Take a peek at the people behind the posts on the Smith Travel Blog

LUCY FENNINGS

What do you do at Smith? Online rambling and offline roaming; destination detective work; blog editing; textual pedantry and other print pursuits.
Favourite hotels The Ludlow in New York for a hip slice of the Big Apple; Conservatorium in Amsterdam for a stylish city break; Dar Darma in Marrakech for exotic escapism; The Pig – on the Beach for a refreshing foodie weekend; Les Sardines aux Yeux Bleus for low-key rural relaxation in Languedoc. Top of my ‘must-go-next’ list are Casa Ellul in Valletta, and Treehotel in Sweden.
Favourite destinations Tuscany, Paris, Hoi AnOman‘s Musandam Peninsula and the Smoky Mountains.
Best ever holidays Across Goa on an Enfield; over the pre-Pyrenees on a horse; tracking tigers in Kerala; temple-spotting in Cambodia.
Essential travel kit Notebook, iPhone, Steve, sarongs that double as scarves, colouring pencils (for on-tap children’s entertainment).
I wish I was… galloping off to dinner with a gang of gauchos.
Love… whiffy cheeses; hearty Rhône reds; Vi-Spring mattresses.
Hate… rubbish coffee; badly made martinis; the Creation Museum; turbulence.

Psst… read an anonymous hotel review by Lucy

JULIET KINSMAN

What do you do at Smith? Send our naughty reviews straight to their rooms and wax lyrical about what gives great hotels their wow factor.
Favourite hotels
For romance: Dar Ahlam, or, with a baby in tow, Chewton Glen. City stay: for cutting-edge cool, the Drake; for classic chic, JK Place.
Favourite destinations
Essaouira, Wales, Cape Town.
Best ever holiday
I always have great times with friends and family in New York.
Essential travel kit
Travel-sized Ren products; great dresses as they’re an instant outfit, and easy to dress up or down.
I wish I was…
allowed to drive those golf-buggy-style cars with flashing lights in airports. I love that ‘meep meep’ noise they make.
Love…
surprises – from finding treats in your room (candy at the Greenwich Hotel) to stumbling across bohemian hangouts such as Tulip Café in Prague.
Hate…
shops that leave their doors wide open with the air-con/heating on full blast.

Psst… read an anonymous hotel review by Juliet

TAMARA HEBER-PERCY

What do you do at Smith? Online skivvy (I’m CTO).
Favourite hotels La Suite by Dussol in Rio de Janeiro and Ett Hem in Stockholm; and Ca’s Xorc in Mallorca will always have a place in my heart – it’s where I got married.
Favourite destinations Places near water: Ibiza, Bali and New York.
Best ever holiday? Driving the coast road from San Fran to LA in a gold open-top Trans Am; dancing on a float at the Rio Carnival.
Essential travel kit Dr Lipp lip balm.
I wish I was… drinking something cold, somewhere hot.
Love… Lily & Lionel scarves.
Hate… Facebook; dessicated coconut.

Psst… read an anonymous hotel review by Tamara

SARAH JAPPY

What do you do at Smith? Nurture wanderlust from the Melbourne office by writing about the world’s most beguiling hotels and destinations.
Favourite hotel I once stayed in a beautiful San Francisco hotel which had creamy hot chocolate on tap and a supply of cookies in the lobby. I’ll do anything for cookies.
Favourite destinations Sardinia, CopenhagenIbiza, Greece. Anywhere I’m guaranteed delicious eats, quality shopping, red wine and relaxation.
Best ever holiday? Travelling around Europe with my best friend. We spent all our money on Italian underwear and then lived off baguettes and tomatoes, with a few cocktails in between.
Essential travel kit A like-minded soul, some classic reads, clothes that wear their creases well, flat shoes, perfume and a coral lip gloss to add zing to a sleep-deprived, sun-tanned face.
I wish I was… one of those girls who can leave the house with a bag the size of a banana. I could fit one of our hotels in my handbag.
Love… the smell of sea salt and sun lotion on tanned holiday skin, foraging for fashion in vintage markets, sipping chilled wine from a carafe.
Hate… organised tours, unsatisfactory restaurant dinners, severe sunburn, boarding the homeward-bound plane.

