Behind the scenes on The Travel Memo… Meet the Editors-at-Large
What do you do at The Travel Memo? Destination sleuthing, chasing and editing images, packing and unpacking constantly, getting to grips with WordPress, enjoying rooms with views…
Best luxury experience? Staying at the Gstaad Palace for a prolonged period a couple of years ago in mid-winter; it fulfilled all of my Dr Zhivago yearnings.
Best airline experience? Virgin Atlantic Upper Class from London to LA. I didn’t want to leave the Heathrow Clubhouse it was so much fun, but the flight was pure luxury from start to finish.
Window or aisle? Window. I usually try to book around 8F.
Best aerial experience? The Flight of Angels over Victoria Falls. Ditto arriving in Zanzibar on a small biplane; both were white knuckle rides but worth the views!
Favourite hotels? The Connaught, London for its discreet elegance and David Collins Apartment, Belmond Hotel Splendido for its staff, views and gardens, Es Saadi Palace, Marrakech for its spa, Park Hyatt Paris for location and their scented candle. Soneva Gili, Maldives for spoiling me rotten. Beit Al Mamlouka in Damascus was magical…
Exceeding expectations: Mozambique. I lived there 20 years ago and loved it – the coastline was unspoilt, the people resilient and upbeat despite a lengthy civil war and they have the best seafood I’ve ever eaten.
Favourite destinations; Anywhere with a view over water; Costa Smeralda, Sardinia and the Wild Atlantic Way in Galway spring to mind. I also love St Tropez; early mornings on the Place des Lices, and the villages of Ramatuelle and Gassin – I need a French fix every year.
Road trip recommendations: The Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland and the Cape Garden Route, South Africa.
Best ever holidays: Family trips to the Ring of Kerry and Brittas Bay in Wicklow, Ireland were great ‘bucket and spade’ holidays with picnics on the beach and Dad battling the windbreak! My first trip to Vienna a few years ago was also epic. I will also admit to enjoying several Club Med holidays especially in Mauritius and Corfu.
Oddest holiday: Baku was fairly bonkers; an odd mix of bling and bleakness.
Travel essentials: A red notebook from Carolina Herrera, a stack of glossies, Sarah Chapman’s Overnight Facial for long haul flights, cashmere socks over DVT ones – I get cold feet. My red Brics carry on suitcase.
Fantasy come true: Capri – I loved Villa San Michele, Carthusia perfumery and Anacapri especially; visiting Karen Blixen’s farm in Nairobi was very moving too. Living in Lyford Cay, Bahamas was also surreal.
I wish I was…Staying at JK Place, Rome.
Love…Surprises, goats cheese, stocking up on toiletries in French pharmacies, dancing, handwritten notes, Elvis – his 1968 concert was a defining moment in music history…
Hate… Rubbish coffee, the decline of manners, overdone hotel flowers.
Wishlist: Argentina, Sweden, Puglia, Madrid, Nova Scotia…
Having launched and edited Harper’s Bazaar Interiors Middle East, Society Dubai, Emirates Home, Wedding and Martha Stewart Weddings Middle East, I have been able to indulge my love of luxury design, fashion and travel. I have also contributed to The National, 7 Days, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Marie Claire (France), Luxe IMMO, The Ritz Magazine, Gulf Air, Grazia Middle East, HELLO! Middle East, identity, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Emirates Woman, Jet Set, Dubai Voyager, Jumeirah, Business Traveller Middle East, What’s On Dubai, Time Out Dubai & Ahlan’s Hot 100 amongst others. I currently contribute to The Gloss, The SPA Traveller, L’Officiel Middle East and The JW Edit.
What do you do at The Travel Memo? Sniff out the new … hotel launches, revamped spas, events and exhibitions and more. Oh, and travel, whenever possible.
Earliest luxury memory: The Hilton, Tehran in pre-revolutionary days when the coffee shop was the place for tomato soup and a taste of home.
Best airline experience: Concorde, New York to London. Sheer luxury, arrived before we took off, no jet lag, and the food was excellent. Freebies were good too.
Best aerial experience: Over Wadi Rum in Jordan, in a hot-air balloon, Terrifying but unforgettable.
Window or aisle? Seat with a view, most comfortably on the top deck of a B747
Hotel delights: Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach, Dubai (for pool service goodies and toiletries); Shangri-La Villingili, Maldives (go for the gourmet package with personal chef and tree-top villa); Qasr Al Sarab, Abu Dhabi (1001 Nights architecture, sunset dune); Forte Village, Sardinia (especially its thalassotherapy spa and al fresco pools); Oriental Bangkok (service, service, service, plus cookery school); Milestone, London (turndown service, think bath pillow, petals, candles; soft music, pillow presents…)
Exceeding expectations: Burma, even 20 years ago. Charming people, charming culture, charming scenery.
Travel essentials: Passport, crosswords, Kindle and a bag of mini balms and unctions … plus a glass of champagne.
Fantasy come true: Soneva Fushi, Maldives – day out on our own tropical island, with private lagoon, picnic hamper, chilled bubbly and some of the best fish/coral sightings ever.
Road trip recommendation: Muscat to Salalah, Oman, via 4WD – turtle, dunes, skeleton coast wrecks, oryx and camels, Bedu camps, the ‘Grand Canyon’, phosphorescent seas, full moon and more.
Ultimate Kodak moment: Helicopter swooping over the Okavango Delta, Botswana, no doors, camera in hand, just thrilling.
Wishlist: Mozambique, Namibia, New Zealand.
Ten years as editor of Middle East Travel ignited a taste for high flying luxury, followed by a freelance career providing words etc for anyone who paid me. This has included the Daily Telegraph, Asiaweek, Executive Travel, Business Traveller Middle East, Society Dubai, Harper’s Bazaar Interiors, The Ritz Magazine, Meet Middle East, Hotelier Middle East, OAG, Gulf Business, Stars, Arabian Woman, What’s On, Arabian Travel News, Porthole Cruise Magazine, Jumeirah Beach Magazine, Lifestyle & Travel, Why Dubai and Travel Daily Middle East.