Insiders

Emilie Hawtin, brand strategist + senior editor

Travel has been part of Emilie’s life and career for quite some time, and she pretty much designed it that way. A New Yorker at heart, she’s worked in fashion for most of her career, as a copywriter, brand strategist and all-round creative thinker for brands that include Belstaff, Carolina Herrara, Jason Wu, Atelier Bomba, and Mr Porter.

Her heart is in menswear, though, demonstrated by her own personal style (think chic sports coats and a neverending collection of neck scarfs) and her committed attendance at Pitti Uomo every year.

Read on for her go-to trip planning resources, her favorite ‘office’ to get work done and her ultimate hotel picks, and follow her life and travels at @ehawtin

Name 3 favorite hotels, anywhere, off the top of your head. Why are they your favorites?

Duc de Saint-Simon: a celebration of chintz in Paris that feels fresh and elegant on a sweet little street. I love chintz.

Borgo San Felice: a small town of its own where everything’s quiet and personal in the Tuscany. 

Deetjens Big Sur Inn: for the worn-in, salt of the earth feeling that Big Sur provides. 

Tell us one place and hotel you definitely want to go in 2020 and why?

I want to ride horses! I’m heading to Buenos Aires and have a feeling I’ll want to return to one of the small estancias or Idaho Rocky Mountain ranch where my boyfriend likes to fish. 

What is the one item you can’t travel without?

Scarves and bandanas. I end up wearing the same thing most of the time but these change things up. In the summer, a bandana in the hair addresses sweat, sea, and sun. I also use them on planes as a full-faced sleeping mask, to many neighbors dismay. It’s a collection that takes up little space and I can justify!

Emilie Hawtin, brand strategist + Senior Editor at Brooks Brothers

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

Fresh exotic flowers in the shower at the Aman in Cambodia. It’s not a useful amenity but felt special. Also, hotels whose staff know and remember your name, a rarity that means the world.

What hotel room design element can you not live without?

Big windows that open, natural light, and soundproof walls.

What are your favorite “offices” while traveling?

I like going to a local library when I’m in Europe, sometimes you have to get a library card like Bibliothèque Mazarine in Paris or ask very nicely. But there’s something grand and very sweet about being in a library that I enjoy much more than working from say, The Bowery Hotel lobby. You feel more connected to the place you’re in.

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

If I’m going somewhere close, upstate NY is great for lack of phone service. I go to Italy, Florence usually, when I want to be off the grid, even though it’s on the grid, I lay low and can just be. Or I go hiking, camping, horse riding, surfing, or to Montauk in the offseason when it’s empty. I feel the happiest in nature or in a sleepier foreign city. 

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? 

Travel keeps me interested and excited about everything else. I’ve worked to position myself to travel in a sustainable way. Freelance is obviously designed for this, but it takes a certain structure and doesn’t always go the way you’d like. I’m usually working when I travel: on trains, on planes, on nice days in places I don’t feel like doing work in. I consider it part of how I’m able to be there which is what keeps me disciplined. I’ll go work outside or explore in the morning then work in the afternoon.

I’m always grateful to have the work and a career that allows flexibility more often than not. Travel informs the way I think. There’s so much to learn and spending real time in places is humbling and expanding, it makes me a better person.

Emilie Hawtin, brand strategist + Senior Editor at Brooks Brothers

What 3 songs are on your OOO playlist?

Land of my Dreams – Anna Domino

The Big Ship – Brian Eno

Your Silent Face – New Order

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

Well, the bandanas for starters. Sunglasses, something to bundle as a pillow which has been a sport coat lately, Laundress travel soap to hand wash clothes, melatonin, and water.

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

Oh lord. I think Bryan Ferry’s kit would be interesting.

Have you or would you travel alone?

I travel alone a lot. As much as I enjoy being with someone else, namely my boyfriend who I travel with the most, I think it’s really interesting and important to understand how you are in a place when you’re simply with yourself. It teaches you.

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

I do tons of research and make lists. I’ll research the titles I trust and then I’ll research a lot more. Condé Nast has always a good resource but times are changing. I like guides by people whose taste I trust, personal things. Magazines like Yolo! NYT, and Sometimes. I have about 47 folders on Instagram, but I don’t end up using them all that much.

What was your favorite room service experience ever?

I had a mandolin delivered to me on a train in Malaysia and the piano player started playing moon river. I performed, terribly, for the train. 

