What is your own personal litmus test for whether a cruise ship is worthy of the 'luxury' tag?
There are a few important elements to consider, not least 'all-inclusive' pricing which creates a very sociable atmosphere almost akin to travelling on a private yacht. Other areas of major importance are single-seating dining options for maximum flexibility of guests and size and range of suite accommodations. Overall I believe training of staff and delivery of service is what sets one brand apart from another.
What is your own personal litmus test for whether a hotel is worthy of the 'luxury' tag?
Whether a big hotel or a boutique property, I believe service standards, staff attitude, room size and an upmarket range of facilities are the most important issues. Asian hotels deliver on this better than anywhere in the world.
What are your favourite hotels/resorts? (and why)
I have several and for different reasons:
Asia: The Sukhothai, Bangkok - a peaceful haven in the centre of this exciting city that mixes traditional Thai style with modern luxury. Service is exemplary - it has an exclusive atmosphere.
Europe: Claridges, London - stylish and traditional with top levels of service, in the heart of London.
Resorts - I am a big fan of Aman Resorts - again it comes down to top levels of service, a boutique environment and exclusivity. My favourite so far is Amanpulo in the Philippines.
What is your favourite port visit?
London - especially with a smaller boutique ship because it is possible to dock right in the centre of the city at Tower Bridge - gateway to all that that the city has to offer.
What is your best overseas restaurant experience?
For drama - Sirocco in Bangkok. For food I have some old favourites in London like The Ivy and La Poule au Pot in the more residential district of Pimlico. I would also have to include The Steakhouse at The Intercontinental Kowloon, when in Hong Kong - the best steaks!
What is your favourite airline for business or first class? Why?
Singapore Airlines - for the consistent delivery of excellent service by their cabin crew, unlike other carriers where attitude and style differs from flight to flight, and excellent food. Seat comfort, especially on the new A380 services where they have redefined the meaning of Business Class. In First they present icons of luxury that are meaningful to travellers - for example Dom Perignon house Champagne, Ferragamo toiletries and Givenchy sleeper suits.
What three things do you never travel without?
My passport, my itouch; and my reading glasses!!!!