique
Has a pool
Architecturally intriguing
Locals hang out there
Doesn’t break the bank
Dope minibar

If you could quit your job and follow the “Mamma Mia” dream (ie open a small hotel in a foreign land or on a remote island), where would you do it?

I’ve just started working with White Desert so in a way I’m doing precisely that! Otherwise a finca in Mallorca would be fun, and I’ve heard the cycling/hiking/running in Slovenia is next-level, so maybe an old farmhouse there to convert into a basecamp for like-minded souls…

What’s the craziest thing you’ve purchased abroad and brought home (or tried to carry-on) from your travels?

The man that hand-makes my expedition sledges (from kevlar and carbon composite) is based in Norway, so I’ve brought a few back from there over the years. In Oslo everyone knows exactly what it is when I’m wheeling it around on a trolley and trying to get it sideways through bollards and doors (they call it a ‘pulk’), but at Heathrow most people assume it’s an exotic canoe…

You have an hour to spare at the airport. What would I find you doing?

Tragically I’d probably have my headphones on, doing emails.

Where’s your next trip? If vacation, why did you choose there? 

I’m currently on a Virgin flight to NYC, and then on to Washington DC to see my speaking agents. My wife and I had an amazing time at Torralbenc in Menorca (we were told it was like a quieter version of Mallorca, and they were right).

Beach or City or Mountain?

Mountain

Alone or with someone else?

With my wife, as she doesn’t often get to join me!

In flight wifi- good idea: yes or no?

No

Lost luggage, or lost phone?

Luggage (I can buy almost anything I need with my phone these days!)

Airplane food?

Yes, although I augment it with protein bars…

Fantasy mini bar/fridge item?

A bottle of still water that isn’t disposable, and that preferably doesn’t have a price tag attached.

Early check-in/ late check-out?

Early check-in

Favorite subscription service you’ll never delete?

Spotify

In flight cocktail?

Black coffee!

Favourite travel app?

ROMWOD

Window or Aisle?

I’m typing this from a Virgin Upper Class aisle seat (to NYC), but I love a window. The approach into Seattle was a recent favourite view

Yoga or hotel gym? 

Gym!

Josh Shinner, Photographer + Videographer

Josh is one of our favorite photographers. The main subjects for his work are beautiful humans looking happy in beautiful clothing. In other words: fashion editorials. He’s worked with big name magazines like Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, T Magazine and Esquire. Did we mention he also shot the videos for pop music duo Oh Wonder?

When he isn’t clicking the camera or filming, he is probably listening to David Bowie (who is his dream co-pilot), thinking about space, or drinking an old-fashioned. 

Follow his adventures on IG @joshshinner

Josh Shinner picture of a woman in pink on an empty road pointing to snowy moutains

Name your three favorite hotels?

 The Craigellachie Hotel, Speyside, Scotland – Best whisky hotel in the world. 

Hicksville, Joshua Tree, USA – Best view of the Milky Way from a hot tub I’ve ever seen.

Soprarno Suites, Florence, Italy – Because Florence’s food and drink is the way to my heart.

As a creative, what places do you find most inspiration for your work

Places with huge skies and interesting landscapes.

What hotel room design element can you not live without? (ex: master switch by the bed)

The biggest rain shower possible. Oh and a plug by the bed.

Where would you go for a digital detox or just generally to get off the grid?

Yorkshire – always.

What three songs are on your OOO playlist?

What do you always bring with you in your carry-on?

Everything I need for when the airline inevitably loses my checked bag.

If you could swap suitcases with anyone in the world at baggage claim, who would you swap with?

Daniel Craig – just so I could see what James Bond actually travels with.

Albert Hammond in Aix-Les-Bains

Who is your dream “co-pilot” (travel partner- dead or alive), and why?

David Bowie – who else would I want to grab a drink with after a day of exploring?!

Rank the following, from most to least important to you, re: what you seek in a hotel experience:

Comfortable, architecturally intriguing, close to things, has a pool, doesn’t break the bank, locals hang out there, unique, dope minibar.

Beach or City or Mountain?

Mountain

In flight wifi- good idea: yes or no?

NO!

In flight cocktail – Y/N? What kind?

Hell yes. Old Fashioned.

