1. What’s been your best travel experience?
My honeymoon. We did a mini-tour of Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and it was fabulous. The inner nomad in me came out. For a weekend break – and this will sound a bit cheesy – it’s the Isle of Wight. I recently rediscovered it having not been there for many years. It has a reputation for being a bit caravan park-esque, but recently we’ve been back quite a few times and there are restaurants up there with anything in central London. Getting on the ferry feels like you’re going abroad.
2. What’s your most memorable destination?
It would be going to India for the first time. We did Goa and Mumbai after we’d left university and worked for a few years, so we stayed in nice hotels. I’ve been back a lot since for business, but the first time you go there, it’s such an assault on the senses; the smells, the heat, that becomes something that sticks.
3. What makes a business trip work for you?
No delays and no queuing. I often travel at weekends in my own time and I want to have a good experience. I love being in airports, but it takes the edge off when you have to queue after you’ve had a four-hour delay with a five-hour time difference and you need to be up for work the following morning.
4. Do you have a favourite airline?
I’m a real fan of British Airways, because particularly when you’re travelling on business and you’re a lone woman in places like India, the Middle East and Far East, it feels really comforting. Also, because I travel so much I’ve got Avios points, so I can upgrade myself quite a lot of the time, so that’s a plus. Emirates would be my second choice, they’re superb; probably better in terms of quality than British Airways.
5. Best airport?
I really like Heathrow’s Terminal 5 – I’m a shopaholic. I also love Dubai. Back in the day when there weren’t many huge airports, I got stranded there for about five hours, but I was very happy as there were so many shops and restaurants to keep me entertained. You can literally buy a car in Dubai airport. The new Mumbai airport is really fabulous as well. Travelling with BA in business class you’re escorted into this petal-shaped sofa affair that’s closed off and you have a dedicated person boarding you onto the aircraft. You feel very special.
6. Is there a business hotel that just gets it right for you?
The Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. When you arrive, they all know your name. The staff are really polite and attentive and make you feel really welcome without being overly obsequious.
7. What’s your best bar in the world?
I haven’t got a name for you, but it’s in a warm country, it’s in the open air and high up so you’ve got a fabulous view. Hong Kong’s got great rooftop bars, Mumbai has some that are fabulous, as has Dubai, where I was a couple of weeks ago.
8. What about a favourite restaurant?
I was recently very lucky to be taken out by the owners of Feefo to Hakkasan in Soho. It’s kind of Asian fusion with a bit of a nightclubby vibe; very dark and very trendy and the food is absolutely gorgeous. Otherwise, normally I’m a steak eater, so I go for good meat places. I love my food.
9. What one piece of travel advice would you give to the younger you?
Buy expensive luggage. It lasts longer, and particularly when travelling for business it’s important to arrive with all your stuff still folded and in good condition. It’s a good investment. Plus, people tend to look after it more instead of throwing it around.
Feefo was founded in 2010 with offices in London and Petersfield. It underwent a management buy-out in 2019 backed by Vespa Capital and has recently agreed to deal to acquire rival Reevoo that will see the two companies brought together to form an expanded organisation.
Together, the companies currently support 4,000 brands globally including BA Holidays, Saga Group, Expedia and Meon Valley Travel. With existing operations in the UK, USA and Australia, the acquisition will support the company’s overseas expansion strategy.