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Travel Insiders on Where They Want to Go Next

Condé Nast Traveler logo Condé Nast Traveler 8/7/2020 CNT Editors
a large green field with trees in the background with Uluru in the background © Getty Images

If you could ask some of the world's most seasoned travelers anything at all, what would you ask? For the name of their favorite secret hotel? What their must-pack outfit is? The restaurant they dream about eating at again? For our global 21 Questions initiative, we posed these questions, and a few more, to thought leaders and tastemakers we trust, and asked them to share their favorite trips, tips, and memories with us.

A favorite staycation itinerary?

A day with my family in Hong Kong is always special. Breakfast at Australia Dairy Company, then a hike to Cape D'Aguilar. We will then do a quick stop at Classified café in Repulse Bay, followed by Sun Kwai Heung for the best Cantonese barbecue in Chai Wan. —Sonia Cheng, CEO of Rosewood Hotel Group since 2011

What book inspired you to travel?

The Sheltering Sky, by Paul Bowles. It’s the book that first filled me with wanderlust, led to a lifelong obsession with Morocco, and compelled me to always seek out the unknown and unexpected whenever I travel. —Kevin Kwan, author, Crazy Rich Asians and the just-released Sex and Vanity

A great little place to escape the crowds?

Bohemian, a tiny Japanese restaurant with great sashimi and steak. It’s on Great Jones Street in New York and doesn’t have a sign. —Tory Burch, New York City-based designer and philanthropist

A city where you fell in love?

I met my ex in Mexico City. An impromptu bar crawl made our first night together one of the best of my life. We stopped at a bar called Pata Negra, then wound up at Xampañeria, one of my favorite places in Condesa, and drank the rest of the night away, sipping bubbly from little ’20s-style crystal Champagne coupes. Cherae Robinson, founder of the travel community platform Tastemakers Africa

What route makes you excited to travel?

The bullet train from Beijing to Hong Kong is incredible. The nine-hour journey is comfortable, with ample seating and ease of service. Every time my schedule allows, I opt for the train instead of a flight. —Peter Borer, COO, The Peninsula Hotels, overseeing 10 properties worldwide

a pool next to a body of water: Eco-friendly resort North Island is perfectly secluded © Courtesy North Island, a Luxury Collection Resort, Seychelles Eco-friendly resort North Island is perfectly secluded

What is your favorite small hotel in the world?

North Island—a remote eco-resort in the Seychelles. It’s just 11 villas on a private island, with a pristine and perfectly preserved beach. It is a very special sanctuary for endangered species. —Roeland Vos, president and CEO, Belmond, whose trains and hotels include the Orient Express and Venice's Cipriani

What is a film you watched where the location blew you away?

Call Me by Your Name was a visual feast. Villa Albergoni in Moscazzano has an interior that you dream of visiting when on holiday. I actually find watching films inspiring when it comes to interiors too, so golden oldies such as Gosford Park, I Capture the Castle, and Howards End all get my creative juices flowing. —Martin Brudnizki, Swedish interior designer renowned for work on Thompson and other hotel groups

What is the place you are most fixated on visiting next?

My heartstrings pull toward Cuba. I was born there, but my parents left when I was just a baby and we never went back. That it is so close geographically to my home in Miami but still feels a world away makes me want to explore the story of my family. —Carmen Corvos-Roig, senior vice president of marketing and sales, Crystal Cruises

If you could eat anywhere right now, where would it be?

Kitakyushu, in Japan, where I had the unbelievable sushi at chef Isao Amano’s Tenzushi Kyomachi. He prepares it without soy sauce, just with salt. It’s traditional—that is how his father did it, and that’s the way people in that place eat raw fish. —Alex Atala, chef-owner of two-Michelin-starred D.O.M. in São Paolo

a garden with water in the background: Micato Safaris operates trips to destinations including Kenya, India, and Tanzania. © Courtesy Micato Safaris Micato Safaris operates trips to destinations including Kenya, India, and Tanzania.

What outfitter do you love going away with?