Dayami Candebat, Model

International model Dayami Candebat has a passion for travel. Whether it’s TV campaigns for Scandinavian giant KappAhl, German retailer Zalando, or the international beauty brand Nivea, travelling means she experiences tapestries of culture. From Papua New Guinea to Paris, it’s this that feeds her zest for life. 

Follow her adventures on @theycallmecandybar

Name your three favorite hotels, plus a few details on why you love them?

The Grand Hôtel, Stockholm – This lush and luxurious hotel is in the city centre at the waterfront. I loved the spa with its saunas and cold baths. The restaurant’s ‘kottbullar’ (meatballs) with cranberry sauce paired with a glass of red wine was delicious.

The Iberostar Parque Central, Havana – I’m Cuban and German. I used to go to Cuba four times a year and this is one of my favorite hotels. It is located in La Habana Vieja on the Parque Central and Paseo del Prado where Chanel held its Chanel Cruise 2016/17 collection show. The amenities are amazing, and the rooftop pool is a perfect place to rest in between exploring. On the rooftop you have an amazing view of Havana Vieja (the Old Town) – sitting there at sunset with a mojito in your hands is priceless.

Rapopo Plantation Resort, Papua New Guinea – on East New Britain island. The hotel has stunning views of the Tavurvur volcano overlooking the islands of Rabaul. You can swim with dolphins 10 minutes from the hotel and the water is crystal clear. Papua New Guinea is one of the best countries for diving, too.

Rapopo

What are your favorite “offices” while traveling?

I love the Hoxton Hotels in London and Amsterdam. In Havana, it’s the Hostal Conde de Villanueva – an old colonnaded mansion. Peacocks walk by whilst you drink your coffee!

You travel a lot for work, was this something you were seeking in a career? How do you make it as relaxing and fun as possible?

Yes, this was something I always wanted since I was a little girl. In school we travelled more than any other family (I knew), so it always seemed normal to me. I lived in the US for a year, then studied Mechanical Engineering in Cuba, then Business Administration in India, then completed my Masters in Amsterdam. I used to work full-time for one of the biggest creative agencies in Germany as a Digital Project Manager but there wasn’t enough travel. 

Through modelling, I discovered that travelling for work gives me a lot of energy. It’s fun to meet new people and learn about different cultures and languages. To keep my travel fun and relaxing, I pay attention to my mood. I can be talkative but If I feel tired and need sleep, I put on my Bose noise-cancelling earphones straight away. I need to be true to myself.

What three songs are on your OOO playlist?

Do you have any favorite travel hacks?

Usually I wait to be the last one to board the flight to guarantee myself a good seat. Obviously, this doesn’t work when the flight is fully booked!

What do you always bring with you in your carry-on?

I am still learning to pack light- but I always bring my noise-cancelling headphones, a good book, my phone charger, an external battery, an international adaptor, a multi-socket plug, some lightweight gym clothes, a jump rope, my camera, a pair of black and a pair of blue jeans, some simple white and black shirts, and my laptop. I also throw in a hair and face mask, some painkillers, throat/flu remedies and eye drops (yes- I am a walking pharmacy).

What’s your go-to outfit for getting through security quickly, and still looking good?

There are three options:

  • Golden hoops paired with a white tee or blouse, comfortable closed jeans, my black Acne scarf to keep me warm, a cashmere pullover, and some sneakers. 
  • If I know I’ll be constantly on the move, I’ll put on my comfy Lululemon leggings, a big pullover, and Nike sneakers – that’s it.
  • My third option you probably won’t like to hear, but sometimes I simply don’t really care how I look. Business class or economy class, I just wear whatever feels good at that moment.
Dayami Candebat in the desert

If you could swap suitcases with anyone in the world (alive or dead) at baggage claim, who would you swap with?

Definitely Michelle Obama or Oprah!

Where’s your next trip? If vacation, why did you choose there? 

South Africa. It’s my first time- so I’m really looking forward to learning more about the ‘rainbow nation.’ I want to take a Township Tour and see Mandela’s home. I discovered a love for hiking a few years ago and South Africa has a lot of trails. The final reason is the amazing food and wine!

Have you or would you travel alone? If Y/N, why?

Definitely! I travelled alone a lot during my studies in India. I went to Nepal alone and had an amazing time. It sounds cliché, but you get to know yourself and it gives you a feeling of empowerment.

