Where The Experts Holiday: Brett Perkins, Director of Communications at The Savoy

Brett Perkins, director of communications at The Savoy (a Fairmont Hotel And Resort)– London’s first luxury hotel – on Ethiopia, India and his iconic hotel

What do you like to do on holiday?

A combination of sightseeing,followed by flopping on a beach. It’s important to have an adventure and feel like you’ve been somewhere completely different from home but at the same time to return feeling refreshed and reinvigorated.

Where did you last go?

India – without a doubt my favorite place in the world. It’s a culture shock in the true sense of the word; the sights, sounds, and smells will leave you breathless and amazed. I was last in India on a wonderful three-week trip that included watching bodies being burnt in the Ghats at Varanasi, tiger spotting in Ranthambore, exploring the caves at Ellora and Ajanta and wandering around the old town of Cochin.

Do you know where you’re going this year?

I plan to head to Kenya next – I can’t to visit the Fairmont Mara Safari Club. It’s a tented camp where you can hear the hippos wallowing in the river below. and can go on safari in the Masai Mara. (Kenya’s finest wildlife reserve). I plan to round off my African experience, with a few days on Lamu Island.

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favorite and why?

It’s hard to pick one – the places that I remember most are India (which I’ve been to twice), Myanmar and Ethiopia. The latter is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to but is almost untouched by tourists. There’s so much to do from hiking through the Simien mountains – the home of Gelada Baboons – to climbing up to the mountain chapels in Tigray and exploring the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?

To date, I’ve only been to Peru and Mexico in South America so there’s a lot of that continent that I’ve yet to discover. I look forward to it.

In your destination, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?

Sir John Soane’s Museum – it’s a treasure trove of works of art and antiquities and whenever I return, I always discover something new. I find it amazing that one man was able to collect so much in his lifetime. Aside from Sir John Soane’s Museum, I would advise visitors to London to check out the Courtauld Gallery at Somerset House. Only a stone’s throw from The Savoy, the Courtauld Gallery houses a beautiful collection of Impressionist masterpieces, but without the crowds of some of the capital’s better-known galleries.

How do you plan your holiday?

Over the years, I tend to plan less and less. I am now at the point where I just book a flight and then just plan the trip as I travel around. You can have the most wonderful experiences if you just let the wind blow you where it wants. In countries such as India especially, you have to be flexible, go with the flow and enjoy the journey: its part of the joy of traveling. In my experience, if you try to stick to a rigid itinerary you’ll end up stressed and unhappy.

How often do you go away?

As much as I can, although I haven’t been able to travel much in the last six months. The Savoy reopened on 10.10.10 following a three-year refurbishment so understandably this has taken up most of my time.

Who do you travel with?

I always go traveling with the same friend, Amy, who I bumped into in a bar in Hong Kong 20 years ago when we were both 18. Travelling can make or break a friendship so once you find someone you can travel with, you’re friends for life.

Where do you see tourism in your destination, in 10 years time?

With hotels now claiming to be 6 and 7 stars, it’s hard to see how this level of luxury will continue to escalate. I think a certain section of the market will go in the other direction with people searching for simpler, more ‘authentic’ experiences and also the ability to unplug and switch off. Time, and especially time off, will become increasingly precious and there’s nothing that can ruin a holiday more than the constant beeping of a blackberry.

Thanks, Brett! For more on the legendary Savoy, visit www.fairmont.com/savoy|http://twitter.com/TheSavoyLondon.
To find out where other industry experts holiday, don’t forget to keep clicking back to the CD-Traveller website.

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