Today's interview features Paul Johnson from aluxurytravelblog.com, who is lucky enough to focus on luxury hotels and resorts. His blog allows him to see a great many of them every year.
What is your blog all about?
My blog is all about luxury travel.
Are you a full-time blogger? If so, do you live a rich lifestyle? 🙂
Yes (to the first question). I wouldn't say I live a rich lifestyle, no, but I am very lucky to enjoy some wonderful perks with my job. I am extremely privileged in that respect.
Where would you want to live if you'd have to settle on one place?
Where I live already! I am lucky to live just between two of England's most beautiful national parks – the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.
How many countries have you been to?
30-something at the last count; possibly getting nearer to 40 now.
What places/countries are the most overrated?
For me I'd say Turkey and India but I would still like to return and see more to get more of a feel.
What's currently in your TOP 5 list to go to?
New Zealand, Thailand, Iceland, Santorini… and I wouldn't say 'no' to the World Cup in Brazil. 🙂
What was the most embarrassing travel situation you ever faced?
In Lithuania last year I had a Russian banyan (a kind of sauna where you're thrashed with sticks). Let's just say it was an interesting experience and involved a degree of nudity which didn't really sit well with us British! Anyway, the next day I had a Thai massage at the same resort. On arrival, the Thai lady told me to undress in preparation for the massage and lie face down on the bed when I was ready. Following the previous day's experience, I pointed to my shorts and asked if I was meant to remove them also. She nodded. They were swimming shorts and I didn't have underwear underneath – she had assumed I did. Enough said!
What is your most embarrassing travel pet peeve?
I'm not embarrassed by it but one of my pet peeves is people who get up at the end of the flight or use their mobile devices before the fasten seatbelt signs have gone out. Can they not wait a couple of minutes like everyone else?
Have you encountered celebrities during your travels?
I don't tend to have many celebrity encounters on my travels but that's probably largely because I don't really follow celebrity gossip and so wouldn't know if I was face to face with one! On my last flight home, returning from Cape Town, I saw Danny Boyle (film director) at Heathrow Airport, but someone had to point him out for me.
What's the most recent food discovery from your travels?
Starrey gazy pie. I didn't get to sample it unfortunately but stumbled upon the dish on a recent trip to Cornwall. It's basically a pie with fish heads sticking out of the top, and it is traditionally eaten at the Cornish festival of Tom Bawcock's Eve to celebrate a heroic fishing catch that was made during a storm.
What was the most complicated flight itinerary you have ever booked?
On honeymoon we had multiple flights. I think it went something like Manchester to Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro, Arusha to Grumeti in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro to Arusha, Arusha to Zanzibar, Zanzibar to Arusha, Kilimanjaro to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Manchester. I'm not sure I've mentioned them all but it went something like that!
What is your favorite airline product you experienced and why?
I think the bar on Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class takes some beating. It's not every day you can sit, relax and have a drink at 40,000 feet. 🙂
What is your favorite hotel you stayed at?
I have been lucky enough to stay at many luxury hotels all over the world, and it would be just too difficult to choose a favourite! Perhaps the most opulent was Badrutt's Palace in St. Moritz, which came complete with a live harpist at breakfast and a priceless Rembrandt on the wall in one of the lounges, to mention just a couple of examples.
What gadgets help you out on your travels?
Aside from the obvious (laptop, camera and smartphone), I find my mophie® charger really useful. Smartphones can eat into your battery life in no time when you're on the move but the mophie® can give me a full re-charge twice over which is very handy, and it's small and lightweight which is a bonus. I also have a wireless device which I find useful that allows me to create a WiFi hotspot whenever there is a 3G signal and avoid roaming charges.