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

The fastest road to jet lag recovery is being active the moment you arrive, if only for 20 minutes. Repeat outfits and bring few. And make an effort to understand and respect the culture you’re in, not expect people to bend to what you’re used to or expect. Make an effort to speak even a little of the language and tip well at places you’d like to return to. Those are collected insights.

Emilie Hawtin, brand strategist + Senior Editor at Brooks Brothers

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

Meals at the home of my friend Silvio in Tuscany. He is an incredible biodynamic winemaker and makes the freshest, homemade food from bread to wine to meat in what has become my favorite kitchen. It’s natural, stylish, calm, warm and inviting—the most important qualities in just about anything.

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

Yolo journal —personal insights and off the beaten path places from the most tasteful people around the world. 

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

A sport coat, trousers, velvet slippers, and a scarf. 

Rank the following, from most to least important to you, re: what you seek in a hotel experience: unique, comfortable, architecturally intriguing, close to things, dope minibar, has a pool, doesn’t break the bank, locals hang out there.

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’m pretty sure it would not surprise anyone if I did. In Italy, if I could figure out the tax system and politics. 

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

Copper pots and pans, wooden cutting boards, nothing crazy but a lot of heavy things. 

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

Reading at a closed gate or in a lounge. 

Emilie Hawtin, brand strategist + Senior Editor at Brooks Brothers

Beach or City or Mountain?

All three.

Fantasy mini bar/fridge item?

Kombucha to combat everything else.

Early check-in/ late check-out?

Late check out, usually.

Favorite subscription service you’ll never delete?

I forget life before Spotify.

Favorite travel app?

Hopper.

Yoga or hotel gym?

Yoga, especially in a foreign language or on-demand with YogaVida.

Deanne Moser – creative match-maker + art consultant

How many ‘creative match-makers’ have you met before? Deanne Moser is one of them. She’s also an art consultant, a board member for Luminato Festival Toronto, Co-Chair for the Art Gallery of Ontario young patron fundraiser, Co-Chair for Creative Current, and a committee member for Canadian Art Foundation and Art Toronto Opening Night. Basically, she lives and breathes art.

And the match-making part? In short, she connects people, brands, and organizations to artists and cultural leaders. As if that wasn’t enough to take up her week, she’s launching Space’d Studio, her ‘new baby’ that is all about sustainable entertaining. Follow Deanne on @deannemoser for more on this, and read on for her unmissable artsy travel recs.

Deanne Moser – creative match-maker + art consultant

Name 3 favorite hotels, anywhere, off the top of your head. Why are they your favorites?

El Cosmico, Marfa, Texas: Marfa is a 2,000 person art town in the middle of nowhere and El Cosmico is just as crazy as the town. Think colorful airstreams, yurts, and outdoor showers. The place screams of personality.

Fogo Island Inn, Fogo, Canada: If you want to go off the grid and unplug, this is probably one of the nicest hotels to do it in. 

Casa Kimberly, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: There is something very romantic about staying in the former home of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. 

Tell us one place and hotel you definitely want to go to in 2020 and why?

Chateau LaCoste in Provence, basically my idea of an all-inclusive. The art, the food, the wine, the design, the views –  everything I want, all in one place. 

What is the one item you can’t travel without?

Away Suitcase –  I really like the USB phone charger that is just there when you need it.

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

Good customer service –  because no chocolate on the pillow can replace kind humans. 

What are your favorite “offices” while traveling?

Soho House, especially during art fairs like Basel Miami and Frieze. I hate asking for a WIFI password so I really appreciate the auto-connect in all cities and countries. And, obviously, the after-work offerings like the infamous Miami Beach tent is always a plus. 

 What 3 songs are on your OOO playlist? 

Drake ft Meek Mill, Going Bad 

Jay Z, Dirt off your shoulder

H.E.R – Slide 

When you travel for work, how do you take time to see the city you’re in?

I make it a priority to slip into a museum or gallery exhibition even if it’s just for an hour. You can buy a timed exhibition ticket and put it in your calendar like a meeting so it forces you to go. 

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

Lauren Santo Domingo. I think her style is perfect and I love how she includes new and upcoming fashion designers on Moda Operandi from all over the world. 

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

Don’t bring back packaged prescription drugs that you do not have a prescription for, especially if you have a government-issued fast track card. Hot tip coming from Daniel Rechtshaffen, my friend and criminal defense lawyer.

