We’d like to introduce you to Claudia, a luxury travel expert and Senior Manager of a London based private jet company!
If you’re like us, you’ve also been counting down the days until travel restrictions are lifted and holidays can finally commence! And as those days draw closer, we thought it was time we sat down with Claudia so she could share her tips on finding that perfect holiday destination!
Read our full interview below for all the details
Please tell us a little about you?
I've just been fortunate enough to finish renovating the home I share with my husband in Fulham, a project that's taken 2 years (thank you, COVID). I'm passionate about interior design, travel and food. Workwise, I am a Senior Business Development Manager at Air Partner PLC (Private Jet Company), so my day to day is both planning trips for individuals and creating partnerships with luxury brands - a job I love.
What made you first enter the world of luxury travel?
I went to a birthday drinks in 2013 and met a girl there who worked for Original Travel (luxury tour operator). She told me about her job which was selling luxury tailor-made trips for high net worth individuals. Part of her role was to visit these incredible destinations (New Zealand by helicopter being the stand out story at the time!) I begged her to keep me in the loop and harassed her on facebook, and a few short months later I had joined the "Europe" team as a sales consultant. Later, I found myself wanting a new challenge and I discovered the world of private jets, where I've been working for 7+ years.
Where are you planning your first abroad holiday after lockdown?
Greece has been on my hit list since visiting Mykonos in 2018. I was there all too briefly and have been thinking about it ever since. I just couldn't believe how good the food was and the sea was so warm and clear, very different from my usual South of France trip. Especially post pandemic, I am desperate to just have some drinks on a beach with friends, eat in fabulous restaurants and spend some time hopping around smaller, quieter islands too.
Have you been on any staycations in the UK that you would recommend?
Our mini-moon hotel, the Thyme, was one of the most special hotels I've been to. The hotel is beyond beautiful (picture old cotswold stone, covered in lavender and honeysuckle), and dotted around the property are hammocks and small reading spots to relax in. The food was also mind-blowingly delicious, notably the marmite butter at breakfast, which frankly should be mandatory at all hotels! Just next door, there is a quintessentially British pub called The Swan, which serves a mean bloody mary and chicken and mushroom pie. I believe the pie is meant to be a sharing plate but post-wedding diet, I proved it is not.
Where would you advise people to look for after lockdown holiday inspiration?
Sadly this year, we may still be bound by travel restrictions but several countries are opening up to tourists as early as the beginning of May. I've seen forward bookings to Greece, Turkey, Portugal and Austria, to name a few.
Where is on your bucket list to travel to and why?
I am desperate to visit Japan. I'm not entirely sure why, but it's been on my hit list for several years now. The cherry blossom (a bit of a cliche, I know) is high up on the list, as well as skiing in Niseko. I know this is a huge stereotype but the idea of eating delicious sushi 3 times a day just sounds like heaven on earth.
What is your most memorable moment of working in luxury travel?
There are some amazing perks working in the luxury travel sector. I was fortunate enough to visit some incredible places when working for Original Travel, one of which was going to Swedish and Finnish lapland. I spent a week staying in ice hotels, log cabins, seeing reindeer and dog sledding. More recently, I was also able to take a private jet to the Maldives from London too, which I'm 99% certain, I'll never be able to afford, so that was pretty special.
Please tell us your exercise routine at home and on holiday?
Exercise has never been something I've looked forward to, more of a gruelling punishment that I have to "get through" as quickly as possible. In the last 2 years, I have found it to be slightly more interesting and enjoyed the feeling of getting fitter and being able to see results. Out of lockdown, I would normally do classes at Body Society in Fulham (4-5 times a week). The classes are 45 minutes which helps me picture getting to the end more! During lockdown, I've taken up pilates (using my fabulous mat of course) and trying to do the odd home workout. I do try getting in 10,000 steps a day, although this week, I'm averaging about 12 steps a day. On holiday, I like to do something just so I don't feel like a beached whale by the pool. I'll try and do a long walk or an early morning workout so I can enjoy the inevitable enormous meals and buckets of wine.
What are your travel essentials?
My Olivia and Oliver mat will now be coming everywhere with me. My porcelain skin demands factor 50 in 25+ degree heat so I can't go too far without this. I swear by roche posay 50+, it's the only suncream that doesn't make my skin like a spotty teenagers. I try and nail 90% of the books I read annually whilst on holiday too, so a stack of books, along with yahtzee and backgammon, which my husband and I play incessantly. Generally speaking, I try and stay at sustainable hotels. The Six Senses brand has the most incredible hotels dotted all around the world and they go above and beyond to ensure as many products as possible are either made on site or sourced locally. We went to Six Senses Laamu (Maldives) for our honeymoon and were able to do a behind the scenes tour. Even their electricity is generated on site..!