Jo Malone’s Little Black Book Of Travel Destinations
Do you have any trips booked this year?
I’m off to Corfu for a wedding soon, and I’m so excited as one of the dinners is taking place in The Durrells house – it’s one of my favourite TV shows of all time. I also have trips coming up to New York, Paris and Florida this year.
Where was the last place you went?
I was in Grasse in the South of France for a week in May, enjoying the spring month in Mougins.
Which destination do you return to time and time again?
My family and I always return to Dubai; my soul truly rests there. It’s the happiest place, with blue skies, great food, fantastic retail and camel rides in the desert under the stars. You can also drive to Oman and enjoy an overnight adventure on a traditional dhow, sleeping under the stars.
I highly recommend the Nobu Sunday brunch in Dubai – you have to book it in advance but it’s an experience not to be missed.
How have your travels influenced your fragrances?
My fragrances are mainly inspired by travel and adventure – everything is stripped down to a heartbeat and I love the simplicity of it all.
When I’m somewhere like Mougins or St. Paul-de-Vence, I’m inspired by anything from the surrounding colours and smell, to the local music or art. I also feel inspired when sitting on a plane or somewhere I can think and clear my mind; daydreaming leads to my creative thinking.
What about staycations? Where do you love in the UK?
I love the Treehouses at Chewton Glen, the beauty there is that you have the New Forest for country walks, long beautiful beaches and The Pig for Sunday lunch. Plus, you can take your dog with you.
One of the other places I love is Beaverbrook. Although this is very much a golf club – a sport I don’t play – it’s also a wonderful place to spend the weekend and their attention to detail and service is second to none.
We recently spent a wonderful weekend there with friends. My two favourite moments were cocktails at the greenhouse after dinner, sitting on rugs and old chairs with all of the tomato plants growing around us, and then going to the cooking school to learn how to make a raspberry tart and rhubarb soufflé. It truly was the best weekend, especially as the boys went off to play golf and all the girls were able to enjoy the bar and spa.
Favourite London hotel?
I can’t choose just one. I love the English glamour at Claridge’s, the smell of the tea room at The Langham and the cocktails at Jimmy’s Bar in The Beaumont – they’re the best you’ll ever taste.
Any travel hidden gems you can share?
Hacienda de San Rafael in Seville is a luxury hideaway, with the most incredible rooms around the courtyard. The chefs cook with fresh ingredients from the market; food is really important to me when I’m away.
Speaking of… the food market in Revel, Toulouse is another hidden gem. The hustle and bustle is typically French, and there’s an amazing entrepreneurial spirit. It’s packed with fresh produce, from pots of honey and homemade cheeses to the thinnest handmade pizzas and little bars of lavender soap. There are also little wine bars and coffee shops nearby, where you can sit and watch the world go by. This is a community and family hub – two things I hold very dear to me.
Favourite European city break?
The Marker in Dublin is a hotel I’ve visited and stayed at many times and love returning to. It sits right on the water, not too far from the beach, and the shopping and culture of Dublin never fails to inspire and delight us as a family. Dublin is a real hotspot for creativity.
Venice and Florence are two other places that I love to travel to for the culture and food – but my real passion is the amazing art. From the wonderful museums that house some of the greatest masterpieces, to the architecture of the buildings, there’s so much to gain, learn and observe in these cities.
I stay at Hotel Danieli in Venice as it’s near the water and you wake up to a historic view. I like visiting the island of Torcello by Vaporetto and enjoying lunch there. You can also go to the island of Murano, where the famous Murano glass is hand-blown; being part of the creative process is magical.
Where do you stay in New York?
I’m an Uptown girl and I love the bustle of staying there. When travelling as a family, we stay at The Lowell or The Surrey, which has the perfect rooftop bar, where I sit with an ice-cold glass of white wine and watch the sunset.
But if it’s a big celebration, we stay at the Four Seasons which has the most incredible lobby I’ve ever seen. Their 33ft Christmas trees are magical and you cannot miss The Rockettes show at Radio City at that time of year.
Favourite beachside hotel?
That’s definitely Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos. It’s the most beautiful place, with the whitest beaches and bluest skies I’ve ever come across. And if you’re very lucky, sea turtles will swim up onto the beach while the sun sets behind a coral reef. It also smells delicious!
Best pool you’ve ever seen?
The private villas at Amanpuri. There’s a long dark pool with cabanas on the side and a fresh supply of the most delicious fruit.
Where do you travel to just for the food?
France and Italy. There’s a beautiful villa in Asciano in Tuscany situated on top of a hill, where fresh produce is picked from the garden and they produce their own wine.
Another place which is romantic and beautiful is Château de Bagnols, a castle situated at the heart of The Beaujolais. You can do everything here, from hot air balloon rides and horse-drawn cart picnics in the vineyards, to long, delicious walks in the French countryside.
Where's the most romantic place you’ve ever been?
Belmond Cap Juluca in Anguilla is really romantic. The bathrooms are amazing, with double-size bathtubs that sit under the stars. The beach is beautiful too.
Many years ago, when we were very young, my husband and I decided to go skinny dipping as the beach was deserted. Unfortunately for us, there was an event nearby and the guests decided to walk down the beach to get to dinner that evening. We ended up having to stay in the water for two hours before being rescued by somebody with towels. We looked like prunes but laughed until we ached.
What’s your fondest holiday memory?
Our family holidays in Portugal are always memorable. We usually rent a house there and invite close family and friends to join us. We have picnics on the beach with the children and throw huge parties, where we sing with guitars and play endless games. I treasure these unforgettable moments the most.
Favourite long-haul destination?
San Francisco and California’s Napa Valley. One of the magical places in Napa is the Mondavi Estate – from the owner Robert’s stories to the divine red wine they produce, it’s not to be missed. Dinner at The French Laundry in Napa is divine and everything on the plate looks like a masterpiece.
Another amazing creative place to visit is Seattle. This city breathes entrepreneurial spirit and you can feel it in the air – from the Pike Place Fish Market, where shopkeepers entertain and delight, to the first ever Starbucks coffee shop. My favourite place to visit is the Chihuly Garden and Glass as it’s very inspirational – everything is created with glass and is genius.
What’s on your travel hotlist that you haven’t yet visited?
I would like to visit the amazing country of India; absorb its culture, enjoy its culinary delights and spices, and visit the beautiful palaces. One of the things I would love to watch is the women going down to the water in their beautiful saris.
I’m also keen to go to Borneo and understand the work of the preservation and protection of orangutans. When I go to Florida later this year, I’m hoping to visit an elephant conservation; something I’ve always wanted to do. I love animals and Dian Fossey is one of my great heroes – the work she did with gorillas is utterly inspiring.
If you want to completely chill out, where do you go?
I go to Montana to completely chill out and switch off. As a family, we go to Mountain Sky Ranch – there’s no phone reception or any televisions, nails salons or hairdressers. We share our love of horses altogether and there are people from all walks of life enjoying each other’s company; it truly is one of the gems of life. I leave feeling stress-free, but do have a little cry as I hate leaving my horse.
And the best place for travelling with children?
Dubai is one of the best places to travel with children. Most of the hotels have kids’ clubs and it’s really safe there so you’re not looking over your shoulder. There’s so much to do, such as swimming with the dolphins, enjoying the water parks, kidZania and playing the huge chess boards in the evening. There’s so much to see and it’s a very family orientated country.
See more from Jo Malone in SheerLuxe's 'Week With' series here
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