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

Two vertical wood slat panel oil paintings and a paper/acrylic canvas collage from Havana, Cuba gifted to me by Richard Branson. Getting original art out of a country can be a challenging process. 

Patrick and Jessica’s insider travel guide: Valentine’s Day Edition

You have to assume a couple adores seeing the world when they give their baby ‘Atlas’ as a middle name… VERY on-brand for Jessica and Patrick! They met while living on opposite sides of the US, and now call Madrid home, but their travels have taken them all over the world – even staying in a hotel that doubled as a museum (more below).

Patrick is an advisor, investor, former Refinery29 CMO, board member of non-profit Apex for Youth  –  and a new dad. Jessica is the founder and designer of Zahava Jewlery and The Brave Collection, a Forbes 30 Under 30 – and a new mom! Check out their hacks, advice and their favorite hotels around the world.

Follow Patrick on @patrickyee and Jessica on @jessica_hendricksyee.

Name 3 favorite hotels you’ve traveled to together? Why are they your favorites?

  • St Cecilia in Austin – Patrick was living in LA and I was living in NY. We met in the middle here, and went from crushing on each other to deciding to give this love a go!
  • Perivolas in Santorini – the chicest most gorgeous hotel experience ever ever ever.
  • Scarabeo Camp in Morocco — glamping among the camels and under the stars!

Is there one spot that holds a special memory? Tell us why… (we’re nosy)!

Palm Springs. It’s where Patrick proposed (on a hike with my family) and where we got married!

Who’s the planner (we’re talking typed itineraries…)? Who likes to fly by the seat of their pants? Please elaborate!

Patrick is definitely the planner — he is meticulous— an incredible planner! Typically our itinerary revolves around one thing: Food! We are total foodies and map out entire trips based on meals!

Best travel hack you’ve learned from your partner?

Patrick taught me how to travel light. When we met I was the WORST packer, I’d just throw everything I have into a giant suitcase. Now we are strictly carry on — I bring only what I will use, and it’s so much easier. Plus less to unpack when you get home.

What’s the coolest and/or most surprising amenity you’ve ever seen in a hotel when traveling together?

Sleeping in a museum at the Benesse House in Naoshima, Japan, was out-of-control incredible.

Tell us one place and/or one hotel that you definitely want to go to together in 2020, and why? 

We are dying to go to Sicily for the beaches (and vongole)!

Taormina, Sicily

Favorite vacation to take as a couple? How do you compromise?

We love the beach, we are total sun worshippers and so adore a gorgeous ocean. We also love exploring new cities — we love to go high and low when we travel, and try to find a friend-of-a-friend that lives in the city to get a local experience. We are really aligned on travel – we’re lucky that way, our tastes have sorted melded into one and we tend to get excited about the same places.

What is the one item you each can’t travel without – separately, or as a couple?

Jessica: I love my cashmere Travel Wrap from White + Warren because it’s always chilly on planes and airports. And I always wear my Zahava jewelry — it adds some texture and light to anything I’m wearing, and feels like a token of protection on my travels. Finally, I pack my leopard pony hair slippers from the souk in Morocco because they are so comfy!

Airport confession time! Which one of you likes to go super early? Which one prefers to be last on the plane? Are you both aligned on this, or how do you deal?

We are both the worst. We have missed more than one flight. We just loathe wasting time at the airport and being too early. Now that we have a baby though, we are getting our act together!

When you’re not traveling with your partner, who’s your next favorite partner in crime?

Jessica: Myself. I actually love traveling alone. It’s less desirable since I’ve met Patrick, but before we met I spent a lot of time doing solo travel, and sometimes I still like to take a few days on a trip to just explore and reflect on my own.

RAPID-FIRE Round:

Who’s Chief Trip Planner?

Patrick

Who gets aisle, who gets window?

Jessica: I get aisle because I always have to pee.

First poolside drink?

Jessica: I always crave iced tea when I’m poolside!

Room service or hotel restaurant?

Restaurant! We like getting dressed and getting the vibe for a place, as we are social butterflies.

Business-class flight, or more luxe hotel?

We go both ways — all about the high / low. We will splurge on cushy flights and then eat a $5 taco dinner when we arrive, or take a last-minute budget flight and then book a swanky hotel! We’ve learned that more expensive doesn’t always mean better.

