I’m between an escapist and a genuinely curious traveller. I rarely like the familiar and want to discover new places that are non-touristic. I seldom visit a place other than to experience and indulge.
My eyes and mind are all wide open when I travel. I don't always need a plan to go somewhere and I like to discover the destinations through the locals; I want to eat, drink, and live like them. Going mainstream has never been my thing.
I love the energy of a city, but also appreciate a vacation that involves relaxation instead of always being on the go. However, I am a complete hotel nerd and could end up choosing a destination based on the hotel I would like to stay at.
Considering how much I travel, it only makes sense that I invest in good luggage. I love Samsonite’s Black Label Lite-Shock collection because it’s incredibly light and has spinner wheels. But I also have a Rimowa Bossa Nova which is an incredible carry-on luggage. I often have short trips and it works so well because of its divider system and design.
Packing lightly is essential for any globetrotter. I used to be terrible at it as I packed last minute and added a lot of things — the result was chaotic. After realising that I never used half of the clothes I brought with me and that shoes are great at eliminating suitcase space, I now only pack just the essentials. I also maximise my luggage space by rolling my clothes or packing them in cubes. Other tips? Pack toiletries, socks and small items in your shoes and always bring a pair of sneakers wherever you go; they are really useful.
My ideal co-passenger would be my boyfriend, Kristian Kjelling. He is just as excited as I am each time we discover a new hotel, city or destination. And I sleep so well on his shoulder.
Jet lag is something that I just deal with. I manage well as long as I get to sleep on the plane. Flying business class for me is not so much about the nicer meals and cocktails, but about the wider seats, the extra leg-room and a deeper recline that helps me achieve a solid sleep. My best trip so far was this summer when I flew Emirates Business Class, it was a real treat! However, sometimes you're stuck with what you can afford!
Canada must be one of the most underrated countries in the world. It might be considered a bit chilly and comes without a Disneyland, but it has some of the most spectacular landscapes out there. I would also add Norway to this category! As for the most overrated destination in the world, I’d say Milan. It’s grey and boring.
London is one place where I always return because my best friend lives there. My favourite hotel company is The Firmdale and I stay at Ham Yard Hotel in Mayfair. They are extremely good at looking after their guests. A visit to The Ivy Market & Grill or lunch at Chiltern Firehouse is a must. Also, go for coffee at Embassy East in Hoxton or the Tomtom Coffee House that serves homemade pastries. Another favourite thing to do is having breakfast at The Wolseley.
I never want to go back to Saint Petersburg. It feels like they are disguising the darker side of Russia with this city and it also breaks my heart seeing such a clear gap between rich and poor.
New York is definitely the place where you shop till you drop. My favourite shops are Alice + Olivia on Greene Street and Reformation on Ludlow Street. A must-see is also the & Other Stories boutique, New York has their best store there.
Returning to Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is something I'd love to do. We spent our summer holiday there and it’s the ultimate romantic place ever — it also has the best food!
The most breath-taking scenery in the world is in the Lofoten Islands in Norway. It's a place known for its excellent fishing and nature attractions, small villages, off the beaten tracks and whale safaris. Also, the most amazing sunsets I have ever experienced are where I work at the Thief Islet (Tjuvholmen).
Some might look at me as a hotel nerd, since I have stayed in so many different hotels over the years and rarely go back to my favourite ones. I always want to try out something new. Having said that, I’ve definitely had many amazing experiences in some hotels that I will never forget. One of them is the Peninsula in Beverly Hills, a French Riviera-style palace with a fabulous rooftop pool and amazing cabanas. Staying there is as close to perfection as it gets. They also engrave your initials on your pillow cases! The Belvedere restaurant is a lunch time favourite for locals as well as guests.
The Crosby Street in New York is an elegant boutique hotel in the heart of the always popular SoHo. It has extremely friendly and efficient staff that greet you by your name the second time they see you. Another plus is the superb lunch at The Crosby Bar & Terrace.
Others hotels that I love are the Omnia in Zermatt with its Bond-like cave entrance, the Ett Hem in Stockholm, the Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel in France, the Castello di Casole in Italy and the Upper House in Hong Kong.
Having worked in the hospitality industry for over twenty three years, I know how to please a challenging hotel guest. I've experienced the best and worst in hotels and I’m always polite and give praise when I'm happy. I value high standards in consistency of service and attention to detail and I am more demanding when I travel for pleasure.
I've always dreamt of running my own delightful boudoir-chic boutique hotel. But after having the privilege of opening up and working for one of the world’s best hotels, The Thief, I don’t know if that is a dream anymore. Being in the business for so long, I know how much effort, investment and energy you need to put into it to make it work — not to mention recruiting the right staff. But I would like to create a hotel that guests will say «I wish I could stay here forever». Serving the best breakfast, having the most comfortable beds and a cosy living room, offering great local food, these are some of the things that would be on top of my list. In my ideal hotel, you would come as you are and on your next visit, the staff would remember everything that you like. Taking homely atmosphere to new heights is something I'd like.
Traveling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.
Next on Globetrotter column, I'd like to see the founder of The Hotel Culture, Imran Hussein and the General Manager of The Thief, Jarle Moen.
**Siri Løining is also the Head of Communications of The Thief and a travel writer for KK.no, one of Norway's largest websites for women.**