My Life In Travel: Claire Menary

London-based photographer Claire Menary loves travel and interiors, so when it comes to beautiful landscapes and stylish hotels, she knows a thing or two about what it takes to get the perfect shot. Here, she shares her favourite destinations and most memorable trips...

The most memorable place I’ve ever been to is India. Without a doubt, it’s the most magical place on earth. Everything about India was incredible and so breathtakingly beautiful. The people were so lovely, every experience we had was so rich, and it’s just a stunning place – especially for a photographer, to visit. I would really love to go back when it’s safe to do so – there’s so much to discover there, you can visit multiple times and always have a new experience. 

One of the most spectacular hotels in the world is The RAAS Devigarh hotel, just outside Udaipur in west India. It’s an old fortress set on a hill and it’s such a peaceful, tranquil spot. The staff are so friendly, and the rooms are beautiful – if you’re travelling to that part of the country, it’s a must-visit.

One of my favourite cities to visit is Paris. Whenever I can, I love hopping over there on the Eurostar – it’s so easy, you’ve arrived before you know it. Plus, going on the train means there’s no airport security to faff around with, which can sometimes be a total drag. Last year I ended up going four or five times.

 

My favourite hotel in the UK is Beaverbrook in Surrey. I went there a few weeks ago and was in awe of the stunning interiors. The hotel pays homage to Lord Beaverbrook himself (the famous newspaper publisher and politician who once owned the property) and all the rooms are named after his friends – think H.G. Wells, Winston Churchill and Lady Diana Cooper. I also love Soho Farmhouse – they just get everything so right.

For a staycation, London actually has so many amazing hotels. It’s a tough job to pick just one, but for a truly special stay, Treehouse London near Oxford Street is a really cool hotel with an amazing restaurant and rooftop bar. Also, the Stratford Hotel in East London is a wonderful hidden gem with some incredible interiors, but if I’m in the city for a mid-week treat, it’s got to be The Ned. A little further afield, I love exploring country hotels like The Pig and smaller, independent B&Bs. My Instagram is filled with some of my favourites – I love discovering new places in the UK. 

If I had the chance to go abroad just for two nights right now, and I knew the weather was going to be warm, it would have to be somewhere in Italy, and preferably close to the water. A little festive break in Vienna during December would be dreamy, too. 

 

One of my favourite hotels in the world has to be Adare Manor in Ireland. I went there two summers ago and the attention to detail was second to none. 

Some of my fondest childhood memories were during family trips to the US. We used to go there a lot when I was child, so whenever I go back, it feels familiar and nostalgic – it’s like my second home, and New York in particular feels so much like London to me. We used to visit DisneyWorld in Florida when I was a child too, which was so much fun. I think I could still walk around the theme parks with my eyes closed and know where I’m going to this day. We also visited Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas – all of them are so completely different.

The most magical place I’ve ever been to is La Bastide de Gordes in Provence. It was so romantic and the hotel itself is just beautiful. The location is breath-taking, too – when you arrive, you never want to leave. Dinner on the terrace of La Citadelle in the table for two overlooking the valley is one of the most incredible settings – I’ve heard it’s a very popular proposal table! 

 

The one place I didn’t fall in love with was Sri Lanka. I can’t say why, but I didn’t have a great time there. Maybe it’s because it was a last-minute holiday, or that the bar had been set so high in India, but it didn’t quite meet my expectations. However, I wouldn’t rule out visiting again – I’m sure I’ll be back for round two one day. 

Before the pandemic, I was supposed to go to Tuscany to stay at Borgo Santo Pietro. I’m so sad it didn’t happen, as I really looking forward to it. Other than that, thankfully, I didn’t have any other trips lined up!

My travel bucket list includes so many places, but I’m desperate to go to South America. There are several cities I’d love to see there – in fact, if I could take a whole year off to go travelling, that would suit me perfectly! I would also love to visit an Aman resort – they just look so exquisite, especially Amangiri. One day, I’ll make it happen.

My travel list for 2021 is so long. There are several places I would love to visit next year (once it’s allowed) but I’d love to explore some places closer to home, too. Mallorca, Italy, Greece and Iceland are all my top destinations, but really, I’d be happy to go anywhere. I’ve missed travelling so much this year.

 

Follow @ClaireMenary on Instagram

 

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