Haley and Alan’s insider travel guide: Valentine’s Day Edition

It’s Valentine’s Day, so our insiders this week are a duo, and a pretty cool duo at that. Haley is a fashion stylist and editor (for brands like Moda Operandi and Nylon Magazine), and is in the midst of launching her travel itinerary website The Away Message. Alan is a furniture dealer, interior decorator, and designer – and the founder of Somerset Studio, Everyone Wins, as well as one of the original designers of cult NYC brand Timo Weiland. Whew!

Haley and Alan met working in fashion 12 years ago, and have been together ever since. They travel a lot, including annual trips to Jamaica – which they LOVE –  and recently got married there at the incredible Jakes Hotel, Treasure Beach (a Safara fave!).

Based in New York City, they’re unequivocally each other’s fave travel companion (cute), and gave us their ultimate hotel picks, travel hacks, and recs for 2020. Much love.

Follow Haley at @haleygirl1 and Alan at @alaneckstein

Name 3 favorite hotels you’ve traveled to together? Why are they your favorites?

  • Castillo Di Vicarello, Italy: This is THE most beautiful place in the world – hands down.
  • Jakes Hotel, Treasure Beach: We have so many memories here, we discovered this off-the-beaten-path spot years ago and got married here last year!
  • Chebague Island Inn, Maine: This place is so special and is on an island in Maine. It’s remote, beautiful, and you feel like you’ve been transported to another time. It has a very Americana vibe in the best way possible and oh my god –  the breakfast!

Is there one spot that holds a special memory? Tell us why.

Alan: Golden Eye in Jamaica holds a lot of special memories for us, we got engaged here and also came here right after we tied the knot. This is such an amazing place and although we generally are travelers who love to explore the surrounding area, this is one property you do not want to leave.

Haley and Alan during their weeding and travel memory at the Golden Eye in Jamaica.
Alan and Haley’s wedding at Golden Eye, Jamaica

Who’s the planner? Who likes to fly by the seat of their pants?

Alan: Haley! She’s actually working on an itinerary-driven travel website called The Away Message. In our relationship, Haley is deemed “our social director”. 

Best travel hack you’ve learned from your partner?

Haley: Choose carefully for when and when not to rent a car. Also, roll your clothing in your suitcase and invest in good luggage.

Alan: Keep an open mind. Sometimes Haley suggests something that doesn’t speak to me immediately and I go on the trip because my wife wanted to, but when I arrive it’s always sensational.

What’s the coolest and/or most surprising amenity you’ve ever seen in a hotel when traveling together?

The ice rink at the Edition in Miami is a favorite of ours. The times we’ve gone we were the only ones there! What’s more amazing and odd than ice skating in the basement of a luxury hotel in the middle of the Miami Beach heat?

Tell us one place and / or one hotel that you definitely want to go to together in 2020, and why? 

Southern Italy, we have traveled to Italy so many times from Rome and are obsessed in a crazy way. This year we want to switch it up just a little bit, and go south to eat our way through all the scattered beach towns.

Favorite vacation to take as a couple? How do you compromise?

Alan: We love visiting countries where we can get in the car and really explore. We’re usually looking to include both nature and culture on our trips. Haley prefers the beach, I prefer city breaks, so our compromise usually meets in the middle for a place like Portugal which has it all in a very accessible way.

What is the one item you each can’t travel without?

Haley: The White and Warren Cashmere Travel Wrap. I style for this company, and truly cannot travel without this product.

Alan: My Contax T2 film camera: it was designed in the ’90s to be the perfect travel camera, and it is just that.

Haley and Alan during the travel trip at the Imani Country House.

Airport confession time! Which one of you likes to go super early? Which one prefers to be last on the plane?

Haley: Alan is obsessed with getting on the plane early to ensure our luggage has a good spot. I take anti-anxiety medicine before getting on a flight, so I am VERY chill by boarding time.

When you’re not traveling with your partner, who’s your next favorite partner in crime?

Alan: I don’t really travel with anyone but my wife, otherwise I’m my next best partner in crime.

Haley: Ditto to what Alan said, except as stated earlier I take meds and have a fear of flying (VERY unfortunate for me!), so I’ll often travel with my best girlfriends who take very good care of my snoozing body mid-flight.

RAPID-FIRE Round:

Who’s Chief Trip Planner?

Haley

Who gets aisle, who gets window?

Alan gets aisle, Haley gets Window

First poolside drink?

Campari soda

Room service or hotel restaurant?

Both!

Business-class flight, or more luxe hotel?

Luxe Hotel

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.

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