I’d like to think that I’m a balanced traveller. For instance, I like to spend time exploring the markets and temples of Bangkok and then hop to one of the islands for a yoga and meditation retreat. I am curious by nature, so I love to immerse myself in a new destination followed by some downtime to shut off and take a mental break. If I’m travelling for business, I prefer to get the work out of the way to allow for time to explore a new market or reconnect with a familiar one.
When it comes to packing, things can get a bit complicated; I’m a Gemini, and I like to have lots of choices. I never know ahead of time what I’m going to feel like wearing while travelling, so I usually pack a little bit of everything. This means that I can easily get overwhelmed as I start to pack, so I take a breath and start with the basics. I then ask myself how many days I will be away and build my wardrobe from the inside out. Also, if you send your clothes to the hotel laundry just before you leave, it makes re-packing a breeze.
I’ve recently fallen in love with the simple beauty of the Victorinox Spectra global carry on. It is the perfect size for any trip because it fits in all overhead bins. Also, the hard shell and wheels are super functional for someone who is always on the road. What’s really smart, however, is the exterior pocket for your laptop, tablet, files and charging chords, which means you don’t actually need to carry anything else!
My ideal co-passenger would be my partner, Martin. We complement each other perfectly when travelling: He drives, I give directions; he books the airline, I show up with the dinner reservation; he packs the essentials; I build the playlist. As in any relationship, we take on certain roles and support each other whether at home or on the road.
As far as jet lag goes, I am able to adjust quite easily to any time zone, but there are a couple of things I do to ensure I stay present and energised during a trip. As soon as I land, I like to go for a run, natural endorphins do wonders. I also like a tight, programmed schedule that keeps me busy and doesn’t allow for me to even think about being tired. I try to manage my caffeine intake, especially while travelling, but if I really need it, a shot of espresso in the afternoon will carry me through. Finally, my body is pretty attuned to light, so I’ll leave the window curtain cracked just enough so that the morning light peeks in and I wake up naturally.
The Caribbean is one of the most underrated destinations in the world. I’ve seen some stunning landscapes and beaches during my travels, but we are so spoiled to have such beautiful, warm waters and tropical beaches so close to New York City. Each island is so different that I think it would take a lifetime to take it all in.
I’m going to generalise for a moment and say that I never again wish to see suburban sprawl. Probably unavoidable but no matter where I am in the world, I cannot stand to see generic, sprawling shopping centres that overtake the landscape. It’s just not my thing.
I always love to check out the latest boutiques and design stores in Hong Kong. Their menswear there work well for my body, and they have such an eye for unexpected detail. I adore the curated irreverence of Lane Crawford, but there are great independent shops like The Armoury, Kapok on Sun Street, and Opera Opera that I also visit time and again.
Barcelona is a city that I have a love affair with. For a “balanced” traveller like myself, it is the perfect blend of city and surf, old and new, late nights and early sunrises. I love to hike the Park Guell and soak in the views, wander the streets of the Born, have a late tapas dinner with beautiful wines and the laughter of friends, and dance the night away atop Eclipse at W Barcelona. The next morning, a visit to the beach or a short train to the village of Sitges for a long lunch by the sea is the perfect cure.
Last summer, we did a drive-through Portugal, and from the vineyard steps of the Douro Valley all the way down to the cliffs of Sagres, Portugal has some amazing and diverse scenery for such a small country. I believe there’s truly something for everyone.
I love the rustic, yet modern feel of W Vieques and the casual, laid-back attitude of this escape off the coast of Puerto Rico. The hotel is a fun getaway with a group of friends and a great home base for exploring the many beaches and waters surrounding this tiny island.
I feel at home whenever I step into Gramercy Park Hotel. I love to sneak away in the city where I live to explore it from a new perspective. I feel transported and inspired every time I stay.
Another favourite hotel of mine is Opposite House Beijing – modern China is so alive in this hotel with its contemporary and playful design and sophisticated yet casual service.
Working in hospitality has given me a certain eye on what to expect as a hotel guest, so I tend to notice a lot, even if I shouldn’t. However, I’m pretty easy to please and like to be somewhat anonymous when I travel, which is tough to do if I’m staying at one of our hotels. I typically have very few needs, but I do expect quick, seamless service when I reach out for help. As a guest, I also wouldn’t expect to ever be told "no", and personally, I do whatever I can to avoid getting double beds when I’m alone.
I would love to create a hotel that is a gathering place for different types of people from around the world. I envision a communal experience where travellers can share their stories and experiences from their time on the road, and locals can share their expertise and craft. The more connected we become, the deeper connections we crave, and I’d want to create a hotel that helps facilitate those special moments and introduce travellers to new ways of approaching the world.
My best advice for all the travellers out there? Be open. Take that road to nowhere. Put your phone down and live in the moment. Soak it all in. And be respectful to the environment. We live in such a beautiful world; don’t destroy it as you experience it.