Beach or City or Mountain?

Beach.

In flight wifi- good idea?

No.

Early check-in/ late check-out?

Late check-out.

Favourite subscription service you’ll never delete?

Spotify.

Window or Aisle?

Window.

Chloe Street, Digital Fashion and Beauty Editor at London Evening Standard

After graduating from the University of Oxford and a stint at Burberry, Chloe became an instrumental part of London Fashion Week as an events producer for big names like Vivienne Westwood. Following four years at Hong Kong Tatler, she’s now a Digital Fashion and Beauty Editor at the London Evening Standard. When at home, she’s often found zipping around the capital interviewing designers or attending the hottest LFW events. When abroad, you can expect her exploring glamorous destinations with a G&T in hand.

Follow her adventures on @streetchloe

Name three favorite hotels and why are they your favorites?

Rosewood London – I just love the interiors and the slightly feminine vibe. Plus, the heated outdoor seating area in the courtyard has to be the chicest smoking area in London.

Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong – the Captain’s Bar is the best hotel bar in the world.

Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita in Matera – staying there is like going back 100 years.  

Do you have any favorite travel hacks ?

If I’m travelling long haul I always pre-order a Hindi Vegetarian meal. I’m neither but when it comes to plane food a veggie curry and rice is so much more appealing than mystery meats or overcooked pasta, plus you get served first. 

What hotel room design element can you not live without? 

Having USB ports by the bed is singularly the most sensible recent trend in hotel design – and such a lifesaver for anyone like me who has a drawer full of adapters at home that they always forget to bring. 

What do you always bring with you in your carry-on?

An eye mask, ear plugs, and (if I’m travelling long haul) a neck pillow. On long flights I also like to do a full diva skincare routine, so I’ll carry a fair few toiletries. I’ll remove all my makeup, wash my face in the loos and apply all sorts of moisture-giving lotions and potions to stop my skin getting dehydrated. I am also (to my travelling companion’s embarrassment) quite partial to an in-flight sheet mask.

Where would you go for a digital detox or just generally to get off the grid?

I am dying to go to either the Mayr or SHA wellness clinic for a full mind and body reboot. 

Do you have any tips or tricks for beating the dreaded jet lag?

I used to live in Hong Kong and honestly I’m not sure it’s something that can be beaten. And it’s definitely always worst going East!

That said, I always change my watch to the time of my destination the moment I get on the plane – oldest trick in the book, but I swear it helps. I try to sleep and eat at times that make sense for my destination. For lethargic days, coffee is a cheap and widely available upper. For nausea, nothing beats Diet Coke. For sleep, I find Melatonin really helps. 

What’s your go-to outfit for getting through security quickly, and still looking good?

If I’m flying long haul I tend to wear leggings or cashmere sweatpants and a super comfy jumper. I’ll always take extra layers and socks for when they inexplicably crank up the air con to minus ten. I hate being on a plane with bare legs so if I’m heading somewhere hot I will wear silky pyjama style trousers. My current fave are a white silk polka dot pair from this amazing new British resortwear brand called Lelloue

You have an hour to spare at the airport. What would I find you doing?

I find it comforting to eat constantly when I travel, and I resent buying nasty sandwiches on cheap airlines. So you’ll probably find me in Pret, buying two or three meals. One to have then, one for on the plane and one for, well, back up. Did I mention I’m a comfort eater?

Where’s your next trip? If for a vacation, why did you choose there? 

I’m off to Marrakech for a friend’s birthday at the end of September, which I’m really looking forward to as I’ve never been. Then the following weekend I’m heading to Munich for Oktoberfest, which will be relaxing I’m sure.

Beach or City or Mountain?

Mountain

Alone or with someone else?

With someone else

In flight wifi- good idea: yes or no?

No but yes. I’m an addict

Lost luggage, or lost phone?

Lost phone

Airplane food- Y/N?

Yes

Fantasy mini bar/fridge item?

Ice for my G+T

Early check-in/ late check-out?

Late check-out – have a full day then shower and change before you fly

Favourite subscription service you’ll never delete?

Raya. Lol joking, probably Spotify

In flight cocktail?

Does G+T count as a cocktail? (Editor’s note: yes)

Favourite travel app?

I’m really into the ViaVan ridesharing app. It’s so damn cheap

Window or Aisle?