Psst… read an anonymous hotel review by Sarah

LAURA HOUSE

What do you do at Smith? Translate US English into UK English and vice versa, along with my editorial better half, Amelia, in the New York office.
Favourite hotels Continentale in Florence won me over to that city. London’s Dean Street Townhouse made me a tub-in-the-middle-of-a-room convert. I will rob a bank someday and treat my mother to a week at the Connaught. I fear that when my family and I do get to Fogo Island Inn we might never leave.
Favourite destinations Italy (Rome has my heart), Japan, Berlin, Maine, northern Wisconsin (sentimental childhood thing).
Best ever holidays Christmas holidays skiing with my family, highlight: Kitzbuhel, Austria. Making wishes and wandering around temples in Japan. Summer escapes to Door County, Wisconsin and Cuttyhunk, Massachusetts.
Essential travel kit Giant scarf, hand lotion, small notebook, decent pens, physical maps and slim guidebooks (yes, I’m a Luddite).
I wish I was… gifted with a sense of direction. I’m a landmark trekker: turn left at the corner bar, pass the old guy at the coffee shop…
Love… travelling in the off-season, conversations with perfect strangers, just-shucked oysters, the midday cocktail, thoughtful design and small-scale museums.
Hate… lack of consideration/kindness for others (If someone is nice to you but not a taxi driver/waiter, they are not a nice person); sweatpants outside of a gym (would it kill you to wear actual trousers on a flight?).

Pssst… read an anonymous hotel review by Laura

RACHEL JUAREZ-CARR

What do you do at Smith? Banishing errant commas; contemplating complex hyphenation; Instagramming everything.
Favourite hotels For lounging by the pool and doing very little but drink delicious cocktails, Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs. For hiding in the Hollywood Hills and failing to recognise famous people while drinking more cocktails, Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.
Favourite destinations Barcelona because I love a Catalan accent; Los Angeles because I lived there so long it feels like home; London because it really is home; New York just because it’s New York.
Best ever holiday? Boarding the midnight ferry from Sicily and arriving six hours later at the tiny island of Pantelleria, just off the coast of North Africa, was a marvellous start to an incredible trip; I had Leonard Cohen on my iPod to keep me company while everyone else slept or got seasick.
Essential travel kit A full­frame DSLR, 28mm prime lens and bottomless bag of memory cards.
I wish I was… able to do without sleep.
Love… islands, polo ponies, Campari, trying to speak other languages, good airport lounges.
Hate… heavy suitcases, weak WiFi, Jaegermeister, jet lag, bad airport lounges.

MADEVI DAILLY

What do you do at Smith? Obsessive fact checker and word botherer. I often find myself falling for the hotels I write about.
Favourite hotels Areias do Seixo, No 131 in Cheltenham, Six Senses Yao Noi.
Favourite destinations Siem Reap, Hong Kong, Lisbon.
Best ever holiday? A week alone in a treehouse on Koh Rong, spent reading, snorkelling, and watching water buffalos amble past on the beach.
Essential travel kit My Kindle; Zelens Absolute Face oil (also good on cuticles and hair in a pinch); ear plugs.
I wish I was… washing pachyderms at the Elephant Valley Project in Cambodia.
Love… overladen breakfast trays in bed.
Hate… annoying LED lights in hotel rooms.

KATE WEIR

What do you do at Smith? Live out my luxury-travel fantasies via the medium of words (and in reality from time to time).
Favourite hotels Les Deux Tours (hidden gardens and tree swings); Brody House (local artwork), Fellah Hotel (Moorish library), The Zetter Townhouse (taxidermied cat).
Favourite destinations Berlin; Tulum; and Prague – I’ve been five times but the mediaeval beer halls and cobbled streets keep luring me back.
Best ever holiday? A US road trip from LA to Las Vegas and San Francisco, the surreal highlight of which was an afternoon spent swapping jokes with Ron Jeremy in the Roosevelt Hotel’s bar (if you don’t know him, don’t Google him). Iceland’s otherworldly scenery made that a stand-out stay, and I’ll never forget watching a volcano erupt in Costa Rica.
Essential travel kit Converse trainers – I cover a lot of ground when exploring; oversized cardigan for chilly plane rides.
I wish I was… more intrepid. I’d take an evening in a lively tapas bar or a quiet stroll around an art gallery over mountain climbing any day.
Love… quirky foodie finds: Iceland’s Björk-themed schnapps, Hong Kong’s black sesame ice-cream, India’s super-strength coconut beer or Italy’s chocolate pasta.
Hate… long layovers; incomprehensible Metro maps; people who pretend to be holding the Tower of Pisa in photos; ‘1,000 year-old eggs’.

