Inside story

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 May, 2011, 12:00am


Grant Thatcher

British-born Grant Thatcher moved to Asia more than a decade ago and founded the Luxe City pocket guides in 2002. These stylish travel guides cover more than 30 destinations. Thatcher usually spends two to three weeks at each destination he reviews.

Favourite destination? The return journey home.

Favourite hotel? The Connaught in London.

Most hellish travel experience? After a nine-hour sea-canoe trip off the coast of Palawan in the Philippines. I was horrendously sunburnt. My face and hands were peeling for the next 10 days.

Best restaurant? Frantzen/Lindeberg in Stockholm is good and Noma in Copenhagen was an event. I'm always tempted to sneak into The Dining Room at The Goring in London for its rather good steak and kidney pie.

Secret hideaway? Hotel Tresanton, St Mawes, Cornwall.

Dream destination? Karnak, Egypt.

Travel essentials: My saddle leather satchel I bought in Shanghai 10 years ago; a Jetset travel kit with a wrap-around eye mask, pillow, medicine and organic lavender oil; Valextra passport cover and matching card holder; glasses and sunglasses, usually by Dita; Kiehl's Acai serum and Snoxin multi-peptide treatment; Blackberry and iShuffle; and finally my Luxe Guides.

Tania Mohan

Hong Kong-born Tania Mohan founded her boutique Tabla more than 10 years ago. Four years ago she launched Tabla resort wear combining Indian craftsmanship and Western silhouettes. Her line is stocked in boutiques around the world and she frequently travels between India, New York and London.

Favourite destinations? Aspen, Phuket and New York.

Favourite hotel? The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles for its old-school glamour.

Most hellish travel experience? I was travelling from Hong Kong to Delhi but got diverted to Mumbai due to fog. We spent several hours on the tarmac, before I was forced to share a room overnight with a complete stranger (thankfully, she was a 14 year old girl).

Most adventurous experience? I went to a Dude Ranch in Montana with three girlfriends and it was one of the best holidays of my life. We got up at 5.30am, helped the ranch hands and then rode across the plains. It was spectacular.

Favourite restaurants? Ka Jok See in Phuket for the best atmosphere; Scalinatella in New York which is both cosy and glamorous; Matsuhisa in Aspen for a treat; Trishna in Mumbai for the best seafood; and the Amanpuri poolside in Phuket for the best sunset drinks.

Dream destination? A luxury safari in Africa, coupled with hiking or long walks.

Travel essentials: I always travel with my Brics trolley bag; a good moisturiser like Mario Badescu; a cashmere shawl; a good book and magazines; a Kwanpen crocodile passport holder, my Louis Vuitton cosmetic case; sunglasses; and iPod.

Ana Rivera

Born in the US and raised in places including Germany, Spain, Japan and South Korea, Ana R moved to Hong Kong 10 years ago and has been modelling for 13 years. She travels around Asia two to three times a month and frequently visits her family in the US.

Favourite destination? I love Asia, especially Asian food. I recently went to Paris and found it hard to eat anything. Malaysia is probably my favourite place because my manager lives there and we are very close. I love the fact that there are so many different things to do from the beaches to the rainforest.

Favourite hotel? The Grand Hyatt Beijing. Sometimes when Hong Kong gets too crazy, I fly to Beijing, check in and hang out by the pool. There's a wonderful market next door and I can shop and be creative.

Most hellish travel experience? I was in Orlando staying at a hotel. It was July 4 so everyone was partying. When I tried to get back into my room my keycard failed and my luggage was locked inside. I had to call the police. I missed my flight.

Most adventurous trip? South Africa. We went to Kruger National Park and saw these amazing animals including albino rhino cubs which are extremely rare.

Best restaurant? Tsukiji fish market in Japan. It was the best sushi I've had - it melted in my mouth.

Dream destinations? New Zealand. I don't know much about it but I've always wanted to go. And Alaska to see the whales.

Travel essentials: I love my Chloe snakeskin bag; my iPad and Paul Frank headphones; sunglasses; a Longchamp makeup pouch with beauty essentials including Bach's Rescue Remedy; diary and pencil case because I love to write; Kate Spade passport holder; a Louis Vuitton scarf; a G10 Canon Camera. Ana R shot on location at EAST Hotel, Taikoo Place.

Bob van den Oord

Bob van den Oord has been in the hospitality industry for 23 years and started as a chef before moving into hotel management. He moved to Hong Kong seven years ago and is now vice-president of Langham Hotels International. He travels at least twice a month.

Favourite destinations? Hong Kong. It's always great to come home. For business I love Japan and for leisure Bali and Boracay.

Favourite hotel? The Langham London - it's in the heart of the city with Regent's Park next door. Architecturally and historically, it has so much to offer as it was built in 1865.

Most hellish travel experience? Waiting on the tarmac for six hours in Holland. I was so upset I wrote to the airline's chief executive.

Most adventurous trip? Tonga. We went to the Vava'u Islands where only 10 families live. They have their own church and school, and farm their own produce. They took us fishing and we caught the fish, cleaned it and ate it immediately.

Favourite restaurant? Gonpachi in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo: great atmosphere, good sake and Robatayaki. It's very low key.

Dream destinations? Buenos Aires and South America.

Travel essentials: My Louis Vuitton trolley bag and matching briefcase; a cashmere sweater; sunglasses; iPad and iPod; sleeping pills for long-haul flights; and a good book.