Window for uninterrupted sleep on long haul, aisle for short

Yoga or hotel gym? 

Neither. Run outside or do a local HIIT class, like a Barry’s or Soulcycle

Katie Sharples, Co-Head of LE Miami

After working with high-calibre brands such as South African Tourism and the Saatchi Gallery, marketing and events pro Katie Sharples headed to This is Beyond, where she is co-head of the company’s largest global invitation-only event – LE Miami – that brings together over a thousand of the most influential names in contemporary travel. With all this inside knowledge, it’s safe to say we trust her recommendations.

Follow her adventures on @sharples_ 

Name three favorite hotels and why are they your favorites?

Borgo Egnazia in Puglia – the architecture and interiors are divine, not to mention the surrounding villages, people and food! 

La Sultana in Marrakech – it’s in the heart of Kasbah so it’s total chaos outside, but you head down a small alleyway and it opens up into a stunning oasis of calm. The hammam there is the best I’ve ever had. 

Amangiri – it really does live up to the hype. The location is like no other; you can sleep outside under the stars and have some incredible hikes right on your doorstep. 

What is the best hotel amenity you’ve ever encountered?

When I stayed at Nobu South Beach they branded my name on a pair of chopsticks, which I thought was super cute. You also get a five o’clock visit from a cocktail trolley each evening, which was enough to win me over. 

Amangiri

Where would you go for a digital detox or just generally to get off the grid?

After LE Miami all you want to do is switch off from the world, so this year’s post-show trip landed me in the Utah and Arizona wilderness in an RV. It was so liberating driving your house around and being able to set up camp for the night whenever you came across a good spot. Hiking through the landscape was phenomenal with no phone signal – you have no choice but to go MIA. 

What do you always bring with you in your carry-on?

I never travel without my Uniqlo down jacket (you know, the ones that come in the pouch). If it’s Baltic on the plane it’s a great extra layer, and if not it’s the perfect travel pillow! 

What hotel room design element can you not live without? (ex: master switch by the bed)

USB’s by the bed. I always forget my adaptor… 

Who is your dream “co-pilot” (travel partner- dead or alive), and why? 

I’m definitely the ‘co-pilot’ in this relationship, but my best friend/colleague Eliza is a fountain of all knowledge when it comes to travel and always puts together a great itinerary. I trust her recommendations implicitly so I just do what I’m told, which takes the brainpower out of things. 

If you’re going to a new place, and your friends have not been there, what do you consult for advice?

Usually I’ll ask someone from the LE Miami community that’s based where I’m headed for local tips and suggestions – you can’t beat some insider knowledge! I also always consult SUITCASE Magazine – its recommendations haven’t failed me yet. 

What was your favourite room service experience ever?

At La Mamounia in Marrakech they wheel in a table and set up breakfast for you on your terrace. It’s glorious!

What do you love most about working in hospitality?

Without a doubt, the people. I’ve met some of my closest friends through the industry.

If you could quit your job and follow the “Mamma Mia” dream (ie open a small hotel in a foreign land or on a remote island), where would you do it?

Somewhere in the Portuguese countryside. The Mamma Mia dream will happen some day! 

Do you have any tips or tricks for beating the dreaded jet lag?

Exercise! If I’m travelling to the US and I’m up at the crack of dawn, I’ll always go for a run. 

What is your favorite “offices” while traveling?

Hotel lobbies or Soho House.

Beach or City or Mountain?

Mountain.

Alone or with someone else?

With someone else to share the memories.

In flight Wi-Fi- good idea: yes or no?

No! It’s the last sacred offline space! 

Yoga or hotel gym? 

Gym: I’m obsessed with Peleton bikes… 

Salma El-Wardany, Writer, Poet & BBC Radio Presenter

Half Egyptian, half Irish, Salma is a writer, poet, BBC Radio London presenter and activist who writes for Stylist, Metro, HuffPost and more. Her work deals with feminism, how bloody hard it can be, solo travel and dating in this modern world. Constantly on the hunt for new places and unafraid to travel the world alone, she writes: “You weren’t made to stay the same. Rather, you were made to stretch and grow, to explore and journey, your feet are longing for the dust of another place.” A refreshing voice in a saturated digital world, we were keen to hear her travel picks as someone who would absolutely not settle for anything less than the best.