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SMITH ALUMNI

ANTHONY LEYTON

What did you do at Smith? Online tinkering; offline tea-making.
Favourite hotel
Amankora in Bhutan – never been, probably never will, but I love the five-lodge mountain-pilgrimage concept.
Favourite destinations
New York, Florence, New Zealand, Valencia, Edinburgh.
Best ever holiday?
Fiji: utterly relaxing, the best (and cheapest) steak in the world, and a national drink that makes your mouth numb (in the best possible way).
Essential travel kit Smartphone with a proper qwerty keyboard – none of this fancy-schmancy touch-screen nonsense.
I wish I was…
a little bit taller.
Love…
unnecessarily complicated food.
Hate… ungrammatical signage.

CAROLINE LEWIS

What did you do at Smith? Wide-ranging editorial assisting.
Favourite hotel Cavo Tagoo in Mykonos for its white-and-blue Greek supremacy.
Favourite destinations Anywhere in the US, especially San Francisco/California generally; the Lake District – the UK’s finest; and Brazil.
Best ever holiday? Spending the summer in Rome with my sister, staying in an apartment on the Spanish Steps in the building where John Keats died.
Essential travel kit A blanket, Eight Hour Cream, sunglasses and some classical literature.
I wish I was… Princess Jasmine.
Love… afternoon tea (preferably taken on the lawn of a stately home), gelato, mascara, goose-down duvets, the sun, the sea and silly designer handbags I can’t afford.
Hate… hill starts and oversized dogs.

KATE PETTIFER

What did you do at Smith? Online/offline word polishing for Mr & Mrs Smith and Smith & Family.
Favourite hotels I aspire to staying at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge in South Africa or Rayavadee in Thailand – in the wilds but never far from civilisation is how I like it.
Favourite destinations Canada (the mountains); Cote d’Azur (the Med); Stockholm (the men).
Best ever holiday? Vietnam – it’s ridiculously photogenic.
Essential travel kit Dermalogica sun cream and a pack of cards.
I wish I was… starring in a musical.
Love… good hotel breakfasts: a laid-back affair with fresh everything.
Hate… aeroplane ankles.

MARY GARVIN

What did you do at Smith? Race around the world, giving boutique hotels the official thumbs-up or thumbs-down.
Favourite hotel
Condesa DF in Mexico City – so stylish, even the resident dog matches the decor – and Mandranova Farmhouse for Sylvia and Giuseppe’s generosity and infectious enthusiasm.
Favourite destinations
South coast of Sicily, Istanbul, Paris, NYC, London, Pacific coast of Mexico… God I’m such a commitment-phobe…
Best ever holiday?
Without a doubt, the ones I’ve taken with silly friends: crashing bikes on the Isle of Mull, hanging ten in Malibu, and getting hopelessly lost in Barbados.
Essential travel kit
A black fold-up tote-bag thingy called Baggalini: saves my life when I over-shop on the road.
I wish I was… fluently multi-lingual.
Love… sampling local beers around the world and sharing them with people who love what they do.
Hate… bits in my orange juice, and airport security.

SOPHIE DENING

What did you do at Smith? Aid and abet the editorial team, as Juliet’s original co-editor.
And now? I’m restaurants editor for the Harper’s Bazaar Going Out Guide.
Favourite hotel West Stoke House in West Sussex. I love the Bridge room, and the cooking is both impressive and darned good to eat. I haven’t been to The Olde Bell Inn in Berkshire yet, but I know I’d love it.
Favourite destinations Norfolk, Yorkshire, Cornwall.
Best ever holiday? The best is always the last, so my spring visits to San Francisco and Valencia, with a diversion to Ibiza on a whim. I went running in Golden Gate Park and the Turia Gardens; when I wasn’t running, I was eating.
Essential travel kit Birkenstocks/walking boots, money, and string – I never use it at home but always seem to need it up a hill.
I wish I was… a few muscle-straining steps from the top of a mountain.
Love… brasseries, tapas bars, pubs, beach shacks, independent bookshops.
Hate… breakfast in bed.

SIMON WESTCOTT

What did you do at Smith? Launch the Asia-Pacific office in Melbourne.
Favourite hotel The Prince in St Kilda – top restaurant, great bars, cool spa, on the beach.
Favourite destinations
The Top End, Paris, Burma, New York, Lebanon, Shanghai, Venice.
Best-ever holiday
Cambodia in 1997. Only eight of us at Angkor Wat.
Essential travel kit
My tan leather Gurkha holdall. All I ever take.
I wish I was…
on horseback on the pampas of Argentina.
Love… 
the Australian sky.
Hate…
automated call centres. Go Smith Travel Team!