I love travelling, even when I’m going on a business trip. For me, travelling is all about feelings and emotions — a great hotel, a lovely beach, a nice restaurant. It has to touch my heart and trigger some feelings. It has to engage me, inspire me and even sometimes surprise me — although preferably in a positive way.
As I often go on both long and short trips, I appreciate luggage brands that value high quality. Therefore, I love spinning the wheels of my Rimowa across airports all over the world. Rimowa helps get your items safely to your destination while looking impressively good.
Although I’ve become better over the years, I’m still a maximalist when it comes to packing. While I’m usually good at making decisions when I’m in front of a suitcase I give up and end up overpacking. So, it’s a bit difficult to give any advice on it, since my secret is that my life partner makes all the tough choices every time we go somewhere. I need a push, to be honest.
My ideal co-passenger is my life partner. It’s always best to share experiences with people you care about.
Jet lag is the inevitable downside of exploring the world. I believe the secret of minimizing it is to drink a lot of water, avoid alcohol, eat healthy food and work out. I always follow these rules when I go overseas.
I think Miami is awfully expensive and overrated, with South Beach as the most protruding example. Norway is cheap compared to Miami, and that says a lot. Norway, on the other hand, is the most underrated destination. It has so many options and fascinating nature; it’s hard to describe it in a few words.
Although it had its high points, Prague did not impress me much. It’s hard to put my finger on what it was, but I did not like the vibe.
I love shopping in New York. Walk around Spring Street and Soho, and you have everything you need – from famous designer brands to small boutiques. I prefer this area compared to Fifth Avenue, as it’s perfect with all its small, terrific bars and restaurants. Treat yourself to a nice cocktail at the bar of The Mercer or the new 11 Howard on your shopping break. Also, lunch at Balthazar is mandatory.
New York is also graced with some of the best hotels in the world, and since I always try to compare and be challenged by the best, I love to take a closer look at how they work and treat guests. For a passionate hotelier, staying at the best hotels offers you great insights from a guest’s perspective. Also, I adore New York City’s buzz and vibe. There’s always something new happening, a cool new restaurant, bar or club. No city in the world can compare with New York; it’s just how it is.
For me, the most breath-taking scenery in the world is in Capri, Italy. To wake up there and take a deep breath over the stunning view of the ocean is an unbelievable experience.
Being a hotel junkie, I can recommend quite a few great properties out there. Firmdale’s Crosby Street Hotel in New York is fantastic, with outstanding service and a great location in Soho — close to my favourite Balthazar. Another very nice hotel there is The Ludlow with their fantastic restaurant, Dirty French. The Peninsula Bangkok is also on my top list, while The Standard Miami hit a sweet spot when I went there for the holiday season. Fantastic spa and a relaxing atmosphere. I adore this hotel.
I must admit I’m quite demanding as a hotel guest. When I stay at five-star hotels, I expect everything to be in place. My number one expectation is that the hotel triggers some feelings. If it does, the hotel size or level of luxury is not part of the equation. I can fall in love with a Spartan bungalow on a beach in Thailand or the Soho Beach House in Miami.
I’m so emotionally invested in The Thief, our people and the guests’ experiences, that I often feel it’s my own hotel. Having said that, if I were to own one, I’d put a lot of effort in delivering world class service with a warm and personal feel. A hotel where every detail is handled with care, everything is thought of, and where the guests’ needs are met from the minute they enter the door. It is much more about the personality and the perfect touch of service than about furnishings and decoration.
As you can tell by now, I live and breath for hotels. There are many out there with their own original stories to tell so look for them. Also, always pick one with a good gym, or a gym close by. And don’t forget to focus on quality breakfast, it’s really important. A great breakfast can totally kickstart your day.