Follow her adventures on @salmaelwardany

Name three favorite hotels and why?

  • The One And Only, The Palm Dubai
    It’s pure luxury here and the way they take care of you is exceptional. They come around the pool just to wipe your sunglasses clean. You basically feel like the most adored and special person on the planet.
  • The W, Maldives
    The food here is unbelievable and their breakfast buffet is a sight to behold. Their customer service is phenomenal and my bathtub looked out onto the sea with these huge by-folding doors. The shower floor was glass and you could see the fish swimming in the sea below you.

What is the best hotel amenity you’ve ever encountered?

GHD straighteners. I really think this needs to be the norm. 

What hotel room design element can you not live without?

A good bathtub. There’s something so luxurious about a gorgeous tub in a hotel and having a nice long bath, either alone or with someone. Also a plug by the bed to charge your phone. I hate it when they don’t have that. 

Where would you go for a digital detox or just generally to get off the grid?

Deia, Mallorca. I haven’t been yet but it’s come highly recommended as a place for artists to go and create and be solitary. It’s on the list for this year actually. 

You travel a lot for work, was this something you were seeking in a career? If so, how did you go about designing your career life to include so much travel, and how do you make it as relaxing and fun as possible?

I don’t think I ever intentionally set out to have travel as part of my job, I just knew I was curious and wanted to see the world. I think the more you travel the more that happens. I’m a big believer that nothing was ever created at a desk and I didn’t think we all had to be in offices for eight hours a day as a way of life. It seemed ridiculous to me – the rebellion against that way of life led me to find a new way of life. And that was one that included travel. 

I actually find travel more relaxing than being at home in London. I carve out specific times for work and fun. That might mean working in the morning and then going out and about in the afternoon. 

What do you always bring with you in your carry-on?

Woolly socks or slippers. I cannot sit for hours on a plane in shoes and without socks your feet get freezing and you can’t sleep properly. 

If you could swap suitcases with anyone in the world (alive or dead) at baggage claim, who would you swap with?

Eva Peron. Her outfits were phenomenal. I want to look just like her when I grow up and stealing her suitcase would be the first step. 

Have you or would you travel alone? If Y/N, why?

I travel alone all the time. I find it to be one of the most empowering and freeing experiences. It also keeps me in touch with myself and who I am. These things are hard to find when you’re constantly surrounded by people and conversation. 

If you’re going to a new place, and your friends have not been there, what do you consult for advice?

Instagram and established travel blogs. Asking my followers for tips is an amazing way to find places that aren’t touristy and are native to the locals.

What was your favorite room service experience ever?

At the W in the Maldives. They knew I don’t drink alcohol and that it was my birthday so they left a bottle of non-alcoholic champagne on my bed with flowers, chocolates and the recipe for one of the cakes I really wanted from the chef. 

Anxiety and burnout are big topics these days. How do you combat them, and how do you use travel to do so?

Travel is my ‘get out of jail card’ for burn-out. When I’m working too much, feeling run down and a little lost, I instantly get restless and want to leave. Travelling gives me the opportunity to remove myself from the constant noise of your daily life and calm down, slow down and come back to yourself in a way you can’t do when you’re constantly on the go. When I’m travelling I’m still working, but I’m doing it in a quieter, slower environment and it makes all the difference. 

What’s your go-to outfit for getting through security quickly, and still looking good?

High waisted black leggings, flip flops and a belly top. Comfortable and cute. Plus, flip flops mean getting through security way quicker than boots and trainers. 

Rank the following, from most to least important to you, re: what you seek in a hotel experience: 

  1. Unique
  2. Comfortable
  3. Has a pool
  4. Doesn’t break the bank
  5. Close to things
  6. Architecturally intriguing
  7. Locals hang out there
  8. Dope minibar

You have an hour to spare at the airport. What would I find you doing?

You’ll find me over a pot of tea and a slice of cake catching up on my phone and sending emails. And responding to all the messages I didn’t have time to get to when I was rushing around packing and trying to get to the airport on time. 

Where’s your next trip? If vacation, why did you choose there? 

Pula, Croatia. I picked it because it was cost effective and I’m going with a couple of girlfriends and we needed somewhere on a budget. Croatia is also (maybe) my favorite place in Europe. I’ve been twice before and adore everything about Croatia. 