I’ve taken multiple trips with Micato Safaris in Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and India, and they have everything: the food, little touches in the room, extra clothing, guides with bottomless passion, and the ability to be away from it all. —Claire Bennett, global chief marketing officer, IHG, whose hotels include Six Senses and Kimpton

Your most trusted luggage brand?

I love my Louis Vuitton Horizon 55 carry-on. It’s chic, packs a ton, and is so easy to take everywhere for a couple days’ visit. For checked luggage, Rimowa is my go-to. —Tina Edmundson, global brand officer of the world's largest hotel group, Marriott International

If you could eat anywhere right now, where would it be?

The Fat Duck in Bray, England. I had always wanted to visit Heston Blumenthal’s famous restaurant and went there for my 21st. We had seafood served with actual sea-foam and were given earphones with a seaside soundscape. We also had cereal flavored like a full English breakfast, with bone-broth milk. Such an experience. —Daisy Edgar-Jones, actress, Normal People

Your favorite place in the world?

The red landscape of Uluru, in Australia, makes me feel completely alive every time I visit. Simply said, this distant place has changed my life and inspired me to follow my passion of making art. —Bruce Munro, immersive installation artist

A great little place away from the crowds?

Touda Ecolodge. Located in a Berber village in the high Atlas Mountains of the Ait Bougmez Valley, it’s ideal for three days of walking in the surroundings hills and countryside. It is easily accessible from Marrakech. —James Riley, group chief executive, Hong Kong-based Mandarin Oriental

What is your most memorable train journey?

A private railway saloon on Indian Railways—it always brings back lovely memories of childhood family holidays, and also my young twins made their first safari pilgrimage to Ranthambhore, at six weeks old, on the saloon. It is one of the best ways to explore India. —Jaisal Singh, CEO of the conservation-minded Suján Hotels, which include the Serai and Jawai in Rajasthan

a chair sitting in front of a building: The chic Ritz Paris is a perennial classic. © Photo by Vincent Leroux The chic Ritz Paris is a perennial classic.

Your favorite hotel and why?

I will never get tired of staying at the Ritz Paris. The hotel’s Old World charm and attention to detail are unlike any other. It is so beautifully French, feminine, and aspirational. —Aerin Lauder, style and image director, global beauty brand Estée Lauder; founder, Aerin

What is your go-to travel wardrobe?

A lightweight navy blue 100 percent wool jacket that I can fold and pack, pull out, and put on immediately without having to iron it. And cargo pants and a cashmere pashmina—very useful during my travels by plane as well as during the cool summer evenings. —Brunello Cucinelli, Italian fashion designer renowned for his way with cashmere

A favorite place for a staycation?

The service at the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus is outstanding. When my wife, Eva, and I are there on holiday, we get one of their terrace suites—rooms 1401 to 1404. One of us will draw the curtains in the morning to an amazing view of the water. I spend most of the day out on the terrace. —Sonu Shivdasani, CEO, Soneva, with eco-retreats in Thailand and the Maldives

A favorite travel find?

I came across this small family-owned shop called Cortiço & Netos when I was in Lisbon. They have a wonderfully unique collection of vintage Portuguese tiles that I just fell in love with. —Kelly Wearstler, interior designer, Proper Hotels

a small boat in a large body of water: Travelers to Antarctica are often moved by the destination's fragile beauty. © Andrew Peacock/Getty Images Travelers to Antarctica are often moved by the destination's fragile beauty.

A place you fell in love with?

A few years ago we went to Antarctica with Quark Expeditions to celebrate my daughter’s 21st birthday. You can’t help but be moved by the beauty of this fragile ecosystem and be concerned for its future. Two highlights were bivouacking overnight on the ice with penguins and kayaking between icebergs in glacial waters. —Christopher Cowdray, CEO, Dorchester Collection, which includes Hotel Bel-Air and Eden in Rome

What’s a hidden gem you always recommend?

There’s a little jewelry store in Florence—S. Vaggi—where I love shopping for my wife and daughters. My dad discovered it first, many years ago, and introduced me to it later on. —Chris Nassetta, CEO, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, including the Waldorf Astoria and Conrad

This article appeared in the August/September 2020 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here.


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