Beach or City or Mountain?

Mountain 

Alone or with someone else?

Alone

In flight wifi- good idea: yes or no?

No

Lost luggage, or lost phone?

Lost Luggage (at least I can then tweet about it)

Airplane food- Y/N?

No

Fantasy mini bar/fridge item?

Cake

Early check-in/ late check-out?

Late check-out

Favorite subscription service you’ll never delete?

Spotify 

In flight cocktail – Y/N?

No

Favourite travel app?

Literally have no travel apps

Window or Aisle?

Window 

Yoga or hotel gym? 

Gym 

Niki Rein, founder of Barrecore

As the founder of the cult brand Barrecore, Niki has spent her professional life turning fitness into a lifestyle. Her love affair with the fitness industry began in 2000 when she started teaching yoga. When she moved to London in 2009, she was surprised to find barre fitness was not being taught anywhere and the first Barrecore studio was born. As a mother and entrepreneur, finding work/life balance is key and she’s a huge advocate of frequent trips, which help her switch off.

Follow her on @niki_rein and @Barre_core

Image via standard.co.uk

Name three of your favorite hotels? Why are they your favorites?

  • Casa de los Neveros, Granada, SpainThis perfect spot in gorgeous Granada is across the street from the breathtaking Alhambra. There are small local restaurants and local galleries at the doorstep.
Granada. Image via Bucket Listy blog.
  • Kempinski San Lawrenz, Gozo – Warm and welcoming, yet cool from the heat of Malta sun. I love the incredible local sculpture they have around this gorgeous 5 star hotel. Also, home to Barrecore’s first retreat.
Kempinski San Lawrenz. Image via Active Traveller.
  • Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica, CA – This charming beachside boutique hotel is in one of my favourite ‘woo-woo’ neighborhoods. A reiki treatment, chakra balancing session or yoga class is just a stone’s throw away from this casually luxe hotel.
Shutters on the Beach.

What is the best hotel amenity you’ve ever encountered?

All the things at Soho House hotels. You literally just have to bring your clothes. They have the rest sorted.

Soho House Barcelona. Image via Dezeen.

What three songs are on your OOO playlist?

  • Sir Duke – Stevie Wonder
  • She Makes Me Laugh – The Monkees
  • Can’t Stop the Feelin’ – Justin Timberlake

Do you have any favorite travel hacks (ways to score an upgrade, methods of getting your meal first on a flight, etc)?

I always sit on the aisle of the middle four seater section and pick a row that is empty or has two sitting on the far two seats. This way, I am very likely to have a seat next to me free to spread out in coach. I also order a gluten free meal (because I am) but also because special meals are delivered first. The perk is that I can pull my eye mask down sooner on an overnight flight.

What do you always bring with you in your carry-on?

Chocolate. I will never fly without good chocolate. Montezuma 73% buttons are the absolute best travel buddies.

Who is your dream “co-pilot” (travel partner- dead or alive), and why? 

My partner Ruben. Sounds cheesy but he has a zest for life I have never experienced before. We have a little girl and I swear he is more kid-like when travelling than she is. It’s the best!

Anxiety and burn-out are big topics these days. How do you combat them, and how do you use travel to do so?

Mini 3-4 day trips are my cure all for burn-out. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in work and life stressors. Escaping for a short time is a sure way to learn something new that has nothing to do with daily to-do’s. I am always amazed at how I come back with answers to problems at hand after a mini trip!

Do you have any tips or tricks for beating the dreaded jet lag?

Yes! I always drink Nuun tablets (electrolyte replacement) when travelling and drink loads of water. Sleeping as much as possible by taking magnesium tablets 30 minutes before hoping to fall sleep, which help relax body and mind and keep restless legs at bay. Depending on length of flight, I will take another dose a couple hours before landing. The intense hydration and shut-eye make the flip side so much easier!

If you could quit your job and follow the ‘Mamma Mia’ dream (ie open a small hotel in a foreign land or on a remote island), where would you do it?

Any town near San Sebastian, Spain – the food, sea, summer sun and close by winter ski make it heaven on earth!

Beach or City or Mountain?

Beach (but mountains within 3 hours drive)

Alone or with someone else?

With someone

In flight wifi- good idea: yes or no?

Terrible!

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